Chelsea’s terrific win at Tottenham on Sunday afternoon owed much to the collective effort, spirit and quality of the group, though there was one man who played a particularly significant role in securing all three Premier League points for the Blues.
Willian’s brace before half-time settled this London derby in N17. His first came with 12 minutes on the clock when he took a short corner and fashioned some space before firing the ball across goal and into the bottom far corner.
His second arrived in stoppage time before the break, a cool penalty converted past Paulo Gazzaniga after the Spurs keeper was penalised for a foul on Marcos Alonso.
The brilliant Brazilian was outstanding throughout and afterwards he reflected on what the victory meant and how it had come about.
‘I’m happy of course with the two goals but the most important thing is always to win the game,’ he said. ‘We did a brilliant job. It was a big win, a big game and everyone is happy.
‘We fought for every ball. We know we have quality to play but this kind of game is about how you fight and be mentally strong – we did everything.’
The post-match analysis centred on Frank Lampard’s tactical tweaking, with the Blues shifting shape to 3-4-3 and the impact impressive. Willian felt the change caught Tottenham out, as did his own quick thinking for the opener.
‘We surprised them in that situation,’ claimed the 31-year-old of our change in system. ‘They couldn’t press us, we created a lot, we pressed well and we had more control in the game. Everybody did an amazing job.
‘I think they expected me to put the ball in the box,’ he added when describing the move that made it 1-0, ‘but then I played it short, got one-v-one and I was able to score a good goal.’
The return to winning ways was a welcome one following a patchy run of league form that had seen us claim just three points in five matches. It also restored a six-point buffer between ourselves and Tottenham but Willian called for further work to ensure we now put together a run of results to secure our top-four position.
‘It was one of our best performances of the season but now we have to keep doing the same,’ he said. ‘We cannot keep going up and down, we have to carry on and keep the momentum.
‘We have many games coming and if we want to stay near the top, we need to win more of them.’
There are plenty more wins over Tottenham available to view in the Premier League Years box set, available now on The 5th Stand app