Tottenham was looking to close the gap with the Manchester duos who won with ease on Wednesday. Bale passed the final fitness test to start, offering the pace Tottenham deadly needed with Lennon injured. Sandro and Parker both started to anchor the midfield, while Defoe missed the game with injury.
A shocking draw at Wigan left AVB in the thought tonight, “either win or title gone”. Terry will again be the focus with his off-field trouble, hoping not to be sent off for the third time in White Hart Lane. Mikel was given the surprising nod over Romeu, while Lampard was dropped behind Meireles. AVB kept the in-form frontline unchanged, with Drogba shaking off the scare of pre-match warm up injury.
Play of the Game
Spurs : Sandro made a great tackle near midfield line on Sturridge, which then saw Gareth Bale sprinted down the left flank, delivering a well-placed low cross which met the long leg of Adebayor to give Spurs an early lead at 6th minute.
Chelsea: Nearly gained the lead in the 28th minute, when Bosingwa delivered a wonderful cross from the right, with the ball sailing over the head of Kyle Walker and well-chested down by Drogba, only seeing his left foot volley cannon off the woodwork.
- Chelsea levelled with a controversial goal, with Ashley Cole appeared to have controlled the ball with his right arm, then delivered a cross to Daniel Sturridge for an easy tap-in.
- Drogba released Ramires with a through pass, but the Brazilian’s shot was saved by Friedel. The 40 years old keeper was prompted for another good save 30 seconds later for a header from John Terry, which proved to be crucial to keep the scoreline at 1-1.
- Spurs nearly went ahead despite Chelsea dominating the early 2nd half. Gallas flicked Modric’s freekick to Adebayor who then scored, but was ruled out for offside, though both were clearly on-side as seen from replay. The goal would still be illegal as the Togo striker used his arm to flick the ball into the net.
- 6 minutes from final whistle, when the match appeared to be in stalemate, Kyle Walker burst through the flank and created a chance for Sandro, who nearly produced another memorial goal vs Chelsea when his deflected shot was only parried over by Cech extended arm. A minute later, Gallas struggled to convert a tricky cross from Bale from 5 yards out.
- Both teams had failed to clinch the match with a late winner. Ramires missed another golden chance when his unmarked header from Mata’s freekick had gone well wide. Into injury time, Bale had found Adebayor in the box. His place shot had beaten Peter Cech, but was just deflected off by the desperate sliding John Terry.
Drogba was seen changing his purple boots to a yellow pair in the 20th minute. 2 mins later, his flick was handled by Ashley Cole, but wasn’t penalised by Howard Webb and eventually led to a goal. Drogba clearly had an idea which color brings him luck.
They will have every reason to be disappointed with the result. The two full backs struggled to provide cover for centrebacks, with Assou-Ekotto completely switched off to allow Sturridge drifted in the controversial leveler, and Kyle Walker had nearly knocked in a cross into his own net when he lost his position to Mata. King was exposed for his lack of pace in the 2nd half when Chelsea was pushing for the leading goal. On the other hand, the midfielders showed extraordinary work rate and passing ability to hold off Chelsea, with Sandro and Bale performing exceptionally well.
AVB midfield selection was dubious. Mikel had nearly failed to make a single successful forward pass, while Meireles didn’t have his best night either. Not to mention the horrible long shots, he wasted a golden counter-attack opportunity late in 1st half, only seeing his pass intercepted easily by Modric . Ivanovic’s injury casted doubt to the defensive line, but Bosingwa filled in admirably, John Terry regained concentration amidst the boos, also thanks to Mikel’s injury that brought in Romeu to anchor the defence. Sturridge looked lively, particularly in the 2nd half, but Juan Mata appeared to be short of the physical strength needed in these derby games. He may want to seek advice from his former teammate David Silva.
Best Performer of the Game
Ashley Cole. Decisive and commanding as usual, he outperformed his fellow national full back Kyle Walker. He neutralized threats from Tottenham’s right flank with brilliant positioning and well-timed tackles, while also producing dangerous runs down the left, eventually grabbing an assist. Another top-class performance. He is undoubtedly this country’s best left back.
Who could do better?
Rafael Van der Vaart and Roman Pavlyuchenko. the Dutchman once again shows Harry Redknapp why he doesn’t like to play on the right. He wasn’t able to connect with the attackers in the passing game and never looked like threatening. Pavlyuchenko came in 2nd half for Van der Vaart, bu had never got up to the tempo at all. His only contribution came in the injury time, when his pass released Bale, who then fed Adebayor but the shot was denied by Terry.
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