ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE
AFC Bournemouth 0
Tottenham Hotspur 0
LONDON • For Tottenham Hotspur the overriding emotion at the final whistle was surely frustration.
They remain the only unbeaten team in the Premier League this season but a chance was missed yesterday to go top for a few hours at least - through a combination of their own bluntness and a display from Bournemouth that brimmed with energy and organisation.
Heading back to London, Mauricio Pochettino and his men will also reflect on the fact that things could have been a whole lot worse had two of their players been sent off, as could well have been the case at the Vitality Stadium.
Erik Lamela was fortunate not to collect a second yellow card on 40 minutes for a lunge on Dan Gosling, while, late in the contest, Moussa Sissoko, on as a substitute, struck Harry Arter with an elbow that enraged the midfielder and the majority of those in attendance.
The referee, Craig Pawson, had a clear view of the first incident and a somewhat obstructed view of the other but in either case will surely feel that he should have taken firmer action.
For Bournemouth, it was a case of what might have been, but they can take great encouragement from their display and a fourth successive game without defeat.
The hosts began brightly, pressing aggressively high up the pitch and passing the ball with intent and zip.
And it was the Cherries who had the first chance when Charlie Daniels hit a low shot that looked to be heading in only for Tottenham 'keeper Hugo Lloris to thrust out a leg and deflect the ball away.
For the second time in four days, the Frenchman showed remarkable reflexes and further enhanced the view that it is he, rather than David de Gea, who is the Premier League's best goalkeeper.
Tottenham were struggling to build momentum yet they had shots on goal via Lamela and Christian Eriksen and gradually began dominating possession.
But Bournemouth were not rattled and continued to frustrate their opponents, which could be seen in the tackles made by the Tottenham players which led to four of them being booked by the interval.
Tottenham began the second half brightly and were soon dominating possession and territory, forcing Bournemouth back.
Mousa Dembele became the chief architect of Tottenham's near relentless pressure, with Dele Alli also playing an important role, yet neither could force a clear-cut opening as Bournemouth fought off all attacks.
"We went toe to toe with an outstanding team and it was a game of real quality," said Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe.
"We managed to nullify most of their threat."
Pochettino also felt that "it was a very competitive game".
"If we want to be contenders, we need to win games like these," he said. "They were ready to compete and it was tough. We managed the whole game, but if you don't score it is difficult to win."
THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE