FROM TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR STADIUM - Chelsea ended Tottenham's unbeaten start to the Premier League season with a 4-1 win in an action-packed London derby.
Spurs received red cards in both the first and second half and were eventually punished for sticking to their attacking principles.
Mauricio Pochettino's return to north London somehow became a sub-plot amid the on-pitch chaos as the Blues held their nerve and picked apart their hosts down the final stretch.
How the game unfolded
With only six minutes on the clock, Tottenham took the lead. The hosts baited Chelsea into pressing them deep in their own half, allowing them to quickly move the ball through the thirds. Pape Matar Sarr played in Dejan Kulusevski down the right channel, and the Swede cut in to fire at goal, with his effort deflecting in at the near post off of Levi Colwill.
Chelsea nearly found themselves level soon after when Pedro Porro cheaply gave the ball away following a throw-in. Nicolas Jackson advanced into the area and held off the challenge of Micky van de Ven, but was denied by a fine low save from Guglielmo Vicario.
Spurs thought they had scored a second with their next attack when Son Heung-min converted a low cross from Brennan Johnson, but the South Korean was ever so marginally offside and the goal was ruled out.
Midway through the first half, Chelsea themselves thought they had grabbed their equaliser only to be denied by VAR. Tottenham were caught cold by a swift counter attack which saw Cristian Romero dragged up the pitch and Raheem Sterling put the ball in from close range, but the ball struck his hand when Porro tried to tackle him and the goal was chalked off.
Minutes later, Chelsea again were denied a leveller. Moises Caicedo's sweetly struck shot from distance found the bottom corner, but Jackson was judged to have been obstructing Vicario's eye-line while standing a hair offside - a decision confirmed after another lengthy VAR check.
However, a subsequent VAR check found that Romero had impeded Enzo Fernandez while trying to clear the initial danger and Chelsea were handed a penalty, while the centre-back was sent off for dangerous foul play. Cole Palmer stepped up and fired in his spot kick off the inside of the post.
Chelsea sought to make their one-man advantage count and had the ball in the net through Jackson, though Sterling was offside when reaching the initial ball in behind and the visitors were denied once more by the flag.
The second half was no better for Tottenham as Destiny Udogie received a second yellow card for a rash challenge on Sterling, while Jackson was only kept out by a goal-line clearance from Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg from the following free-kick.
Vicario made two tremendous stops to thwart Jackson and Palmer before a late offside went up as Chelsea looked to make their advantage count.
Up next to meet their match with Vicario was Marc Cucurella, who did well to beat Spurs' obscenely high line but was kept out by a sprawling save.
But Tottenham's resistance was broken after 75 minutes when Sterling managed to beat the offside trap, and this time Jackson rolled the ball home.
Remarkably, Spurs had the ball in the net almost immediately from kick-off when Eric Dier lashed in a volley following a long free-kick into the box, but this was simply the latest goal to be ruled out for offside.
Another free-kick came close to undoing Chelsea, with Rodrigo Bentancur heading wide from point-blank range after failing to contort his body in time to get a good connection on the ball.
Tottenham threw the kitchen sink at Chelsea in search of an equaliser and nearly found it when Son raced through, but Robert Sanchez came up with a crucial save.
Chelsea then went down the other end and iced the game with another fine counter attack as Jackson sealed a brace and then a hat-trick with an almost identical move to wrap up the three points.
Tottenham Hotspur player ratings (4-2-3-1)
GK: Guglielmo Vicario - 8/10 - Made a string of top saves to keep Spurs in the contest. Forced to play a sweeper role in the second half.
RB: Pedro Porro - 4/10 - Rash at both ends of the pitch. Tried to play the ball forward at every opportunity and Chelsea punished him for reckless endeavour.
CB: Cristian Romero - 1/10 - Got away with a cynical kick early on. Punished for a full-blooded challenge on Enzo Fernandez shortly afterwards.
CB: Micky van de Ven - 5/10 - Kept pace with the equally as physical Jackson before succumbing to a hamstring injury at the end of the first half.
LB: Destiny Udogie - 1/10 - Like Romero was given a second chance to keep his discipline and failed.
CM: Yves Bissouma - 5/10 - Wanted a little too much time to dictate play in midfield.
CM: Pape Matar Sarr - 7/10 - For a second week running, Sarr stepped up and looked the most senior of Tottenham's midfielders.
RM: Dejan Kulusevski - 7/10 - A touch of fortune about the opening goal but was rewarded for actually coming inside and unleashing a shot instead of recycling possession. Put in one hell of a shift before being hooked for fresher legs.
AM: James Maddison - 6/10 - Controlled the game's opening stages when Spurs were in the ascendancy before everything went haywire.
LM: Brennan Johnson - 6/10 - Looked lively in his 34 minutes on the pitch before being sacrificed for another defender in Dier.
CF: Son Heung-min - 5/10 - Understandably isolated for most of the match. Dangerous at 11-v-11.
SUB: Eric Dier (34' for Johnson) - 7/10 - Instructed to play in an unusually high line as Spurs threw caution to the wind. Did well for the most part, to his credit.
SUB: Emerson Royal (45' for Maddison) - 5/10 - Likewise brought into a makeshift back four and wasn't necessarily terrible on an individual level.
SUB: Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (45' for Van de Ven) - 7/10 - Asked to play at centre-back and made a number of heroic challenges.
SUB: Oliver Skipp (61' for Kulusevski) - 4/10
SUB: Rodrigo Bentancur (61' for Sarr) - 5/10
Subs not used: Fraser Forster (GK), Giovani Lo Celso, Bryan Gil, Richarlison
Ange Postecoglou - 4/10 - The Greek-Australian saw a chaotic encounter and decided to double down on that factor. You have to respect it in a perverse way.
Chelsea player ratings (4-2-3-1)
GK: Robert Sanchez - 7/10 - Hardly radiated confidence either with the ball at his feet or when it came to shot-stopping, though did come up with an incredible save at the last.
RB: Reece James - 8/10 - Chelsea's best player for long stretches, organising the defence and then providing creativity when bursting forward.
CB: Thiago Silva - 7/10 - His lack of pace could have been a problem for Chelsea, but Spurs' implosion allowed him to confidently defend against fewer bodies.
CB: Axel Disasi - 6/10 - Similarly solid once Chelsea had control of the contest.
LB: Levi Colwill - 5/10 - Withdrawn at the break after a testing half trying to defend Tottenham's right side and picked up a booking getting into afters with Sarr.
CM: Moises Caicedo - 6/10 - Broke up play well but was caught sleeping in possession on occasion. Cruelly denied a fine goal.
CM: Enzo Fernandez - 6/10 - Another excellent combative display but couldn't pick the lock in possession.
RM: Cole Palmer - 8/10 - Growing a strong winger-to-winger connection with the rapid Sterling. Another outstanding penalty and an assist to boot.
AM: Conor Gallagher - 6/10 - Pressed from the front but like the rest of Chelsea's central midfielders couldn't break down Spurs until the closing stages.
LM: Raheem Sterling - 8/10 - His pace eventually punished Tottenham, who were eager to let him in time after time.
CF: Nicolas Jackson - 8/10 - A confidence-boosting hat-trick will do him the world of good. Stuck to his guns and got his reward.
SUB: Marc Cucurella (46' for Colwill) - 6/10
SUB: Mykhailo Mudryk (57' for Fernandez) - 6/10
SUB: Malo Gusto (77' for James) - 5/10
SUB: Lesley Ugochukwu (90' for Sterling) - N/A
Subs not used: Djordje Petrovic (GK), Benoit Badiashile, Ian Maatsen, Lesley Ugochukwu, Noni Madueke, Deivid Washington
Mauricio Pochettino - 7/10 - Chelsea won, they were exciting at points, the margin of victory was significant, and yet there's the lingering feeling they still could and should have done better.