Olivier Giroud and Marcos Alonso came in from the cold to ensure Jose Mourinho endured a beating at the hands of former student Frank Lampard who masterminded a 2-1 defeat of Tottenham to cement Chelsea’s grip on fourth place in the Premier League on Saturday.
Giroud and Alonso had seen their playing time reduced with both players reduced to bit-part roles since Frank Lampard took over the reins at Stamford Bridge this season.
But Lampard restored both veterans to the team at Stamford Bridge in a gamble that paid rich dividends.
With Tammy Abraham only fit enough to make the bench, Giroud started for the first time since November and the France striker’s fine finish opened the scoring in the first half.
The 33-year-old could have joined Tottenham had Chelsea signed a forward in January, but instead he netted his first club goal since August and his first in the Premier League since April.
Alonso, 29, maintained the theme of exiles getting back in favour as the left-back struck in the second half of his first league start since Chelsea’s win at Tottenham in December.
Antonio Rudiger’s own goal came too late to ruin Chelsea’s first win in five league games, moving them four points clear of fifth placed Tottenham in the race to qualify for the Champions League.
It could have been worse for Tottenham as Giovani Lo Celso was fortunate to escape a red card when he stamped on Cesar Azpilicueta.
Ending Tottenham’s three-game winning streak in the league was the perfect response to Monday’s home defeat against Manchester United.
Chelsea should have won by more and Alonso’s free-kick hit the bar before Rudiger deflected Erik Lamela’s shot into his own net in the 89th minute.
Tottenham have now lost two on the bounce following the 1-0 home defeat to RB Leipzig in the Champions League and with a striker crisis following the loss of Harry Kane and Son Heung-min Mourinho has his work cut out to engineer a return to winning ways.