Tottenham missed the chance to move to the Premier League summit after being held 0-0 by Bournemouth in an entertaining clash at the Vitality Stadium.
Spurs could have climbed above Manchester City and Arsenal with a victory in the weekend’s early kick-off but the Cherries were more than a match for their visitors and they could arguably have taken all three points.
Erik Lamela and Moussa Sissoko were both fortunate not to be sent off for Spurs in a feisty match that yielded six yellow cards while Jack Wilshere completed 90 minutes at club level for the first time since September 2014.
Bournemouth goalkeeper Artur Boruc endured a day to forget in last season’s 5-1 mauling here and he almost started where he left off as he sliced a kick straight to Dele Alli, who played in Son Heung-min but the South Korean was offside.
Both sides hit the crossbar in the early stages, the visitors caught napping by a low corner that found its way to Dan Gosling’s feet at the near post but Charlie Daniels’ finish from five yards was brilliantly deflected by the feet of Hugo Lloris.
Spurs then went close after Alli skipped clear with two successive nutmegs before Lamela drove a long-range shot around the rooted Boruc, only for the woodwork to intrude again.
That was as close as the visitors came in the opening 45 minutes as Bournemouth beat Tottenham at their own game with the sort of aggressive, turbo-charged pressing that Pochettino’s men deployed to such great effect against Manchester City three weeks ago.
It flustered Spurs, who picked up four bookings before the interval and Lamela was fortunate not to collect a second after sliding in late on Gosling.
Half-time, however, came at the wrong time for Bournemouth, who struggled to regain the same urgency after the break while Tottenham emerged calmer and more controlled.
Vincent Janssen replaced the ineffective Son and Spurs created some openings, Lamela firing over from the angle and Danny Rose’s shot saved at the near post by Boruc.
With just under quarter of an hour to play, however, tensions boiled over again as substitute Sissoko landed an elbow in the face of Harry Arter, but despite a large scuffle and referee Craig Pawson consulting his linesman, no further action was taken.
9 – Tottenham are unbeaten in their opening nine top-flight games for the fourth time in their history (59-60, 60-61 and 90-91). Spirited.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 22, 2016
Bournemouth’s sense of injustice only grew when they felt they should have had a penalty late on after Victor Wanyama’s heavy challenge on Wilshere, but Pawson again waved away the protests.
There was time for one more chance for the hosts as Mousa Dembele gave the ball away to Max Gradel but, as the striker sped towards Lloris’ goal, the Belgian did well to get back and block the shot. By the time the final whistle blew, Spurs were the happier with a point.
Charlie Daniels and Erik Lamela both hit the woodwork during the first half, and though Tottenham had the better of the second period, the Cherries refused to be beaten.
Moussa Sissoko could be in hot water with the FA after appearing to elbow Harry Arter late on, while Jack Wilshere completed 90 minutes for the first time since September 2014.