Chelsea’s juggernaut run in the Premier League was forcibly halted by Tottenham Hotspur, as the Lily Whites ran out 2-0 winners at White Hart Lane.
English starlet Dele Alli proved to be the Blues nemesis, with the 20-year-old scoring either side of the half-time break. It was an evenly matched contest though, and Blues manager Antonio Conte hailed Spurs as serious title contenders after the game was over.
“It’s a pity to stop this run but Tottenham are a really strong team and one of the teams that can fight for the title until the end,” Conte told Sky Sports.
“They fought last season and for sure can fight this year.”
The Italian manager went on to say that conceding two goals was unacceptable, and that he would be watching the highlights of the game and work on improving the defence.
“We are top of the table because we are working a lot, but for sure this league is very tough and we must continue to work and improve. A defeat can happen against Tottenham, now it’s important to restart,” he added.
Chelsea had equaled the league record for most consecutive wins in a single season with their 13th victory over Stoke City on New Year’s Eve. However, the Blues will now have to share the record with Arsenal at 13 wins in a single season while Arsenal retain their record of 14 consecutive wins overall in the Premier League.
The loss hasn’t inflicted irreparable damage to the Blues though. They are still sitting pretty at the top of the Premier League table with 49 points, five ahead of second placed Liverpool. The win has helped buoy Spurs to third place, leapfrogging Manchester City and Arsenal.
Conte’s words of praise will only inspire the Argentinian mastermind Mauricio Pochettino. The Spurs manager has seen his team go from strength to strength since he took over, and they are truly looking like genuine title contenders.
Last season it was Chelsea who definitively ended Spurs challenge for the Premier League title with a 2-2 comeback at Stamford Bridge. This season though, the game against Chelsea could prove to be the foundation for a run to greatness for Spurs and Pochettino.