Craziest stats from Tottenham's bonkers 4-1 defeat to Chelsea

  • A Nicolas Jackson hat-trick gave Chelsea a 4-1 win in crazy circumstances at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Monday
  • Spurs were shown two red cards for the first time in a Premier League home game
  • Defeat brought an end to Ange Postecoglou's remarkable record in front of his own fans

An outrageous game produced some equally shocking stats
An outrageous game produced some equally shocking stats / Matthew Ashton - AMA/GettyImages
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Frenzied, febrile, feral. Just some of the words that don't do justice to Monday's contest between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea.

Valeriy Lobanovskyi, the legendary Dynamo Kyiv manager who would have had plenty to say about the litany of errors on display from both sides, opined: "All life is a number."

With conventional description defied by the mayhem that unfolded in north London, here are some of the statistics that help paint a picture of a game like no other.


Reckless Romero

With half an hour plus stoppage time still left to play, just four of Tottenham's starting XI remained on the pitch. Ange Postecoglou had rattled through all five of his substitutions in a desperate bid to legislate for two red cards and as many game-ending injuries to his first-choice roster.

Cristian Romero was the first to depart but could easily have walked ten minutes earlier after a needless swat at Levi Colwill with the ball nowhere near.

"I've always had that spirit and desire and aggression," Romero told The Athletic last year. "And I think if I ever lost that, I'd have a problem."

The possession of those qualities has also caused Romero a few problems; four to be precise. No Premier League player has received more red cards than Romero across all competitions (four) since his arrival in England.

Monday's ding-dong naturally drew comparisons to the most infamous clash between Spurs and Chelsea, 2016's 'Battle of the Bridge'. But that legendarily feisty encounter didn't include a single red card - somehow.


Clock chaos

The ball was in the net five times - yet only two goals stood - in the first half alone, with as many VAR checks delaying proceedings further. A game which began at 8pm was still raging on long after the evening news had delivered the top headlines.

Despite a total of more than 21 minutes of added time across both halves, taking the final tally to 111, the ball was only in play for 47 minutes and 57 seconds (per Opta) - just 43% of the total match time. This is the lowest figure of any Premier League game since the start of last season.

While lambasting attacks on officials from other Premier League managers, Postecoglou conceded that he was not a fan of VAR.

"If we get a red card, a penalty against us, so what? Let's cop it, let's go again. But we have to stand around for two minutes trying to figure out if something is offside or not. Let the linesman make the decision," he said.

"Remember it used to be the benefit of the doubt to the striker. Remember that? We all lived with it. The game didn't collapse, but like I said I'm an old man shouting at the clouds mate. I'll cop it for that but that's who I am."


Tottenham's not so high line

In the face of adversity, Spurs went for the extreme. Tottenham’s rejigged backline, with Eric Dier and Emerson Royal as the centre-back partnership, pushed so high up the pitch they almost trod on the heels of their midfielders. At least that's how it looked to the naked eye.

However, Spurs attempted their defensive actions at an average distance of 43.8 metres from their own goal - considerably deeper than Chelsea on the night (48.2m) or, for example, Manchester United's backline this season (per markstats).

There's little doubt that Tottenham took a proactive approach to defending with nine men - the image of seven parallel white shirts playing an offside trap on the halfway line will live long in the memory. In fact, the contradictory figures may have been influenced by the sensational sweeping of goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario to combat the nosebleed positioning of his defenders.


Adventurous Vicario

Guglielmo Vicario
Guglielmo Vicario was in top form under treacherous circumstances / Chloe Knott - Danehouse/GettyImages

Vicario was a blur of blue constantly haring out of his box to sweep up the yawning chasm behind Tottenham's ramshackle rearguard. By the end of the match, the summer arrival had made a scarcely conceivable 12 defensive actions outside his penalty area - an outlier so significant it would wreak havoc on any backline height statistics.

No other Premier League goalkeeper can match this outrageously proactive approach across a single game this season - with Newcastle United's Nick Pope the only other custodian to hit double digits (per FBref).

For comparison, the average keeper makes 1.4 defensive actions outside their box per game. Seven top-flight clubs, including Manchester City, have registered fewer goalkeeper sweeps across the entire season than Vicario's single-game effort on Monday.

"It's just who we are, mate," Postecoglou shrugged post-game. "As long as I'm here, that's what we're going to do. Even with five men, we'll have a go."


Nicolas Jackson appreciation

With the offside rule belatedly seeping through Nicolas Jackson's skull, the much-maligned Chelsea forward almost fooled himself with a clumsy body swerve before sealing one of the Premier League's most underwhelming hat-tricks in the 97th minute.

A late feast against nine men allowed Jackson to take his seasonal tally to five goals. While matching the figures posted by two of the Premier League's most exciting young forwards - as pointed out by Duncan Alexander - Jackson has now scored as many league goals (five) as the main centre-forwards at Barcelona and Real Madrid this term.

For all of his faults, Jackson has been routinely getting into good goalscoring positions this season. If anything, five goals are the least he deserves after amassing chances worth 7.0 xG (per FBref). Only Manchester City's Erling Haaland (8.3) can boast a higher figure across the entire Premier League in one of the most important statistics for a striker (behind actual goals).


Postecoglou's home fortress breached

Ange Postecoglou
Ange Postecoglou had not lost a home league match since November 2020 / Ryan Pierse/GettyImages

Exactly three years and three days before Tottenham's defeat - it was a defeat, wasn't it? The stadium's reaction could have fooled anyone without the benefit of a scoreboard - Postecoglou's Yokohama F Marinos gave up a two-goal lead to lose 2-3 at home to Kashima Antlers in the J1 League.

Across the intervening 1,098 days, Postecoglou navigated 52 top-flight home games in charge of Yokohama, Celtic and Spurs without losing.

In the same month that Postecoglou lost his last home league match, Jose Mourinho was still at the helm of Spurs and was voted Premier League Manager of the Month. That may be even crazier than Monday's game.


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