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PREMIER LEAGUE: Mata the star as Chelsea spoil Tottenham boss AVB's attempt at revenge

Juan Mata has stolen the show today as Chelsea led, and then came from behind, to beat Tottenham 4-2 at White Hart Lane.

On a day where ex-Blues boss Andre Villas-Boas was attempting to exact revenge on his former club, the European champions got the job done on their London rivals after scoring early through Gary Cahill before Spurs struck back twice courtesy of William Gallas and Jermain Defoe at the beginning of a four-goal second half.

Chelsea then pulled themselves back into action with two goals in three minutes from Mata before the Spaniard set up the late clincher for Daniel Sturridge.

Chelsea produced a composed start to the match and were able to go ahead in fine style in the 17th minute when Cahill scored with a superb volley on the turn which rocketed past Spurs keeper Brad Friedel. The England defender got on the end of Gallas' headed clearance from a corner to smash home from just inside the area with a slight deflection allowing it to get past the American.

After a slowish start, Tottenham began the second half quickly when ex-Blues centre-half Gallas nodded home into an empty net after Tom Huddlestone's free-kick was turned into the Frenchman's path by Jan Vertonghen to make it 1-1.

Less than ten minutes after the leveller, Spurs found themselves ahead when Defoe produced a customary opportunistic finish when he slotted home past Petr Cech from Aaron Lennon's mishit effort which fell to him in the box.

Spurs were looking the goods after their two goals but Chelsea managed to level in the 66th minute when Mata netted his fifth goal in his last five appearances with a lovely finish into the bottom corner after Oscar's cross was met by Gallas before the Spaniard pounced.

Less than three minutes later, Mata put the Blues ahead when he received a brilliant ball from Eden Hazard before taking a touch and then knocking it past an advancing Friedel to send the visiting fans into raptures.

Tottenham pressed for the goal that would tie up the scoreline but conceded a fourth when Mata dispossessed Kyle Walker on the left flank before advancing into the area and then squaring it up for substitute Daniel Sturridge to tap home in injury time.

There were a number of other chances throughout, namely Gylfi Sigurdsson slashing inches wide on the half-hour mark before Mata forced a class save from Friedel with a first-time effort from a neat Ramires pass before the Spaniard hammered the follow-up over the bar.

Cech got low to save Sigurdsson's attempt early in the second half after Gallas' equaliser before making a similar save to deny Sandro following Defoe's go-ahead strike.

Chelsea's Fernando Torres was presented with a great chance to wrap up things up late but curled his attempt just past Friedel's upright before Cech produced a vital save to keep out Walker's rocket prior to Sturridge killing off the contest late.

The win put Roberto Di Matteo's men seven points clear of Manchester United at the top of the Premier League table whilst Tottenham's loss - their first after a run of four straight wins - saw them drop to sixth.

Tottenham: 2 (William Gallas 47', Jermain Defoe 54') Chelsea: 4 (Gary Cahill 17', Juan Mata 66'/69', Daniel Sturridge 90+1')

White Hart Lane, London - 36,060

Yellow cards:TH - Tom Huddlestone 37', William Gallas 40', Kyle Walker 45+2' CHE - Branislav Ivanovic 25', Ramires 45+4'

Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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