Football: Costa dropped but Chelsea still toothless in Spurs draw

Chelsea's Eden Hazard (right) trying to gain possession of the ball against Tottenham Hotspur's Toby Alderweireld during their Premier League match at White Hart Lane on Nov 29, 2015.
Chelsea's Eden Hazard (right) trying to gain possession of the ball against Tottenham Hotspur's Toby Alderweireld during their Premier League match at White Hart Lane on Nov 29, 2015. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (REUTERS) - Jose Mourinho dropped his main striker Diego Costa for Chelsea's Premier League visit to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday. But the English champions still proved toothless up front, as they ground out an undistinguished goal-less draw at White Hart Lane.

Mourinho said before the game that his out-of-sorts Spanish striker was lacking confidence but having left him on the bench all afternoon, a Chelsea team with Eden Hazard as an unlikely target man offered only intermittent threats in an unusually tepid London derby.

Spurs enjoyed the lion's share of possession and chances and forced some decent work in the first half from Chelsea goalkeeper Asmir Begovic as they went a 13th straight league game without defeat, their best run since a 14-match streak in 1984-1985.

Hazard was at the centre of Chelsea's best opportunities, heading over the bar from a pinpoint Oscar cross in the 20th minute and volleying to force a tremendous save from Hugo Lloris in the 68th.

Yet the Footballer of the Year saw his Premier League goal drought stretch to 17 games as Mourinho's side, unable yet to string together back-to-back league victories following last week's win over Norwich City, still struggle in 14th place on 15 points.

Spurs, unbeaten since the opening-day loss to Manchester United, remain fifth on 25, four points shy of the top of the table.