Monday, May 2, 2016

Monday Night Football: Spurs choke 2-0 lead, Leicester crowned champions

Chelsea 0-1 Tottenham
Tottenham has not won at Stamford Bridge since 1990. That 26 year run of disappointment would have to end if they want to keep any hope of a title alive. Any misstep would mean Leicester City's wildest dreams would come true. During a cagey first half where Tottenham came close to allowing their frustrations to boil over, they managed to grab a lead with surgical passing and a classic Harry Kane finish. In the 35th minute, Spurs cut through the Chelsea defense and beat an offside trap to allow Kane to tap into an open net. Another transition move off a Chelsea turnover led to goal number two in the 44th. Sloppy play from Chelsea presented the ball to Christian Eriksen, who played  a perfect through ball to Heung-Min Son for the finish.

The first half ended on a fiery note. A scuffle went down between the teams, mostly Danny Rose and Willian. Mauricio Pochettino had to jump in to separate the combatants. There was also an incident where Moussa Dembele appeared to poke Diego Costa in the eyes that could get some post-match looks from the FA.

When things calmed down at the start of the second half, Chelsea was able to get themselves on the board. Gary Cahill caught Tottenham's defense ball watching of a 58th minute corner to pull one back for the Blues. The goal sprung some new life into Chelsea. They started attacking with pace and creating some chances for themselves. They remained persistent and bagged an equalizer that sent the entire city of Leicester into mayhem. Eden Hazard would curl a difficult effort into the top corner to level in the 83rd minute.

The title race was suddenly down to seven minutes and stoppage time for Spurs.They never threatened. They began to let their tempers take control of them before the final whistle. Several players were extremely lucky not to see red for aggressive challenges and unsportsmanlike behavior. The scrum that occurred in the tunnel on the way off the pitch was an awful display of sore losing, especially as the euphoria of Leicester's first top flight title in their 132 year existence was going on around them.

Regardless, the fairy tale that was Leicester's season has come to fruition. From 5,000 to 1 odds in August, to targeting 40 points on the year, and now celebrating as champions. The story of Leicester City is one that will never be repeated. Nothing will ever be quite so unique as how this 2015-16 Premier League season has unfolded. All I know is, my living room suddenly got awfully dusty as that final whistle blew. And, coincidentally of course, every time NBCSN cut to the Local Hero Pub in Leicester.

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