As ever, the derby between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea didn't disappoint, although a quick glance at the 1-1 scoreline could give the impression that the match was rather dull. Emmanuel Adebayor scored in the ninth minute to give Spurs the early lead, but Daniel Sturridge had secured the equalizer by the 25th. The next 65+ minutes may have been goalless, but they certainly weren't boring.
The home side started off brilliantly, barely letting Chelsea touch the ball for the first ten minutes. While we all know that possession is no longer the guiding light many commentators believe it to be, the frail Blues defense was unable to withstand wave after wave of Spurs pressure. After about the fourth or fifth time that Gareth Bale came tearing down the flank, he managed to slip the ball to Adebayor without John Terry getting in the way. The Spurs forward easily beat Petr Cech to put it in the back of the net.
Adebayor's goal put some life back into the visiting attack, as Chelsea finally began to exert some of their own pressure. It was Sturridge who grabbed the goal for the Blues, getting on the end of a gorgeous Ashley Cole cross to poke the ball into the back of the net.
But then things began to fall apart for Chelsea. Branislav Ivanovic went down clutching his thigh, and although the Serbian was at least partially to blame for Adebayor's goal, a glance to the bench revealed that only right-back Paulo Ferreira was available to replace him. Andre Villas-Boas had no choice, however, and Jose Bosingwa moved inside to central defense. As if that weren't enough, John Obi Mikel had to come off before the whistle blew for the end of the first half, nursing his own injury, although at least there was a replacement available in Oriol Romeu.
By halftime, however, Spurs were running out of ideas. Harry Rednapp pulled Rafael Van Der Vaart for the second half, replacing him, for some unknown reason, with Roman Pavlyuchenko. For the first ten minutes of the second, it seemed like both teams were still trying to catch their breath. But then, havoc broke loose again.
Both teams managed to put the ball in the back of the net at least once more: Juan Mata scored a clearly offside goal for Chelsea, while a second for Adebayor was determined to have been the same, or perhaps ruled out for a foul on Bosingwa during the lead up. But even when the ball wasn't landing in the back of one or the other net, it was pinging around the pitch as though in a mad game of pinball. PING! inches wide of Brad Friedel's goal. PING! John Terry makes a fantastic save to deny Gareth Bale. PING! A Chelsea midfielder sends the ball into the tenth row. You get the picture.
The division of spoils puts Spurs in third place, seven points behind Manchester United, nine behind Manchester City, and still holding a game in hand. Chelsea remain fourth, although there's very little but positives to take from today's performance.