Perhaps the only winner in the Chelsea versus Tottenham match was Arsenal.
Twice Chelsea took the lead behind goals from Oscar and Ramires, and twice Tottenham equalized behind Emmanuel Adebayor and Gylfi Sigurdsson, with the match ending in a 2-2 draw.
With the draw, Chelsea remain in third place, while Tottenham are in fifth place and will need help to qualify for the Champions League. Meanwhile, Arsenal now control their own destiny, as two wins will see them through to the Champions League.
Chelsea struck first in the 11th minute. After winning a corner kick following a Juan Mata set piece, Gary Cahill flicked on a header in the center of the box to Oscar, all alone on the left. The young Brazilian didn't miss, putting his header into the net and giving Chelsea a vital early lead.
Minutes later Chelsea had another brilliant scoring chance, as César Azpilicueta was left wide open to the right of the box and centered a feed to Mata. The classy Spaniard pushed his shot over the bar, however, as Spurs breathed a sigh of relief.
Chelsea continued to accumulate the dangerous chances. Eden Hazard cut inside of Kyle Walker and ripped a shot from just outside the box, but Michael Dawson bravely stuck his face in the way of the blistering shot and deflected it clear of the goal.
After Chelsea couldn't do anything with the corner won on the Dawson deflection, Tottenham struck on the counter-attack. Adebayor was fed a pass in the center of the pitch, and Gary Cahill never closed him down defensively, allowing him to dribble into shooting position and curl a brilliant effort past a helpless Petr Cech.
Just like that, the game was once again even in the 27th minute.
That seemed to change the momentum of the match, and Tottenham had the next great opportunity in the 37th minute, as Jan Vertonghen played a brilliant diagonal pass that found Adebayor in the box. But the lanky striker couldn't get a good touch on the pass and sent his defection well over the net.
Minutes later, Chelsea regained the lead. Fernando Torres found some space on the right and stormed forward before playing a lovely little through ball to Ramires, who first-timed a scintillating, curling effort past a diving Lloris.
The match went into the half with Chelsea leading, 2-1.
Chelsea were the classier side early in the second half. Both Azpilicueta and Eden Hazard missed opportunities on goal, while Torres saw an opportunity for a header thwarted at the last moment by Tottenham's defense.
Chelsea nearly put things away in the 60th minute.
After Spurs failed to capitalize on a corner, Hazard found Mata on the counter-attack, sending the Spaniard through on a breakaway. The speedy Walker caught up to Mata but spotted Ramires in the center of the pitch. His pass was just slightly behind Ramires, however, and the midfielder fell trying to corral the ball, ending the threat.
The game became a bit more scrappy after that, but Tottenham evened things up in the 80th minute. Benoit Assou-Ekotto chipped a ball into the box for Adebayor, who played a lovely back-heel pass to Gylfi Sigurdsson. The substitute didn't disappoint, ripping a shot into the right of the goal.
With 10 minutes to play and everything to play for, the game was even at two apiece. It would end there, as neither team could break through late.
Emmanuel Adebayor, Tottenham: A-
He would get an A were it not for his poor positioning on Chelsea's first goal, but beyond that, Adebayor was superb in this game. His goal was a true bit of class. His back-heel flick to Sigurdsson was inspired. In a game where Gareth Bale wasn't a huge factor, Adebayor seriously picked up the slack.
Eden Hazard, Chelsea: A-
All Hazard failed to do in this game was score a goal. He was an absolute handful for the Spurs defense all night long on the left side, as his dribbling and vision were on full display until he was surprisingly subbed off in the 73rd minute. Fantastic game from Hazard.
Gareth Bale, Tottenham: C
In the biggest game of the season, Tottenham's best player was pretty much a non-factor. While Spurs didn't run enough of their attack through him out wide, he also didn't impose himself on this game. And with a chance at a free kick in stoppage time to become a Spurs god, his attempt tamely found its way directly into Cech's arms. A disappointing showing.
Ramires, Chelsea: B+
His goal was brilliant. His energy pushing forward the attack was fantastic. His stumble on the break after Mata's pass found him alone in the box was disappointing, and his touch betrayed him at times. Overall, though, Ramires was a major force in the midfield today.
|César Azpilicueta ||RB||C|
|Branislav Ivanovic ||CB||B-|
|Oscar (Off 83')||RW||B|
|Eden Hazard (Off 73')||LW||A-|
|Victor Moses (On 73')||LW||B-|
|Yossi Benayoun (On 83')||RW||C|
|Scott Parker ||CM||B-|
|Aaron Lennon (Off 61')||RW||C|
|Lewis Holtby (Off 69')||CAM||C+|
|Gylfi Sigurdsson (On 61')||LW||B+|
|Clint Dempsey (On 69')||CAM||B-|
With 69 points, Chelsea will ensure a top-four finish with one more win, as they have a 16-goal advantage in goal differential. Arsenal remain in fourth place with 67 points and will guarantee a Champions League spot with wins against Wigan and Newcastle, while Spurs will need help with 66 points in fifth place.
All three teams have two games remaining. Let the race for the Champions League commence.
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