SPURS 2 CHELSEA 4
14.40 Once again Chelsea are asked a number of difficult questions, and once again they answer them all entirely correctly. Spurs were patently hampered by Dembele's injury and Bale's unexpected absence but fought their way back into the game with laudable spirit. Chelsea's response was even better. They steadied themselves and went back to their thrilling routine of picking off the Spurs defence with the fluid, maddening movement of Torres, Oscar, Hazard and Mata causing all manner of difficulties. Mata was especially impressive. Paul Hayward is on the money:
TIme to start taking Chelsea very seriously indeed. That'll be all from this liveblog but why not follow the three o'clock kick-offs with Steve WIlson's Premier League clockwatch on the other side?
Thanks for your company, I'll talk to you again soon.
90+3 min One more minute of injury time to come.
90+1 min GOAL!! Spurs 2 Chelsea 4 (Strurridge)
Suicide from Walker, who fallies on the ball, takes it towards the corner flag, and is then muscled off it by Mata. Men forward, few back, and Mata rolls it simply across goal, past Friedel and to the far post where Sturridge can't miss. That'll be all.
90 min Great save by Cech! Pushes a low Walker from 20 yards round the post. Lampard replaces Hazard as Spures prepare to take to the corner.
89 min Cech, not entirely inspiring today, pushes out a cross to Adebayor. He's stretching to reach it, and Cech's able to recover. Was THAT the chance, though? I don't think so, because that's not really How Things Work, is it?
86 min Mata slices through Spurs with an excellent pass that finds Torres not far from the six yard box. Picks his spot but rolls it just wide, for this is 2012 Fernando Torres.
85 min Luiz heads a cross to Lennon on the edge of the box. He shifts it onto his stronger right foot and tries his luck. Hit hard but straight at Cech. Here's Juan Mata scoring Chelsea's equaliser:
83 min Too much on Sigurdsson's effort, well over. He's been disappointing today. Oscar coming off for Chelsea after another impressive game, Sturridge replaces him.
82 min Free kick for Spurs in a promising position, just outside the box on the left-hand side. Sigurdsson range, surely?
79 min Spurs on the ball, Chelsea dropping deeper. Defoe receives in the corner of the area and ekes out space for a shot. Blocked. Chelsea have 11 men in their own half, all of them behind the ball.
77 min Defoe nicks it off Ivanovic close to the touchline and tries to prod it across goal for the approaching Adebayor. Cleared by Cahill for a throw.
74 min Here comes Plan B for Spurs. Not the rapper-turned-crooner-turned-actor, but Emmanuel Adebayor, on in place for the ineffective Dempsey. 4-4-2, you would imagine.
72 min Home fans silent now, Chelsea's making all the noise, and the pattern is repeated on the pitch. The men in blue are back to bossing it and Spurs can't get close to them at the moment. Torres tries to head back a Mikel dink for Mata but underhits it.
69 min GOAL!! Spurs 2 Chelsea 3 (Mata)
Spurs do nothing from the corner, Torres is away but stopped by a magnificent tackle by Caulker. Chelsea re-set themselves and pass it horizontally. Mata makes a run off the ball from the left towards the area, Hazard spots him and plays a gorgeous first-time through ball which leaves Gallas flat-footed and Mata with a one on one against Friedel. Finishes high to right of the keeper, and this game has now been upgraded to 10/10.
68 min Defoe with a spectacular dipping volley from 30 yards which spooks Cech into a diving save. Corner. Huddlestone's off, replaced by Livermore.
66 min GOAL!! Spurs 2 Chelsea 2 (Mata)
Gallas seems to be involved in absolutely everything in this game. This time it's his clearance from an Oscar cross from the right which falls straight at Mata's feet. Precise finish into the bottom corner, no chance for Friedel, and we're back to parity in what's been a solid 9/10 game.
64 min Hazard trying to conjure something useful from the left-hand side. Nice show of skill, but his attempt to pick out Mata in the middle isn't the best and the ball runs clear of danger from Spurs. This is more like it from Chelsea, though, who have decided to make a contest of this after all.
60 min Spurs suddenly stroking it about with the fluency that was all Chelsea's in the first half. I am struggling to find a clear reason for how this has come about. Chelsea certainly not pressing with the determination they had in the first half which is allowing Spurs more space in front of the area, and there seems to be a greater understanding of the difference in roles between Spurs' two holding midfielders and the three behind Defoe. Certainly we're seeing far more of Sigurdsson and Lennon on the ball in good positions now, where it was often Sandro and Huddlestone in the first half.
58 min Nothing doing from the free kick. Replays suggest Gallas was very lucky indeed not to give away a spot kick for that tackle on Cole, there was a coming together of knees straight out of the file marked "you've seen them given".
57 min Walker heads it away and there's Defoe, defending from the front, blocking Mikel's attempt to get it back into the box. Oh, Defoe's handled it. Free kick to Chelsea just outside of the centre circle.
56 min Gallas a little fortunate not to give away a penalty for a clumsy challenge in the box on Cole. Mike Dean awards a corner. Torres and Sandro exchange commemorative handbags as they wait for the delivery, and get a talking to from the ref.
54 min GOAL!! Spurs 2 Chelsea 1 (Defoe)
Wow. What a response from Spurs after a dreadful first half! Lennon shoots from the corner of the box, Defoe is alive to the possibility of a rebound, in the end it's a mishit shot which falls beautifully for the well-positioned striker who strokes it home first time from eight yards.
54 min Verrtonghen, looking a threat in the final third now, fires a reasonable shot at goal from 25 yards. Straight at Cech, who clutches the ball to his belly.
53 min It's Spurs that are doing all the pressing now, and Chelsea that can barely string two passes together. Something unusual has happened at half time, this is essentially the first half in reverse so far.
51 min Foul from the corner, free kick to Chelsea inside their own box.
50 min Ball drops for an agonisingly long period with Suigurdsson underneath it in the box. He doesn't catch it wonderfully but does win his side a corner.
49 min Tottenham doing their slowcore When The Spurs Go Marching In thing. White Hart Lane is revived, and it's their team that are having the best of this second half so far. There's a new brightness and urgency about their play.
47 min GOAL!! Spurs 1 Chelsea 1 (Gallas)
Horribly sloppy marking from Chelsea from a deep Spurs free kick. It's kept in play well by Vertonghen at the far post and Gallas is on hand to steer it in from close range as the ball comes back across goal.
46 min Chelsea begin the second half. Let's all have a lovely time.
13.34 Hugely impressive half for Chelsea who have attacked with verve and imagination and should be two up. They've been excellent without the ball too, rushing Spurs into mistakes when they've had the ball, and not allowing them any space in their half. Tottenham need a re-think. Sigurdsson has looked predictably uneasy in Gareth Bale's shoes on the left, Defoe hasn't seen much of the ball at all and Huddlestone and Sandro have been passengers in the middle. See you in 15.
45+3 min Ramires now sees yellow for a tribute foul to the one on him that got Walker booked a minute ago. Lennon the victim. Five cards in this half.
45+2 min Walker booked for a cynical slide on Ramires as Chelsea looked to break in numbers and with pace again.
45 min We're going to have three added minutes.
43 min Huddlestone takes the corner this time and it's better, swung in to the corridor of uncertainty between Cech and his defenders. Cleared as far as Dempsey, but his shot is blocked. Luiz is down with a head injury and I should also tell you that Huddlestone has been booked for persistent fouling.
42 min Spurs looking with rash urgency for an equaliser. They're being roared forward but there's a sense of cluelessness to what they're doing. They do have another corner, though. Here's Gary Cahill in the process of scoring his second best ever Premier League goal:
Here's his best, fact fans:
40 min Gallas booked for a despairing slide tackle from behind on Torres. Absolutely no need for that, Torres was facing his own goal in his own half and going nowhere.
39 min Mata! Blasts over from close to the penalty box after Friedel parried his previous shot straight back to him! Good work from Ramires to play him in, but that's a chance gone begging.
38 min Chelsea's corner cleared and Spurs look to break. Lennon waits far too long to look for Sigurdsson on the overlap on the right-hand side, Chelsea get men back and Spurs are forced backwards once again.
37 min Sigurdsson takes, and it's the latest in his grand tradition of really rubbish corners. Chelsea break and win a corner of their own. That's happened far too often when Spurs have won corners.
36 min Promising cross from deep on the left by Vertonghnem, Cole has to head behind for a corner with Dempsey lurking just behind him.
34 min Tottenham coming into this a little more now, but Chelsea still look far more dangerous. They've been wonderfull fluid going forward but perhaps haven't carved out as many chances as they would have liked. Torres tries to thread a clever ball through for Mata in the box but the second Spaniard is offside.
30 min A blocked free kick leads to a more promising spell for Spurs. Defoe tries manfully to hold off Cahill and shoot past him when the ball is pinged to his feet with his back to goal. Cahill has too much for him but soon afterwards Lennon is able to stand up a cross. Cleared to Sigurdsson who fires wide from 15 yards.
27 min Chelsea pressing so effectively that Vertonghen is forced into a backpass to Friedel, who has to hump aimlessly upfield because of the approaching Torres. Possession has been 60:40 in Chelsea's favour. Here's Gary Cahill's goal, which on second viewing may have taken a minor deflection:
24 mins: Ivanovic is booked for diving, perhaps somewhat harshly. A good run from Lennon down the right sees the pint-sized pace merchant eventually run into too much traffic.
23 min Once again Tottenham are just trying to settle into this game, but Chelsea are pursuing them doggedly and it's all they can do to just hang onto the ball. They're frequently failing to do that, Ramires the latest to nip in and win the ball for the away side.
21 min Chelsea break with ominous speed and purpose from the disappointing corner but Vertonghen heads Mata's cross away. Here's Marc Melander:
A slight twist on cold revenge - a new delicatessen has just opened in the Norfolk hamlet of Wymondham and the couple who own it have just returned from living in that Spain. The local rag send a reporter along who faithfully listens to the couple's plans to sell cold soup in the summer. Imagine their surprise when the dish is described as 'dispacho' in the subsequent article.
20 min Chelsea almost pegged back immediately. Defoe takes a shot early as he receives the ball in traffic close to the box. It takes Cech by surprise who can only parry. Dempsey's threatening but Cole's there to clear for a corner.
17 min GOAL!! Spurs 0 Chelsea 1 (Cahill)
Corner is headed clear fatally towards Cahill, who lashes a fabulous volley over Friedel in the centre of the goal. Kisses the bottom of bar after flying past the blameless keeper and Chelsea have a deserved lead.
17 min Chelsea are flying. Mikel dinks a lovely pass down the right-hand flank for Mata, his dangerous cross is cleared behind for a corner.
15 min Ramires channels a far more exciting player as he sprints forward on the ball through the middle for a good 30 yards. Takes it wide, checks back, and briefly looks to have got past Caulker and Vertonghen, but his shot is blocked.
14 min Spurs trying to get a foothold further up the pitch after Walker brings it forward well on the right. Huddlestone slows things down but is then closed down and forced backwards. Gallas is caught in possession and Torres tries to take it round Friedel but is offside. Concerning start for the home side.
12 min Spurs win a corner but do little of import with it. Falls for Sandro 30 yards out who shoots over with crushing inevitability.
10 min Oscar not far away with a shot from outside the box. He had time to control a loose ball and set himself up but put his attempt wide. Spurs struggling to delegate effectively when Chelsea get forward in numbers.
9 min Hazard spots Torres making room for himself up front and tries a long-range slide-rule pass from deep on the right-hand side. Marginally overhit, and Friedel gets there first. Chelsea looking good.
7 min Chelsea edging towards dominance. Patient build-up play from the back, then Hazard and Torres combine artfully just outside of the box. Hazard takes it wide on the right and looks to play Torres in again inside the box, but Caulker's there to cut it out.
5 min Cole wins Chelsea a corner. Gallas beats Torres in the air then Vertonghen is able to blast it upfield to safety.
4 min Sigurdsson floats a deft ball into the box which catches Chelsea flat-footed. Gallas sneaks in to apply what should be a finishing touch past Cech from close range but his contact is poor and he can only divert it wide.
3 min Tentative start for both teams. Tight and technical in midfield, Spurs with more of the ball. Dempsey tussles with Mikel and is fouled. Spurs will lump the free kick into the box.
1 min Here we go, Spurs get us started.
12.41 The teams are in the tunnel. Unless I'm very much mistaken we're not far away from a football match.
12.35 Sky Sports has a hangover this afternoon. In the space of 10 minutes it's lurched from a funtime goals montage soundtracked by Shed Seven to a plaintive classical piano piece underneath some slow-motion footage from previous Spurs v Chelsea matches that's inexplicably played backwards.
12.30 More on the absence of Gareth Bale from our man at White Hart Lane Henry Winter:
12.27 Here's Ashley Cole warming up and trapping the ball with no little petulance:
12.20 Time for the first pertinent statistical tweet of the day from our friends at Opta:
12.12 Team-sheet shenanigans! Gareth Bale, say Spurs, isn't playing after all. He's been replaced by the far less interesting Tom Huddlestone:
12.00 Petr Cech will be Chelsea's captain today, in place of that bad man that said the naughty thing.
11.58 Here are the teams:
Tottenham: Friedel; Walker, Caulker, Gallas, Vertonghen; Sandro,
Sigurdsson; Lennon, Dempsey, Huddlestone; Defoe.
Subs: Lloris, Dawson, Naughton, Falque, Livermore, Townsend, Adebayor.
Chelsea: Cech; Ivanovic, Luiz, Cahill, Cole; Ramires, Mikel; Hazard,
Mata, Oscar; Torres.
Subs: Turnbull, Azpilicueta, Bertrand, Romeu, Lampard, Moses, Sturridge.
Referee: Mike Dean
11.55 Today's retro highlights are broguth to you from the year 1997, and feature Roberto Di Matteo:
11.30 Morning liveblog fans.
Clearly we are some way from the business end of the season, everyone's favourite end of the season. Silly season is also yet to come.
But today, after what feels like 2012's 23rd international break, we decisively move past "early days".
The league table remains an irrelevance until the new year (so long as you're not Derby-style stranded at the bottom or Arsenal-style out of the title race after three games and an 8-2 defeat to Manchester United), but it's from this weekend that Premier League teams need to get serious, grow up and comb that hair.
New squads and managers are settled, it's getting colder and we've all become accustomed to that new Southampton shirt that doesn't have big enough white stripes.
Tottenham have won four in a row and there are signs that AVB's techy-taka could be a viable way to win English football matches, rather than a doomed experiment derided as fancy-pants continental nonsense by Liverpool defenders of the 1980s in Salford studios.
Chelsea - they're great, right? Occasionally thrilling going forward and, perhaps more importantly, properly solid at the back. All with a manager deemed unworthy of West Brom.
Another challenging test of their enduring credentials today, and a meeting with a man from their past.
Can AVB make RDM SAD in the battle of the TLAs?
Let's find out together.
Team news and more to follow, stay tuned.
Here's a lovely preview:
Saturday, October 20
White Hart Lane
TV: Sky Sports 2, Highlights BBC1 Match of the Day.
Tottenham (Possible, 4-2-3-1): Lloris; Walker, Gallas, Caulker,
Vertonghen; Dembele, Sandro; Lennon, Dempsey, Bale; Defoe.
Out: Assou-Ekotto, Kaboul (both knee), Livermore (hernia), Naughton (foot), Parker (Achilles).
Chelsea (Possible, 4-5-1): Cech; Ivanovic, Luiz, Terry, Cole; Mata,
Mikel, Lampard, Oscar, Hazard; Torres.
Out: Bertrand (ill), Lampard (knee), Sturidge (hamstring).
Referee: Mike Dean. Matches: 5. R0 Y10.
Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas is still without Achilles victim Scott Parker.
The 32-year-old midfielder has not played since he turned out for England in their Euro 2012 defeat by Italy and Villas-Boas is now not expecting him back until Christmas.
Defenders Benoît Assou-Ekotto and Younes Kaboul are still absent, but Jake Livermore and Kyle Naughton are back in training after groin and ankle injuries respectively.
Meanwhile, John Terry's four-match ban for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand comes into force at White Hart Lane.
Manager Roberto Di Matteo will have Frank Lampard and Ryan Bertrand available after both players missed England's World Cup qualifying matches against San Marino and Poland.
Lampard has overcome a calf injury while Bertrand has shaken the illness which forced him to leave the England camp, with both players taking part in two training sessions this week.
While the focus is on Spurs' manager against his former club, eyes should also focus on the rapid improvement of his team.
The 'getting-to-know-you' process took a couple of games but now Tottenham are in rude health and pose Chelsea's latest test.
Having enjoyed success across North London, at Arsenal, Chelsea should be confident, even if they have failed to win at White Hart lane in their last five attempts.
Betting: Home 6-4, Away 8-5, Draw 12-5.
Stat of the game: No fewer than 17 of the 21 goals scored in Spurs’ seven Premier League games this season have arrived in the second half. And Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas has won his last four league games – one better than his best sequence while in charge at Chelsea.
John Ley's prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 1 Chelsea 1.