Chelsea’s title ambitions took a hefty blow after a 2-1 loss to Tottenham at White Heart Lane.
Manchester United’s typically late win against Manchester City earlier in the day meant that the Blues lead had been cut down to a solitary point and so it remains, heading into the final three matches of the season.
Ancelotti reverted back to the side that won the FA Cup semi final against Aston Villa. That meant that Deco was preferred to Ballack in midfield, whilst Malouda and Joe Cole joined Drogba in attack. Ashley Cole and Branislav Ivanovic were both fit enough for the bench, in a welcome boost.
Roman Pavlyuchenko was preferred to Peter Crouch as Jermaine Defoe’s strike partner and it was the Russian who caused Chelsea early problems. However, Florent Malouda kept Spurs on their toes by twice testing goalkeeper Hereulho Gomes, who was up to the task.
Spurs though took the lead and after perhaps getting away with one last week, John Terry was the man penalised for handball. Despite missing six of his last ten attempts from the spot, Defoe drilled past Cech to convert the chance.
Cech made a good save from Pavyluchenko before John Obi Mikel was substituted with an injury, Ballack taking his place. Malouda had a goal disallowed for offside, before Spurs doubled their lead through Gareth Bale. The Welshman turned inside Ferreira before shooting with uncharacteristic accuracy with his right foot past Cech.
Ivanovic and Anelka were introduced at half time but the sending off of John Terry swung the game further in favour of Spurs. Gudjohnsen replaced Defoe as Spurs looked to retain possession and Lampard’s late goal was nothing more than a consolation strike for Chelsea, who will need to improve vastly if they are to complete the double.