Rarely has such a poor display of refereeing ended with a just result as
Spurs held on to a 1-1 draw after taking the lead against Chelsea, who
came back with the assistance of Mike Dean, who had a performance that
showed him top be slipping below the standards regarded as suitable for
a Premier League referee.
not just that the decisions went against Tottenham, but it was the way
that he administered the decisions he made. His relish in Booking
Assou-Ekotto after having played advantage for some time. The
allowance of Spurs players to be taken out of the game with late
challenges (I won't dignify them by calling them tackles) by Chelsea
players without penalising them and the award of a penalty that he
couldn't get to quick enough and such was his haste that he couldn't
decide which he was going to do first ... point to the spot or book
Gomes. His chummy patting on the back of Chelsea players and
discussing matters with them rather than issuing yellow cards seemed at
odds with his approach to the Tottenham players.
With William Gallas missing, Michael
Dawson returned to action and played alongside Sebastien Bassong in the
middle of the back four. Harry Redknapp started with Jermain Defoe
partnering Roman Pavlyuchenko up front.
At the start of the game, Chelsea picked
off a pass from Luka Modric and Anelka was provided with a shooting
opportunity from outside the box, but the Frenchman pulled his shot wide
of the goal. The same attacker caused panic in the Tottenham box,
when his ball towards Kalou saw Benoit Assou-Ekotto get in the way, but
as the ball dropped in the six yard box, he took a while to get his
bearings and then hacked the ball away, but did so across his goal and
Kalou might have stuck out a leg to get a touch that might have taken
the ball into the net.
Twice in the first ten minutes Gomes was
tested by shots from Michael Essien, who looked to be the player who
first came to Chelsea and inspired them then, but today, his input into
the match was more prosaic and he was not reaching the standards he has
done in the past, thus revealing what night be wrong with the Chelsea
team. It looks as though a lot of them have seen better days and
are all going over the hill together.
It was 13 minutes before Spurs threatened
the Chelsea goal and even then it wasn't that close. Gareth Bale
left Ferreira behind him, but his cross sailed over everyone and Lennon
picked it up on the other flank. His ball in came out to Bale no
the left corner of the box and he took it inside, but lashed a right
footed effort well wide.
A couple of minutes later Assou-Ekotto
played one of a series of passes that he and Wilson Palacios had made
from the halfway line. Palacios' had put players away and BAE's
too, but nothing had come of them. This one from the left back saw
Jermain Defoe make a good run into the left wing position, dragging a
marker out with him. He moved inside and played a well weighted
pass into Roman Pavlyuchenko just inside the area. He took one
touch to his left and getting away from Terry, he let go a shot with his
left foot that took Cech by surprise and he was not prepared for it to
go to his right and he dived but could not keep the ball out at his near
post, seeing it go past him to give Spurs the lead.
Spurs were holding onto the ball with
ease and it was almost embarrassing seeing the Premier League champions
backing off and giving Tottenham all the space they needed while 11
Chelsea players got behind the ball. On 20 minutes, Essien should
have picked up his first booking, when he came down, studs first, on
Bale's ankle. Finding a little space on their right Ramieres
played a low ball in from the dead-ball line, finding Kalou at the near
post ahead of Gomes and his effort to the low ball saw him scoop it up,
but it went wide of the far post.
A half cleared cross fell to Anelka on
the Chelsea left and his own cross was met by Kalou's head, but it
lacked power and Gomes got to it and grabbed the ball at the second
attempt. Kalou then got another header, from a free-kick given to
Chelsea for two of their players bumping into each other on the right
touch-line !! As he glanced the ball from the edge of the six yard
box, it looked like it might slide in at the far post, but it drifted a
foot or so wide of the post. Before that Bale's free-kick from the
left missed out Dawson in the middle for Pav to arrive at the far post
and shoot high on the half-volley as the ball dropped.
Just before half-time, Chelsea almost got
back in the game when the ball got into the net. A cross from the
right flicked off Kalou leaving Anelka to tap the ball home, but the
flick had put him offside and the ref whistled rightly for once.
Even then, with the game entering added time at the end of the first
half, Pav picked off a pass and played through for JD, but Cech made a
rush from his goal to time his contact with the ball just before the
1-0 down and with pressure building on
the Pensioners, Ancelotti made a change at the break, with Drogba
replacing Mikel, a forward for a midfielder. But Tottenham kept
pressing and two minutes into the half, Spurs passed the ball out to the
right and Lennon passed on to Modric, who put a square ball into the
path of Defoe and the firs time shot left Cech scrambling across his
goal, but the ball went a yard wide of the keeper's right hand post.
With 50 minutes o the clock a
half-cleared cross dropped for Luka Modric to chest down and volley at
goal, but the ball went wide. Chelsea began to get back into the
game around this time and when Anelka played the ball for Drogba to hit
a shot at goal from 20 yards out, Gomes had to dive to his left to palm
the ball away. The first corner was cleared and when the ball came
back in, Wilson Palacios got up to head clear, but it came off his head
to move towards his own goal, leaving Heurelho Gomes to reach up to tip
the ball over the bar, when it looked like it might go under it.
Spurs swapped Lennon and Bale and when
Wilson broke, he played it to Bale and his run in from the right wing
ended with a shot that skewed off his foot and went wide. Twice
Pav could have got the ball down to have shots on goal. Firstly,
Palacios' through ball caught Chelsea out, but Pav tried to take it with
the outside of his foot, but the ball ran away from him and the same
happened when he tried to chest down a clearance from a cross, allowing
Chelsea to take the ball.
With 20 minutes left, the missed
opportunities cost Spurs, when a long punt forward saw Drogba bump
Dawson and look like he used his arm to take the ball past the Tottenham
skipper before smashing a shot at Gomes. The ball went straight at
the keeper, but he could not get enough behind it to stop the ball
spinning up off his hands and into the net behind him.
The game had been a sopen a math between
the two for many a year, but when Hutton raced forward, the Chelsea
defence backed off him into their own six yard box and he really should
have shot himself, but tried to dink in a cross for Roman, but failed to
find his target.
Essien should really have been walking
back to the dressing room, as he perpetrated another studs on ankle
challenge on Modric this time. A yellow was shown, but it should
have been his second.
A corner for Chelsea on their right was
flicked on by Drogba at the near post and with Sturridge waiting to
pounce at the far post, Benoit managed to get the ball out for a corner
with a flick of his foot that was almost behind him. At the other
end, a mix up between Ivanovic and Essien left the ball invitingly for
Lennon, but he took a little too long getting his shot away and the
pressure on him rushed the effort, which went side of the goalie's right
hand post again.
Terry and Cole had spent a large part of
the afternoon either moaning at the referee or hitting Spurs players
once the ball had gone and when Palacios let the ball run over his own
dead-ball line, Cole made sure he knew he was there, but going down the
back of his leg, which ended his participation in the game, but Dean did
not see anything wrong with it and gave no decision ... his favourite
Well ... that was until injury time, when
a ball into the box was flicked goal-wards by Drogba and as Gomes came
out for the ball Ramieres got there first and Gomes collided with the
Brazilian, as Dean run towards the spot with glee and then brandished
the yellow card at the stricken goalkeeper. Having had one shot
slip through his hands, he was now looking at three points slipping
away. Drogba took the ball and it looked for all the world that he
would wrap up a win in the second minute of added time, but his penalty
lacked pace and Gomes redeemed himself by diving to his left to push the
ball away. It ended up with Bale and Spurs were suddenly on the
break, but the move broke down, although a break a minute later saw
Hutton race away, only to be hacked down by Drogba, whose cynical foul
earned a yellow card.
The game finished and while it might have
been one for the neutral to enjoy, Spurs were the ones who were
disappointed in leaving with only one point. The joy of the
Chelsea fans and the players, who went to throw their shirts into the
crowd, showed a relief in not losing. Three Point Lane no longer
It was a game unlike many London derbies
and one which saw Tottenham's attacking intent halted on too many
occasions by unfair means. With an ageing squad and players
resulting too bullying and intimidation, perhaps the House of Abramovich
may be on the fall.