Tottenham defeated London rivals Chelsea for the second time at Wembley this season in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi final on Tuesday night.
The feisty affair was ladened with controversial decisions, none more so than the awarding of the game’s decisive moment.
But although Harry Kane appeared to be offside despite the go-ahead from VAR and referee Michael Oliver, Spurs prevailed amid the Chelsea onslaught – whilst handing Mauricio Pochettino a happy return on his 250th game in charge.
Meanwhile, despite the outcome, Blues manager Maurizio Sarri would have been pleased with the performance, but once again was left ruing their lack of cutting edge creativity.
Here are three things we can learn from the clash.
3. Sarri’s Search for a Striker Continues
After watching his side draw a third blank in their last six outings in all competitions, Sarri should make landing a prolific striker in the January transfer window a priority.
Speculation has mounted over the possible signature of AC Milan loanee Gonzalo Higuain, with the former Napoli boss keen to reunite with his former striker after the pair had a good relationship working together in Naples.
Whilst their attacking frontmen Eden Hazard and Callum Hudson-Odoi threatened out wide, they were often left frustrated at the lack of bodies in the box. Despite a number of balls dropping behind Spurs’ back line, the majority of these were unanswered, which could point to a lack of squad depth.
2. Tottenham Show Defensive Grit on This Occasion
Spurs’ 3-1 victory over Chelsea in November demonstrated their clinical attacking display that has so often been lauded this season.
However, Pochettino’s side were largely dominated by their opponents this time around, but defended resolutely – albeit with a touch of fortune.
With second choice goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga impressing throughout, it was the performance of figurehead Toby Alderweireld that stood out from the crowd. The Belgian led the line astutely and alongside his teammates showed nerves of steel.
1. Signs Looking Good for First Trophy Under Pochettino
In spite of Pochettino’s claim that his Tottenham side need to operate differently to win titles, perhaps 2019 could be their year after all.
The north London outfit’s last trophy triumph came in this competition in 2008, and with a one-goal advantage going into the second leg in two week’s time, perhaps even the most pessimistic Spurs fans are starting to believe.
Saying that, they’re relying on a huge upset as Manchester City host League Two side Burton Albion in the first of their two-legged affair on Wednesday evening.
Stranger things have happened.