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December 22, 2011
• White Hart Lane, London
Referee: H. Webb
• Attendance: 36141
That will do us then. An intriguing game throughout that on reflection a draw was probably a fair result. A fair amount of controversy in the game but when isn't there. Now people just need to wait a few days for the next installment of Premier League games with Goal.com.
90' + 2'
John Terry has just saved a point here for Chelsea. For one of the first times in the second half Spurs carve Chelsea wide open and Bale's ball to Adebayor is inch perfect. The Togolese striker's finish is past Cech but Terry of all people races past and slides to clear up.
So we've got three minutes left for someone to sneak a winner here.
What a miss that is. Mata's free kick is beautifully flighted and the Brazilian is unmarked ten yards out but all he can do is head it over. Both teams throwing chances away willy nilly at the moment.
There it nearly was as Sandro got the ball 30-yards out then decides to take on three Chelsea players before getting a deflected shot at goal. The ball looks like it's going over Cech but he gets a hand to it. From the resultant corner Gallas is presented with a glorious opportunity but he makes a hash of the ball from the near post.
It's just all a bit quiet at White Hart Line as both teams have got themselves really organised defensively, it will take something special to get a winner at this rate.
'Arry still has two changes up his sleeve and they are beginning to look a little sluggish so he may be looking for a substitution sooner rather than later. Rather muted few minutes here. The calm before the storm?
Clearly AVB is reading Goal.com's commentary as Torres is being readied to come on. What a story this could be if he adds to his three Chelsea goals and score the winner.
Both managers seemingly loathe to make a change to their team with the game being played on such fine margins right now but you'd imagine they can't be too far away. Plenty of credit can be given to Bosingwa for how well he has coped at centre-half so far.
This is a real ding dong battle and there is little to choose between the two teams. You can't help but feel it may be a bit of magic to win it.
Yellow Card Gareth Bale
Big, big chance that for Spurs. Modric's corner is hit with pace and Sandro meets it on the run after giving Ferreira the slip but hiss header drifts wide of the far post from six yards out. He should have done much better.
Ooft Ramires goes inches away from giving Chelsea the lead. Meireles' free kick is flicked on by Terry and all Ramires needs to do is nod it in at the back post but he fails to get any contact on the ball.
This game is really finely poised and it is tough to pick a winner right now. Both teams being urged forward for what should be a blockbuster last 30 minutes or so.
Goal.com's Liam Twomey: "Chelsea have started this half extremely impressively, and the White Hart Lane crowd is trying to inspire their team to turn the tide through sheer noise and force of will. The home support erupted when Adebayor had the ball in the net only moments ago, only to be denied by the linesman’s flag. Still delicately poised, this."
That's a big call from the referee as Adebayor has the ball in the net but it has been disallowed. The ball was played forward towards Gallas, who appeared offside, his flick was then directed into the net by the Togolese striker by his shoulder/arm and Mr Webb deemed it to be a handball. Close call.
A few nervous groans coming from the home supporters as Spurs are being put under a bit of pressure from Chelsea who have come out for this second half really firing.
That's a glorious chance that Chelsea really wish Ramires wasn't on the end of. Drogba plays a superb through ball for the Brazilian who steals a march on King but Friedel is out quickly to meet him and block the shot.
Much more solid look to Chelsea at the start of the second half than was shown at the beginning of the game. This is just starting to bubble over nicely...
To continue along with the theme of the first half, this has been a very open beginning to the second half. Chelsea appear to be squeezing higher up the pitch than they were, which could leave gaps for Bale and co.
Rafael van der Vaart
Bit of interesting news as Pavlyuchenko comes on for Van der Vaart to give them some better shape and also because the Dutchman has picked up another hamstring injury. Spurs get us back underway.
Goal.com's Liam Twomey at White Hart Lane: "It’s been a pulsating first half at White Hart Lane, and while Chelsea might be considered lucky to have got away with Ashley Cole’s accidental handball in the build-up to their equaliser, boss Andre Villas-Boas will be entitled to curse his fortune at losing both Branislav Ivanovic and Jon Obi Mikel to injuries. Both sides look confident and dangerous going forward, so the second half should be just as entertaining as the first."
And that just about wraps up a very entertaining half of football, which has served as the perfect pre-Christmas treat. Spurs dominated the opening exchanges but Chelsea came back into it as the half wore on and leaves it finely poised for the second half. Don't you dare think about going anywhere!
45' + 3'
John Obi Mikel
45' + 2'
Looks like another injury problem here for Chelsea as Mikel goes down with what looks like a muscle injury and you'd expect Romeu to come to replace him.
45' + 1'
As if by magic the Welshman is able to run off the injury, while there will be an extra three minutes to go at the end of the first half.
Yellow Card Ramires
Bit of concern here as Bale writhes in pain after being on the receiving end of a less than pretty tackle from Ramires.
A rather muted few minutes that have just been illuminated with one of the best touches you're likely to see from Bale. Walker's cross is woefully long and looks to be heading out for a goal kick until the Welshman plucks it out of the air with minimal fuss. He's pretty decent to be fair...
It's Chelsea's turn to have a bit of possession and dominance here at White Hart Lane. You would think Spurs would especially look to get the ball to Bale now to ping some crosses in with Bosingwa filling in at centre-half.
Not good news for Chelsea here as Ivanovic is forced off the field and, with Alex being discarded from the first team, Ferreira comes on to play at full-back with Bosingwa moving to and unfamiliar centre-half role.
Goal.com's Liam Twomey: "After an awful start Chelsea have come back into this, and arguably deserve their equaliser. The Tottenham bench were livid that Ashley Cole wasn’t penalized for a handball in the build-up to Sturridge’s well-taken equalizer, but Blues boss Andre Villas-Boas paid no heed as he celebrated wildly on the touchline."
Very nearly 2-1 to Chelsea as a ball in from Bosingwa isn't dealt with by Walker and Drogba wonderfully chests the ball down in the six-yard area before striking with his left foot against the post.
So completely against the run of play Chelsea are back in the game and now surely they can use this as a springboard to be more competitive. It must be said that although the ball struck Cole's arm the Spurs defenders allowed the ball to reach Sturridge far too quickly.
Assist Ashley Cole
Goal Daniel Sturridge
GGOOOOOAAAAALLLLL!!!! Oooo we don't half love some controversy. Sturridge has leveled for Chelsea but the Spurs players are fuming as Howard Webb seemed to miss a handball in the build up. A flick from Drogba finds Cole via a tackle from Van der Vaart that hits the full-back on the arm. The home defenders go to sleep though as Sturridge is allowed to ghost in at the back post and get on the end of Cole's pinpoint cross. Game on!
Tottenham are controlling the pace of the game here, they are picking and choosing when to pick up the speed of their play and Chelsea can't deal with. They aren't squeezing Spurs enough and making far too few tackles.
Yellow Card Emmanuel Adebayor
The game has just settled down in the last few minutes as Chelsea have started to get on the ball more often. They can't seem to do anything with it though as Spurs are pressuring them too quickly.
Goal.com's correspondent at White Hart Lane Liam Twomey: "Tottenham, roared on by a raucous home support, have started this match at a typically frantic pace and fully deserve the lead given to them by Emmanuel Adebayor. Gareth Bale is showing no ill effects from the ankle knock he sustained last week and, if he keeps up this level of performance, Chelsea could be in for a long night…"
Chelsea just cannot seem to keep the ball at the moment. Spurs are pressuring high up the pitch and for the first 14 minutes or so they have completely outplayed their opponents.
Yellow Card Branislav Ivanovic
Well that should really be 1-1. Mata's 20-yard strike is spilled by Friedel with Sturridge reacting fastest but his rebound is blazed over from seven yards. Although replays suggest that King got a vital touch on it.
Assist Gareth Bale
Goal Emmanuel Adebayor
GOOOAAAALLLL!!!! First chance, first goal and Chelsea really haven't got going yet. Sandro makes a superb challenge in the middle of the pitch and from the Bale takes over and blitzes down the left before placing a really good ball across goal. Cech attempted to get to the cross but missed and Adebayor finishes with aplomb. What a start from Spurs.
Spurs have had 800 per cent of the possession so far, which goes to show how dominant they have been in the opening moments of the game. No chances of note just yet though.
Chelsea seem fairly content to let Spurs have plenty of the ball early on here as they continue with their deep defensive line that has served them much better in recent weeks.
The Spurs fans in decent voice and they have made a bright start here, keeping the ball for a large period. Unsurprisingly Terry is being booed whenever he is on the ball.
Chelsea get the game underway, let's get it on!
A frosty reception to say the least for John Terry at White Hart Lane.
The big dilemma for Andre Villas-Boas over whether to play skipper John Terry after yesterday's statement from the Crown Prosecution Service has seen AVB stick with his skipper. He insists the England and Chelsea captain will be full focused for this game. Other team news sees Oriel Romeu and Frank Lampard move to the bench with Ramires and John Obi Mikel replacing them respectively.
Harry Redknapp is forced to make one change with Aaron Lennon ruled out through injury but his place is taken by the returning Gareth Bale who had missed the previous two Premier League games. A victory for Spurs will see them move five points clear of both Chelsea and Arsenal with a game in hand, as well keeping them in touching distance of the two Manchester clubs.
Chelsea line up: Cech, Bosingwa, Ivanovic, Terry, Cole, Ramires, Mikel, Meireles, Sturridge, Drogba, Mata. Subs: Turnbull, Romeu, Lampard, Torres, Malouda, Ferreira, Kalou.
Tottenham line up: Friedel, Walker, Gallas, King, Assou-Ekotto, Modric, Parker, Sandro, Bale, Adebayor, Van der Vaart. Subs: Gomes, Kaboul, Pavlyuchenko, Bassong, Kranjcar, Rose, Livermore.
Season's greetings one and all and welcome to Goal.com's live commentary of Chelsea's vital visit across London to White Hart Lane. Victory for Tottenham will give them clear breathing space in third in the Premier League, while the Blues can overhaul their rivals with victory in north London this evening.
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