Chelsea started with Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard on the bench. The latter returned to the squad after missing the last 20 competitive games through injury. Drogba’s omission from the starting line-up looked like a ploy from Carlo Ancelotti to shock his misfiring side into life. Unfortunately, similar to the defeat to Liverpool, the Italian was forced to admit his experiment was a mistake at half-time.
The Blues started in nervy fashion and their simple errors encouraged Spurs. With Chelsea on the back-foot, Wilson Palacious drew groans from the crowd with a misplaced pass that could have helped the home side into the lead. Luckily, Tottenham were in front moments later. Jermain Defoe darted down the left and swept a low cross into the area. Roman Pavlyuchenko produced an excellent first touch to rid himself of John Terry and Jon Mikel Obi’s attentions and then drilled a low shot into the corner. The goal only caused to make Chelsea more nervous. Branislav Ivanovic was nearly caught out by Luka Modric soon after as he tried to shepherd the ball back to Petr Cech.
As the half progressed Tottenham failed to pressure their visitors into more mistakes. Chelsea saw more and more of the ball but were easily contained by the Spurs backline. Salomon Kalou’s glancing header was the pick of their first half chances.
At the break, Ancelotti sacrificed the midfield cover of Mikel to introduce Drogba alongside Nicolas Anelka. However, the momentum seemed to stay with Harry Redknapp’s men. Defoe and Modric shot wide before Drogba forced a save from Gomes with a long-range effort. Minute later, the Ivorian went much better when he drew Chelsea level. He hustled Michael Dawson, returning from a three month injury, off the ball and drove a powerful straight through Gomes, who should have done much better. With the equaliser, the visitors seemed to sense a victory was definitely possible. In fact, both teams looked to be playing for the win.
Daniel Sturridge and Aaron Lennon both had chances to score for their team before the Spurs ‘keeper gifted Chelsea a penalty. The Brazilian stopper clattered into his countryman, Ramires as he raced onto Drogba’s flick and all looked lost for Spurs. However, he quickly redeemed himself by diving strongly to his left to push away the last-minute spot kick. The stop denied the champions what would have been a much coveted three points following their spirited second half fight back.