Chelsea 0-0 Tottenham Hotspur
A winner-takes-all showdown at the Premier League summit.
Both sides kicked off knowing a win would move them to the top of the table.
Both sides, to be truthful, don’t like each other very much.
Throw in the added intrigue of a master manager taking on an apprentice who has already beaten him in their previous three meetings and the scenario was set for Premier League highlights.
What we got may not have been end-to-end in an attacking sense but it certainly remained compelling viewing until the very end.
Highlights of the game
A week ago, Jose Mourinho had shown his vintage still provides a winning taste as he masterminded a Spurs victory over Manchester City and old adversary Pep Guardiola. This time it was young buck Frank Lampard who stood in his way at the ground where they shared many happy memories – memories which resulted in two Premier League titles, one FA Cup triumph and two League Cup successes from 2004-07.
How both men would love to be able to guide their respective clubs to such glory in their new roles and, while neither Chelsea nor Spurs are among the favourites for the Premier League title this season, they have recruited well to strengthen teams which finished fourth and sixth respectively in last season’s standings.
Chelsea made three changes from their 2-1 win over Rennes in Europe on Tuesday as N’Golo Kante, Hakim Ziyech and Reece James replaced Cesar Azpilicueta, Jorginho and Callum Hudson-Odoi.
There was also a place on the bench for Christian Pulisic following a month out with a hamstring injury.
It was pretty much all change from Spurs’ 4-0 win over Ludogorets on Thursday with only Tanguy Ndombele staying in the team and, in the absence of the influential Toby Alderweireld, Wales defender Joe Rodon was given his first-ever Premier League start following his recent move from Swansea City.
While the SBOTOP Premier League betting odds acknowledged two evenly matched sides, something would have to give.
After all, not only were Chelsea (seven) and Tottenham (eight) on the current longest unbeaten runs in the Premier League, Spurs were one of three sides with a 100 percent away record in the competition so far this term.
As Mourinho had acknowledged pre-match, all the pressure was on the hosts and Spurs seemed content to let them have the ball for long spells.
Whether that position would have changed had Timo Werner’s 11th-minute strike not been ruled out – correctly – for offside, we will never know, but the pattern of play took a consistent form from virtually the start.
Spurs did see a Serge Aurier drive from outside the box palmed away by Edouard Mendy but chances were minimal and Spurs seemed able to keep the home side at bay almost throughout.
Chelsea did have a chance to win it when Rodon could only head towards substitute Olivier Giroud but he was unable to lift the ball over his compatriot Hugo Lloris.
That was pretty much it as a contest which saw only four efforts in target ended goalless.
Another job done for Mourinho on his old stomping ground. Spurs are back at the top of the league.
Spurs have won 13 points away from home in the Premier League this season (won four, drawn one) – converting to three-points-per-win all-time, only in 1960-61 have they earned more points from their first five games on the road in the top-flight (15).
Spurs have only won seven of the 57 Premier League meetings with Chelsea and have also won just one of their 35 matches at Stamford Bridge in all competitions since 1990. This was also only their second clean sheet in their past 17 visits.
Mendy has kept eight clean sheets in 11 appearances for Chelsea in all competitions, conceding just three goals – one of which came against Tottenham on his debut in the League Cup. That includes five clean sheets in six league games.
Chelsea are unbeaten in 14 matches in all competitions (won eight, drawn six).
This is the latest point of a season Spurs have been top of the table since they led the standings after 23 games in January 1985.
The heavily congested 2020-21 campaign continues apace for both clubs.
Chelsea are in Spain at Europa League holders Sevilla on Wednesday evening in the Champions League. They then host Leeds United in the Premier League next Saturday night (December 5).
Spurs are in Europa League action at minnows Lask on Thursday night, a match in which a point will seal their place in the knockout stages. They then face another big one domestically with the North London derby at home to Arsenal a week today (December 6).
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