Dele Alli Headers End Chelsea’s Winning Streak
Tottenham ended Chelsea’s attempt to make Premier League history with a 14th successive victory as the title pacesetters were well beaten at White Hart Lane.
Spurs moved up to third place as headers from Dele Alli either side of half-time made the difference to leave Chelsea five points ahead of Liverpool in second place.
Alli rose to meet Christian Eriksen’s cross in first-half stoppage time and the same pair combined to put the game out of Chelsea’s reach in the 54th minute.
Eden Hazard had Chelsea’s two best chances in each half but Spurs closed out the victory in comfort to put north London rivals Arsenal out of the top four and leave themselves seven points off the top after their fifth successive league win.
“We were competitive against a team in very good form, one of the best in Europe, and we feel very proud and pleased because the performance was very solid,” said Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino.
Antonio Conte’s Chelsea must content themselves with having equalled Arsenal’s season record of 13 wins in a row from 2001-02 and they remain five points clear of second-place Liverpool.
But the end of their winning streak will give hope to their pursuers, not least Tottenham, who rose above Manchester City and Arsenal to third place in the table, seven points below the leaders.
“It is a pity to stop this run, but Tottenham is a good team, a really strong team and I think is for sure one of the teams that can fight for the title until the end,” Conte told Sky Sports.
“My team are top of the table because we are working a lot. This league is very tough and it is important to continue to work.”
Alli, 20, has now scored braces in three successive games and his latest double allowed Pochettino’s men to register a fifth win in a row — their best such run in nearly a year.
It also enabled Spurs to claim a measure of revenge, both for their 2-1 defeat at Chelsea in November and the fiery 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge last May that ended their title challenge.
Pochettino, meanwhile, could celebrate his 150th Premier League game as a manager with a deeply satisfying victory.
“We are in a good position, third in the table,” he said. “But it is a long way to finish the season.”