Chelsea 2 Spurs 2 (the battle at the Bridge)

Chelsea 2 Spurs 2 (the battle at the Bridge)

I must admit that the Yankee Doodlers-Chelsea overshadowed us in the first half, where they scored in the 19th minute to go in front. Their two summer signings; Kalidou Koulibaly, flashing home a powerful volley from Marc Cucurella’s corner. But when Richarlison came on 12 minutes after the start of the second half, we stepped up a gear and things changed.

But the real battle came at the end of the game when Tommy Tickle Tuchel provoked Conte (by not letting go of his hand after the customary end-of-game handshake), causing a very heated exchange, which resulted in both managers getting a red card.

Apart from our two goals, the managers’ battle livened up the media and fans alike, overshadowing the game.

Where I was sitting, I couldn’t really see what the fuss was about, it wasn’t until Mel, and I had left the stadium that the full realisation of what had happened hit us. Tommy Tickle acted like a spoilt child and didn’t like us coming back to equalise.

The day started with Mel picking me up at 9.30 in the morning, travelling to West Hounslow, where we left his car, and caught an underground train to Earl’s Court to get some lunch. From there, we went to Fulham Broadway via the underground and then walked to the Chelsea ground, all this while I was on crutches.

Once at the ground, we met up with Beverley, Rick, Ollie and others for a chat (programme purchased by then) and then to the disabled section to get in. Even though I wasn’t technically allowed in that part of the stadium (my ticket was for the upper tier), the Chelsea and Spurs Stewards let me stay. They found me a spare seat.

The Game

Once I settled down and purchased a couple of bottles of water (it was bloody hot), the game started. But it wasn’t until the second half the real fun began.

Harry Kane’s equaliser six minutes into stoppage time earned us a dramatic draw. A sizzling London derby at Stamford Bridge ended in an angry confrontation between Tommy Tickle-Tuchel and Antonio Conte. Both managers got a red card.

When we equalised the first time, tempers started running high. Chelsea twice led before Kane’s glancing header seconds from the end gave us a deserved point.

Kane missed our best opportunity, but we drew level after 68 minutes when Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s shot beat their keeper, Edouard Mendy.

Chelsea were furious that referee Anthony Taylor had failed to discipline Rodrigo Bentancur for a challenge on Kai Havertz, which was followed by a face-to-face fury between the two managers, which ended with both Tommy-Tickel-Tuchel and Conte receiving yellow cards.

Quickly after that melee, Chelsea were back in front as James scored from Raheem Sterling’s pass. Tommy-Tickle went crazy by celebrating with a sprint past Conte along the touch as if he was a man possessed. He obviously was trying to provoke our supporters and Conte with his antics. Managers usually celebrate within their box area if their team gets a goal.

However, we had the last laugh as Chelsea thought they had made it six points from two games until Kane headed in Ivan Perisic’s corner. Then the fireworks started. A handshake between Tickle and Conte developed into another bust-up between the pair, ending with them getting a red car (after obtaining a yellow each earlier).

On top of Tickle’s problems, the FA will investigate him after making comments about referee Anthony Taylor. Tommy Tickle was angry after Harry Kane’s equaliser six minutes into stoppage. He suggested that Taylor should not referee Chelsea matches in future. “I can assure you that the whole dressing room of us, every person thinks that,” was his comment.

He was also furious that Taylor failed to penalise Rodrigo Bentancur for a challenge on Kai Havertz in the build-up to our first equaliser.

The red cards do not trigger an automatic suspension. The FA will review the video footage of the incident and look at the referee’s match report before deciding on any charges. Both managers would have a right to reply before it finally goes to a commission.

Conclusion

A hot and sticky day for all, fans and players alike… which allowed two water breaks, one in the first half and one in the second.

I thought we were poor in the first half… we didn’t show the same sort of enthusiasm as we did in the Southampton game, but as I said earlier, it wasn’t until Richarlison came on, followed by other subs did we go up a gear and in the process earning us a well-deserved draw.

However, I must say plenty of Tottenham teams of the past would have gone to Chelsea and allowed their heads to sink after going a goal down.

We are starting to see a sea change under Conte. We saw a Spurs team go to Chelsea – not playing well (or as well as we have shown we could do) – and still get a result against them. That is because of hard training and his signings.

We now have players in the team who have character and set the criteria in matches. Even when the unit is playing poorly and getting dominated the way Chelsea dominated us in the first half, We are developing an understanding of what it means to go all the way in games, not to give up, but to continue fighting to the end. That is why Tickle’s men couldn’t leave the ground with 3 points.

The players that Conte signed give him the depth and flexibility to make the changes we need.

Conte’s choices now are vast for him to change the structure and personnel instead of looking behind him all the time and worrying.

Solving any problems with your substitutes is another ability all the other top teams have, and it’s something else we can say we can do now, too, even more so as this season allows five substitutes instead of three.

In the first half, I thought the same old until our manager made a few changes and got us back on track. In Conte, we believe!

A theory that was put to me was that Conte’s tactics were to reserve energy until the second half because of the conditions out on the pitch (heat). Conte’s tactics were to save energy until the second half. Whichever way you look at it, we came away from the Bridge with a point and pissed off Tommy-Tickle-Tuchel. And he was… he provoked the situation between himself and our manager.

Our next match is against the Wolves at the Tottenham Stadium; 12.30 kick-off. At the same time, there will be a rail strike, which will cause chaos on the roads.

COYS

Glenn

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