Belfast Telegraph

Jose Mourinho causes stir after dropping Diego Costa as Chelsea hold Spurs

Tottenham 0-0 Chelsea

Diego Costa was dropped as Chelsea and Tottenham played out a goalless draw which will do little to kick-start the Barclays Premier League champions' season.

Costa was an unused substitute as Jose Mourinho lost patience with the striker, but Chelsea's second away win of the season remained elusive as Tottenham extended their unbeaten run to 13 games.

Both sides had returned from lengthy European trips, with Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino describing the noon kick-off as a "joke" following Thursday night's 2,500-mile flight from Azerbaijan.

Fluency was lacking in an at-times scrappy contest which lacked moments of real quality.

Hugo Lloris made a fine save to deny Eden Hazard a first goal of the season after Son Heung-min had spurned the best opportunity of the first half following Harry Kane's cross.

Mourinho's men are now 14 points behind leaders Man City and need an unprecedented run just to break into the European places.

Spurs' unbeaten streak, since the opening-day loss at Manchester United, is their longest since a 14-match run between November 1984 and March 1985.

Mourinho says he left out Costa due to low confidence after just four goals this season, but the pair argued in Israel and the manager criticised the striker's reading of the game on Friday.

Reports continue that Chelsea are looking for a new striker in January - with Kane among those linked - and the speculation is likely to heighten after Costa's omission.

Hazard, looking for his first goal of the season, was deployed as a "false nine", with Kurt Zouma replacing Terry, while the suspended Dele Alli was replaced by Ryan Mason for Spurs.

Chelsea's attacking quartet of Pedro, Willian, Oscar and Hazard caused a host of problems for Spurs with their movement and trickery. The best early chance was when Oscar crossed for Hazard, who headed just over.

Prior to that Tottenham had come closest to taking the lead.

Danny Rose had crossed towards Kane and Gary Cahill intervened, in the process catching Asmir Begovic on the head.

Begovic next saved Kane's shot, gathering at the second attempt before Hazard went close.

Chelsea were under pressure which was so nearly relieved when Ivanovic's cross-field pass found Hazard, who struck a first-time volley across Lloris, who made a fine save.

That was as good as it got in a stalemate.

Tottenham: Lloris ,Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose, Mason (Lamela 56), Dier, Dembele, Eriksen, Son (N'Jie 75), Kane

Subs not used: Vorm, Trippier, Onomah, Wimmer, Carroll

Chelsea: Begovic, Ivanovic, Zouma, Cahill, Azpilicueta, Fabregas, Matic, Willian (Kenedy 89), Oscar, Pedro (Loftus-Cheek 90), Hazard

Subs not used: Baba, Mikel, Djilobodji, Costa, Amelia

Man of the match: Harry Kane

Booked: Tottenham: Rose, Kane, Walker, Vertonghen

Chelsea: Matic, Azpilicueta

Attendance: 35,639

Referee: Michael Oliver (Northumberland)

Belfast Telegraph


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