Chelsea 1 - 1 Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham fans can be thankful they have a manager in place to cover up the glaring flaws in their club's make-up.
Make no mistake, this battling point against Premier League title favourites Chelsea was an example of tactical master Juande Ramos digging his incompetent employers out of a major hole after a summer that has seen chairman Daniel Levy and Sporting Director Damien Comolli exposed as inept amateurs once again.
A day before the transfer window slams shut, Ramos was asked to take on a rampant Chelsea side boasting a squad equipped with just a solitary striker and were it not for the dignified professionalism of this fine coach, Levy and the persistently inept Comolli would have been starring in the face of their latest self-inflicted crisis.
If defeats against Middlesbrough and Sunderland had been backed up with a third straight reverse here at Stamford Bridge, Ramos would have been portrayed as a manager under pressure and Tottenham's already distant hopes of breaking into the top four this season would have evaporated all too quickly.
Martin Jol found himself in a similar position at Tottenham this time last year as a succession of poor Comolli signings left him with an uphill task to lift the team from their slumber and now Ramos finds himself battling in an environment that would test the best of coaches.
Belief in Messrs Levy and Comolli vanished long ago and the duo have inadvertently spent most of their summer undermining the coach they prized away from Spain amid much controversy last year. A Carling Cup win last February was proof that Ramos can bring the good times back to Spurs, but you wonder if it will be possible without more support from those around him.
Comolli has control of all transfer dealings at Tottenham and hard though this is to imagine, he has spent as much money as cash-laden Chelsea in a lavish outburst of transfer dealings over the last couple of years. The results of his labour have been mixed to say the least, yet this bespectacled Frenchman seems to be bullet-proof in the eyes of Levy and the Tottenham board.
Younes Kaboul, Kevin Prince-Boateng, Gilberto, Ricardo Rocha, Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Adel Taarabt and Hossam Ghaly are some of his expensive flop buys, with many of those off-loaded in cut-price deals over recent weeks.
So while you would think that Comolli would take his share of the blame for such incompetence, sacked boss Jol will confirm the manager loses his job before the man in charge of signing players for Tottenham and Ramos' task has been made especially difficult by the club's bizarre handling of Dimitar Berbatov's transfer to Manchester United.
Everyone believes the moody Bulgarian will be a United player sooner rather than later, but Tottenham have insisted on dragging their feet over the move instead of sealing the deal and allowing the club to move forward. The result? An unsettled dressing room and a manager left with limited options ahead of a daunting trip to Stamford Bridge. Once again, the Berbatov debacle leaves Levy and Comolli with much to answer for.
So as a Darren Bent goal earned his side a well deserved point against an under par Chelsea side, the Tottenham manager has every right to display a glow of satisfaction as he made his way back to the dressing room at the final whistle. This had been a professional performance from a well-drilled Tottenham side, with Ramos and taking the credit for their success.
'I think we paid too much respect to our opponents in the first half and maybe we were a little overawed by Chelsea,' stated Ramos. 'We kept the ball better in the second half and deserved the point we come away with.
'We needed this result and I feel confident we can take something from this and move forward now. This was a good Chelsea team we matched and we should feel good about our display.'
Chelsea flexed their muscles before taking the lead, with Frank Lampard's clever fifth minute chip bringing the best out of Tottenham keeper Heurelho Gomes, while Michael Essien's blistering 25thminute shot left the Stamford Bridge woodwork in need of some maintenance.
In control without dominating would best sum up the first half an hour of this game from a Chelsea perspective and they needed a huge slice of good fortune to snatch a lead after Bent missed his attempted clearance from a corner and the ball flew into the net off Juliano Belletti.
Some 18 and a half years after Tottenham last won here and you feared the opening goal had already punctured their hopes of ending that woeful run, but they were handed a lifeline when Lampard inadvertently played Bent through second before the break.
A second half of few chances and plenty of Tottenham endeavour was a credit to the game plan put in place by Tottenham's intelligent coach set-up, with Chelsea unable to break down a five man midfield and solid back line built on the assured displays of skipper Ledley King and the impressive Jonathan Woodgate.
Chelsea boss Luiz Felipe Scolari was forced to accept his side did not deserve their third win of the season and gave plenty of credit to Tottenham in his summery. 'I am not disappointed by this result because I know the quality of the coaching team and the players we were up against today,' he said, offering huge praise to Ramos and Poyet.
'Tottenham played very well and we then gave them a chance to come back into the game. Clearly we had more chances than Tottenham, but the draw was the right result. All credit to our opponents on this occasion.
'We lost two points today but it is impossible to win three, four, five games in a row in the Premier League because the other teams are strong and have good quality. Seven points in nine. If we carry on with that all season, I'm sure we will finish first.'
If Juande Ramos is a success at Tottenham it will be in spite of and not because of the men attempting to offer him support. On this evidence, he is capable of producing the miracle the club needs.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Gareth Bale
A bundle of energy on the left side of the Tottenham team, his bursts forward with decisive and threatening. Had Ricardo Carvalho not hacked him down late on, Tottenham may just have sealed a famous late winner at Stamford Bridge.
TOUCHLINE BANTER: Luiz Felipe Scolari and Juande Ramos proved there can be some harmony in the heat of battle as they jovially enjoyed jokes on the touchline in front of the press box.
TRANSFER UPDATE: Berbatov was again absent from the Tottenham side and the word in the press room suggested he will be a Manchester United player sometime tomorrow. As for Chelsea's ongoing pursuit of Real Madrid star Robinho, the rumours suggest that deal has stumbled.
CHELSEA VERDICT: A poor day for Scolari's men. The strength and skill in their midfield engine room did not overpower Tottenham and Nicolas Anelka did not get the sort of service he needs up front. Maybe they will not run away with the title as easily as some have tipped them to do.
TOTTENHAM VERDICT: The spirit and desire to prove their doubters wrong saw Tottenham finally play somewhere near their best against Chelsea. There is no doubt they have fine players in their side and the likes of Luka Modric and Bale should sparkle this season. Ramos will be delighted to see the back of this most disruptive of transfer windows and if he saw one final departure from his club this week, it may be to see the back of faltering Sporting Director Damien Comolli.