Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte suffered a humbling defeat on his first return to Stamford Bridge, as Chelsea inflicted a comfortable and clinical defeat on their former boss.
An early strike from Kai Havertz and an unfortunate own goal from Ben Davies secured a deserved first leg advantage for the hosts as they swept their bitter rivals aside with the minimum of fuss.
Tottenham once again showed that they are a team that is still very much in transition for much of the contest, with the visitors looking far from what is expected of a typical Conte side.
It is now a case of going back to the drawing board for them ahead of what will be an intriguing second leg in a weeks time.
Thomas Tuchel made six changes to the Chelsea side which earnt a credible draw against Liverpool last time out in the Premier League, with Romelu Lukaku, Kepa Arrizabalaga, Malang Sarr, Jorginho, Saul and Hakim Ziyech all coming in for Edouard Mendy, Trevoh Chalobah, Mateo Kovacic, Thiago Silva, Ngolo Kante and Christian Pulisic.
Whilst Conte also rotated his side with Japhet Tanganga and Matt Doherty replacing Sergio Reguilon and Eric Dier in the starting eleven.
Boasting a record of 74 wins to Tottenham’s 55 in this fixture, Chelsea will certainly have been feeling confident ahead of kick off – especially as Spurs had failed to taste victory at Stamford Bridge for the best part of almost four years.
And it was the hosts who kicked this clash into action as they found an early breakthrough within 10 minutes.
A sloppy pass from Tanganga handed Marcos Alonso possession in the final third of the field before the Spaniard expertly slipped Havertz in behind to strike home from close range despite the best efforts of Hugo Lloris in the Tottenham net. It was a goal that was not only simple but also one of Spurs’ own making.
The home side’s tails were up and it didn’t take long for another chance to fall their way courtesy of more disorganisation from the visitors as Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s pass from within the area smashed into Oliver Skipp before Havertz had a first time shot that was saved well by Lloris at his near post.
Ziyech was next to have a go for the Blues as they sought to turn the screw once more, with the Moroccan schemer taking aim from long range before firing an effort that looped just over the bar.
There was even more horror to come for Spurs during a first half to forget for the men from North London as a Ziyech freekick was whipped in from the right only for the hapless Tanganga to head the ball straight into Ben Davies, who could only arrow the ball into his own net past a stranded Lloris.
Chelsea were in dreamland whilst Tottenham looked all at sea in and amongst the raucous cauldron that was being created by the buoyant home crowd.
The second half offered the chance of some sort of recovery for the visitors, with Conte throwing on Tanguy Ndombele as a substitute for Doherty, whilst Tuchel opted for a more attacking change as Timo Werner entered the play in place of Havertz.
Saul certainly put in his finest performance in a Chelsea shirt since his move from Atletico Madrid last summer and was taking to his role of being the main ball winner in the midfield like a duck to water.
Werner was also putting in a fine showing for the Blues off the bench as he made his first notable contribution of the game, drifting in off the left hand side before unleashing a brilliant effort that travelled just wide of the far post with Lloris left as merely an onlooker.
The German then had a massive chance to kill the game off as we approached the final 20 minutes, however he could only chip the ball into the grateful hands of Lloris after being expertly played through by the mercurial Ziyech.
Spurs were simply not at the races on what was a night to forget for them in the deepest depths of West London, with only Lucas Moura emerging with any real credit for the handful of times that he managed to drive his team up the pitch through the use of his pace and direct running.
Chelsea were winning their key midfield battles and in turn were getting the rub of the green in the second 45 as a reward for their efforts, with the likes of Hojbjerg and Oliver Skipp finding themselves massively overrun as Tuchel chose to flood the centre of the pitch.
Substitute Bryan Gil did add some spark for the visitors though, with his superb run allowing him to work his way into the box before cutting it across low for the onrushing Giovani Lo Celso, whose shot was saved well by Kepa with Ndombele charging in for the rebound.
In the end it was too little too late for Tottenham who have left themselves with a mountainous task to overcome in the second leg as the two sides go head to head once more next Wednesday in N17.
CHELSEA 2-0 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR