Tottenham missed the chance to go third in the Premier League as they were held to a goalless draw by stubborn Stoke at White Hart Lane.
Stoke, now unbeaten in eight matches, almost went ahead after 45 seconds when Kenwyne Jones shot over from 20 yards following Kyle Walker's sloppy pass.
In a game of few chances Gareth Bale headed over from six yards and Gylfi Sigurdsson's late header was saved.
The 0-0 draw is the Potters' fifth of the season, the most in Europe.
Tony Pulis's side have aspirations of qualifying for Europe and, on this evidence, that is an entirely realistic ambition.
Their downfall this season has been their away form - one win from nine games before the trip to White Hart Lane does not compare to their excellent home record - but they are difficult opponents regardless of the venue.
Indeed, they have now lost only three of their 18 league fixtures this season and possess one of the most miserly defences in Europe, a quality that was on show in north London.
While Stoke are an established, well-drilled unit, Tottenham still appear a team trying to find their rhythm under boss Andre Villas-Boas, although they grew into the match after a sluggish start.
Spurs' festive cheer
Tottenham have lost only two of their last 18 league games played in December
Buoyed by the return of influential winger Bale to the starting XI after a hamstring injury, Spurs might have been expected to begin on the front foot, but they were almost behind following a defensive blunder from Walker.
The England full-back tried a needlessly ambitious pass across the face of his own penalty area inside the first minute but succeeded only in finding Jones, who blazed over from the edge of the box.
Perhaps Spurs' lethargy was to be expected, since only five of the 24 goals scored at home this season have come in the first 45 minutes of matches.
True to form, they showed greater urgency in the second period.
Jermain Defoe shot over from 25 yards a minute after the break before Bale failed to capitalise on his side's best opening of the first hour. After swapping flanks with Aaron Lennon, the England winger crossed from the left and Bale, arriving late at the back post, headed over from close range.
Defoe's partnership with Emmanuel Adebayor remains a work in progress but there were plenty of signs to suggest it can flourish, Defoe repeatedly finding space afforded him by his fellow striker's movement.
But Stoke's defence, expertly marshalled by captain Ryan Shawcross, limited Spurs to half-chances, Defoe flashing a shot wide, Mousa Dembele's drive deflecting into Asmir Begovic's arms and the keeper saving well from Sigurdsson's glancing header in the final minute.
Spurs, though, could not find the breakthrough and drop to fifth in the table, as ninth-placed Stoke showed why they might be among the challengers for a European place come the end of the season.
Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas: "It is difficult to break them down. We tried everything from the first minute but Stoke proved why they are on a magnificent unbeaten run.
"We had lots of possession and lots of shots from outside the box, but we can't be negative because we gave it a go. We tried to get the three points but we couldn't do it today."
Stoke manager Tony Pulis: "Tottenham are a very good side with outstanding individuals who can win a game in a second, but I thought we played really well in the first half and we had our chances.
"We're pleased that we limited them, with most of their chances coming from outside the box. Tottenham are on a different level to us really when you look at what they've got, but if you work hard you've always got a chance."
- 25 Lloris
- 05 Vertonghen Booked
- 20 Dawson
- 28 Walker
- 33 Caulker
- 07 Lennon (Sigurdsson - 78' )
- 11 Bale
- 19 Dembele (Parker - 85' )
- 30 Sandro Booked
- 10 Adebayor
- 18 Defoe
- 24 Friedel
- 13 Gallas
- 16 Naughton
- 08 Parker
- 22 Sigurdsson
- 29 Livermore
- 31 Townsend
- 01 Begovic
- 02 Cameron Booked
- 04 Huth
- 17 Shawcross
- 28 Wilkinson Booked
- 06 Whelan
- 15 Nzonzi Booked
- 26 Etherington (Crouch - 69' )
- 30 Shotton (Whitehead - 64' Booked )
- 09 Jones (Jerome - 66' )
- 19 Walters Booked
- 29 Sorensen
- 20 Upson
- 08 Palacios
- 18 Whitehead
- 21 Kightly
- 25 Crouch
- 33 Jerome
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The referee signals the end of the game.90:00 +3:50
Peter Crouch fouled by Raniere Sandro, the ref awards a free kick. Asmir Begovic takes the direct free kick.90:00 +3:14
Corner taken right-footed by Gylfi Sigurdsson from the left by-line, Geoff Cameron makes a clearance.90:00 +2:55 Booking
Booking Jonathan Walters is shown a yellow card for dissent.90:00 +0:58
A cross is delivered by Gareth Bale, Geoff Cameron manages to make a clearance.90:00 +0:13
Gylfi Sigurdsson takes a shot. Save by Asmir Begovic.89:53
Raniere Sandro takes a shot. Blocked by Robert Huth.88:37
Gareth Bale takes a shot. Save by Asmir Begovic.88:04
Free kick awarded for a foul by Steven Nzonzi on Raniere Sandro. Hugo Lloris restarts play with the free kick.87:09
Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Gylfi Sigurdsson, save by Asmir Begovic.85:44
Geoff Cameron challenges Jermain Defoe unfairly and gives away a free kick. Shot comes in from Gareth Bale from the free kick, Glenn Whelan gets a block in.84:15 Substitution
Substitution Mousa Dembele leaves the field to be replaced by Scott Parker.83:54
Shot by Kyle Walker from outside the area goes high over the crossbar.83:32
The ball is crossed by Gylfi Sigurdsson, clearance by Ryan Shawcross.82:58
The official flags Jonathan Walters offside. Jan Vertonghen takes the free kick.81:54
Gylfi Sigurdsson challenges Steven Nzonzi unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Robert Huth.80:41
Mousa Dembele takes a shot. Save by Asmir Begovic.80:01
Gylfi Sigurdsson takes the inswinging corner, Peter Crouch makes a clearance.78:59
Gylfi Sigurdsson takes a shot. Save made by Asmir Begovic.77:27
Direct free kick taken by Kyle Walker.
Substitution Gylfi Sigurdsson on for Aaron Lennon.77:27 Booking
Booking Steven Nzonzi goes into the referee's book.77:13
Raniere Sandro fouled by Steven Nzonzi, the ref awards a free kick.76:42
Jan Vertonghen takes the direct free kick.76:42 Booking
Booking Geoff Cameron receives a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.76:31
Aaron Lennon fouled by Geoff Cameron, the ref awards a free kick.75:41
Gareth Bale takes a shot. Save by Asmir Begovic.75:24
Jonathan Walters produces a cross, Jan Vertonghen makes a clearance.73:34
Kyle Walker gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Peter Crouch. Free kick taken by Asmir Begovic.72:14
The ball is swung over by Gareth Bale, clearance made by Glenn Whelan.70:28
Corner taken left-footed by Gareth Bale.70:18
Raniere Sandro crosses the ball, Robert Huth makes a clearance.69:27
Peter Crouch challenges Michael Dawson unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Hugo Lloris.68:01 Substitution
Substitution Peter Crouch is brought on as a substitute for Matthew Etherington.66:18
Corner taken by Gareth Bale.65:06
Gareth Bale restarts play with the free kick.65:06 Substitution
Substitution Cameron Jerome comes on in place of Kenwyne Jones.65:06 Booking
Booking Dean Whitehead goes into the referee's book for unsporting behaviour.64:56
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Jan Vertonghen by Dean Whitehead.63:10 Substitution
Substitution Dean Whitehead replaces Ryan Shotton.62:34
Outswinging corner taken left-footed by Gareth Bale, Steven Nzonzi makes a clearance.62:26
The ball is delivered by Gareth Bale.61:46
Emmanuel Adebayor takes a shot. Robert Huth gets a block in.61:20
Corner taken by Gareth Bale.60:56
Jermain Defoe takes a shot. Blocked by Geoff Cameron.60:07
Kenwyne Jones is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Steven Caulker takes the free kick.58:11
Ryan Shotton takes a shot. Save by Hugo Lloris.56:58
Aaron Lennon produces a cross, Gareth Bale has a headed effort from close range and clears the crossbar.55:37
Inswinging corner taken by Gareth Bale.55:25
Gareth Bale takes a shot. Robert Huth gets a block in.52:40
Free kick awarded for a foul by Kyle Walker on Matthew Etherington. Centre by Matthew Etherington, Header on goal by Ryan Shawcross from inside the box goes harmlessly over the target.52:18
Jan Vertonghen takes a shot. Glenn Whelan gets a block in.51:54
Jan Vertonghen takes a shot. Blocked by Glenn Whelan.50:57
The ball is sent over by Gareth Bale.49:25
The official flags Emmanuel Adebayor offside. Asmir Begovic restarts play with the free kick.49:01
A cross is delivered by Matthew Etherington.47:25
Jermain Defoe takes a shot from just outside the penalty area which clears the crossbar.45:40
Free kick taken by Kyle Walker.45:40 Booking
Booking The referee books Andy Wilkinson for unsporting behaviour.45:32
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Aaron Lennon by Andy Wilkinson.45:01
The referee starts the second half.45:00 +2:14 Half time
Half Time The ref blows to end the first period.45:00 +1:59
Effort from the edge of the box by Jermain Defoe goes wide of the left-hand post.44:50
Aaron Lennon challenges Glenn Whelan unfairly and gives away a free kick. Glenn Whelan takes the direct free kick.44:06
Shot from outside the area by Mousa Dembele misses to the left of the target.39:35
Outswinging corner taken by Gareth Bale.39:20
Gareth Bale takes a shot. Ryan Shawcross gets a block in.37:45
Jermain Defoe has an effort at goal from just inside the box that misses to the left of the target.37:15
Foul by Jonathan Walters on Kyle Walker, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Hugo Lloris.37:00
Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Matthew Etherington from the right by-line.35:56
Emmanuel Adebayor concedes a free kick for a foul on Steven Nzonzi. Glenn Whelan takes the free kick.35:08
Glenn Whelan decides to take the corner short.34:42
The official flags Emmanuel Adebayor offside. Free kick taken by Robert Huth.33:50
A cross is delivered by Gareth Bale, Header from deep inside the area by Emmanuel Adebayor goes harmlessly over the crossbar.32:41
Gareth Bale takes a outswinging corner to the near post, Glenn Whelan manages to make a clearance.32:24
Gareth Bale produces a cross, clearance made by Ryan Shawcross.30:53
Jan Vertonghen takes a shot. Save made by Asmir Begovic.29:12
Glenn Whelan challenges Jan Vertonghen unfairly and gives away a free kick. Steven Caulker takes the free kick.27:33
Free kick taken by Glenn Whelan.27:33 Booking
Booking Jan Vertonghen receives a caution for unsporting behaviour.27:15
Jan Vertonghen concedes a free kick for a foul on Glenn Whelan.26:37
The ball is swung over by Jonathan Walters.23:58
Corner taken left-footed by Gareth Bale, save by Asmir Begovic.22:21
Emmanuel Adebayor fouled by Robert Huth, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Kyle Walker.21:30
The ball is delivered by Jan Vertonghen.20:10
Jan Vertonghen crosses the ball.19:19
Ryan Shotton is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Jan Vertonghen takes the direct free kick.18:52
Shot from 25 yards by Robert Huth. Jermain Defoe gets a block in.18:12
Raniere Sandro gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Jonathan Walters. Glenn Whelan takes the free kick.17:45
Jan Vertonghen delivers the ball, save by Asmir Begovic.15:08
The ball is swung over by Aaron Lennon, Geoff Cameron manages to make a clearance.14:51
Kenwyne Jones sends in a cross, Raniere Sandro manages to make a clearance.14:20
The ball is sent over by Gareth Bale, Robert Huth manages to make a clearance.11:53
The ball is swung over by Gareth Bale, clearance by Andy Wilkinson.9:37
Inswinging corner taken by Matthew Etherington from the right by-line played to the near post, clearance by Steven Caulker.7:04
Direct free kick taken by Michael Dawson.7:04 Booking
Booking Raniere Sandro receives a caution for unsporting behaviour.6:31
Andy Wilkinson concedes a free kick for a foul on Aaron Lennon.5:21
Glenn Whelan takes a corner.4:24
A cross is delivered by Aaron Lennon, Geoff Cameron manages to make a clearance.0:34
Effort from the edge of the box by Kenwyne Jones goes wide of the right-hand upright.0:00
The game begins.
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