10-men Chelsea FC held off Tottenham Hotspur to a draw after Fernando Torres was sent off in the second half.
The game was built up as the battle between the ‘Master’ and his ‘Apprentice’, and at the end of the day both of them shared the spoils, from what was a fascinating London derby.
Tottenham started the first half on the front foot and looked the most likely of the teams to break the deadlock. Eventually that goal arrived as Eriksen and Soldado combined well to put through Sigurdsson and the Icelandic midfielder applied the finishing touches to grab his third goal of the campaign. Spurs continued their domination after that goal and they should have doubled their lead before half time after Paulinho was set free inside the box by Townsend, but the Brazilian midfielder could only manage to hit the post. Spurs’ failure to capitalize on their dominance in the first half would come back to haunt them later in the second half.
Jose Mourinho needed to make early changes in the second half after seeing his team put up a disjointed performance in the first 45 minutes, and the Portuguese obliged by bring in Juan Mata in place of Mikel. Mata’s arrival instantly brought life to the Chelsea attack and put Tottenham on the back foot. There was also massive change in the performance of Fernando Torres, who along with Mata and Ramires was Chelsea’s most influential player in the second half, at least till he was on the pitch. Eventually the equaliser arrived for Chelsea as John Terry headed in a wonderful freekick from Juan Mata.
After that goal, it looked as if Chelsea will pull ahead of Spurs, but one questionable decision from referee Mike Dean changed the course of the match. Both Torres and Vertonghen were on a yellow card, before the Spanish striker and the Belgium international challenged for an aerial ball. Torres went in aggressively, but Vertonghen made the most of it by holding his face while going down. Mike Dean showed a Torres the second yellow of the game as Chelsea went down to 10-men. Spurs eventually failed to take advantage of this situation as the Blues successfully defended the last ten minutes of the game with fewer bodies.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho expressed his disappointment at the result and Torres’ sending off in the match. Mourinho believes that referee’s mistake changed the outcome of the game, and blamed Vertonghen for his part in the incident.
“I dont think it was [a fair result]. They were better than us in the first half. They didn’t created so many chances, but they deserved to be leading 1-0.
“In the second half there was only one team and that team was very strong.
“But then the referee makes a big mistake and the game changes. I don’t think the referee is to blame, I think you have to blame Vertonghen.” – The Chelsea manager said.
Andre Villas Boas on the other hand believed that it was a fair result and that the draw suited Chelsea more than Tottenham.
“I think [the result was fair]. The second half was not as good as we wanted. They did well to score from the set piece.
“Both teams had good chances, the chances were spread. We had a good opportunity for 2-0 just before half time, that would have been the killer.
“Always they were a threat on the counter-attack to score and they did. The result suits them better than us, but it was a very tight game.” – AVB told the press.
While Torres and Mata will grab most of the headlines, the contribution to Ramires in the second half cannot be over looked. The Brazilian started out on the right wing and seemed in effective in that role, but at the start of the second half when he was moved back to the center of the midfield, he provided Chelsea with the steel and grit they required. He kept running from the midfield and his passing was a lot better than Mikel in that role. The above heat map depicts his position in the match.