Goals for the returning Olivier Giroud and Marcos Alonso had already put Chelsea in command of the London derby when Tottenham’s midfielder Giovani Lo Celso tangled with home captain Cesar Azpilcueta in the 52nd minute.
Lo Celso appeared to deliberately stamp on Azpilicueta’s outstretched leg with his studs but referee Michael Oliver initially waved away Chelsea appeals before VAR officials at their studios in Stockley Park, west London were called into action to scrutinize the challenge.
After a lengthy deliberation, it was ruled that there had been no serious foul play and the Argentine escaped either a yellow or red card much to the dismay of Chelsea manager Frank Lampard, who later described the Lo Celso tackle as a “real leg breaker” which should have been punished.
But later in the second half, broadcaster BT Sport reported that VAR officials had reviewed the decision and admitted that Lo Celso should have been sent off.
The about face was met with derision on social media, with many former top professionals expressing their surprise that Lo Celso had escaped a red card.
Lo Celso was eventually shown a yellow card for a foul on Mason Mount on the edge of the Tottenham penalty area in the 82nd minute. Alonso nearly scored his second and Chelsea’s third as his free kick effort rattled the crossbar, but with a minute remaining the visitor struck with a rare decisive attack.
Substitute Erik Lamela powered into the Chelsea penalty area and his effort was deflected into his own…