Dele Alli scored two almost-identical headers either side of the interval to give Tottenham Hotspur a deserved 2-0 win over runaway leaders Chelsea in a engrossing Premier League game on Wednesday night.
Having won their last 13 matches on the trot, Chelsea were on a roll and against a side that had managed to beat them just once in their previous 13 meetings, the Blues might have been forgiven into thinking a record 14th win in a row was on the cards.
Spurs trotted out in a 3-4-2-1 formation to counter Chelsea’s now-famed 3-4-3 and Mauricio Pochettino’s side executed his battle-plan to perfection. They defended resolutely and apart from a Eden Hazard chance early on in the game, didn't let the visitors really trouble Hugo Lloris in goal.
Alli, who scored a brace on the weekend against Watford, rose high to head home Christian Eriksen’s pin-point delivery from the right, giving the hosts a crucial lead in first-half injury-time.
And scant minutes into the second half, Spurs were to double their lead, with their precociously talented midfielder heading home yet again. Eriksen was the provider from the right wing and Alli headed home from a slightly acute angle to put the game to bed, despite little over a half-hour yet to be played. Alli, has been in sensational form of late, but against admittedly lower-quality opposition.
This, however, was a sterling performance against the best side in the league and a real statement of intent that Tottenham are here to stay. And what makes this win all the more sweeter is the fact that when the sides last met, Spurs were unbeaten in the league but saw their streak come to an end at the hands of their derby-rivals Chelsea.
The Lilywhites rise to third in the table, seven points adrift of the Blues, but one feels that the likes of Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester City will be breathing a sigh of relief as had Chelsea won, they would have been out of sight as early as January.
As things stand, Chelsea may well win lift the title come May, but at least the rest aren't giving up just yet.