A 0-0 draw in a game in which neither side asserted any authority over.
Chelsea started in a 4-4-1-1/4-2-3-1 which dropped off to two lines of four when defending. Ramires was played on the right with Sturridge moved to the left and Drogba preferred to Torres up front with Mata behind. Tottenham provided a surprise in their system, with a 4-3-3/4-1-4-1, with Bale starting on the left and Van Der Vaart given the right sided position but wanting to move inside. Sandro and Modric played in front of Parker in midfield.
The first half was fairly laboured in possession from both teams. Tottenham looked to press slightly higher up than Chelsea with Sandro and Modric generally pressuring Essien and Lampard in midfield, with the two Chelsea midfielders dropping deep to pick the ball up from the centre backs. This sometimes left space between the lines for Mata and also Drogba when he came deep to link up.
Di Matteo’s players as mentioned focussed on making two lines of four when defending with Drogba and Mata both dropping deep as well and defending close to their midfielders to make it compact.
Both sides had possession in defence but often struggled to penetrate, though Chelsea looked the more likely in the first half. The home side tried to play the ball behind Tottenham’s full backs and stretch Gallas and Kaboul laterally, especially with the pace in the wide areas, most notably from Cole and Sturridge, though Ramires and Bosingwa also threatened on the right.
Both Drogba and Adebayor made similar movements up front for their sides, with both strikers moving to wide areas, allowing the midfielders to make runs down the centre. The difference was that Chelsea played slightly more direct with Drogba to use his strength and allow Lampard to run off him when they did play direct balls into him.
Both sides however were laboured on the ball and the game lacked intensity for much of the first half, with the only big chance falling in the final minute with Modric and Bale linking up to provide a chance for Van Der Vaart who was unable to finish with two shots cleared off the line.
Clearly both teams needed to up the intensity for the second half and the game was much better to watch as a spectacle after half time.
Chelsea looked the better side early on in the second period with some dangerous sitatutions created on counter attacks where Mata often found space between the lines and Sturridge and Ramires looked to make penetrating runs behind, one of which they got a penalty claim from when Ramires went down in the box. Sturridge also did well to support Drogba quickly when Chelsea went direct and the Englishman hit a shot wide after a long ball to Drogba in the air. Their inefficiency in making the key pass was noticeable though.
The full backs for both sides again moved high up the pitch, allowing the wingers to move inside between the lines but it was Mata who started in the centre who was the main threat for Chelsea with clever movement either side of Parker which allowed him to receive the ball and like, Drogba in the first half, act as a pivot to give Lampard the opportunity to run forward.
Tottenham came into the game more and more though with Bale moving more central and providing a chance for the energetic Walker on the right who hit the side netting. Their main threats were from set pieces with Gallas going close from a free kick while Mata hit the post from a great free kick.
Torres came on for Essien and played towards the right like against Napoli and later on moved to the left when Sturridge went off. Meanwhile Saha came on for Van Der Vaart on the right while Livermore came on for Sandro.
However Tottenham’s key players in attack were Adebayor and Bale. Adebayor found space behind an increasingly vulnerable Chelsea defence but his shot was blocked by Cahill with the goal gaping. From the resulting corner, Bale faked a run to the near post which lost his marker and gave him space to header the ball which struck the bar.
Both teams left more space between the lines as the game grew closer to the end, with Chelsea allowed a couple of dangerous shots from outside the area after a lack of ball pressure from Tottenham’s midfield. Modric threatened at the other end when he found space behind Lampard and Ramires.
Cech made a good save from a dipping free kick from Bale in stoppage time and the game ended in a fair draw which keeps the five point gap between the two sides.