Marcos Alonso scored a late winner for Chelsea as Tottenham’s season at Wembley started with a disappointing defeat.
Spurs did not lose a Premier League game at home during 2016-17 – but this defeat means they have now lost seven of their past 10 games at what will be their temporary home while awaiting completion of a new stadium at White Hart Lane.
Chelsea’s new £60m striker Alvaro Morata missed an easy headed chance in the opening minutes before Alonso’s perfectly delivered free-kick gave Antonio Conte’s side the lead after 24 minutes.
Spurs responded strongly with Harry Kane hitting the post and it looked like they had earned at least a point when substitute Michy Batshuayi header Christian Eriksen’s free-kick into his own net with eight minutes left, Chelsea cursing as Willian had also hit the upright.
However, the Blues showed trademark strength of character to secure a morale-boosting win after 88 minutes when Alonso scored his second, with Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris guilty of a serious error in allowing the shot to go
Chelsea went to Wembley supposedly in the depths of crisis following the opening-day defeat by Burnley at Stamford Bridge and with the saga over Diego Costa’s future being played out as a distracting backdrop.
But there was little evidence of crisis here as the Blues dropped back into the old routine – hard-as-nails defensive resilience and that ruthless winners’ streak that allowed them to snatch victory late on.
And even manager Conte looked like he meant business once again, swapping the Chelsea tracksuit worn against Burnley for his trademark dark suit at Wembley.
Chelsea rode their luck at times to stand firm in the face of a Spurs siege either side of half-time – but they retained ambition and it was a defender in Alonso who raced into the area to score the winner.
Tiemoue Bakayoko had an impressive first start in midfield and the mental strength and character the champions possess was shown by their response to Batshuayi’s freakish own goal equaliser.
Chelsea’s delight at the final whistle was obvious and understandable, Conte punching the air in front of the away section and shouting “come on” as the supporters chanted his name in celebration.