Premier League - Spurs deal Chelsea new setback

Sat, 24 Mar 14:43:00 2012

Tottenham boosted their hopes of Champions League qualification - and damaged Chelsea's - after holding the home side to a 0-0 Premier League draw at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea 0 Tottenham 0

Tottenham remain without a win at Chelsea since 1990, but will be happy enough with this point. They dominated large swathes of the second period after a turgid opening half, and were perhaps unfortunate not to garner greater riches from the day.

Tottenham remain five points clear of fifth-placed Chelsea but are now three behind rivals Arsenal after their 3-0 victory over Aston Villa later in the day.

The top four of the Premier League qualify for the Champions League with the fourth-placed side having to negotiate the hurdle of qualifying for the tournament's group stages.

On the evidence of this afternoon, that looks unlikely to be Chelsea, who did not do enough to earn the three points they craved from this match.

Juan Mata saw a free kick from distance hit a post before flying to safety with Spurs goalkeeper Brad Friedel beaten, but that was as close they came to scoring on a sweltering afternoon in London.

Frank Lampard and Ramires had appeals for penalties turned away in each half when they went to ground under pressure, but replays suggested referee Martin Atkinson made the correct decision on both occasions.

The first half was notable only for its lack of incident, but Chelsea were fortunate to survive seconds before the interval when Petr Cech saved a venomous volley from Rafael van der Vaart before Ashley Cole blocked the rebound from the Dutch player.

Emmanuel Adebayor then headed over as the home side escaped to the sanctity of their dressing room level, but they could not increase their energy levels sufficiently to trouble Tottenham in the second period.

The visiting side always carried more of a menace, especially in the closing moments with William Gallas heading over the bar on 78 minutes before Gary Cahill was forced to scamper back to clear an Adebayor effort off the line after the forward had rounded home goalkeeper Cech three minutes later.

Gareth Bale saw a header crash off the bar on 82 minutes from Luka Modric's corner while Cech was forced to claw out a dipping Bale free kick deep into injury time.

Harry Redknapp's side have taken just five points in eight matches against other clubs in the Premier League top five this season - the worst return for any of the five clubs - but they remain in a strong position to end the season in the much-vaunted top four after a hectic but forgettable derby.

Tottenham boosted their hopes of Champions League qualification - and damaged Chelsea's -with a 0-0 Premier League draw at Stamford Bridge. - 2


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