Chelsea picked up a point against an in-form Tottenham side, after coming back from White Hart Lane with a goalless draw. That result saw Spurs go 13 games unbeaten, and they remain fifth in the table, 10 points clear of the 14th placed Blues. Could this be the start of a revival at the Bridge?
The big pregame news was Jose Mourinho’s decision to drop Diego Costa. The forward was left on the bench, while Loic Remy didn’t even make the squad. That left Eden Hazard in a false nine role, with Oscar, Pedro and Willian all in support. John Terry didn’t recover in time to make this one, so Gary Cahill and Kurt Zouma started, with Branislav Ivanovic taking the armband.
Chelsea had Asmir Begovic to thank as they went in to the half time break level, after he kept out strikes from Son Hueng-min and Moussa Dembele. The Bosnian stopper looked a little shaky at times, but the players in front of him would hardly have filled him with confidence. That was because Spurs were the better side in the first 45, they just couldn’t carve out a chance to break the deadlock.
The second half saw an improved Chelsea team take the field, and their formation really started to trouble Tottenham. Hazard was a constant thorn in the side of fellow countrymen Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen. The midfielder did everything but get himself a goal in this game, and his work ethic will certainly have pleased Mourinho, who seems to have had his faith in Hazard restored after a few good displays.
While they couldn’t get themselves a goal, the Blues will be delighted with their work at the back, which saw Harry Kane kept quiet. After coming into this game with nine goals in six matches, and the fact that he scored twice in this fixture last season, many thought he’d find a way through a Chelsea defence which has been all too open this year. But the champions shut out Kane, as he barely had a chance of note in the game.
That solid defensive display unsurprisingly pleased Mourinho. After the game the Blues boss said, “I am more than happy with the performance. I am happy with the team collectively. It was the best Chelsea performance of the season, against a dangerous team. My players did everything to try and interpret my defensive ideas with the ball.”
On Costa, the boss said there were no problems there, despite the forward throwing a bib towards him in frustration. “For me his behaviour is normal. A top player on the bench will not be happy. If he wants to hurt me it would not be with a bib. I have a good relationship with him.”
Next up for the Blues is a game at home to Bournemouth, followed by a huge clash against Porto in the Champions League.
LCN Man of the Match: Eden Hazard