Premier League: Chelsea 4 Tottenham 0
By Football News
Some calamitous defending from 10-man Tottenham helped Chelsea move seven points clear at the top of the Premier League with a 4-0 win.
All four goals came in the second half at Stamford Bridge as Tottenham's hopes of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League were dented.
Samuel Eto'o, only starting for Jose Mourinho's men after Fernando Torres sustained a groin injury during the warm-up, capitalised on a wretched error from Jan Vertonghen to open the scoring in the 56th minute.
Eto'o was featuring from the off for the first time since Mourinho was unwittingly caught making disparaging comments about the Cameroon striker's age, and the player - who turns 33 on Monday - mockingly held his back when celebrating his goal to make light of the controversy.
The former Barcelona and Inter star was then brought down for a 60th-minute penalty that saw Younes Kaboul sent off and Eden Hazard end the game as a meaningful contest.
And there was worse to come for Tottenham as substitute Demba Ba made the most of further chaos in the visitors' backline with two late goals.
Liverpool and Arsenal, both absent from league action this weekend, are Chelsea's closest challengers having played a game less, while Manchester City can regain top spot on goal difference if they complete the tall order of winning three games in hand.
Eto'o was immediately at the heart of the action following his late call-up.
Hazard released the striker inside the first 30 seconds and Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris tore out of his area to bring Eto'o down. An offside flag, which appeared to be incorrectly raised, possibly saved the France international from an incredibly early red card.
Lloris' haphazard start continued in the fifth minute when Eto'o returned the favour to Hazard and the playmaker negotiated a rash lunge from the visiting keeper but shot wide when off balance.
Tottenham could have moved ahead in the 14th minute as Nabil Bentaleb collected Emmanuel Adebayor's flick on, only to drag past the post with frustrated team-mates queuing up in the box.
Petr Cech got down superbly to beat away a rasping volley from Sandro, while Eto'o drilled beyond the near post after being forced wide by Kaboul - one of four players recalled by Tottenham boss Tim Sherwood.
Mourinho sent on Oscar for the yellow-carded Frank Lampard at the break and there were soon chances at both ends - Kaboul rising highest to head a corner into Cech's arms before Andre Schurrle missed his kick having linked nicely with Eto'o.
Vertonghen also tried his luck with an audacious 30-yard chip but a dreadful error from Tottenham's left-back allowed Chelsea to open the scoring.
The Belgium international lost his footing and saw his subsequent pass intercepted by Eto'o, who bore down on goal and finished incisively.
Kaboul then bundled Eto'o over as the latter looked to meet Hazard's low cross. Referee Michael Oliver, adjudging the defender to have prevented a clear goalscoring opportunity, produced a red card and Hazard nonchalantly stroked home the spot kick, sending Lloris the wrong way.
Sherwood finished the game without both starting centre-backs after Michael Dawson departed with a hamstring injury, and his team ended the contest in disarray.
Sandro fell when trying to retrieve Oscar's right-wing cross, allowing Ba to finish in the 88th minute and the same player capitalised once more when an inexplicable back header from Kyle Walker sold Lloris short.