A Moment in Time

In the latest instalment of a feature looking back at memorable matches in our history through images, we recall a memorable win over a London rival, which is still celebrated in song today, exactly 20 years on.

 

Tottenham Hotspur v Chelsea, Saturday 6 December 1997, Premier League, White Hart Lane

When Ruud Gullit's side travelled across London to face Tottenham we were looking to protect a 10-year unbeaten run at White Hart Lane.

What followed not only extended that impressive sequence, but also sent out a serious statement of intent by the Blues, who had scored six goals without reply in our previous two matches, and were continuing to look like a team to be taken seriously.

In truth, there was little to choose between the teams during the first half, but it was Chelsea who took the lead through Tore Andre Flo, a summer arrival from Brann in Norway, who headed past Ian Walker at the near post following a superb delivery by Gianfranco Zola.


The home side, under the stewardship of Christian Gross for the first time at White Hart Lane, equalised shortly before half-time but we restored our advantage soon after the restart courtesy of a header from Roberto Di Matteo, a player who enjoyed scoring against Totttenham.

In the image below Di Matteo's midfield partner Dennis Wise holds off the challenge of Colin Calderwood.


Dan Petrescu, who had teed up Di Matteo to score, then made it 3-1 when he raced in behind to meet a wonderful Frank Leboeuf pass from inside our own half and steer his volley over the head of Walker [pictured below], before Flo doubled his own tally with a clinical finish after exchanging passes with Zola.


By this point, confidence was soaring through the Chelsea side and we were playing some fantastic pass-and-move football, with Zola at the heart of all of our attacking play.

Mark Nicholls, a first-half replacement for Celestine Babayaro, then scored his first Chelsea goal, a brilliant finish from a Zola pass, to make it 5-1 and send the visiting fans into dreamland.

An unforgettable afternoon was capped in the most fitting manner as Flo completed his hat-trick, the Norwegian racing onto another incisive Leboeuf ball out from the back and flicking his strike beyond Walker with the outside of his right foot.

As the ball nestled in the back of the net, Tottenham fans headed for the exits. Not surprisingly, they had seen enough. It was a completely different story in the away end, however, as the travelling Blues celebrated wildly.

Flo, understandably, took the plaudits, but it was a day to remember for all connected with the club.