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Tottenham ends Chelsea EPL winning streak

AAP logoAAP 4/01/2017 Tom Allnutt

Dele Alli's double has denied Chelsea a record-breaking 14th consecutive victory and fired Tottenham back into the English Premier League title race.

Chelsea were bidding to become the only English side to win 14 successive top-flight matches in a single season but a pair of Alli headers either side of half-time consigned the Blues to a 2-0 defeat and their first league loss since September 24.

The result means Chelsea miss the chance to move eight points clear at the top of the table while Tottenham climb to third, seven points behind the league leaders.

Chelsea have looked almost unbeatable at times during their relentless winning streak, which has included beating Manchester City, Tottenham in the reverse fixture in November, and Manchester United.

But Antonio Conte's men ran into a Spurs side in supreme form themselves - they have now won five in succession in the league and seven out of their last eight in all competitions.

Central to their resurgence has been the return of key players to both fitness and form, not least Alli, whose third consecutive brace means he now has seven goals in four games.

For Chelsea, their record pursuit bursting may yet prove a blessing in disguise - but this loss comes as a timely reality check, particularly with crucial games against Arsenal and Liverpool fast approaching.

Mousa Dembele, rested against Watford on New Year's Day, returned to the starting line-up along with Kyle Walker and Jan Vertonghen, both available again after suspension.

Conte, meanwhile, plumped for Pedro - also back from a ban - ahead of Willian, despite the Brazilian scoring twice in last weekend's 4-2 win against Stoke, while Nemanja Matic took the place of Cesc Fabregas in midfield.

It was not until stoppage time at the end of the first half that the deadlock was broken.

Christian Eriksen and Alli, quiet for much of the half, combined, the former lifting a cross to the back post where the latter - who had sneaked between Victor Moses and Azpilicueta - looped a header perfectly over Courtois.

It was the last notable action of the half and when Chelsea reemerged they looked reinvigorated, Costa testing Hugo Lloris with a fizzing shot and then Hazard somehow nodding wide from five yards when the goal was at his mercy.

If the visitors had planned an onslaught, however, their momentum was quickly halted as Alli, in a carbon copy of his opener, again eluded Moses and Azpilicueta at the back post and again headed home Eriksen's cross to double Tottenham's lead.

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