Tottenham were allowed to ‘self-destruct’ by Mark Clattenburg in ‘Battle of the Bridge’ against Chelsea after Eden Hazard admitted he wanted to stop Spurs winning the title


Chelsea host Tottenham in the Premier League on Sunday in one of the fiercest derbies in the top flight.

Fans of both teams may argue they have bigger opponents elsewhere in the form of Arsenal or Queens Park Rangers, but there is rarely a top-flight clash that sees so much bad blood – and the ‘battle du pont” from 2016 still stands out.

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Just one of the many fights that took place on that crazy night[/caption]

Tottenham were allowed to 'self-destruct' by Mark Clattenburg in 'Battle of the Bridge' against Chelsea after Eden Hazard admitted he wanted to stop Spurs winning the title
There were 13 yellow cards in total but no reds
Getty Images – Getty

It was here that the rivalry boiled over, with Spurs chasing a maiden Premier League title and facing Chelsea to keep their trophy aspirations alive, but things didn’t exactly go to plan.

Trailing league leaders Leicester by seven points with three games remaining, anything less than a win for Spurs would see the Foxes clinch the title, and it should have been easy.

Jose Mourinho had been sacked as Chelsea boss for the second time, with the club persisting in mid-table under Guus Hiddink and on course for their worst league result since 1996.

Chelsea had nothing left to play for, but that’s the kind of logic that only applies to a normal game.

Tottenham were allowed to 'self-destruct' by Mark Clattenburg in 'Battle of the Bridge' against Chelsea after Eden Hazard admitted he wanted to stop Spurs winning the title
Guus Hiddink was back at the bridge for a second caretaker spell
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Before the match, the scale of what was to come had already been confirmed, with Chelsea’s foreign players showing that the rivalry was far more universal than just a local derby.

“The fans, the club, the players, we don’t want Tottenham to win the Premier League,” Eden Hazard said.

“I hope not, I don’t want Spurs to win,” confirmed Cesc Fabregas.

Former Arsenal midfielder Fabregas was perhaps the first trigger, kicking Mousa Dembele just minutes before the Belgian got his hands on John Obi Mikel.

12. John Obi Mikel (central midfielder)
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It didn’t take long for Mikel and Dembele to argue[/caption]

Niggling tackles then started popping up everywhere, with Kyle Walker picking up the game’s first booking for an unnecessary kick to Pedro, but not everyone was so distracted.

Harry Kane and Heung-min Son capitalized on the unfolding drama, keeping their composure to give Spurs a 2-0 lead at half-time, while everyone seemed more concerned about kicking each other. foot.

Diego Costa was the human embodiment of what was soon to unfold when he started getting carried away with Jan Vertonghen and then the first real spark came.

Clearly not happy with being two goals up and having already hacked Chelsea’s Willian, Danny Rose decided he wanted another bite at the Brazilian, who this time reacted.

Tottenham were allowed to 'self-destruct' by Mark Clattenburg in 'Battle of the Bridge' against Chelsea after Eden Hazard admitted he wanted to stop Spurs winning the title
Chelsea’s moody match with Tottenham in 2016 is known as ‘The Battle of the Bridge’
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Mauricio Pochettino jumped onto the pitch to break up the pair, triggering the game’s first scrum.

An untied Demeble somehow avoided red for an eye gauge on Costa, but only Willan and Rose picked up yellow cards to end the half, giving Pochettino 15 minutes to calm everyone down.

Erik Lamela must have heard something else in the dressing room from his fellow Argentine, jumping high on Fabregas’ ankles before stepping on his hand as the Spaniard recovered.

It was enough for Spurs to lose the plot altogether, conceding first to Gary Cahill before a stunning postage-stamp Hazard curler handed the title to Leicester.

Premier League derby matches
Eric Dier unfathomably avoided a red card overnight
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Tottenham were allowed to 'self-destruct' by Mark Clattenburg in 'Battle of the Bridge' against Chelsea after Eden Hazard admitted he wanted to stop Spurs winning the title
This tackle on Fabregas was deemed unworthy of a second yellow
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Eric Dier, already on booking, seemed determined to end Fabregas’ Euro 2016 campaign with a gruesome lunge that went unpunished, and a previously calm Kane even joined in on the action once he realized that all was lost.

Mark Clattenburg whistled full time, but he might as well have rung the bell for the second round, as another brawl broke out on the touchline, with master agitator Costa once again the centerpiece.

Spurs won the league record for most yellow cards given to a single team in a game with nine, resulting in an FA penalty, but it was mystifying there wasn’t at least one red , up to a year later.

Tottenham were allowed to 'self-destruct' by Mark Clattenburg in 'Battle of the Bridge' against Chelsea after Eden Hazard admitted he wanted to stop Spurs winning the title
Spurs players were in shock as they lost the league title
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Clattenburg left England to take up a role as head of refereeing in Saudi Arabia, then surprisingly opened up about what happened during ‘The Battle of the Bridge’.

“I authorized [Spurs] to self-destruct so that all the media, all the people in the world say, ‘Tottenham have lost the title,'” Clattenburg said in 2017.

“If I send off three Tottenham players, what are the headlines? ‘Clattenburg cost Tottenham the title.’ It was pure theater that Tottenham self-destructed against Chelsea and Leicester won the title.

Mark Clattenburg:
Clattenburg waited until he was on another continent before making startling confessions
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“I helped the game. I certainly benefited from the game through my refereeing style.

“Some referees would have played by the rules. Tottenham would have been reduced to seven or eight players and probably lost and they would have looked for an excuse.

“But I didn’t give them an excuse, because my game plan was: they lose the title.”

Clattenburg’s tactic arguably risked serious injury ahead of Euro 2016 the following month, but it undoubtedly secured one of the league’s cult fixtures, for all the wrong reasons.

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