Tottenham Hotspur continued their best start to a season for 26 years by maintaining their unbeaten Premier League record but were made to work hard for their point by buoyant Bournemouth in a full-blooded 0-0 draw on Saturday.
Bournemouth, fresh from three successive league wins at Dean Court, took a leaf out of Spurs’ famed pressing book to give as good as they got from the title contenders and were well worth the draw.
Bournemouth’s intensity and resistance ensured Spurs missed a chance to provisionally go top of the table ahead of Manchester City and Arsenal but it could have been worse for the visitors if Hugo Lloris had not made a fine early save to thwart Charlie Daniels.
After Lloris had tipped his point-blank range shot against the bar, Spurs’ best opportunity in a game high on energy and industry but low on chances came when Erik Lamela fired against the bar in the opening half.
Spurs manager Maurico Pochettino admitted it had been a tough afternoon for his team.
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“They were very aggressive. It was a very competitive game, they were ready to compete…If we want to be contenders, we need to win games like these,” the Argentine said.
Bournemouth had shipped eight goals in two fixtures against Spurs last year but inspired by tireless midfielder Harry Arter and shored up by committed defending, they did a fine job in shutting down the visitors amid the frantic fare.
Also playing a big part was Jack Wilshere, on loan at Bournemouth from Arsenal, who played his first full 90 minutes in a league match for two years with England’s interim manager Gareth Southgate watching from the stands.
Eddie Howe, Bournemouth’s highly-rated young manager, was delighted how his team had gone “toe-to-toe” with Spurs to win a really valuable point.
In a game of six bookings – four for Spurs, two for Bournemouth – the challenges flew in and Lamela may have counted himself fortunate at not receiving a second yellow for one foul.
Spurs substitute Moussa Sissoko also escaped punishment after he appeared to elbow Arter in the face in the second half and though the visitors applied most of the second-half pressure, Bournemouth could have nicked a late winner from Benik Afobe’s header.