Chelsea had to make do with a draw from our first home game of the season after twice having our lead snatched away from us in controversial circumstances during an emotionally charged London derby.

The Blues were comfortably the better team in the first half and took the lead through Kalidou Koulibaly on his home debut, as he brilliantly volleyed in a Marc Cucurella corner after being left unmarked in the box.

However, Tottenham improved after the break and equalised in controversial circumstances, as there appeared to be a foul on Kai Havertz in the build-up and Richarlison was in an offside position as he evaded Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg's goal-bound shot, which eventually found the bottom corner.

We were soon back in front when Raheem Sterling found Reece James in plenty of space on the counter and he beat Hugo Lloris confidently, but then the win was snatched away from us when Harry Kane headed in a corner in the 96th minute, a goal which was allowed to stand despite Cucurella seeming to be dragged to the floor by his hair, an incident which led to the corner and was ignored by a VAR review.

The emotions were running high at the final whistle, with both managers being shown a red card as the arguments continued after the match, although there was no doubt it was Chelsea who had the biggest reason to feel aggrieved at the outcome, after being the better of the two sides over the 90 minutes.

The selection

Tuchel made two changes to his side for our first game at Stamford Bridge of the 2022/23 season, as Koulibaly, Raheem Sterling and Cucurella made their home debuts for Chelsea.

Edouard Mendy continued between the posts and James joined Thiago Silva and Koulibaly in the back three, with Cesar Azpilicueta on the bench. It was an unchanged front three of Sterling, Mason Mount and Havertz at the other end of the pitch.

Jorginho captained the side alongside N’Golo Kante in midfield, but both of Tuchel’s changes came in the wide areas. Ruben Loftus-Cheek started after coming off the bench in the 1-0 win at Everton, while Cucurella made his full Chelsea debut on the left.

The players were greeted onto the pitch with a huge roar from all four corners of Stamford Bridge in the kind of buzzing atmosphere you would expect from the first home game of the new season and a London derby against Tottenham.

It was also the opening game at the Bridge of a new era for Chelsea, which was celebrated by the Blues supporters displaying huge banners in the Shed End and Matthew Harding Stand depicting our new American owners before kick-off.

Closely matched at the start

Buoyed by their comfortable win over Southampton on the opening day, Tottenham began the game showing plenty of threat, especially when winning possession in our half and attempting to counter, as shown when Jorginho had to time his challenge perfectly to end one dangerous attack.

Any early pressure Spurs were applying was soon lifted, though, when Son sent a promising free-kick from a wide area harmlessly over the bar and into the Chelsea fans in the Matthew Harding Stand.

Meanwhile, we were showing plenty of attacking threat ourselves. This time it was Kante's turn to win the ball high up the pitch, before delivering a dangerous cross which flashed across the six-yard box, but Sterling was shepherded away from it by two Spurs defenders.

Loftus-Cheek, James and Kante were combining well down the right, making space to play and coming close to finding Sterling in the middle on a couple of occasions.

Koulibaly’s eyes lit up when a cleared cross feel into his path outside the area in front of the Shed End, but his vicious first-time shot flew wide of Lloris’ right-hand post.

Advantage Chelsea

We came closest yet to breaking the deadlock through Havertz, who was released in the box by a slick exchange of passes between Kante and Sterling, but Lloris produced a great save with his feet to turn it wide of the post.

However, from the resulting corner we were in front, thanks to a combination of two of our home debutants. Cucurella's set-piece found Koulibaly completely unmarked towards the back of the area and this time the defender lashed an unstoppable right-foot volley past Lloris and into the back of the net.

Tottenham tried to hit back immediately and it took a good save from Mendy to deny Sessegnon, the goalkeeper making himself big to block the effort when one-on-one, although there was a strong suspicion of offside.

Koulibaly had another go with an even more acrobatic volley at a corner, but this time he couldn’t get over the ball and sent it high over the bar, at which point the referee signalled it was time for the first-half drinks break.

Blues taking control

Koulibaly was having a great game in front of his new fans and triggered a promising counter with a brilliant sliding challenge. The ball broke to Loftus-Cheek, who found Sterling out on the left. He cut inside onto his right foot and attempted to curl a low shot towards the far post, but it was charged down by Eric Dier.

Momentum was swinging more in Chelsea’s favour the longer the first half went on, while Tottenham’s efforts were summed up when Emerson Royal got into a promising position on the right in what was an increasingly rare Spurs attack, only for his weak low cross to roll straight into Mendy’s arms at the near post.

Sterling broke free for a moment but had to check back. The ball was worked to Mount, who did well to create a yard for a shot, but his effort from the edge of the box had too much power and went well over the bar. It was all Chelsea as half-time approached though.

Chelsea ended the first half on the front foot and with a one-goal lead, but will feel they could have given themselves a bigger margin before the break. That was underlined when a lovely spell of possession ended with Jorginho whipping a tempting cross towards the back post, but Loftus-Cheek couldn’t quite reach it with his head.

Spurs try to fight back

Tottenham knew they needed to start the second half strongly if they were to break the stranglehold Chelsea were establishing on the game. We had Thiago Silva to thank as he stepped in, seemingly effortlessly, to dispossess Kane on one early counter.

Mendy then did well to make himself big again and block Son's shot from a tight angle as he threatened to get in behind our defence, but before long it was the Blues who were controlling the match again and Lloris was back-pedalling awkwardly to prevent a Mount cross from sneaking under his crossbar.

In an effort to gain more of a foothold, Tottenham boss Antonio Conte opted for a change of personnel and shape, with summer signing Richarlison coming on to make his debut, joining Kane up front in a 4-4-2 formation.

It was Chelsea who craved out the next chance, though, as Loftus-Cheek waltzed his way through defenders in the box and looked like he might have been fouled, but the ball fell to Sterling and he took the opportunity to shoot, although he fired just wide of the top-right corner.

There was a let-off for the Blues almost immediately, as the game started to become stretched and more open. Kane got free on the break and this time he did manage to stay clear and drive into the box, but inexplicably dragged his shot harmlessly wide of the the far post.

Level, but not for long

Tottenham had carried more threat since their change and it resulted in an equaliser, although a highly contentious one. Havertz appeared to be fouled wide on the right, but referee Anthony Taylor waved play on and then the visitors went up the other end.

Jorginho won possession but couldn’t clear under pressure and when the ball fell to Hojbjerg, he hit a low shot into the bottom corner, although Mendy's view appeared to impaired by the offside Richarlison stepping out of the way of the ball.

Havertz and the players and staff on the Chelsea bench were furious that the goal was allowed to stand, despite a strong suspicion of a foul in the build-up and an offside, and both Thomas Tuchel, Antonio Conte and a member of the Tottenham coaching staff were booked for their parts in the arguments with the fourth official on the touch line.

There was a feeling of vindication for Chelsea, then, when James, now playing at wing-back after Cesar Azpilicueta came on to replace Jorginho, put us back in the lead. A clever counter-attack saw the ball worked from the left to Sterling in the middle, with James free overlapping on the right. Sterling’s pass gave him the time to finish calmly, as Reece let Lloris blink first, firing strongly down the middle as the goalkeeper went to ground.

Victory snatched away at the end

It felt like we needed another goal to make things safe and we came close twice in quick succession, both involving substitute Conor Gallagher, who was making his first senior appearance at the Bridge. First he unselfishly teed up Mount in the box, but our No19 scuffed his shot wide of the near post, and then Gallagher went for goal himself but saw his shot blocked by the defenders.

However, the third Chelsea goal wasn't forthcoming and we were harshly punished for it in the sixth and final minute of added time. We had been standing up against some late pressure but, after a lengthy VAR review looking into a tussle between Cucurella and Cristian Romero, in which our Spanish defender appeared to be dragged down by his hair, the resulting Tottenham corner gave them an equaliser.

Kane jumped highest at the near post to get his head on it and the ball found it's way in at the back post via a touch off James' thigh. It arrived in the sixth minute of added time just as it looked like we had done enough to secure victory in our first home game of the season.

The pain of that late blow, coming from almost the last kick of the game, combined with the lasting acrimony from Tottenham's dubious first goal, resulted in tensions overflowing at the final whistle, with both Tuchel and Conte being shown a red card after the game as the arguments between the benches continued onto the pitch.

What's next?

We are back in Premier League action again next Sunday, when we travel away to face Leeds United at 2pm.

Chelsea (3-4-3): Mendy; James, Thiago Silva, Koulibaly; Loftus-Cheek, Kante (Gallagher 84), Jorginho (c) (Azpilicueta 73), Cucurella; Havertz (Broja 89), Sterling (Pulisic 85), Mount
Unused subs: Kepa, Chilwell, Chalobah, Hudson-Odoi, Ziyech
Scorers: Koulibaly 19, James 77
Booked: James 41, Mendy 62, Tuchel 68, Havertz 86
Sent off: Tuchel f-t

Tottenham (3-4-3): Lloris (c); Romero, Dier, Davies; Emerson Royal (Moura 82), Hojbjerg, Bentancur (Bissouma 79), Sessegnon (Richarlison 57); Kulusevski, Kane, Son (Perisic 79)
Unused subs: Forster, Doherty, Sanchez, Tanganga, Gil
Scorers: Hojbjerg 68, Kane 90+6
Booked: Conte 68
Sent off: Conte f-t

Referee: Anthony Taylor

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