An enthralling and gripping contest which swayed both ways throughout, and which we were the better team for the majority of, was ultimately settled by two quick goals from Chelsea in the 75th and 80th minutes.
Just five minutes were on the clock when Chelsea took the lead, Willian curling a 22-yard free-kick past Hugo Lloris, but we were level 13 minutes later when Kane guided in Christian Eriksen’s cross.
For the next half-hour we were superior but fell behind two minutes before the interval. Heung-Min Son was deemed to have brought down Victor Moses inside the area and Willian added his second of the game from the penalty spot.
We hit back seven minutes into the second half though, Eriksen again the creator as his perfect ball forward was tucked home by Dele and it was game on again.
But the introduction off the bench of Diego Costa and Eden Hazard lifted the Blues and they scored twice in five minutes to leave us deflated. First Hazard picked up a loose ball from a corner and drilled through a crowded penalty area to make it 3-2 before Nemanja Matic crashed home from fully 30 yards 10 minutes from time.
Before the game, there was a poignant minute’s applause from every corner of the stadium and both sets of players, as a mark of respect for Ugo Ehiogu, our Under-23s coach, who sadly passed away on Friday morning.
Mauricio Pochettino made two changes to the side that won against Bournemouth in the Premier League last weekend - Kieran Trippier, who has played every game in the FA Cup this season, coming in for Kyle Walker and Victor Wanyama replacing Ben Davies. That meant the in-form Heung-Min Son took up the left wing-back role.
GOAL: CHELSEA 1-0 SPURS – WILLIAN – 5mins
While we’d seen most of the ball in the early minutes, it was Chelsea who took the lead thanks to a Willian free-kick. Toby Alderweireld slid in to tackle the marauding Pedro who was threatening to burst into our area on a break-away, but could only bring the Spaniard down 22 yards from goal. Willian stepped up and curled a right-footed effort up and over the wall and beyond Lloris at the far post.
GOAL: CHELSEA 1-1 SPURS – HARRY KANE – 18mins
We weren’t behind for long though! After Kane’s shot had been deflected for a corner, Eriksen’s set-piece was cleared as far as Son, who worked it back to the Dane via Trippier. Eriksen then sent over a left-footed cross which Kane flicked on with the back of his head, the ball evading Thibaut Courtois’ dive and nestling in the back of the net.
GOAL: CHELSEA 2-1 SPURS – WILLIAN (PENALTY) – 43mins
Our goal changed the complexion of the game and we were much the more dominant side for a spell. The closest we came to scoring again was a glancing Eric Dier header which drifted just the wrong side of the post and Eriksen’s 30-yard pot shot which was comfortable for Courtois. But two minutes from half-time, Chelsea regained the lead from the penalty spot. Son slid in to tackle Moses, there didn’t appear to be much contact but referee Martin Atkinson awarded the spot-kick and Willian beat Lloris from 12 yards to give the Blues a 2-1 interval lead.
Above: Dele Alli competes with N'Golo Kante.
GOAL: CHELSEA 2-2 SPURS – DELE ALLI – 52mins
It had been an exciting first half and the second began the same way as we levelled it up just seven minutes in. Again the superb Eriksen was the provider, receiving the ball from Trippier and delivering an exquisite cross from the midfield area, inch-perfect for Dele to stick out a leg and fire the ball past Courtois.
GOAL: CHELSEA 3-2 SPURS – EDEN HAZARD – 75mins
We were lifted by the goal and again enjoyed almost complete control of the game, but we were unable to get the all-important lead. Chelsea responded by bringing on Costa and Hazard in place of Michy Batshuayi and Willian and it was their Belgian midfielder who put them back in front for the third time. Another Blues substitute, Cesc Fabregas, sent over a corner which Walker – on in place of Son moments earlier – cleared as far as Hazard, who took a touch and drilled through a crowd of players and into the net.
GOAL: CHELSEA 4-2 SPURS – NEMANJA MATIC – 80mins
Five minutes later, Chelsea made it 4-2 with a goal out of nothing. Fabregas and Hazard worked the ball from the byline out towards Matic, 30 yards out and seemingly no threat to our goal. But he smashed a first-time shot which clipped off the underside of Lloris’ crossbar and into the top corner. That really knocked the stuffing out of us and we struggled to really create anything more despite having played so well up to that point.
SAVE: COURTOIS JUST ABOUT KEEPS OUT KANE STRIKE - 90+3mins
There was one final chance for us deep into stoppage time. Courtois almost let Kane’s 25-yard free-kick slip through his grasp, but he scrambled back and gathered it on the goal-line after the ball had initially crept under his body and that was the end of the action.
MAURICIO POCHETTINO SAID
"It’s difficult. First of all, we congratulate our opponents and then, yes, it’s a bad feeling and we’re all disappointed because we deserved more. We played well but they were clinical. We played the football and played in an exciting way, but it wasn’t enough to win the game. We feel disappointed but now we move on. It’s a normal thing that happens in football. To be here fighting against a side like Chelsea, and fighting for the Premier League, are important things for us. It was difficult to win today but we will try again next season."
CHRISTIAN ERIKSEN SAID
"We tried, we gave everything we had, we came back twice after two big knocks that weren’t really necessary and then when you see the fourth, that was another huge knock mentally for us with only 10 minutes left. We missed a few bits (in our game) today - the clinical part - and they had three shots and a penalty and scored four goals, so that was different. We tried everything we could, we had chances but we let them back in the game and let them have the lead too often. If we’d scored first, maybe it would have been our game."
Chelsea (3-4-3): Courtois, Azpilicueta (c), David Luiz, Ake, Moses, Kante, Matic, Alonso, Willian (Hazard 61), Batshuayi (Diego Costa 61), Pedro (Fabregas 74). Substitutes (not used): Begovic, Zouma, Terry, Chalobah.
Spurs (3-4-2-1): Lloris (c), Dier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Trippier,
Dembele, Wanyama (Nkoudou 80), Son (Walker 68), Eriksen, Dele, Kane.
Substitutes (not used): Pau Lopez, Davies, Wimmer, Sissoko, Janssen.
Goals: Chelsea – Willian 5, 43 (pen), Hazard 75, Matic 80; Spurs – Kane 18, Dele 52.
Yellow cards: Chelsea – Alonso, Kante; Spurs – Alderweireld, Dele.
Referee: Martin Atkinson.
It’s a return to Premier League action on Wednesday night when we travel to Selhurst Park to take on Crystal Palace. Sam Allardyce’s side have been in good form of late, winning five of their last seven in the division, but they are still battling at the wrong end of the table, just four points outside the relegation zone ahead of their trip to Liverpool on Sunday. We won 1-0 in the reverse fixture at the Lane in August, Victor Wanyama on target.