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Premier League

Sunday 12th December 2010

A home game against Chelsea sees the current champions on a run of only one win in six games, as Carlo Ancelotti’s side struggle with injuries to key players and the upset of ructions going on behind the scenes.

Spurs have done well recently, but this will be another test of their character when facing a side who will be desperate to do well in this game, which they have seen as an “away banker” in all but the last couple of seasons.  But Tottenham are a very different beast these days.  Still unable to defend to save their lives, but going forward, there are options and is ability to live with the best of the league.  Marrying the best of the two is Harry Redknapp’s big task.  

With John Terry and Frank Lampard possibly ready to come back into the side, Chelsea will be boosted by two of their most experienced players.  But it is difficult to pin-point what has gone wrong with the Pensioners of late.  They were running away with then league up until about six weeks ago and then they have been beaten at home for the first time in living memory by Sunderland and 3-0 at that; they have been knocked out of the League Cup by Newcastle United, albeit Chelsea fielding a second string team, but they should still have been strong enough to win that one and they have drawn away at Newcastle, at home to Everton and lost at Birmingham City. 

Some mistakes have cost them namely the stray back passes by Ashley Cole (v Sunderland) and Alex (v Newcastle), but the flow of the side seems to have been disrupted and the introduction of new coaching assistant Michael Emenalo to replace Ray Wilkins does not seem to have been a smooth transition.  The run is worrying for the club, whose owner - Roman Abramovich - may soon have to divert large portions of his money to the realisation of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, where he bankrolls the Russian FA.

With the side stuttering without Lampard in midfield, the set up that was fluent at the start of the season has hit a few hiccups and whereas Malouda was on top form, he has seemed to have gone off the boil and Essien, who returned like a steam train, has now been relegated to level of a workaday midfielder.  John Obi Mikel has always been a bit over-rated in my view, while without the guile of Joe Cole, Chelsea have had to rely on the more direct work of the forward turned into a midfielder Solomon Kalou.  He chips in with his fair share of goals, but has not got the defensive sensibilities of other midfielders at the club.

Didier Drogba is a formidable striker on his day and alongside Patrick Anelka, he seems to have hit on a comfortable partner; both of whom are capable of scoring from next to nothing.  Daniel Sturridge is the young pretender to their thrones, with him being given an opportunity to show what he is capable of by Ancelotti.

But the usually reliable back four have been unsettled by missing personnel and a breakdown in understanding that has left them unusually vulnerable and maybe with the Spurs striker Jermain Defoe returning to scoring form and with Peter Crouch looking like a useful partner for him, Spurs might be able to capitalise on the uncertainty in the Pensioners defence.

If Tottenham are serious about making a fist of getting to the top of the table, their recent good home form over Chelsea must be continued and while the visitors will be looking to get back into winning ways, Spurs must keep their run going too.  It will be nip and tuck, with the draw probably the most obvious outcome, but I think that there just be a bit more in Tottenham's attacking outlook that will give them a very slight edge in the final outcome ...

PREDICTION : -  Tottenham Hotspur    2      Chelsea    1

For more information on the opponents and their history, including full result history of matches between the two teams, click here.


TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -  Ledley King (out - groin); Tom Huddlestone (out - ankle); Jamie O'Hara (out - back); Jonathan Woodgate (out - groin); Rafael van der Vaart (out - hamstring); Jermaine Jenas (doubtful - calf); Younes Kaboul (out - hip); David Bentley (doubtful - calf);

CHELSEA :  Jose Bosingwa (out - hamstring); Frank Lampard (out - groin and hernia); Yuri Zhirkov (out -calf);  Alex (out - knee); Yossi Benayoun (out - Achilles);


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Tottenham Hotspur   1    Chelsea   1      (Half-time score : 1-0)

Premier League
Venue : White Hart Lane  
Sunday 12th December 2010
Kick Off :  4.00 p.m.
Crowd :   35,787
Referee :  Mike Dean (Wirral)
Chelsea kicked off and played towards the Paxton Road end in the first half.
Weather :  -   Chilly, dry
Teams : - 
Tottenham Hotspur :

  1  Gomes     

  2  Hutton
19  Bassong
20  Dawson (c)
32  Assou-Ekotto     

  7  Lennon
14  Modric
12  Palacios  (30  Sandro 89)
  3  Bale

  9  Pavlyuchenko    (10  Keane 78)
18  Defoe  (15  Crouch 60)

Unused subs: 
23  Cudicini
22  Corluka
  5  Bentley
17  dos Santos 

Chelsea :

  1  Cech

19  Ferreira
  2  Ivanovic
26  Terry (c)
  3  Cole

  7  Ramires
  5  Essien      
  6  Mikel  (11  Drogba 46       )
15  Malouda  (  8  Lampard 77)

21  Kalou  (23  Sturridge 68)
39  Anelka

Unused subs: 
22  Turnbull
38  van Aanholt
43  Bruma
46  MacEachran

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of
Tottenham Hotspur

Scorers : -  
Tottenham Hotspur

Pavlyuchenko  15


Drogba 70

Cards : -  
Tottenham Hotspur  

Assou-Ekotto (foul)  35 
Gomes (foul)  90+1



Essien (foul)  72
Drogba (foul)  90+4  


Match Report : -  
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.

It was 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 Spurs forward.

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 sort.

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.


Match sponsors TNT Express
Match ball sponsors Icebreaker
Match programme sponsors Wallace LLP
Match shirt sponsors Chigwell Construction
Match pennant sponsors Coinford Construction

Fan Reaction : -



I am afraid that Mike Dean and I would not get on.

I know that any two people looking at something will see things different ways and although I never played the game to a high level, I guess that I would be able to read the game better than the match official at yesterday's game.

Apart from the incidents mentioned above, there was the hack at Bale at the end of the game by Essien, who was already on a yellow and the way that Ferriera took the Welshman's legs from underneath him.

That is not to go on about the behaviour on offer from Lampard and Cole that was lower than a snake's belly.  They might have been getting stick from the Spurs fans in the East Lower, but Lampard sliding of his hand down the side of his shorts, indicating that he has money in the pocket was distasteful and a gesture worthy of someone you can only have contempt for. 

In many ways, the Chelsea players are becoming as loathsome as those who play at Highbury.  There is little class about them and their fleeting glimpse with fame will set them apart from the rank and file for long enough to keep them thinking they are something special, but the day will come when they are on the way down and then the true test of character will be applied.

Already we are seeing a squatting Arsene Wenger bouncing up and down with his hands under his thighs and yesterday, John Terry showed some sign of instability when a free kick was given against him, as he threw the ball against his own forehead !!

Little prepares footballers for the real world.

Sometimes I think they will be less able to cope than those who live it every day ... and for a minor celebrity like Dean, well ... he would best slip back into whatever hum-drum profession he started in, as professional refereeing looks like an unsuitable job for him now, when he used to be on of the better refs.  These days, he is as bad as all the others.





Other scores this weekend :
Aston Villa 2 West Bromwich Albion 1 Saturday
Everton 0 Wigan Athletic 0 Saturday
Fulham 0 Sunderland 0 Saturday
Newcastle United 3 Liverpool 1 Saturday
Stoke City 0 Blackpool 1 Saturday
West Ham United 1 Manchester City 3 Saturday
Bolton Wanderers 2 Blackburn Rovers 1 Sunday
Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 Birmingham City 0 Sunday
Manchester United 1 Arsenal 0 Monday



League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Manchester United 16 9 7 0 38 18 34 +20
2 Arsenal 17 10 2 5 34 19 32 +15
3 Manchester City 17 9 5 3 24 13 32 +11
4 Chelsea 17 9 4 4 31 12 31 +19
5 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 17 7 6 4 26 23 27 +3
6 Bolton Wanderers 17 6 8 3 30 24 26 +6
7 Sunderland 17 5 9 3 20 18 24 +2
8 Newcastle United 17 6 4 7 27 26 22 +1
9 Liverpool 17 6 4 7 21 22 22 -1
10 Blackpool 16 6 4 6 24 29 22 -5
11 West Bromwich Albion 17 6 4 7 24 29 22 -5
12 Stoke City 17 6 3 8 21 22 21 -1
13 Blackburn Rovers 17 6 3 8 22 27 21 -5
14 Aston Villa 17 5 5 7 19 28 20 -9
15 Everton 17 3 9 5 18 20 18 -2
16 Birmingham City 17 3 9 5 17 20 18 -3
17 Fulham 17 2 10 5 16 20 16 -4
18 Wigan Athletic 17 3 8 6 13 28 16 -15
19 Wolverhampton Wanderers 17 4 3 10 18 30 15 -12
20 West Ham United 17 2 6 9 15 30 12 -15


Position before the match :  5th
Position after the match :  5th
Position after the weekend :  5th


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