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Chelsea 0-0 Tottenham: Spurs return to the Premier League summit after goalless stalemate

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Chelsea 0-0 Tottenham: Spurs back on top of the Premier League after earning a point at Stamford Bridge as Jose Mourinho's cautious approach pays off against his former clubChelsea dominated possession at Stamford Bridge, but couldn't break down a stubborn Tottenham defence Jose Mourinho's men were knocked off top spot by Liverpool on Saturday, but went back top with a draw Frank Lampard's side are also in great form but couldn't go top of the table themselves on a frustrating dayLatest Premier League news, live action and results can be found herePremier League table - as it stands 


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There were, apparently, some 18 shots in this game; it is hard to recall the majority of them, though. Likewise the six tackles worthy of a yellow card from referee Paul Tierney. They have pretty much slipped the mind, too.



Tottenham got the away point that returned them to the top of the table, and Chelsea are legitimate challengers, so Jose Mourinho will be the happier of the managers. Both clubs emerged unscathed, though, so neither will be too disappointed. Chelsea lost tamely to Liverpool earlier in the season, so this was a step in the right direction for Frank Lampard and his players, too.



Yet, bottom line, both teams failed to achieve the point of the game. Indeed, between minutes 15 and 81, neither actually got a shot on target. When an effort from Mason Mount was deflected and tipped round by Hugo Lloris late in the second-half it brought to an end 66 minutes of stalemate. 

Chelsea had most of the possession and the chances, but they couldn't find a goal against Tottenham on Sunday evening

Tottenham were limited going forward, as Chelsea took control of the game and stopped any chance of a counter attack

Tammy Abraham tried to make things happen, but he couldn't find the net after having a few chances in and around the box

MATCH FACTS AND PLAYER RATINGS

Chelsea: (4-3-3) Mendy 6; James 6, Zouma 6.5, Silva 6.5, Chilwell 6; Kovavic 6, Kante 6.5, Mount 6.5; Ziyech 5 (Havertz 83), Abraham 5.5 (Giroud 79, 5.5), Werner 5 (Pulisic 74, 5)

Subs not used: Arrizabalaga, Rudiger, Jorginho, Azpilicueta

Yellows: James, Zouma, Mount, Ziyech 

Manager: Frank Lampard 6

Tottenham: (4-2-3-1) Lloris 6.5; Aurier 6, Rodon 7, Dier 6, Reguilon 6; Sissoko 5.5, Hojbjerg 6; Son Heung-Min 5 (Moura 90), Ndombele 6 (Lo Celso 65, 5), Bergwijn 5.5 (Davies 89); Kane 6

Subs not used: Sanchez, Bale, Hart, Morais

Yellows: Reguilon, Bergwijn

Manager: Jose Mourinho 6

Referee: Paul Tierney 7 

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No doubt there will be the odd hipster doofus on social media declaring this a compelling tactical masterclass that will have fascinated the true lovers of football but, in truth, it was a game only a coach could enjoy. 

For those that delight in tactical chess there was interest in seeing the way Mourinho continues to shape Tottenham, and Lampard’s smart reaction to Chelsea’s early season frailty, but this was a meeting of two of the most free-scoring teams in the competition and, as such, it was a let-down.

If title victories are built from the back, however, there were positive signs for both clubs. Mistakes were rare, although Mourinho’s bold decision to give Joe Rodon – a recent signing from Swansea – his full league debut at the age of 23 almost backfired when he underhit a back pass to Hugo Lloris two minutes into injury time. 

It let in Chelsea substitute Olivier Giroud, but his tame finish was lobbed into the grateful arms of his compatriot in Tottenham’s goal.

In many ways, it summed up the action. The best chance at the other end was a mis-step, too – a huge hoofed clearance from Steven Bergwijn after 59 minutes which was being shepherded back to goal by N’Golo Kante, under pressure from Son Heung-min.

Suddenly, Kante stumbled, perhaps distracted by the urgent advance of his goalkeeper Edouard Mendy to ten yards outside his area. 

It could have proved disastrous but, ultimately Mendy’s action saved his team, allowing him to quickly clear before Son could do any damage. He may have caused the problem, but at least he resolved it.

This was a quiet 90 minutes for both members of Tottenham’s attacking force, Harry Kane and Son, and only late in the second-half did either man force Mendy into service; even then it was a Son cross, rather than an attempt at goal, that he palmed away. It could have been dangerous, though.

Tottenham's attacking players were barely noticed in the game, particularly in the second half as Chelsea took over

Frank Lampard gestures during what was a frustrating game, as his team tried to find a way to break down Tottenham

Tottenham started the game better, but Chelsea grew into it, as both teams showed how good they are at defending

It is remarkable, though, how often this happens. A pair of attack-minded, ambitious teams go head to head, with goals predicted and anticipation high. The result? Torpor. It wasn’t that the managers were cautious, it wasn’t that the skills were not on display. 

As the cliché runs, they just cancelled each other out. Lampard deployed his excellent defenders, marshalled by Thiago Silva, and Tottenham could find no way through; Mourinho’s team sat deep and kept their shape and Chelsea’s front-line was ineffectual. 

Reece James and Hakim Ziyech got crosses in and maybe Giroud would have made a difference in the air, but Tammy Abraham did not look like converting. When Giroud finally got an opportunity it was of the type that might have been more suited to Abraham’s skill set. Oh well. 

This was Chelsea’s poorest first-half return under Lampard since the visit of Liverpool and when half-time arrived Lloris hadn’t actually had a save to make. 

Jose Mourinho gestures during the game as he tries to get his team out of their own third in what was a difficult match

Tanguy Ndombele uses his low centre of gravity to stay on his feet as he takes the ball past Chelsea's N'Golo Kante

Chelsea were reluctant to throw too many men forward as they were aware of the threat Tottenham pose on the counter

To be fair, Mendy only had one and the biggest moment of excitement was a goal disallowed, rightly, for offside. That’s never a good sign, really.

Tottenham started better, but Chelsea grew into it, although in defence of both managers these are good teams, with good players, who know how to defend. Tottenham have that Mourinho shape, while Silva has improved Chelsea at the back, not least Kurt Zouma who is playing his best football since prior to his ligament injury in 2016. 

Lampard and Mourinho respect one another, too, despite the pre-match chirping. No manager has ever beaten Mourinho in three league games straight – Lampard had won their last two meetings before this – and there is a reason for that.

So there was a lot of sparring and dancing and not too many punches thrown. Kane picked out Bergwijn on the run after nine minutes, but he shot over – and Mendy saved a ferocious shot by Serge Aurier six minutes later. Yet as Chelsea grew stronger so Tottenham were happy to contain. 

It was a cautious approach from Jose Mourinho, but the tactic paid off against his old side as he is back on top of the league

Chelsea's Timo Werner had the ball in the back of the net in the first half, but his goal was disallowed due to offside

It was a long afternoon for the Tottenham Hotspur players, but they came out of it on top of the Premier League table

The only positive action at the Chelsea end early on came when Timo Werner had the ball in the net – Rodon made the error that started the move – but the goal did not count. It wasn’t even a VAR controversy. Werner was flagged off in real time and replays showed the linesman was correct.

‘The one thing that I take from the game is that a draw here normally is a positive result,’ said Mourinho. ‘To stay top of the league with that result is also positive. My dressing room is not happy. That is the best thing I take. We are not happy. It is fantastic because that is a complete change of mentality and personality. We didn't have many chances but how many did they have? That is the thing that makes me really happy: that we are not happy with a draw at Stamford Bridge.’

He’s right, of course; but given what was expected, who was? 

Chelsea won't be too unhappy with a draw, but they will be frustrated that they couldn't get more out of Sunday's game

Jose Mourinho's side goes back to the top of the Premier League, after Liverpool were unable to get a win this weekend

Sportsmail's Matt Porter provided live EPL coverage of Chelsea vs Spurs including score, lineups and updates. 

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