Chelsea’s path to the Premier League title was made much easier on Friday by a disjointed Tottenham losing 1-0 at West Ham and seeing a nine-match winning run end.
The trophy can now be secured by Chelsea over the next week before Tottenham plays again if Antonio Conte’s side beats Middlesbrough on Monday and West Bromwich Albion on Friday.
Spurs were looking lethargic at the Olympic Stadium when Manuel Lanzini punished them in the 65th minute by grabbing the only goal of the London derby. It was the first time Mauricio Pochettino’s side had trailed in a league game in a month and the damage would have been heavier had Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris not made a diving save to deny Jonathan Calleri.
The visitors could find no way back as ninth-placed West Ham celebrated a signature win in its troubled first season at its new home, turning on the style to foil a Tottenham side usually so energetic and menacing.
With Tottenham trailing Chelsea by four points in second place, the challenge now is holding on for its highest finish in 54 years. Tottenham holds an eight-point lead over Liverpool with three games to go and is set for a second consecutive season in the Champions League for the first time.
But for the second year in a row the team’s bid for a first title since 1961 has faltered in the closing weeks of the season.