SUNDAY 29TH NOVEMBER, 2020
CHELSEA 0(0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 0(0)
Referee:- Paul Tierney
Assistants:- Lee Betts, Ian Hussin
Fourth official:- Mike Dean
VAR:- Craig Pawson
Assistant VAR:- Stephen Child.
Chelsea (4-3-3):- Mendy; James, Zouma, Thiago (Capt.), Chilwell; Kovacic, Kante, Mount; Ziyech (sub Havertz, 83), Abraham (sub Giroud, 79), Werner (sub Pulisic, 74)
Subs not used:- Arrizabalaga; Rudiger, Azpilicueta; Jorginho
Booked:- Ziyech (foul on Reguilon), James (foul on Reguilon), Zouma (foul on Ndombele), Mount (foul on Lo Celso)
Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Lloris (Capt.); Aurier, Rodon, Dier, Reguilon; Sissoko, Hojbjerg; Son (sub Lucas Moura, 90+2), Ndombele (sub Lo Celso, 65), Bergwijn (sub Davies, 89); Kane
Subs not used:- Hart; Sanchez; Bale, Vinicius
Booked:- Bergwijn (foul on Kovacic) , Reguilon (foul on Kovacic)
A satisfying result Ė and still top of the league!
I think we would all have taken a draw before the game. I even predicted a draw, but naively thought it would be 2-2! It was a great result for us as we stay top of the league going into another week and we remain two points above our West London rivals, who truly hate us so much. Jose accused us of "parking the bus" 16 years ago when he was the Chelsea manager, and with his strategy last week and today, he knows all about that!
Jose made just one enforced change from the team which started against Manchester City last week. That was for the injured Toby Alderweireld and gave Joe Rodon his first start for Spurs. Rodon had a couple of scary moments (one near the very end of the game), but overall he stood firm and brave and played a full part in Spurs keeping a valuable clean sheet. Rodon is not eligible for our Europa League Group games, and I assume that Jose was protecting Sanchez, who will probably have to play next Thursday in Austria.
Chelsea were at full strength and both sides had strong benches too. Jose left Harry Winks and Dele Alli out of the 18-man squad.
This game (and all Premier League games this weekend) was preceded by a minuteís applause for Diego Maradona, who once wore a Spurs shirt, who sadly passed away this week. Diego was born in October 1960 and Spurs were top of the league then, as now. In both seasons when Spurs won the league they beat Chelsea away, but this was not to be on this occasion.
Chelsea kicked off and inside two minutes they had a shot through Hakim Ziyech who tried a left foot shot from 25 yards which went easily into Hugo Llorisís hands. There had been a scare regarding Lloris and illness, but he clearly passed his late fitness test. Spurs were happy to cede the early possession in these early stages and indeed for most of the second half, which didnít make it comfortable viewing for this fan.
Spurs did make a good break after Chilwell lost possession in the Spurs half after 8 minutes. The move ended with a pass by Kane to Bergwijn to his left. Bergwijn fired over. He had started on the right of the midfield, but soon switched to the left. This worked well for Spurs as Chelsea seemed to target Spursí right flank a lot of the time. However, with Aurier on form (as he was last week) and Sissoko and Son helping out, the home side didnít have too much success. Chilwell and Werner were operating down that side of course. Harry gave Bergwijn another chance near the edge of the area, but this time he was blocked by the defence.
Chelsea had the ball in the net after 11 minutes when Mason Mount passed to Werner on his left and the German hit a shot across the goal and past Lloris. The flag went up for offside though.
There were a number of occasions when Tanguy Ndombele demonstrated his great skills of control under close supervision. Jose has certainly identified Ndombele as a key player and knows his best position is behind the front three. The first demonstration came after 13 minutes when he passed to Bergwijn who crossed for Harry Kane. Kaneís header took a slight touch as it went over and won a corner. Eventually after the corner had been cleared the ball was returned to the centre where Serge Aurier hit aa right foot shot which Mendy saved as he dived to his right. Hojbjerg had played a one-two pass with Aurier before the shot. Spurs were coming out of their defensive shell to a degree.
Spurs made a break after 26 minutes with Bergwijn starting the move in his own half and passing to Kane. Kane passed to Son to the left and Sonís intended pass for the advancing Bergwijn was intercepted. Mason Mount made room for himself at the other end but hit his left foot shot over the target.
Ziyech, who perhaps played with too much desire to beat Spurs, and therefore a degree of anxiety, was booked for a cynical foul on an advancing Reguilon. Ziyech had been a member of the Ajax team dramatically beaten by Spurs in May last year in the Champions League semi-final. Harry Kane took the free kick which was at least 30 yards out, and the shot was always going over the target. There was more skill by Ndombele near the right flank as he squeezed between two blue shirts. He was also fouled but when Son took the free kick the ball took Harry Kane by surprise as the ball seemed to pass through several obstacles.
After 36 minutes and following a Chelsea corner from the right Chilwell had a chance inside the area. His first touch to control the ball was good, but his second touch to try and score was poor with the ball going harmlessly over Llorisís goal. Ziyech hit another ball into the box and Abraham seemed to hang out his leg, outing the ball wide of goal. After a Chilwell cross, a mis-cued kick by Rodon ran into Llorisís hands.
Spurs kicked off the second half and within a minute Ziyechís cross reached Werner at the back post. Wernerís touch didnít reach goal, but he had committed a foul anyway. Reece james now advanced further and crossed from the right with Abraham failing to make good contact, and the ball passed safely out of play. Bergwijn got Spursí first yellow card for preventing an advance by Kovacic. However, Chelsea outnumbered us regarding yellow cards, with both James and Zouma booked when Reguilon and Ndombele tried to make progress.
Sissoko made a somewhat unnecessary foul on Werner our on the Spurs right flank near the corner flag. The free kick led to a corner when Chilwellís header took a slight touch off Rodonís head. Lo Celso was seen getting ready to come on.
Werner crossed from the left and Abraham got a slight touch on the ball which passed safely wide across the Spurs goalmouth. Lo Celso came on for Ndombele in what is becoming a standard change for Mourinho.
Spurs had sought to play out from the back for most of the game and one such effort failed, nearly disastrously, when Chilwell crossed but Ziyech thankfully fired over. Lo Celso won a corner out on the left, near the corner flag. ď2Sonny2 took the kick and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg tried the Alderweireld glanced header in front of the near post which passed across the goal. Spurs did get another corner though, but this came to nought when Sissoko lost control of the ball.
Pulisic replaced Werner and Chilwell needed treatment after a collision with Aurier. Mount was booked for a foul on Lo Celso. With 15 minutes remaining Harry Kane sent clever ball to Son but ne was swamped by three defenders on the edge of the Chelsea area. Now Abraham was replaced by Olivier Giroud and I feared the ex-Arsenal connection might lead to a goal against Spurs. Lloris had to make a decent save on the stretch to his left after Mason Mount hit a right foot shot from 25 yards. ďSonnyĒ got almost to the bye-line on the right and crossed hard. Mendy could only push the shot away from danger.
Ziyech was replaced by Havertz after 82 minutes. Spurs didnít manage a shot on goal in the second half, but they did keep another clean sheet, as Chelsea camped in our half. Reguilon crossed hard but Mendy held this one. Mourinho managed the closing stages well as the Spurs target clearly became one of preserving a point. Davies came on for Bergwijn just before added time, and Lucas Moura came on with two of the four added minutes to play. There was a scare for Spurs though as Rodonís back-header to Lloris was short, but thankfully Giroudís attempt was weak and easy for his French compatriot.
There was still time for Spurs to seize upon a Chelsea mistake as Zouma gifted the ball to Lucas Moura who passed from the right to Lo Celso who tried to place a shot to the left of Mendy but put his effort wide. Unless Leicester beat Fulham by 6 goals tomorrow we will be top of the league until at least next Saturday.
Arsenal have lost at home to Wolves, and we ought to feel optimistic about beating them next week. Jose Mourinho reported after the game that his team were upset in the dressing room after the game. Clearly they wanted more from the game, although I have to say the degree of adventure we demonstrated today did not indicate a desire to get any more than one point. I am happy though!
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