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Spurs v Chelsea, 29.11.15

(12 noon)

Attendance:- 35,639

Referee:- Michael Oliver
Assistants:- S. Burt & G. Beswick
Fourth official:- A. Marriner

Spurs(4-2-3-1):- Lloris (Capt.); Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose; Mason (sub Lamela, 56), Dier; Son (sub NíJie, 75), Dembele, Eriksen; Kane

Subs not used:- Vorm; Trippier, Wimmer; Onomah, Carroll

Booked:- Rose (foul on Hazard), Kane (foul on Willian), Walker (foul on Azpilicueta), Vertonghen (foul on Hazard)

Chelsea (4-2-3-1):- Begovic; Ivanovic (Capt.), Zouma, Cahill, Azpilicueta; Fabregas, Matic; Willian (sub Kenedy, 89), Oscar, Pedro (sub Loftus-Cheek, 92); Hazard

Subs not used:- Amelia; Baba, Djilobodji; Mikel; Diego Costa

Booked:- Matic (foul on Eriksen), Azpilicueta

Third stalemate, but nothing has changed for Spurs

I was hopeful for a win over Chelsea today, but I think we should regard it as a great compliment that Jose Mourinho deployed some special tactics for a Spurs team that he regards with respect these days. Diego Costa was left on the bench, and John Terry was not fit enough, so Mourinho used a ďfalse number 9Ē in the shape of Eden Hazard, whilst also packing the midfield to counter Spursí youthful energy and skill. Perhaps we didnít travel so well after the match in Azerbaijan, as Chelsea did successfully close down Spurs in the midfield, where space for creativity was hard to find. Danny Rose had his hands full with Willian, whilst Kyle Walker got forward as much as he could.

The very windy and blustery conditions could not have helped today. Chelsea chose to play towards the Park Lane in the first half, presumably hoping for some wind advantage but I am not sure the wind was in one direction for too long.

Ryan Mason started today, in place of the suspended Dele Alli. Mason played on the right of the defensive midfield, thus displacing Eric Dier somewhat. Mousa Dembele played between Son and Eriksen, but there was plenty of inter-change of positions between these three.

With Dembele and Eriksen to the fore, Spurs did put the Chelsea defence under some early pressure, when Eriksenís low cross won a corner. Begovic went down for some early treatment, as did several of his team-mates during the game. Chelsea (Fabregas in particular) seemed to harangue referee Michael Oliver any time decisions did not go their way, which was not too often. The Spurs crowd at The Park Lane end justifiably felt the officials missed a few offsides in the first half. A good ball from Kyle Walker to Eriksen, ahead of the full back, led to a Spurs corner.

Chelsea then had Spurs under pressure on their right flank, but Spurs won a free kick to ease the situation. Vertonghen came forward and passed to Harry Kane about 35 yards out. Kane exchanged with Eriksen, who was to his right, before Harry hit a shot which Begovic did not hold cleanly. There were several instances of the Chelsea keeperís touch not being too certain, and if only Spurs could have put him under more pressure, I am sure they would have got a reward. Chelsea defended well though, and didnít allow us those chances.

A Chelsea ball from the right reached Oscar beyond the left side of Spursí goal. Oscar crossed to the back post and Hazard headed over. Dier got a slight touch to deflect a 23rd minute shot by Pedro, which led to a Chelsea corner. Their fans were very vocal; supportive of Mourinho, and readily reminding all present that they are the current Premier League Champions. Hopefully, weíll do that one day!

After a Spurs corner, and good work by Eriksen and Kane on the right, Kane crossed deep and Sonís header was again saved, but not cleanly, by Begovic. Danny Rose hit a good long ball across the field, and mason did well to reach and control the ball, before Walker carried the move on and got into the box, but fell to the ground. There was no foul here. More good play came from Dembele in a tight spot in the final third, hitting a shot which Begovic was thankful to push round the corner. Son used Dier for a wall pass just inside the Chelsea half, before going on to try a shot from distance. This one was held by the keeper.

Spurs started to attract the refereeís attention in the wrong way. Danny Rose had already been booked for a foul on Hazard, before Harry Kane also saw yellow for impeding Willian as the former Spurs target tried to break clear in our half.

Ryan Mason struggled defensively against Oscar, at a time when Walker had been committed to attack. Oscarís shot was never on target, and hit the side netting high and well behind the post. Kane had a shot go high at the other end, after a ball from Vertonghen. Chelsea had a free kick in added time, and Walker saw yellow, but Chelsea were caught offside from another threatening kick by Willian.

There was little action of note early in the second half, but a good ball by Son for Mason led to a challenge in the box, from which Ryan did not recover. He had to be replaced by Erik Lamela. Eriksen and Lamela were involved in a move from which Son hit a shot straight at Begovic.

Llorisís one truly great save today came when Hazard latched onto a deep cross from the right beyond the back post. The angle was sharp, but the shot was goal-bound had it not been for Llorisís sharp reflex save. Son was replaced by Clinton NíJie, who several minutes later hit a cross to the back post where Kane tried an adventurous overhead kick but failed to make contact.

Overall, Spurs had the better and more chances than Chelsea, but I did feel that Chelseaís energy levels were higher, and that there was always a risk of them scoring. This was our third home stalemate of the season. The previous two were against Everton and Liverpool. Todayís result was decent, and we can remind ourselves that we remain unbeaten in 13 league games since the opening day of the season. I thought that Toby Alderweireld was once again very solid today, and I gave him my man of the match vote.

Spurs remain in fifth place, four points behind the leaders Man City, who are the main beneficiaries of drawn matches this weekend involving Leicester and Man Utd, ourselves, and Arsenal, who could only draw at Norwich. Liverpool won 1-0 and are just two points behind us. We now have six days recovery time before the trip to The Hawthorns next Saturday.

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