Spurs 0-0 Chelsea
Report from the Lane
29 November 2015|Tottenham Hotspur
It ended all square against Chelsea at White Hart Lane on Sunday afternoon, as neither side could find the breakthrough in a London derby which never really hit the heights.
But the draw did ensure we made it 13 Premier League games without defeat and set a new club record in the process, beating the previous best which we had achieved in 2012-13.
Heung-Min Son twice tested Asmir Begovic in the Chelsea goal with an opportunity in each half, while Hugo Lloris made a superb stop to deny Eden Hazard midway through the second period, but there wasn’t a great deal of drama throughout the game and a point seemed to satisfy both teams at the final whistle.
Mauricio Pochettino made just the one change from last week’s side which beat West Ham United 4-1, with the suspended Dele Alli replaced by Ryan Mason, while Erik Lamela returned from his own suspension to take his place on the bench. Christian Eriksen was in the line-up for his 100th appearance in our colours in all competitions. Chelsea started without a recognised striker, Hazard playing up front while Diego Costa sat on their bench.
We started brightly and applied some good early pressure, going close in the third minute when Mousa Dembele played in Danny Rose down the left but his low cross was well defended by Gary Cahill who slid in with Harry Kane to divert the ball for a corner.
We certainly had the better of the opening exchanges and had a flurry of set-pieces out on the right which Eriksen took but none of them caused any threat to the Chelsea goal.
As the contest settled down it started to open up a little more and both sides created chances. On 17 minutes, Jan Vertonghen broke up a Chelsea attack and drove forwards, he passed in to Kane who laid off to Eriksen. As the Dane was tackled, the ball fell to Kane who hit a first time shot which took a slight deflection and it needed a good save from Begovic to keep it out.
At the other end, Pedro tried to latch onto a pass inside the area but Toby Alderweireld whacked clear as Lloris came to gather, while a couple of minutes later Oscar clipped over an inviting cross from the left which Hazard met with a header but it went just over the crossbar.
The visitors went close again when Hazard found Pedro, he cut inside and hit a shot which took the slightest nick off Eric Dier but fizzed over the bar.
The game continued to flow from end-to-end and we perhaps should have taken the lead on 27 minutes. Kane did well down the right, had time to look up and sent over the perfect deep cross for Son at the far post, but Begovic came across to save his header. Chelsea then broke away but Vertonghen was in the right place to cut out the danger.
Wonderful build-up play just after the half-hour mark between Eriksen, Kyle Walker and Dembele ended with the latter skipping past Nemanja Matic’s challenge 30 yards out, advancing a few yards and hitting a low drive which Begovic had to get down low to tip around the post.
There were a few half-chances as the interval approached, Son smashing over from 25 yards, Oscar hitting the side-netting after nutmegging Mason down the left flank and Kane drilling wide in the closing seconds as we went in goalless at the break.
The second period had a cagey opening and there was little in the way of goalmouth action in the opening minutes, although Lloris had to gather a teasing Willian free-kick as Kurt Zouma almost nipped in.
We were forced into a change when Mason picked up an injury as he looked to turn Zouma in the area, Lamela coming off the bench to replace him, while the visitors were latching onto a few misplaced passes to try to catch us on the break but twice Walker intercepted when the counter-attack looked like it was on.
Son produced some good skill on 64 minutes as he drifted past a couple of challenges and laid it off to Lamela, who clipped a ball over the top for Son to volley goalwards but it was straight at Begovic.
At the other end, it needed a superb save from Lloris to keep the scores level as Hazard connected beautifully with a volley from a long cross and our French captain made an instinctive low stop to divert the ball away for a corner.
The visitors were just starting to get the better of things as the clock ticked down, Pedro lashing high and wide before a goalmouth scramble almost saw Hazard wriggle free but Dembele was able to come away with possession. We were having plenty of the ball but just couldn’t carve out the chances, Clinton Njie coming on for Son with 16 minutes left to introduce some fresh legs to the side.
In truth there was very little action in the final third at either end of the pitch in the closing minutes, Chelsea perhaps applying the greater pressure without causing any real danger, while Kane failed to connect with an overhead kick in the 86th minute.
And that was pretty much that, although after the long travels of the previous few days, it has to be considered a good point.
Mauricio Pochettino said
“It’s always difficult to play against Chelsea and after travelling back from Azerbaijan (from our Europa League clash against Qarabag) it was an even tougher game but I think we can be pleased with the performance and the maturity we showed as a team,” said Mauricio. “The effort was unbelievable and for me, they are all heroes.
“We deserved more but at the end we have to be happy with the effort, we created more chances than Chelsea - I think they had one shot on target - and we can feel proud of the performance.”
“Chelsea played like a real team,” said Mauricio. “The effort, how they ran, the commitment, they showed respect and you only have to look at how Oscar, Hazard, Willian, Matic and Fabregas all ran, it was unbelievable.
“In the end, we can feel happy and maybe a bit disappointed because we always try to win. It was an opportunity at home but now we need to look forward and to be ready for West Brom.”
As for reaching the record 13 matches unbeaten in the Premier League, Mauricio said he was ‘proud and happy’ but as always, more interested in the future.
“It’s important, unbeaten in 13, but the most important thing now is to win against West Brom,” he added. “We need to follow in the same way, to keep working and always think towards to the next game.”
Meanwhile, Mauricio reported that Ryan Mason had to go off with an ankle injury in 10 minutes into the second half. He will be assessed tomorrow.
Spurs (4-2-3-1): Lloris, Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose, Dier, Dembele, Son (Njie 74), Mason (Lamela 56), Eriksen, Kane. Substitutes (not used): Vorm, Trippier, Wimmer, Carroll, Onomah.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Begovic, Ivanovic, Zouma, Cahill, Azpilicueta, Fabregas, Matic, Willian (Kenedy 89), Oscar, Pedro (Loftus-Cheek 90+1), Hazard. Substitutes (not used): Amelia, Rahman, Mikel, Djilobodji, Costa.
Yellow cards: Spurs – Rose, Kane, Walker, Vertonghen; Chelsea – Matic, Azpilicueta.
Referee: Michael Oliver.