In a thrilling football encounter, Nicolas Jackson displayed his extraordinary talent, scoring a second-half hat-trick, and leading Chelsea to a remarkable 4-1 victory away against a nine-man Tottenham Hotspur. This captivating match was packed with VAR (Video Assistant Referee) drama, unexpected twists, and a showcase of skill and determination from both sides.
Tottenham, heading into this Monday derby as the only undefeated team in the Premier League, started strong with an early goal by Dejan Kulusevski in the sixth minute. The home side seemed poised to maintain their unbeaten record, but the match took a dramatic turn when Cristian Romero was shown a red card in the first half, marking his fourth red card during his tenure with Tottenham. The first half was heavily dominated by VAR reviews, with the major turning point coming when Romero committed a foul in the box, giving away a penalty. Cole Palmer expertly converted the spot-kick, leveling the score at 1-1.
As if the match’s intensity couldn’t get any higher, Destiny Udogie received his second yellow card ten minutes into the second half, resulting in his expulsion from the game. With just nine players on the field, Spurs managed to frustrate Chelsea, holding them off until the 75th minute.
Nicolas Jackson, who would ultimately be the hero of the evening, seized his moment and scored a remarkable hat-trick in the second half, sealing the win for Chelsea. Jackson’s brilliant performance not only secured the victory but also provided a sweet moment for manager Mauricio Pochettino, who triumphed against his former team.
The turning point, Cristian Romero’s red card, was due to a dangerous tackle on Enzo Fernandez. While Romero cleanly contacted the ball, his follow-through was high, catching Fernandez’s left ankle with his studs. Surprisingly, the on-field referee, Michael Oliver, did not initially award the penalty. However, after a prolonged VAR review, the red card for Romero and the penalty for Chelsea were confirmed. The match saw another significant VAR intervention when Moises Caicedo seemingly netted a goal shortly after Romero’s contentious tackle. Unfortunately for Tottenham, the goal was disallowed due to an offside call against Jackson.
With the disallowed goal, the VAR team’s involvement continued. A penalty check and a review for serious foul play were undertaken, both judgments going against Romero. Despite their initial lead of 1-0, thanks to Kulusevski’s early deflected strike, Tottenham found themselves level at 1-1 after Palmer successfully converted Chelsea’s penalty. Despite some brilliant attempts by Tottenham, the game remained evenly poised, with Raheem Sterling having a goal disallowed for handball, and Son Heung-min denied a goal due to a narrow offside call.
Tottenham faced further challenges as they lost not only Romero but also his central defensive partner, Micky van de Ven, who left the field in the first-half added time due to a hamstring injury. Additionally, James Maddison had to exit the game with what appeared to be a similar injury. Emerson Royal and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg replaced van de Ven and Maddison, respectively, while Brennan Johnson had earlier made way for Eric Dier following Romero’s red card.
The first half concluded in the 58th minute after one last VAR check, which saw Reece James narrowly escaping a red card for an apparent elbow on Udogie. Spurs went down to nine men just 10 minutes into the second half when Udogie received his second yellow card of the night. Rather than retreating into a defensive shell, Spurs continued to play with a high defensive line, employing an offside trap that momentarily frustrated Chelsea.
Nonetheless, Chelsea capitalized on their opportunities, and Sterling’s well-timed pass in the 75th minute led to Jackson’s third goal, sealing his hat-trick and Chelsea’s commanding lead. Despite their numerical disadvantage, Tottenham refused to concede defeat, and Eric Dier nearly equalized immediately after Sterling’s assist with a stunning volley from a free-kick. However, Dier’s first goal since September was controversially ruled out for offside after another VAR review.
Tottenham’s tenacity was evident as Rodrigo Bentancur came agonizingly close to equalizing, heading wide from a set-piece. Son Heung-min forced a save from Chelsea’s goalkeeper, Robert Sanchez, but it wasn’t enough to alter the course of the match. Chelsea, in added time, took full advantage of Tottenham’s high defensive line, with Jackson adding two more goals to his tally. This extraordinary performance secured a 4-1 away victory for Chelsea, with Nicolas Jackson emerging as the hat-trick hero.
Despite the loss, Tottenham’s home fans showed their appreciation by giving their defeated players a standing ovation. The match’s drama, goals, and VAR-related decisions made it a memorable spectacle in the world of football, leaving fans with much to discuss and remember.