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Spurs v Chelsea, 28.09.13

BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE
SATURDAY 28th SEPTEMBER, 2013
(12.45pm)
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1(1) CHELSEA 1(0)

Spurs Scorers:-
Sigurdsson, 19

Chelsea scorer:-
Terry, 65

Attendance:- 35,867

Referee:- Mike Dean
Assistants:- Mr J. Collin & Mr. J. Brooks
Fourth official:- Mr. R. East

Teams:-
Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Lloris; Walker, Dawson (Capt.), Vertonghen, Naughton; Paulinho, Dembele; Townsend (sub Chadli, 63), Eriksen (sub Holtby, 70), Sigurdsson; Soldado (sub Defoe, 77)

Subs not used:- Friedel; Chiriches; Sandro, Lamela

Booked:- Townsend (simulation); Eriksen (foul on Oscar), Vertonghen (foul on Ramires), Dawson (foul on Torres), Dembele (foul on Mata)

Chelsea (4-2-3-1):- Cech; Ivanovic, David Luiz, Terry (Capt.), Cole; Mikel (sub Mata, 46), Lampard; Ramires, Oscar ( sub Azpilicueta, 83), Hazard(sub Schurrle, 69); Torres

Subs not used:- Schwarzer; Cahill; Essien; Eto'o

Booked:- Torres (foul on Vertonghen), Ivanovic (Dissent)

Sent off (81):- Torres (foul on Vertonghen - second yellow)

On an equal footing.

Spurs came out of this game on an equal footing with Chelsea, and top of the league for at least a few hours. As I write, both Manchester teams have lost to what would be considered lesser opposition, but Arsenal and Liverpool have yet to play and could yet overtake us at the top. (P.S Arsenal won 2-1 at Swansea to go two points clear at the top. Liverpool need to win by two clear goals tomorrow to also go above us)

Two more points would have been great of course, but a balanced view is that the draw was a fair result, with Chelsea on top for most of the second half, whereas Spurs had deservedly taken the first half lead, thanks to a Sigurdsson goal, which consisted of delicate touches. That could have been a two goal lead, had Paulinho's shot from the right got inside Cech's left post from a tightish angle.

In the end, there was some satisfaction from the fact that it was Jose Mourinho, who had to "park the bus" over the last 10 minutes, after Fernando Torres got sent off for a second bookable foul on Jan Vertonghen. Mourinho though had the better of the second half tactically, with his insertion of Juan Mata for Mikel, and a strategy which led to Torres making more runs from deep for longer balls, supported by Mata, and later substitute Schurrle. Ramires fell back to play beside Lampard. Chelsea thus threatened the Spurs high line.

Spurs made a very confident start to the game, and went with the same team as had played at Cardiff last week. Chelsea did not make much of an impression in the opening stages, and the Spurs crowd was in good form.

Eriksen slipped a nice ball to Soldado after 4 minutes, but the striker just allowed the ball to over-run, and it ran into Cech's arms. Torres headed on a deep cross from the left to Hazard, and Lampard tried a shot from outside the box, which passed harmlessly wide.

Sigurdsson was fouled twice outside the left of the box, and when referee Mike Dean's attempt to allow play-on failed, he gave a free kick for the first offence. Eriksen took, and the ball was headed well over the Chelsea goal.

Spurs took the lead in the 19th minute. It was a goal of delicate touches, with the hard-working Dembele just managing a left footed pass inside to Eriksen. The Dane fed Soldado, who gets the final assist for his short ball to the advancing Sigurdsson, who slotted home to the right of Cech. Chelsea fans had been singing loud at this point, but were well and truly silenced by the goal. The home crowd roared!

After 22 minutes, Townsend, operating on the right side, slipped the ball to Eriksen, and a Spurs shot was deflected over for a corner. Naughton tried a side-footed shot after a Spurs throw, and another bit of creativity by Eriksen, but this was easy for Cech.

Chelsea managed a bit of pressure late in the first half. Firstly, after a quickly taken free kick, they won a corner, which Spurs cleared for a throw, then Spurs had to defend stoutly after an Ivanovic cross, and another deflected shot.

Vertonghen was having a great battle with Torres, and performed a particularly great peace of defending to not only thwart the Spaniard, but also to feed the ball to the waiting Sigurdsson.

The referee had shown a lot of patience with the teams ( particularly Chelsea) by not showing any cards for some of the strong challenges. Just when it looked like a Chelsea player was going into the book for a foul on Townsend, it was in fact Townsend who was booked for diving near the half-way line.

Sigurdsson found Paulinho with a neat reverse pass, and Paulinho's shot was blocked. Vertonghen tried a shot from fully 30 yards, which passed just wide of Cech's left post. Then, after great work from Walker and Townsend down the right, it was Townsend who got into the box, and fed Paulinho, whose shot rebounded to safety off the post.

Mourinho made his changes at half-time, and almost immediately Torres broke clear down the right flank, sending over a low, powerful cross, which Mata was just not able to hit on target. Soon after that Torres got his first yellow card.

Torres picked up the ball in the deep after 52 minutes, and several times had Dawson struggling, as he twisted left and right. Torres got goal-side, and Lloris came to the rescue with a good save. In another move, Mata had got ahead of Torres and had the ball in the net, but the flag had already gone up for offside. Ivanovic protested too much, and was booked for dissent. He seemed to carry on, and Mr. Dean called over the Chelsea captain to re-in force his message to the Chelsea right back.

A shot by Hazard was held by Lloris, who was getting all the action, whilst Cech was a spectator at this stage of the game.

Andros Townsend was replaced not by Lamela, but by Chadli. Townsend had been seeing the ball in good positions, but in tight situations, just lacked the guile to continue the move. Another Spurs player, Kyle Naughton was occasionally guilty of errors which might have proved costly to the defence. One such occasion led to Chelsea taking possession in the middle and winning a corner. Before that though, Chelsea had equalised, in the nastiest way possible for Spurs fans, as Terry was allowed to get behind the defence to glance home a Mata free kick, awarded when Vertonghen was booked for a foul on Ramires.

At the other end, Naughton took a poor shot after good work by Dembele, Sigurdsson, and Chadli.

With 15 minutes left, Jermain Defoe took over from Soldado, but first Lloris had to make an excellent save from substitute Schurrle, who had been put in by Torres.

Torres saw yellow, then red, after 81 minutes, after an aerial challenge with Vertonghen, and Chelsea formed a defensive dome for Spurs to try and penetrate. Defoe had a shot after Dembele had threaded the ball inside the defence on the left, but Jermain could not get power on the ball, which ran to Cech's hands.

Spurs then had loads of possession, before Dawson fed the ball to Sigurdsson who hit an excellent right footed shot from 25 yards, but it passed just over the bar. Defoe had one effort go over the bar, before he teed up Chadli, who hit a poor high shot.

Thankfully, the days have long gone since we almost expected defeat at the hands of Chelsea. Today's performance and result confirms that this season we shall stand beside them in a battle for the top four, or perhaps even more.

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