Premier League – Chelsea beaten at Tottenham
Chelsea blew the chance to cut the gap on Premier League leaders Manchester United when they slumped to a 1-0 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur.
Nine-man United were beaten 2-0 at Fulham, which gave Chelsea a sniff at reducing their lead to just one point.
But a second-half goal from Luka Modric (pictured) gave Spurs a win they deserved against an uninspired Blues side that laboured for much of the game.
Kick-off was delayed by half an hour after a suspicious package was reported at White Hart Lane.
London rivals Spurs, meanwhile, looked confident in possession but were unable to take the succession of half-chances they created.
Jermaine Jenas sent a rising drive just over the bar, Robbie Keane forced a good stop from Petr Cech after poor defending from Alex and Jose Bosingwa, while Keane fired straight at Cech after he was put through by Vedran Corluka.
The second half saw more of the same, only Spurs finally made one of their chances count.
On 50 minutes, Jose Bosingwa’s poor clearance found its way to Aaron Lennon on the right.
The sometime England winger, who recently signed a five-year deal at the club, drilled a low cross past Ashley Cole and Modric expertly sent the ball into the bottom-right corner past the diving Cech.
The goal spurred Chelsea into action, which had the effect of opening the game up and giving Spurs a few more opportunities.
Modric volleyed into the ground in a near-identical move to that which created the goal.
Darren Bent should have got a shot away when the Croatia playmaker sent him through on the left but the erstwhile England striker’s poor confidence was obvious when he opted to play the ball backwards instead.
Chelsea, meanwhile, went close when Gomes made a very good stop from Drogba, while Frank Lampard‘s insipid performance was highlighted by a weak drive wide after he was put through by Anelka.
It seemed like it was not going to be Chelsea’s day when Gomes made a contender for save of the season by keeping out a bullet header from John Terry that was headed for the bottom-right corner.
Drogba went close with a header of his own that looped just wide as the Blues heightened their pressure in the latter stages.
Guus Hiddink’s men almost snatched a dramatic injury-time equaliser but Alex’s header rebounded off the underside of the bar and the loose ball was tipped away by Gomes.
There was a late scare for Spurs when the whistle blew following a goalmouth scramble in the sixth minute of stoppage time, but it signalled the end of the match and not the penalty Chelsea craved.
Chelsea remain second, four points behind United – who also have a game in hand – while Spurs move ninth.