Champions Chelsea held by Spurs stalemate in London derby
Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | November 29, 2015
Tottenham 0-0 Chelsea
- Begovic the busier goalie in first-half
- Spurs lose Mason injured after the interval
- Lloris little more than spectator before sensational Hazard save
- Blues have just 15 points after 14 games
- Tottenham stay fifth, four off top spot
Spurs stalemate cements Chelsea struggles
Jose Mourinho’s Blues dropped yet more points as their dismal defence of the top-flight title continued on a White Hart Lane surface that cut up and yielded few clear cut openings.
Spurs asked more questions in the first-half, forcing Asmir Begovic into three saves from Harry Kane, Heung-Min Son and Mousa Dembele, linked with the Blues during the build-up to this game.
Blues better defensively but lacking teeth
Chelsea’s Bosnian stopper dealt with all three efforts with his defence unable to cut out crosses, while Cesc Fabregas struggled to cope with more dynamic midfield movement from the hosts.
Mourinho left Diego Costa on the bench for this game, affording Eden Hazard and Pedro Rodriguez chances to rotate as the Blues’ nominal striker. The latter saw efforts deflected off Tony Alderweireld and Eric Dier, but neither were clear cut.
Son, who had earlier headed on target, and Kane lashed over before half-time. Tottenham then lost Ryan Mason, a replacement in midfield for the suspended Dele Alli, to injury after the break with Erik Lamela coming on.
Tottenham take Premier League point
Mauricio Pochettino’s improving pet project played a clever one-two with Son, but the South Korea international shot tamely and straight at Begovic. The best Chelsea could muster, meanwhile, came from a Willian free-kick, yet Kurt Zouma couldn’t connect.
Hazard drew a sensational save from Hugo Lloris with a quarter of the game to go, however, volleying first-time when a sublime crossfield ball found the Belgian, who has a terrific scoring record against Spurs. It was as close as the Blues would come.
This London derby was far from a great advert for Premier League football, with an emphasis on tactics and decent defending detracting from this as a spectacle. Chelsea have now drifted for a top four finish from 7/2 to 4/1 with Coral, but have a deficit of a dozen points to make up.