By Tim Harrison
The giant screens at the new-look White Hart Lane proclaimed festive cheer, but Chelsea reciprocated by outwitting and out-playing Spurs as pupil Frank Lampard defeated mentor Jose Mourinho in a victory soured by racism.
With visits to Arsenal and Brighton to come, the Blues new-look formation of three at the back gave a more positive platform to work on than was the case in miserable capitulations to Everton and Bournemouth.
Why the inconsistency? Fans shrug and say ‘typical Chelsea’, and it is hard to gauge why sometimes everything clicks, and other times everything falls apart.
Mason Mount was anonymous against Bournemouth, but in sparkling form against Spurs, while Willian ought to be signed up on a fresh contract after his two-goal White Hart Lane display. Marcos Alonso, a player Lampard has had doubts about, redeemed himself with an excellent display.
But what can be done about the racist abuse suffered by Toni Rudiger as home fans raged about a red card shown to their South Korean hero Son Hueng-Min?
London is a glorious melting pot of nationalities and races where, overwhelmingly, folk get along.
Yet gather Londoners together in tribal football settings, and a collective mist descends. Normal standards of behaviour vanish in a sea of bile. If police arrest the nearest perpetrator, then the next, then the next, it would stop overnight. Until then, nothing will ever really change.
The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and unless specifically stated are not necessarily those of Hammersmith & Fulham Council.
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