Two goals by Juan Mata helped leaders Chelsea to a 4-2 victory in a captivating London derby at Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday as they maintained their unbeaten start to the Premier League season.
Chelsea were superior in the first half and Gary Cahill’s volley gave them a deserved halftime lead but Tottenham were re-energised after the break and goals by William Gallas and Jermain Defoe swung the match the way of the hosts, who had not lost a home league derby since 2007.
It was Defoe’s 200th career goal but it was not enough to earn Spurs boss Andre Villas Boas a sweet victory against the club that sacked him in March as Mata took centre stage.
The Spanish playmaker punished a poor Gallas clearance to equalise after 66 minutes and struck again with a tidy finish past Spurs keeper Brad Friedel after an astute pass by Eden Hazard to earn Chelsea victory.
With Tottenham pushing for an equaliser, Daniel Sturridge added Chelsea’s fourth in stoppage time with a tap-in.
Roberto Di Matteo’s European champions now have 22 points from eight matches, seven more than Manchester United and champions Manchester City who are in action later against Stoke City and West Bromwich Albion respectively.
Tottenham, who were deprived of winger Gareth Bale on the morning of the match after he rushed to be with his girlfriend who went into labour, suffered their first defeat since losing to Newcastle United on the opening day of the season.