Jackson treble fires Chelsea to chaotic victory over nine-man Spurs
06 November 2023
London (AFP) -
Chelsea ended nine-man Tottenham's unbeaten start to the Premier League season as Nicolas Jackson's hat-trick inspired a 4-1 win in a chaotic clash filled with VAR drama on Monday.
Blues boss Mauricio Pochettino was able to savour a sweet victory over Tottenham on his first return to the club since his sacking in 2019.
But the Argentine's revenge mission was overshadowed by an incredible litany of controversial incidents including red cards for Tottenham duo Cristian Romero and Destiny Udogie.
Dejan Kulusevski had given Tottenham an early lead, but Romero was dismissed for a foul that led to Cole Palmer's equaliser from the penalty spot before half-time.
Referee Michael Oliver and the over-worked VAR officials sent off Udogie soon after the break for his second booking.
Both teams had goals disallowed by VAR, while Tottenham's misfortune also included losing England playmaker James Maddison and Dutch defender Micky van de Ven to first-half injuries.
Chelsea finally made the most of their numerical advantage when Senegal striker Jackson netted three times in the closing stages to hand Tottenham their first defeat in 11 league games.
Ange Postecoglou's team remain in second place, one point behind leaders Manchester City, while Chelsea moved up to 10th place after their first win in three league games.
'There will be a forensic study of every decision out there, I think that is the way the game is going and I don't like it,' Postecoglou said.
'If you look at all that standing around we did today, maybe people enjoy that sort of thing but I'd rather see us playing football.'
Pochettino was given a largely warm reception by Tottenham fans in recognition of a five-year reign that included taking them to their maiden Champions League final.
But there could be no doubting his pleasure at inflicting a first league defeat on his former employers this term, especially given the extraordinary circumstances of one of the Premier League's most incendiary matches.
'The technology is there and we need to accept. Many things happen on the pitch and you need to verify and check,' Pochettino said.
'We deserve the credit. Tottenham are doing fantastic but tonight we were the better team.'
Tottenham had made the perfect start in the sixth minute when Kulusevski unleashed a powerful shot that deflected in off Levi Colwill.
- Chelsea seige -
Tottenham were fortunate not to be reduced to 10 men when Udogie was only booked after VAR looked at his reckless two-footed lunge on Raheem Sterling.
Sterling and Tottenham's Son Heung-min both had goals disallowed by VAR for handball and offside respectively.
An already heated encounter approached boiling point after Romero escaped a red card for kicking out at Colwill.
It was a short-lived reprieve for Romero as the Tottenham defender saw red in the 33rd minute.
When Moises Caicedo's blast from the edge of the area beat Guglielmo Vicario, VAR ruled Jackson was offside but still came to Chelsea's aid.
As the VAR check went on, Romero's challenge on Enzo Fernandez just before Caicedo's shot was adjudged to be a penalty, with the defender dismissed for his studs-up follow-through on the Chelsea midfielder's shin.
Palmer's spot-kick was almost saved by Vicario but it had enough power to elude his grasp as it went in via the post.
Udogie had flirted with a red card earlier in the game and he finally got his marching orders in the 55th minute for a crude lunge on Sterling.
That set the stage for a Chelsea seige as Spurs played a high defensive line, allowing the visitors to get behind them.
Chelsea landed the knockout blow in the 75th minute when Sterling raced away down the right and his cross was slotted home by Jackson from 10 yards.
Even then, Tottenham commendably kept fighting and Eric Dier was denied by a VAR-ruled offside before Rodrigo Bentancur headed inches wide and Sanchez saved from Son.
The carnage climaxed in stoppage-time when Jackson fired home from Conor Gallagher's cross, then ran clear to condemn Tottenham to a rare defeat.