Spurs extend unbeaten run and maintain 10-point lead over Chelsea after stalemate
Tottenham extended their unbeaten run to 13 Premier League games and maintained their 10-point lead over Chelsea after a goalless draw at White Hart Lane.
Clear-cut chances were scarce in a tight London derby. Eden Hazard and Heung-Min Son both wasted good opportunities with first-half headers, while Hugo Lloris made a fine reflex save to stop a Hazard volley in the second period, but the defences were generally on top throughout and there were only five shots on target in total.
Spurs remain outside the top four but are only four points off the top, while Chelsea edged their way up to 14th place in the table.
There was only one change to the Spurs side that beat West Ham in their previous Premier League outing, with Ryan Mason replacing the suspended Dele Alli – but Pochettino made some additional tweaks.
Mason surprisingly lined up on the right side of the front four, while Christian Eriksen moved into the central No10 role and Son swapped to the left flank. Meanwhile, Jose Mourinho left Diego Costa out of his starting line-up and deployed Hazard up front.
Spurs, who had made a 5,000-mile round trip during the week to face Qarabag in Azerbaijan on Thursday evening, looked short of their best – and Pochettino’s seemingly unnecessary number of alterations seemed to affect their recent fluidity.
Yet they hosts still threatened early on as Gary Cahill reached Danny Rose’s low cross ahead of Harry Kane to concede a corner, and a 25-yard Kane snapshot was then deflected and forced an awkward save from Begovic.
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But Chelsea were looking bright and Toby Alderweireld had to intervene to stop Pedro reaching a loose ball in front of his goal before the Blues created the first clear opening, with Hazard heading over from Oscar’s inviting cross.
Pedro then cut inside from the right and saw a powerful strike deflected over – but Tottenham promptly made their best chance. Kane crossed from the right and Son looked poised to head home, but he directed his effort straight at Begovic.
Mousa Dembele then jinked past his man in midfield and hit a low 30-yard effort towards the bottom right corner, testing Begovic again, while Oscar hit the side netting at the other end as the first half ended goalless.
The game became even tighter after the break. Erik Lamela replaced Mason, who twisted his ankle, 10 minutes after the break – and Son played a one-two with the Argentine before stabbing a shot at Begovic after 64 minutes.
It was then Lloris’ chance to earn his money. Branislav Ivanovic crossed from the right and Hazard unleashed a fine low volley towards the far corner, but Spurs’ keeper got down to make a brilliant reaction save.
The game then petered out, keeping its intensity but with neither side able to provide a telling moment of quality and break the deadlock.
Tottenham: Lloris, Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose, Dier, Mason (Lamela 56), Son (Njie 74), Dembele, Eriksen, Kane
Chelsea: Begovic, Ivanovic, Zouma, Cahill, Azpilicueta, Matic, Fabregas, Willian (Kenedy 88), Oscar, Pedro (Loftus-Cheek 90), Hazard
Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs