In a match where both teams would have liked to get three points to close the gap between themselves and the table toppers up north, both teams had to settle for just one point on the day.
Spurs without winger Aaron Lennon brought in midfielder Sandro for just his 4th Premier League start of the season. Chelsea swapped new boy Oriel Romeu for Jon Obi Mikel in the holding midfield role and Andre Villas Boas went with Didier Drogba instead of Fernando Torres for yet another big game.
Tottenham show intent from the off
Chelsea in what can be called their ‘new regular selves’ sat deep early on and invited Spurs onto them. The North Londoners obliged and pushed their fullbacks high up the pitch with their wide men tucked in and found space in what was supposed to be a compact Chelsea unit. Spurs moved the ball superbly and matched this with some intelligent running off the ball. The Blues were outnumbered 5v3 in the middle of the park as their wide men and fullbacks did not follow Gareth Bale and Rafael van der Vaart when they made runs infield. Tottenham controlled possession, dictated the tempo and made the most of the space afforded to them to dictate the early proceedings.
Chelsea fail to track runners
Villas Boas started with Mikel probably to do a job against a direct opponent in van der Vaart or maybe Modric playing behind Adebayor. This would have been a typical holding midfielder/trequrtista (attacking midfielder) battle. However, this was not the case. As can be seen in the above diagram Tottenham played with no set player in this area but were still able to dominate it. This was done through intelligent runs from deep or wide positions by their midfielders into this area when Mikel was dragged out of position while covering teammates. The Chelsea players whose job would have been to keep tabs on these players failed in their task and this did not help them win the midfield battle. Spurs’ midfielders showed great fluidity and chemistry when they attacked the space between the lines and overloaded Mikel.
In the attacking phase Chelsea also struggled to get going. Their ball movement was too slow and players’ off the ball movement was non-existent. They struggled to hold on to the ball for long periods and establish a rhythm. Ashley Cole and Jose Bosignwa/Paulo Ferreira failed to get into advance positions to supplement the attack. According to the Chalkboards below, Cole and Bosignwa both attempted two passes each (one of which was the assist for Sturridge goal) in the final third of the field. Reason for this was their failure to establish a hold in the midfield which would have allow them to bomb forward and offer width to the attack.
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