LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 24: Ramires of Chelsea is closed down by Luka Modric and Scott Parker of Tottenham Hotspur during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge on March 24, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Tottenham Hotspur will be disappointed with their inability to finish chances at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, but they won't have any problem with the result, and the performance was an encouraging one after four consecutive poor league performances. Spurs have still gone five without a win, but are in good position for a top-four place after a 0-0 draw with Chelsea.
The first half was a wholly dull affair in which neither team looked very interested in attacking. Tottenham started with all of Luka Modric, Sandro and Scott Parker in the center, while wide players Gareth Bale and Rafael Van der Vaart tucked in. This clogging of the center of the pitch caused both teams to struggle to create anything in the early going, and it felt like that was Spurs' plan for the first half.
Though there was almost no action in the first 45, Spurs had a couple of glorious opportunities just before the whistle. Modric swung a ball into the box, which fell to Van der Vaart. He had his shot saved, then had a second shot blocked by Ashley Cole. Emmanuel Adebayor had a chance to head in, but put his header over the bar.
The second half began much like the entire first half played out, with both teams struggling to create anything and spraying a number of errant passes around the pitch. Things finally got interesting around the 55th minute, when Bale set up a great chance for Kyle Walker, but the right back hit the side netting with his shot. From then on, things were more interesting. Chelsea would have a couple of golden chances, but Spurs had more of the ball and twice as many shots.
Juan Mata had a spectacular chance in the 58th minute when Jose Bosingwa played a stunning rainbow ball into him, splitting the Spurs defenders, but Mata tripped over his own feet and failed to get a shot on target. Chelsea's best chance came on the 78th minute through Didier Drogba, who made a stunning chest control and turned towards the net from 12 yards out. Normally he can be counted on to hit a powerful and accurate shot, but instead he hit a dribbler directly into the arms of Brad Friedel.
Spurs' best chance came on the other end just a minute later. Modric played a spectacular ball over the top of the defense for Adebayor, who surprisingly stayed onside to get himself one-on-one with Cech. He went around the keeper, but was slow in applying the finishing touch and allowed Gary Cahill to get back and make a block. It was one of many great tackles, blocks and clearances from Cahill, who was the clear man of the match for either side.
Tottenham continued to pepper the Chelsea goal, but would never score. On the corner following that missed Adebayor chance, Bale put a header into the crossbar. Bale would have another shot on a corner kick saved with the final kick of the ball, as Cech saved a point for his team.
Chelsea will not be happy with the draw at home and are now serious underdogs for fourth place, but Tottenham squandered a chance to completely bury them, once and for all.