Dele Alli's prolific goalscoring form saw him bag a brace, netting on either side of the half-time whistle to upstage the Blues at White Hart Lane, perhaps catapulting his team into contention. Moreover, it was an offering of hope to the other sharks in the waters - maybe the Blues won't walk it after all.
Spurs broke in front slightly before the interval when Alli rolled through to head a short cross into the top corner, capitalising on the opposite movement of defenders looking to catch him in the offside trap. The visitors would respond with liveliness in the second half, but were unable to bundle any opportunities together, and that was punished when Alli again rose to meet Eriksen's cross - doubling the lead and eventually handing 3 points to the North Londoners.
|Image: Sky Sports|
To take a page out of the books of many managers justifying their team's dip in performance over the festive period, the mass fixture congestion could hold the key to why Chelsea were outworked. With so many commitments over Christmas and New Year, keeping standards high on that win streak would certainly have been demanding. That may have been the case on the midweek fixture: Chelsea were fatigued and not as sharp as they should have been.
It would be foolish to halt it just there, though. While there is now light at the end of the tunnel in terms of the fixtures thinning out a bit (with the obvious variable of further qualification into the Champions League and domestic tournaments possibly affecting this), Chelsea know the job isn't done yet. You shouldn't expect Conte to think that either.
|Image: Perform Group|
Champions Leicester, followed by Hull and then a trip to Anfield to tackle Liverpool are next on the league agenda for Chelsea. These teams will have the Tottenham game memorised if they're wanting to snatch all the 3 points, and good on them: although this isn't that indicative.
Chelsea can thank their remarkable win streak for creating a cushion to fall back on; something that may still stand to the very depths of the title race. Perceptions of the result will be far-ranging, but while Tottenham and other teams can clutch on to great optimism after felling the Blues, the league leaders themselves will need quite the unravelling over a short period of time to get truly concerned.