A game of three…

…halves.

Some feeling nervous about Spurs’ clash with Chelski last night. Yes I know the thought of losing to the other scum isn’t nice but I much prefer Spurs when they’re at home against what they consider top opposition.

I’d have been more nervous it had been the likes of Wigan, Wolves etc. Games they take for granted sees them start slow and sloppy and never really improve that much. When it’s a team that they think is a top team then we see the best of Spurs. Out of the traps at pace, slick passing, ball retention and the glory, glory game. Swagger.

Unfortunately most times the swagger is reciprocated with an over-abundance of goals.

So with Chelski at The Lane it was going to be the latter scenario and the open 20 minutes. The swagger. Even without Lennon on the right. Though I had misgivings about Gallas retaining his place at the expense of Kaboul. Gallas’ no jumping routine against Stoke didn’t bode well up against Drogba. Though thankful to AVB for picking Mikel instead of Romeu.

So they were up for it and Chelski were all over the place. Chelsea kicked off but barely 10 seconds later Spurs were on the attack just to the side of the box through Adebayor, after a shocking pass by a certain recently charged scumbag. Minutes later Sandro powered into a tackle – not the first time on the night and certainly not the last – on Daniel Sturridge, winning the ball which goes to Bale. The winger does what he does best, charges down the wing and gets a beaut of a cross across the six yard box. Cech should have got the ball but he bottled it – he’s never been the same since Hunt did him – and Adebayor who had been left by the floundering Terry had an easy tap in.

For that opening period Spurs were bossing it but Chelski came back in quickly, first with a Sturridge chance and then 23 minutes Howard Webb decided to do something Howard Webbish and punish Modric for a perfectly good challenge. They take the free kick quickly, it eventually finds Cole after van der Vaart sliding in couldn’t cut it out but deflects it onto the scumbag’s arm. Now it wasn’t intentional and he didn’t move his arm towards the ball, so it’s not a foul – though shouldn’t the fact that he controlled the ball and gained an advantage overrule that?. But the main rule the Spurs players should have heeded to was play to the whistle. Ledley and especially Assou-Ekotto didn’t. As Cole crossed the ball, Ledley had slowed to stick his arm up, Benny had just completely ignored Sturridge until it was too late and had a tap in.

Benny’s a few poor games of late. Just some defensive sloppiness. Was added to here with some aimless humps up the left wing that weren’t even 50/50s. He’s better than that as the games prior to this trot proved, even if his detractors in the media – Hansen, Souness – choose to ignore them.

After this Chelski got the upper hand, Drogba hit the woodwork with a piledriver. Ivanovic had already been booked after bringing down Bale, before the equaliser, but as per usual when a lump is on a card they don’t target them. Shortly after it was a moot point as the defender hobbled off injured but Ferreira is one who should be there for the taking. Mikel was replaced in injury time as he paid the price for blocking a Modric shot.

Van der Vaart had apparently done his hamstring during the half and was increasingly more anonymous as time went on. He didn’t reappear after the break, Pavlyuchenko his replacement. It was a like for like replacement as Pav did very little in the second half, though he didn’t contribute the poor set pieces of van der Vaart. It had all the hallmarks of the big Russian scoring a screamer, everyone was expecting it as they, deservedly, slagged him off.

With the change of personnel there was more a 4-4-2 formation with Modric pushed out right. It’s just as bad him being out there as it is when he’s wide left. The central pair of Parker and Sandro are being overrun by the Chelski three. Benny getting done by Sturridge time after time. Ledley and Friedel are keeping them out.

Adebayor has one chalked off for offside. It wasn’t as per usual, against Chelski or with Webb in charge. Though was it handball, or shoulder? Walker was running rings around Cole, which meant the Chelski player was deemed worthy of the Man-of-the-Match award, while Sandro was being a beast in attack and defence.

Chances were few though not far between as they came in pairs a number of times, a shot from Modric and then a header from the following corner by Sandro. Bale blazed one he should have done better with. Then another Sandro attempt was just clawed away by Cech. The best chance though fell to visitors as Ramires was all on his lonesome inside the box with a free header he sent wide from a free-kick.

Then a moment with someone you knew would have a say on the outcome, other than Webb. At least it was at his own end and not Spurs’. It was kinda guaranteed with everything that’s gone on Terry would have a say, usually in this situation it’s with the winning goal. Here it was with a last ditch sliding save of Adebayor’s shot that would have won it.

So Spurs up in the first half, Chelsea back into for the second then end to end for the third half. For most of the game, after that excellent opening, Spurs were pretty poor and lacking in a number of areas but still good enough to get a point against a competitor for top London spot for Chrimbo. ‘Arry’s choice of players and formation are still questionable when he doesn’t have the first choices available. An understudy for Lennon is desperately required once the window opens if he’s going to be out for any length of time.

Tottenham Hotspur 1 – 1 Chelsea

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