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West Bromwich Albion
West Ham United
October 20, 2012
• 7:45 AM
• White Hart Lane, London
Referee: M. Dean
• Attendance: 36060
W. Gallas 47'
J. Defoe 54'
G. Cahill 17'
Mata 66', 69'
D. Sturridge 90'+
And that's it from us, be sure to enjoy today's 3pm kick-offs, starting shortly, as well as our coverage of Norwich vs Arsenal at 5.45pm. Thanks!
After working their way into the lead at the opening of the second half, Spurs were the victim of a classy display from Juan Mata, who scored two and set up the final to hand a convincing win to Robert Di Matteo's side, who are now seven points clear at the summit of the Premier League. Andres Villas-Boas will have to wait a little longer to get his revenge against Chelsea Football Club.
90' + 4'
And that's it! 4-2 to Chelsea in an utterly breathless Premier League affair that has seen the league leaders stamp their authority.
90' + 2'
Four minutes of injury time at White Hart Lane, but this one is all but dead and buried
90' + 1'
Assist Juan Mata
90' + 1'
Goal Daniel Sturridge
However, it is Walker who costs Spurs in the end. The full-back has an absolute howler trying to shield the ball out of play and is dispossessed by Mata. The Spaniard strolls into the Spurs area, rolls the ball across it and Sturridge obliges by tapping into an empty net. Game over.
Walker steps on to a loose ball and slams an effort that Cech does fantastically to get down to and turn round the post. This game is yoyoing violently end-to-end.
Hearts in mouths as Cech spills Defoe's cross into the box. The ball drops to the feet of Adebayor though the front-man cannot adjust his feet quick enough to capitalise on the error.
Torres has just missed a prime chance to put the game beyond Spurs reach. This time it's Mata who totally bisects the Tottenham defence and though Torres opens up onto his right foot with the goal at his mercy, he can only bend an effort wide of the far post. Great chance to hammer home the final nail for the visitors there.
It's Lennon's turn to test Cech next but the speedy winger can only fizz an effort straight into the Chelsea keeper's arms from just inside the box. Spurs are hell-bent on finishing this game with a flourish.
Sigurdsson is assigned shooting duty though can only bend a right-footed effort disappointingly high, wide and ugly.
Defoe jinks in off the left flank and wins a free-kick in a dangerous position following Mikel's clumsy trip.
Spurs are knocking on the door, looking a lot more beefy up top with Adebayor joining a lively Defoe. Ventonghen sends in an inviting cross from the left but Cahill does well to step in and hoof clear.
Adebayor nudges on a Livermore cross but Cech gathers comfortably.
Oscar tests Friedel with a fierce drive before the ball rockets up the other end and Sigurdsson, juggling the ball after bringing it down, fires high and wide from a decent position.
Mata is inches away from a hat-trick though his flick fails to deceive Friedel at the near post. Villas-Boas sends on Adebayor as he tries to engineer a way for Spurs to get themselves back into this one. A breathless second half as seen Spurs grasp ascendancy but after the sucker punch of Mata's quickfire double they now look desolate.
Assist Eden Hazard
Goal Juan Mata
3-2! And Chelsea are back in the lead. This one's all about Hazard, who threads an outrageous pass into the path of an advancing Mata. The scorer of Chelsea's equaliser takes a touch and slides a clinical finish high beyond Friedel. What a game!
Ventonghen denies Torres with a fabulous tackle. The front man had all the time in the world to angle in on Friedel's goal but out of nowhere, the Belgian centre-half, playing left-back today, stretches and plucks the ball out of Torres' stride.
Defoe almost replies immediately, teeing himself up before volleying an outrageous effort from 45 yards that Cech has to tip round the post.
Goal Juan Mata
2-2! An equaliser from Juan Mata, who finds the far post with a cracking finish. Chelsea had been on the up for the last five minutes or so and it's Mata who draws them level, firing in under pressure as he got on the end of Gallas' disappointing clearance. It could be argued that the Frenchman has been at fault for both Chelsea's strikes.
Ivanovic wastefully fails to beat a first man with his cross before Cole sees his ball in from the opposite side fails to inspire any Blue shirt to dart across the near post.
Torres, who has fed off scraps this whole half, does well by the right corner flag to keep hold of the ball for his team. After shielding it, the Spaniard skips beyond Ventonghen and Cauiker though stumbles when baring down on Friedel.
Chelsea still look most threatening on the break but so far neither Hazard, Oscar or Mata have been able to provide the instant impetus that the electric Lennon has offered Spurs. Defoe, rejuventated after his strike, chases back to halt an Oscar run forward, with the ball eventually being fed to Sandro, who rifles a low drive into the arms of Cech.
Spurs have burst out of the blocks in the second half and Chelsea look stunned. Cole goes down unconvincingly in the area after a challenge by Gallas but is waved away by Mike Dean.
Assist Aaron Lennon
Goal Jermain Defoe
2-1! Unbelievable, Spurs have totally turned this game on its head. Lennon drives at Ramires, who backs off and allows the winger to strike an effort at goal. The winger scuffs though Defoe, lurking on the shoulder of Cahill, nips in and sweeps the ball across Cech and into the net. It was a fantastic, instinctive reaction from Defoe. Incidentally, that's Defoe's 200th career goal.
The goal has lifted Spurs and White Hart Lane is now in full, boisterous voice. Sigurdsson works himself into a couple decent positions, forcing saves from Cech with two well struck efforts from just inside the area. Chelsea look shell struck.
Assist Jan Vertonghen
Goal William Gallas
GOAL! From the resulting free-kick Huddlestone swings another inviting cross from deep into the danger area. A bounce deceives the Chelsea defence and the ball works its way to Ventonghen at the far post. The Belgian helps the ball back across goal and Gallas stoops in, unmarked, to nod home on the line.
The second half starts in the same vicious manner the first half ended, as Luiz flattens Dempsey
And the teams are back out for the second half at White Hart Lane, with no changes for either side.
This is what Greg Stobart makes of the first half action: "Chelsea thoroughly deserve their 1-0 lead at the break thanks to that tremendous Gary Cahill volley in the 18th minute. They have controlled possession and continue to threaten when they attack against a Tottenham team badly feeling the absence of key players. Spurs have been shaky defensively and, despite some improvement towards the end of the half, will surely make at least one change at the interval. If they can pick up the pace and get the crowd behind them again, the Andre Villas-Boas’ men can get back in the game but Chelsea are very much living up to their status as Premier League leaders."
After a shaky start Spurs have proved themselves capable of at least competing with a Chelsea side who look a lot more accomplished on the ball. However, if Andres Villas-Boas wants to get one over on his old club and current Premier League leaders, he'll need a lot more from his players. Ideas going forward, in the absence of Bale and Dembele, look a little thin on the ground for the hosts.
45' + 4'
Yellow Card Ramires
45' + 4'
And that's half-time at White Hart Lane. Chelsea lead 1-0.
45' + 3'
Deja vu as Ramires prematurely puts an end to Lennon's sprightly burst down the right. Ugly foul. Deserved yellow.
45' + 2'
Yellow Card Kyle Walker
45' + 1'
Spurs have built some momentum in the latter stages of the half after a very flat opening but with just three minutes added on to the end of the half, it looks as if Chelsea will go in at the interval a goal to the good. Chelsea break yet again though Walker hauls down Cole, earning himself a fully-deserved booking.
Huddlestone's corner causes havoc in the Chelsea box though Dempsey can only lash his effort into a forest of Blue shirts. Chelsea consequently had the opportunity to break but Mike Dean had to halt play after Luiz took a nasty bang to the head in the aftermath of Huddlestone's inswinger.
Here's Greg Stobart from White Hart Lane: "Andre Villas-Boas is not his usual, animated self in the Tottenham dugout. He has barely left his seat in the last 15 minutes as he ponders how on earth his side can turn this around. Their use of the ball has been awful so far and he will surely consider making some changes - possibly the introduction of Emmanuel Adebayor - during the interval. That’s if Spurs make it to the break without conceding a second."
Sigurdsson tests Cech's dominion over his penalty area by whipping in a vicious cross from the left, but the 'keeper punches to safety. Great ball in.
Yellow Card William Gallas
Mata has a couple excellent chances to double Chelsea's lead. The Spaniard draws a sharp save out of Friedel after firing in from 18 yards, though can only hammer the rebound over the bar when the goal was gaping right under his nose.
Lennon bursts in off the right flank again and slips the ball inside to Dempsey. The American dallies on the ball though, moving backwards before losing it to Ramires. Cue grumbles from the crowd.
Yellow Card Tom Huddlestone
Spurs start to be showing a bit more life up top after a dull start though delivery is proving a problem. Both Huddlestone and Sigurdsson fail to put decent balls in the box after Spurs had committed men forward. The home side have nearly been caught out twice on the break under such circumstances.
Torres looks full of it today. Yet more sharp feet and movement bamboozles Caulker though the slipped through-ball to Mata finds the attacking midfielder a yard or so offside.
Torres' neat trickery ends in him whipping a ball into the box that is attacked by not one Blue shirt. Oscar should have been breaking his neck to get amongst Caulker and Gallas there.
Defoe tries to weasel himself some room in the box but is snuffed out by Cahill. The ball works its way out to Lennon on the right wing before the winger stands up a cross that eventually falls to Sigurdsson on the edge of the area. The Iceland man turns well, but can only rifle his effort inches wide of Cech's near post.
More from our man at the ground: "We are midway through the first-half and Chelsea are good value for their lead, controlling the game against a flat Spurs side. The crowd has gone quiet, too, with the stonking Gary Cahill volley making the atmosphere go very flat, apart from the visiting fans who are enjoying every minute."
Yellow Card Branislav Ivanovic
Ivanovic earns himself a booking after flinging himself theatrically to the floor before a darting, weaving Lennon run from the right flank hits a dead-end in the form of Luiz in the Chelsea penalty area.
That goal has cemented Chelsea's position as the dominant force in this game, with Spurs clearly missing the influence of both Bale and Dembele, with their forays forward missing the spark required to prize the visitors open.
Tottenham look to answer back right away but Cech does well to get down low and deny Defoe's driven effort from the edge of the box.
Cahill has absolutely smashed that. It may have taken a nick off Walker on the way into the net but you can't take anything away from the Chelsea man for that finish.
Goal Gary Cahill
GOAL! What a finish from Gary Cahill. A Hazard corner works its way over to the far post and after Gallas nods the ball back into the danger area, Cahill wraps his foot around it and belts a full volley straight through Friedel and into the roof of the net.
Here's Greg Stobart's breakdown of the opening 15 minutes: "Cracking atmosphere here at White Hart Lane but a cagey start the the game, with Chelsea looking to put together intricate moves to break down the Spurs defence, while the hosts look set to play a more direct style. The key for Chelsea will be how much space the likes of Oscar, Hazard and Mata can find to cause problems."
Then Kyle Walker goes and spoils it all by lofting a casually flicked pass straight out of play down the right.
Spurs have settled into a decent rhythm here at White Hart Lane, enjoying a fair bit of possession inside the Chelsea half.
Huddlestone crosses from deep on the right, forcing Ashley Cole to nod the ball out of play for a corner. Sigurdsson whips one in but the ball eventually pinballs to Sandro, who cannons a wild effort over the bar.
Chelsea are trying to punch a hole in the Tottenham defence but they can't find a gap. Ramires, Hazard and Mata have all angled runs towards the penalty area but the home side are standing strong.
Cole does win a corner this time, but it comes to nothing.
Good chance for Spurs! Sigurdsson dinks in a clever free-kick to the left of Cech's goal that Gallas peels off his marker to run onto. He can't quite get his foot around a first-time left-footed volley, though, and the ball trickles wide. Nice idea and a decent chance, though.
Chelsea having all of the ball in the opening couple of minutes. Mikel hits a pass out to Cole on the left, but after doing well to bring it down the ball flies out of play under the challenge of Lennon. The referee says Cole got the last touch, but he doesn't agree.
We're underway at White Hart Lane.
In case you were wondering, our readers selected a combined Tottenham-Chelsea XI in the build-up to the game this morning... Friedel; Ivanovic, Terry, Vertonghen, Cole; Ramirez, Dembele; Mata; Hazard, Bale, Torres.
"The players have completed their warm-up routines and White Hart Lane is filling up nicely with around 10 minutes until kick-off, with the Chelsea fans in the Park Lane stand to my right in fine voice as they sing ‘Champions of Europe," reports Greg Stobart
Allegedly Gareth Bale is absent from proceedings to attend his partner's labour. Talk about bad timing.
Here's what Greg Stobart, our man at White Hart Lane, makes of the team news: "Good afternoon from north London, where White Hart Lane is buzzing with anticipation ahead of this game between two fierce rivals. John Terry serves the first of his four-match ban but the major team news comes from Tottenham, with Gareth Bale and Mousa Dembele both absent and Hugo Lloris and Emmanuel Adebayor left on the substitutes’ bench. The press box and Spurs fans alike appear to believe this has tipped the balance firmly in the Blues’ favour as they look to extend their lead at the top of the table."
Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Luiz, Cahill, Cole, Ramires, Mikel, Oscar, Hazard, Mata, Torres. Subs: Turnbull, Romeu, Lampard, Moses, Sturridge, Azpilicueta, Bertrand.
Tottenham: Friedel, Walker, Gallas, Caulker, Vertonghen, Huddlestone, Sandro, Lennon, Sigurdsson, Dempsey, Defoe. Subs: Lloris, Adebayor, Naughton, Dawson, Falque, Livermore, Townsend.
Enough procrastination, here's how the teams lineup today...
Today they host a London derby against an undefeated and stylish Chelsea team perched nicely on top of the league. That said, the Blues haven't won at White Hart Lane in their last six visits and Spurs are currently on the best run in the division. Game on.
Anyway, AVB is certainly going the right way to wrestling his tarnished reputation back under grips with the challenge of replacing Harry Redknapp at White Hart Lane. Spurs are currently on a nine-game unbeaten streak and have won their last four league games on the bounce.
Just the small matter of Champions League and FA Cup glory - in case you didn't know. Champions League glory that, incidentally, cost Villas-Boas' new team their place among Europe's elite this season, after they pipped Chelsea to a top four Premier League finish last May.
Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas faces former club Chelsea for the first time since his disasterous spell in the hot seat at Stamford Bridge. Of course, the Portuguese will need little reminding of what counterpart Roberto Di Matteo achieved after stepping in to clear up the mess.
If you like your football littered with subplot and intrigue then today's 12.45 Premier League kick-off is the game for you.
Good afternoon and welcome to Goal.com's coverage of Tottenham vs Chelsea.
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