LONDON – Chelsea’s Olivier Giroud and Marcos Alonso returned to the starting lineup to stunning effect by grabbing a goal apiece in a crucial 2-1 home win over Tottenham Hotspur in the battle between the London rivals for fourth place on Saturday.
It was only Chelsea’s sixth win in 14 home Premier League games this season but means they remain fourth, which brings Champions league qualification, with 44 points from 27 games, four more than Spurs.
A poor run of form had weakened Chelsea’s grip on fourth spot but they controlled the lunchtime derby from the moment Frenchman Giroud, making his first league start since November, rifled home in the 15th minute.
Spaniard Alonso, back for only his seventh league start after falling out of favour under coach Frank Lampard, doubled the lead three minutes after the interval with a thumping left-foot finish at Stamford Bridge.
Tottenham did manage a late consolation with an Antonio Rudiger own goal but the hosts fully deserved the win as Lampard got the better of his former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho for the second time this season after a 2-0 win at Spurs in December.
The margin of victory should have been bigger with Tottenham keeper Hugo Lloris making several fine saves and Alonso also curling a free kick against the bar late on.
Tottenham had been on a three-game winning run and arrived with the incentive of being able to move above their London rivals. But with leading strikers Harry Kane and Son Heung-min injured they offered only a sporadic threat.