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Drogba fills Costa void, setting up 1 and scoring as league leader Chelsea beats Tottenham 3-0

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LONDON — Didier Drogba and Loic Remy showed Chelsea can cope without injured top scorer Diego Costa on Wednesday, with the backup strikers both scoring as the Premier League leaders swept aside Tottenham 3-0 to extend their unbeaten start to the season.

Although Tottenham threatened early on, with Harry Kane heading against the crossbar, Chelsea took control after a Drogba-Hazard one-two created the Belgium midfielder's goal in the 19th minute.

Tottenham gifted Chelsea another goal inside three minutes, with goalkeeper Hugo Lloris' weak clearance allowing Hazard and Oscar to combine to set up Drogba. It was the 36-year-old striker's fifth goal since returning to Chelsea this season after two years away.

"It's remarkable ... he is not selfish, not vain — a humble guy who plays and fights for the team," Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said. "The important thing is he is here and will finish his career with Chelsea. It looks, for me, that he's going to stay doing other things when he finishes his career."

After Drogba was substituted in the second half, replacement Remy exposed the feeble Tottenham defense again in the 73rd, sidefooting in the third.

Fourteen matches into the season, Chelsea stayed six points clear of champion Manchester City, which won 4-1 at Sunderland.

Only in the first 15 minutes did Tottenham ever look like winning at Stamford Bridge for the first time since 1990. Picking up where they left off in Sunday's victory over Everton, Tottenham's players were vibrant and assertive going forward.

PHOTO: Chelsea's goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, left, makes a save from a shot by Tottenham’s Harry Kane, who is challenged by Chelsea's Cesar Azpilicueta during the English Premier League soccer match between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge stadium in London, Wednesday, Dec.  3,  2014. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Chelsea's goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, left, makes a save from a shot by Tottenham’s Harry Kane, who is challenged by Chelsea's Cesar Azpilicueta during the English Premier League soccer match between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge stadium in London, Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

Only the woodwork denied Kane after meeting Aaron Lennon's cross with a header. Kane, the 21-year-old striker who wasn't born when Tottenham last won here, also easily went past Gary Cahill but flashed a shot across the face of goal.

Then, as so often against the Premier League powers, Tottenham capitulated.

Cesc Fabregas' shot was saved by Lloris, but soon Hazard evaded Lennon and after combining with Drogba, he struck under Lloris at the near post.

"We started the game very bravely, but the first chance they scored from," Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino said. "I'm not happy."

Lloris was soon beaten again after Drogba withstood Jan Vertonghen's challenge to meet Oscar's pass to score his sixth goal in 11 games against Tottenham — the last coming before the Ivory Coast orward left in 2012.

Drogba made less of an impact with a free kick, completely missing the target before half time.

But Tottenham had faded and wasn't troubling Chelsea at all.

In a match to forget for Vertonghen, the Belgium defender was turned by Drogba's replacement, Remy, who struck past the sliding Ben Davies into the net as Tottenham dropped to 10th.

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PHOTO: Chelsea's Didier Drogba, right, celebrates beating Tottenham Hotspur's Jan Vertonghen, left, and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, center on ground, to score his side's second goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge stadium in London, Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014.  (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
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