In a previous existence, not so long ago, Jose Mourinho expressed his worries for the new-look young Chelsea and manager Frank Lampard in the big matches.
Mourinho had his fears addressed in the most comprehensive manner possible as Lampard outflanked him tactically and Chelsea outclassed his new Spurs side to secure a richly deserved victory.
Sadly, the win will be overshadowed by the latest allegations of racist abuse, this time aimed at Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger after he was involved in the incident that saw Spurs’ South Korean attacker Heung-min Son sent off for raising a boot into his ribs.
The three subsequent announcements over the tannoy cast a shadow over the final stages of the game – but there was no disguising Lampard’s delight as he punched the air and threw his coat into Chelsea’s celebrating supporters after the final whistle.
This was a victory with an edge – and it is not difficult to guess why.
There remains huge respect between Lampard and Mourinho after the successes they shared at Chelsea, including two Premier League titles.
It did not go unnoticed at Chelsea, however, that Mourinho, in his role as a pundit before returning to the game at Spurs, referenced their 4-0 opening weekend loss to Manchester United as he later said: “In the first weekend I was worried – and I’m still worried with the big matches.”
It drew a sardonic response from Lampard’s right-hand man Jody Morris, who pretended to cry in an Instagram post to the background of The Verve’s hit “Bitter Sweet Symphony” and posted a mocking Tweet reading “Jose Is Still Worried” with laughing emojis.
This might have explained the unabashed joy as Lampard delivered a tactical masterclass to ensure almost unbroken control for Chelsea and reduce Spurs to a disorganised mess.
Lampard’s decision to utilise a three-man defence with Rudiger, Kurt Zouma and Fikayo Tomori appeared to take Mourinho totally by surprise, allowing Chelsea to completely overrun Spurs in midfield and give the visitors a measure of control they never looked like conceding.
Spurs were a rabble, with Dele Alli removed from the central role behind Harry Kane in which he has flourished recently, deployed on the left for much of Chelsea’s early dominance.
It came as no surprise when Eric Dier was removed in favour of Christian Eriksen at half-time in a belated bid to replace brawn with brain and add creation.
The momentum, however, was all with Chelsea and when Son was sent off in the 62nd minutes, deservedly despite his expressions of astonishment and Mourinho’s clear suggestion afterwards that Rudiger over-reacted, the contest was effectively over.
Chelsea were calm and in control. Spurs barely threatened and Chelsea were up and running again and in the top four after run of four defeats in their last five Premier League games.
Mourinho will contest both Chelsea’s goals could have been prevented as Spurs fell asleep at a short corner in the 12th minute which allowed Willian to cut inside and curl one of those trademark right-foot finishes into the bottom corner. It was hardly a shock tactic and Mourinho will be furious his players were not alive to it.
Worse was to follow in first-half stoppage time as goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga dashed recklessly from his goal and cleaned out Marcos Alonso with a high boot – referee Anthony Taylor mystifyingly judging it was a foul by Chelsea’s defender before VAR corrected the injustice and Willian completed the formalities from the penalty spot.
Sadly, the unsavoury spectre of racism dominated the second half but in the football context this was a tactical triumph for Lampard over the manager who guided such a silver-lined phase of his playing career at Stamford Bridge.
BBC pundit Jermaine Jenas said: “We started with the game being Jose v Frank and there has been one clear winner – Frank.
“Willian was sensational. Any hope Tottenham had went when Son was sent off but they were not up to standard well before that. It’s been a real wake-up call for Jose and his players.
“The shift in formation has been a bit of tactical genius from Frank Lampard. He has got the better of his counterpart and Jose Mourinho had no answers.
“It’s the manner of the defeat that will hurt Tottenham. It’s not often you watch a defeat and don’t blame the players but it has all come down to tactics. They have been outclassed in tactics.”
This was the coldest of showers for Mourinho and an illustration that he has much building to do – the irony being, given his comments about Lampard and Chelsea, he has lost his two biggest league matches, against Manchester United and now Chelsea.
This was the first home defeat Mourinho has suffered against a team he had previously managed, having gone unbeaten in his previous 13 in all competitions, winning 12 and drawing one.
Spurs, so listless, attempted just five shots, including blocks.
Since 2003/04 they have only had fewer in a Premier League home game on two occasions, four against Manchester City in January 2014 and October 2018.
For Chelsea, this was a satisfying correction of recent poor form which as seen them lose at home to West Ham United and Bournemouth, and away at Everton.
It picks up the momentum they had under Lampard earlier this season and re-affirms the good start he has made as Chelsea manager.
And there will, no doubt, be added satisfaction at such a comprehensive victory, consummate performance and tactical triumph for the apprentice over the master.