WELL this isn’t very Spursy at all, is it?
Defensive shape, sweat-drenched workaholism, a clean sheet… and top of the league.
It is not exactly ‘my eyes have seen the glory’ stuff as Spurs fans cheered on their team’s tracking back, their defensive blocking and their powers of concentration.
But even in an era when home advantage is not supposed to exist, Jose Mourinho will have been delighted with a goalless draw away at a title rival.
This was the day when the Jose-fication of Tottenham seemed complete, as they blunted Chelsea’s expensive squad and snuck back to the Premier League summit.
Between the 15th minute and the 81st, this London derby did not produce a single shot on target – and Mourinho will not have minded that one bit.
When winger Steven Bergwijn was withdrawn in the 89th minute, Mourinho left Gareth Bale standing on the sideline, where he had been warming off for the entire second-half, and sent on another left-back in Ben Davies instead.
Yet this is a manager who made Chelsea champions for the first time in 50 years. Who would bet against him delivering Spurs a first title in 60?
Mourinho’s men remain unbeaten in the Premier League since the opening day of the season and they are becoming mightily hard to break down.
There is no Hoddle or Gascoigne, no Ardiles or Modric in this workmanlike Spurs midfield. But yet none of those creative types ever won the League at White Hart Lane.
Moussa Sissoko, Tanguy Ddombele and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg were all immense for Spurs as Chelsea were forced to feed off scraps.
While this was largely about Mourinho’s defensive masterclass it was also a poor day for the attacking players on either side.
Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech were ineffective for Chelsea. And Harry Kane and Son Heung-min did not click as usual on the rare occasions Spurs tried to attack.
Both clubs had recruited significantly in the summer – if at different ends of the market – and their new boys had bedded in cosily.
Spurs had topped the table heading into the weekend on the back of five straight Premier League wins, while Chelsea were unbeaten in ten in all competitions.
This fixture produces more bitterness than the North London derby these days, and after a three-year hiatus, it was a title six-pointer once more.
Chelsea bossed the early exchanges without creating anything but as soon as Spurs broke, they were in trouble – Kane and Sergio Reguilon combining to set up Bergwijn, who curled his shot narrowly over.
Then it was Tottenham’s turn to panic – Joe Rodon, making his first Premier League start in place of the injured Toby Alderweireld, was dispossessed by Tammy Abraham.
Mason Mount fed Werner, who shot in off the far post – only for the linesman to correctly call the German offside.
Serge Aurier had a thumping shot pushed away by a diving Edouard Mendy.
If Chelsea were enjoying more possession and territory then Spurs were going about their business with the greater conviction – that midfield trio of Sissoko, Ndombele and Hojbjerg such an industrious hub.
Kane and Son both wasted free-kicks in threatening positions, yet it set into a pattern of Chelsea playing it left to right and back again in the Spurs half, with Mourinho’s defence and midfield refusing to yield.
Some might have regarded it as tactically compelling yet it felt grim and attritional as we went 65 minutes without a shot on target.
Hakim Ziyech – so good of late but so poor here – shot over when given half a chance midway through the second half.
Lampard sent Christian Pulisic on in place of Werner in place of, then Olivier Giroud for Abraham and Kai Havertz for Ziyech.
But it was Mount who finally produced an effort on goal, a powerful low drive which forced Hugo Lloris to push wide in the 81st minute.
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