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Report: Chelsea 1, Spurs 1

Posted on 31 August 2008  - 12:00

A first point of the season was recorded at Stamford Bridge courtesy of Darren Bent's first goal of the new campaign.

Report: Chelsea 1, Spurs 1

A first point of the season was recorded at Stamford Bridge courtesy of Darren Bent's first goal of the new campaign.

The striker struck on the stroke of half-time with a clinical finish in response to Juliano Belletti's opening.

It was a hard fought point and in no way undeserved. The team were spirited and resolute in equal measure and competitive in every department against Luiz Felipe Scolari's side. It was a point won and point made against last season's Premier League runners up.

There were two changes to the starting line-up from last week's reverse against Sunderland, with Chris Gunter slotting in at right-back and Giovani dos Santos returning to the first XI fold.

Luka Modric tucked in behind Darren Bent in attack, Giovani to the left of midfield, while Didier Zokora was restored to central midfield duties.

Five minutes in Heurelho Gomes got caught in no-man's land on the edge of his six-yard box when Frank Lampard was shaping to shoot from outside the area, the England man floating in a dipping that the Brazilian did brilliantly to stoop back and tip over. At the other end a Giovani cutback was diverted towards goal by Bent, but a deflection sent the ball wide of Petr Cech's goal.

The signs were encouraging possession-wise, but goalmouth activity at either end was of a premium before, on 25 minutes, a sumptious ball from Juliano Belletti saw Nicolas Anelka steal in behind Ledley King and Jonathan Woodgate, although the pair troubled him enough to force a shot over the bar.

Chelsea v Spurs

Michael Essien then rattled the crossbar and the deadlock was broken with 28 minutes on the clock. A Deco corner was connected with by the unmarked Belletti who reacted smartly to steer past Gomes.

The game became a little disjointed following the goal with attacking intent stumbling at the last third and Chelsea also not making a further impression after the little purple patch that saw them take the lead.

Then, just before half-time, Lampard made a hash of an attempted clearance from his rearguard and helped the ball back into the danger zone. It fell kindly for Bent, who zipped in on goal and placed a perfect finish past Cech to level the score with his first of the season.

The creation might have been fortunate, but the execution was precise and a foothold was placed firmly back in the game ahead of the second 45 minutes.

Ashley Cole fired across goal in the first salvo of the half after a clever leave from Lampard and the latter also chipped over with Gomes in retreat, as the tempo increased from the somewhat pedestrian nature of the first half exchanges.

Just before the hour Aaron Lennon was introduced in place of Giovani and Tom Huddlestone was also called upon, with Gunter making way after a strong performance at the back. Jermaine Jenas dropped in at right-back with Huddlestone moving in alongside Zokora in the heart of midfield.

Superb link up play between Huddlestone and Bent led to the midfielder having a powerful drive deflected wide of the post.

Chelsea v Spurs

The balance of power was in the balance and this was reflected in the subdued atmosphere inside the stadium as we approached the final third of the half with neither side making significant in-roads into opposition territory.

Huddlestone was making an impact and adding a greater presence in central areas, with Lennon tasked with getting up in support of Bent in a speedier fashion. Jamie O'Hara by this point had been added to the mix, with Bentley withdrawn.

The energy levels of the team in white cranked up ten or so per cent in the final ten minutes and it took a crude trip to halt a lung-busting run from Bale as he closed in on goal. The seconds ticked by and the furstrations of the home crowd were becoming more and more audible. The words of the excitable on-pitch announcer at the start when he proclaimed 'welcome to the top of the league' were sounding a little hollow, not to mention it being far too early to be reading into league positions.