Matches between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur very rarely disappoint, and Thursday's is shaping up to be a regular Christmas treat. The pace has rarely slowed, as both sides demonstrate their intent on taking the maximum number of points away from White Hart Lane. Perhaps they know their presents depend on the number of goals scored? Right now, it stands even at 1-1, although not for lack of trying.
The first goal was scored before the clock had passed ten minutes, as Gareth Bale, demolishing the Chelsea defense, slipped the ball inside, to where Emmanuel Adebayor was lurking just behind John Terry. Although Petr Cech came rushing out, he could do nothing to stop the towering striker from poking the ball into the back of the net.
Chelsea sprang back, however, immediately putting their footprint on the match. Daniel Sturridge received a great cross from Ashley Cole, but skied it high over the net. Sturridge quickly cleared up the black mark against his name, however, by scoring his ninth league goal of the season. Again, nothing was needed beyond a toe poke, but this time, the forward pulled it off with ease.
Santa's putting a couple players on his naughty list, however. Adebayor received a booking for a clumsy challenge on Meireles, and very nearly escaped another for a foul on Ramieres. Ramieres himself picked up his own yellow Christmas card, executing a clumsy challenge on Gareth Bale, who is already as fragile as spun sugar. Branislav Ivanovic also went into the book, although that barely matters now, as the Chelsea defender left the match with what appears to be a hamstring injury. He was replaced by Paulo Ferreira, the only defender available to Andre Villas-Boas, forcing Jose Bosingwa to shift into the center-back position.
Then, during injury time, Villas-Boas was forced into a second substitution when John Obi Mikel went down with what looks to be a muscle injury. Fortunately for the Chelsea coach, he was able to use a like-for-like substitution in Oriol Romeu, although I doubt what was running through his mind at the moment was the Portuguese for "Thank God I have Romeu!"