Daily Telegraph, Henry Winter: "Two dropped points should not alarm Chelsea unduly, particularly with Manchester United slow out of the traps, and particularly if their own reinforcements arrive soon. For all the talk of Robinho’s little bit of magic being needed to unlock the door, Chelsea could really have done with Didier Drogba. Still recovering from injury, the Ivory Coast battering-ram allows Chelsea an extra option, the direct ball. When Luiz Felipe Scolari’s men played it high towards Nicolas Anelka, he was too often outmuscled by King and Woodgate."
The Guardian, Kevin McCarra: "Anelka is not equipped to be a lone battler. In the wake of the match there were immediate inquiries about the return of the injured Didier Drogba. He assuredly has the height, weight, speed and skill to harry an entire defence by himself, but the Ivorian’s knee problem had been an issue for a long time before it became acute early this year. The 30-year-old cannot be confident that the aches and pains will ever leave him entirely."
The Independent, Sam Wallace: "There were no Mourinho-style accusations of Spurs coming to Stamford Bridge to "park the bus" in front of their own goal. Instead Scolari was lyrical about the quality of Spurs’ players and how difficult his side found it to break them down. He must have been disappointed by Deco, who was overly cautious after an early booking. Nicolas Anelka did not suggest Drogba will have any trouble getting back in this team after the international break."
The Times, Martin Samuel : "[H]aving started the season against Portsmouth as if powered by rocket fuel, the past two matches have been a bungled splash landing. Chelsea got away with it against Wigan Athletic eight days ago, when a moment of brilliance from Deco turned the game, but Scolari’s little magician had his first quiet afternoon … and the performance dipped accordingly. If it were not for Frank Lampard, there would have been barely a scoring threat, although that applied at both ends, unfortunately."
Official Chelsea FC Website, Andy Jones: "A draw was, on reflection, probably a fair result, with neither side doing enough to warrant three points. Now there is an international break for questions to be asked and answered, before we travel to Manchester City on September 13."
- A point can probably be considered a reasonable return from what was overall a fairly lacklustre performance against a much-improved Spurs side that had clearly been given a rocket after their defeat to Sunderland.
- The first half. Some good, crisp passing, a few reasonable chances and save for a pair of Brazilian fingertips and the woodwork, the game should have been all but safe.
- Our back four. Very little they could do about Darren Bent’s goal, which was fortunate but nonetheless well taken, but otherwise looked pretty solid and relatively untroubled by Spurs’ (depleted) and fairly toothless front line. Any regular at White Hart Lane who tells you they won’t miss Keane / Berbatov is a pathological liar.
- Juliano Belletti, midfield general. Who knew? Hardly inspired confidence upon sight of the team sheet, but did a perfectly decent job in the middle. Likes scoring against Spurs too, it seems. Never a bad thing.
- Home record still intact.
- The second half. The equaliser (specifically the timing) clearly knocked the stuffing out of the team, but the concern was that they looked tired too early in the game for my liking. Thankfully, Spurs seemed reasonably happy to sit deeper and play us on the break and the players we’d expect to break that kind of resistance weren’t really at the races today.
- Michael Essien. Clearly pressed into action whilst not fully fit, at times he looked like a couple of slices of air-dried beef rather than a fully-fledged Bison. The lack of Mikel and/or Ballack also made a big difference today in my opinion; the system certainly needs the former to work properly.
- Our finishing. We did more than enough to win the game, but those shooting boots are still not looking as polished as they might. A partner for Anelka (presumably Drogba when he returns) would help; a longer spell for Di Santo might have been a good idea today.
- The bloody Robinho saga still drags on. Statements, counter-statements blah blah blah. Listen, Calderon you over-inflated, bumptious little man – you’ve been offered more money than you ever will be again for a player who has clearly stated he wants to leave. The rest, including your faux-outrage about the bloody shirts (I wonder how many pieces of prototype Ronaldo merchandise were on the drawing board at the Bernabau this summer?), is completely academic. What do you need, a fricking diagram?
- The pub was serving beer in plastic cups, apparently due to the presence of those North London ruffians in SW6 and the yolk of my egg (in an otherwise excellent full English) was overdone and in no way runny. This country just hasn’t been the same since they started putting fluoride in the water.
- Shaun Wright-Phillips. Actually, it’s not really a ‘bad’. But if anyone ever wants you to illustrate the concept of Sod’s Law to them – well, there you go… good luck to the bloke, though.
Everyone was having a sort of 6.5/10 kind of day, apart from maybe John Terry who nudges a seven. Argue amongst yourselves over the details if that sort of thing floats your Yngling. I can’t really be chuffed to go through them all individually – the sun is finally making a bit of an appearance, there’s a nice bottle of Cotes de Ventoux – well, you get the general idea.
Man of the Match
Not that great, but certainly not a disaster either. We haven’t lost and are clearly still finding our feet in terms of Scolari’s system and methods, and we’re still top of the league after Villa and Liverpool slogged their way through what was an abysmal game of football, by all accounts. Modric is looking like a pretty good player and frankly, won’t be staying at Spurs for the rest of his career for precisely that reason. Watching the muppets leaving the Bridge singing about their point and the Carling Cup – well, small time doesn’t adequately cover it… And thank the lord that bloody transfer window closes tomorrow (Monday). Enough already.