|DATE||Sunday 20th September 2015|
|VENUE||White Hart Lane|
With new signings, Crystal Palace have changed their squad and their
style of playing, with more attacking intent based on a busy
midfield. Their defence is still a little suspect, but the midfield
try to protect them by closing down their opponents by tracking back
when attacks break down.
Much has revolved around Yohan Cabaye, the Palace record signing, who surprisingly snubbed top clubs to join former Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew at Selhurst Park. His industry is matched by his good use of the ball and Cabaye was brought in to set the standard that others should live up to.
There is a degree of defensive nous that Cabaye has that some other Palace squad members had lacked, but that has improved this season. So, to beat the Eagles, Tottenham must work hard to match their work in midfield. Other hard workers include Papa Soure, James McCarthy and Joe Ledley, but Tottenham must use their passing to take these players out of the game and nullify their chasing around. It will need a good retention of the ball and lots of running to make space to receive the ball. Offensively, Palace are well-stocked with options. Allegedly a Spurs target in the summer, Yannick Bolasie is a talented player on the ball and his team-mate Wilfried Zaha enjoys a trick or seven, so expect the unexpected from them as the try to craft chances for the front men or have a go themselves. Jason Puncheon is an under-rated midfielder, who can create as well as score goals and needs to have an eye kept on him, while Jordan Mutch is a squad member, who has not been called upon much this season so far.
At the back, veteran keeper Julian Speroni who has done much for the Eagles over the last few years has been ousted by new signing from QPR Alex McCarthy, who is a talented young English goalie, but he has been prone to dropping a clanger or two in his time at Reading before his move to Loftus Road. Another option available to Pardew between the sticks is Welsh international keeper Wayne Hennessey, who had the makings of a star when he started at Wolverhampton Wanderers, but he is now re-asserting himself and had a few games at Palace before McCarthy signed. However, Palace are yet to keep a clean sheet this season.
Much of which is the
responsibility of the back four. Former Spurs left back Zeki
Fryers has disappeared from view, while Paddy McCarthy has gone the
same way and Adrian Mariappa is yet to feature in a game this
campaign. Brede Hangeland may be entering the autumn of
his career, but he has been ousted in the middle of the defence by
Scott Dann and Damien Delaney, with Dann having had a good season,
but Delaney has a mistake in him and Spurs might need to get around
him to try and pressure him into one. Both are dangerous at
the other end for set-pieces. One other option that Pardew has
not yet turned to is former Liverpool man Martin Kelly.
Getting the ball down and playing Palace on the floor will be the key. They are a tall, strong side and the need to make them chase the ball will be paramount in getting anything from the match. Palace have the ability to break quickly and their forwards are strong on the ball and their midfield strong off it. It will need an effort packer performance to match their application, with the forwards taking the chances that come their way. While we won at Sunderland, the final score-line should have been many more than just the 1-0 it read, as chances were spurned and wasted, when a little calm would have produced a more telling finish.
Last season's game ended
with a point apiece with a goal-less draw, but I think there will
not be a repeat of that, but it won't be a goal-fest.
|PREDICTION||Tottenham Hotspur 1 Crystal Palace 0|
|Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , an alternative history, etc.|
|Last season's corresponding fixture|
HOTSPUR TEAM NEWS :
Spurs will give late fitness tests to Christian Eriksen (knee), Mousa Dembele (foot) and Ryan Mason (knee) to try and include them in the starting line-up, but Nabil Bentaleb (ankle) will definitely miss out.
CRYSTAL PALACE TEAM NEWS :
Crystal Palace could have Damien Delaney (groin), Joe Ledley (hamstring) and Connor Wickham (rib) back. Defender Joel Ward (knee) is out as is Marouane Chamakh (hamstring) and Kwesi Appiah (knee), while Julian Speroni lacks match fitness and is unlikely to feature.
available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard
in these countries on these stations ...
Sunday 20th September 2015
White Hart Lane
Palace 0 (0)
Kick off 13:30
|Heung-Min Son 67m 22s||None|
Lamela (foul on Cabaye) 76
Kelly (foul on Son) 45
Bolasie (foul on Walker) 62
|Crowd : 35,723||Weather : Warm, sunny|
|Referee : Michael Oliver (Northumberland)||Assistant Referees : Mr. G. Beswick; Mr. H. Lennard|
|Fourth Official : Lee Mason||-|
|Spurs kicked off and played towards the Park Lane end in the first half.|
|Game time : - 90 + 6 minutes.|
|Tottenham Hotspur :||kit||Crystal Palace :||kit|
Hugo LLORIS (c)
Tom CARROLL 87)
10 Harry KANE
Wilfried ZAHA (
9 Fraizer CAMPBELL 46)
|Manager : Mauricio Pochettino||Manager : Alan Pardew|
|Sponsor : AIA||Shirt sponsor : Mansion|
|Kit Supplier : Under Armour||Kit Supplier : Macron|
As the sun shone down on a full
White Hart Lane, the match was lit up by Son, who scored the winner
and was active in Tottenham's performance to grab a first three home
points of the season against Crystal Palace.
Spurs kicked off and there looked a hunger and determination about them today, which were qualities they would need to compete with a Palace side re-shaped under Alan Pardew. With attacking players who can hurt the opposition, the Eagles were a different proposition to that we faced last season, when we failed to beat them - drawing at home and losing away. Early pressure on the visitors' goal caused some desperate defending with Delaney blocking the ball from Son's shot out for a corner, which Lamela found Kane from, but the striker's unmarked header from around the penalty spot went over the bar when it seemed there was time to get over it. Tottenham were using the diagonal ball out to Chadli on the left, with Dier and Alderweireld taking on the Michael Dawson role in hitting the long passes. Palace were leaving Bolasie up field, although eh wasn't an out and out forward, but his pace was being countered by the Spurs defence, who swarmed around him when he got the ball looking to break.
The whole team were working hard to shut down Palace as soon as they were on the ball, with Son and Lamela working back to recover possession. With numbers of their own behind the ball when Spurs attacked, Palace managed to block a number of shots from Alli, Kane and Son, with the crowd beseeching Tottenham's players to "shoot" every time they were within 35 yards of goal.
Tottenham were soon on the attack again and Erik Lamela brought a diving save as McCarthy went low to his left to keep out the winger's drive from 25 yards out, but he could only parry it wide to Harry Kane, who fizzed it across the face of goal with Lamela wanting it back a little further to tap it in form close range. Palace won one of many soft free-kicks, when their players fell under pressure from a Spurs man, only for Oliver to blow his whistle. It was another performance by the referee that indicated he has trouble telling one end of a football from the other. Puncheon took it and had he done the same with his penalty two seasons back, he wouldn't have been so embarrassed, as he blasted it head high along the 18 yard line, only for Sako to get his head to it, but it skimmed off and went off for a throw-in !!
With an Eagles corner cleared, Tottenham broke away quickly and Kane played in Chadli on the left side of the box, but the Belgian dallied and was forced to curl an easy shot for the keeper to take. At the other end, Tottenham were a little more fortunate when they left Papa Soaure free at the far post for a corner and the ball was headed back into the danger area, as Brede Hangeland hooked a shot over his shoulder at goal from about five yards out, but there was not enough on it to give Hugo any cause for concern. Alderweireld almost found Lamela on the right with a straighter ball, but it gave him less space to play with and the ball took him too close to the end of the pitch to do much with.
In the 25th minute, Palace made their first telling effort on goal, with Bolasie getting into the box on the left and hitting a low shot that flicked off Jan Vertonghen as it went wide of the far post. Spurs were still finding it difficult to get through the massed ranks of red and blue striped shirts, with bodies being thrown in the way and when Vertonghen decided to make a foray into the Palace half, he played the ball back to Walker to cross, it was cleared to Davies, who blasted high from 25 yards out. Another run from deep saw Son take the ball off Hangeland and race past him like he wasn't there, but when he took the ball to the left, the Norwegian defender got back to block him. Alli's 32nd minute low drive again forced McCarthy to push the ball out to Harry, who returned the ball at goal, only to see it fizz past the far post with Son just unable to reach it.
Ten minutes before the break Lloris was called upon to make a save as Bolasie again came in form their left and curled a shot at goal, but Hugo was right behind it and gather it in well. The Palace winger, who was an alleged target for Spurs in the summer, wasn't so precise in his next involvement, with a wild blast at goal from the right side of the area. On his showing today, it is lucky we didn't spend GBP 20 million on him, saving it to be splashed out on our new star man. He did win a free-kick, but that wasn't hard with the referee today, as he crumpled under the lightest of challenges five yards outside the box and Sako hit the centrally placed dead ball well, but Lloris was equal to it with a diving save the palmed the ball away as he jumped up to his left. The Palace keeper was required to make a simliar save from a deep Chadli cross, but only knocked it down in front of goal, needing Soaure to complete the clearance.
Right on half-time, there was a worrying moment as Spurs tried to play the ball out of defence, when Walker took the ball off Souare (who's name looked like P. Square on the back of his shirt) down in his own corner of the pitch. He then played the ball inside, but straight to Puncheon. The ball went to Sako, who's shot was blocked and Palace then had the best effort of the 45 minutes. It was right in front of us and when Cabaye struck it, it looked like it was going well wide of the goal on the far side, but it swerved as he had cut across the ball and looked like it might move enough to beat Lloris, but it thumped against the base of the keeper's right upright and bounced out and away to the relief of the Spurs fans. As Son raced away when the ball broke Tottenham's way, he was cynically brought down by Kelly on halfway as he knew they were in trouble, picking up a yellow card for his knowing foul.
Alan Pardew pulled the hook out for Zaha at the interval, with the tricky midfielder not really getting into the game, bringing on former Spurs loan forward Fraizer Campbell. As it turned out, it was almost a disastrous substitution, with a back pass to McCarthy being cleared straight at the back of Son's head as he closed the goalie down. There was that moment of suspense as the ball flew back past the keeper towards goal, but luckily for the visitors, it dropped wide.
Palace were going longer in the second half, with Campbell's pace the target, but most passes were over-hit and the movement of the ball by our opponents was sometimes laboured. With Tottenham failing to find their man with their final ball, the match got a bit messy and it was only seven minutes in, when Alli was fallen on by McArthur on the edge of the D, that something happened. Lamela took the free-kick and beat the wall, but not the keeper, who pushed it over the ball somewhat awkwardly. Erik's resulting corner saw Toby win a header at the near post, but it didn't result in anything. When Alli was cleared out in the next attack in a similar position, Oliver gave nothing. Shouldn't be surprised by his lack of consistency, but despite officials being paid, they still act in an amateur manner when they can't spot an obvious foul or which way a goal-kick or throw-in should be awarded.
Tottenham had the ball in the net in the 58th minute, as McCarthy saved Son's shot, with the ball loose and Kane and Davies going for it, only for the ball to balloon up into the air and Davies to bundle the ball over the line when jumping with Hangeland. True to form, the goal was ruled out for offside against Kane, but when they were all seemingly behind the ball when an opponent touched it, it looked harsh call. The linesman was in a better position than me so, I guess he was right.
With 25 minutes to play, Spurs were grateful to Hugo Lloris, who had been under-employed in the Spurs goal. However, the mark of a class goalkeeper is to make saves when he has been out of the action for long periods and Hugo did just that. A shot on goal from the left of the box was blocked and the ball ran across the box to Bakary Sako, who was unmarked on the right. He drilled his shot low and to Lloris' right, but the French international got down to deflect it onto his right hand post to save Tottenham. The corner almost saw Palace take the lead, as it bobbled about until it fell to Campbell a couple of yards out and he somehow managed to sky it over the goal when it looked easier to score.
When it didn't look easy to score, Heung-Min Son did just that. Within three minutes of almost going behind, Spurs substitute Christian Eriksen was involved in sealing hero status for our Korean midfielder. Erik Lamela and Eric Dier did well to gain possession on the edge of our box and ironically, Palace were hit on the break. Erik found Eriksen and his early ball released Son on the left wing just inside the Palace half. He ran on with the ball attacking Hangeland, before going outside onto his left foot that drilled a shot at goal, low between McCarthy's legs to bulge the net. His pace and ability to go either way caused the defender to stand off and the Korean took advantage with a fine finish.
Spurs pushed for a second with Eriksen skying a free-kick, Alli drove a volley from just outside the D that was blocked by Delaney and Christian released Dele Alli on the left side of the box, from where he tricked his way past a couple of defenders to prod a shot that went just past McCarthy's far post. Harry Kane was getting desperate for a goal and smacked a shot into the defender right in front of him, then took a free-kick that went straight into the wall, but his time will come. He was tightly marked by Delaney today, but still had chances, so the goals will come for him.
Palace pushed Kelly forward and aimed for his head, but Spurs dealt with the high balls pretty well. Vertonghen was alert to get out to Bolasie when he burst into the penalty area and he blocked his cross. Lloris was plucking crosses out of the air like cherries from a tree and the midfielders were back tackling well to stop any breakthrough. There was a flare-up when Campbell went in on Lloris, but it looked as though the ball was there to be won by either of them and it came to nothing. Palace's best chance came when the ball came out to Soaure, but he had a rush of blood and hit a screamer that flew into row Z of the Park Lane end !!
The energy and movement that Son brought to the team was matched by the tenacity of Eric Dier and Dele Alli at the back, with the back four putting in a good performance in preventing Palace getting too many shooting opportunities. Hugo was outstanding again and while Kane didn't get on the score-sheet, he worked tirelessly to make space for others and to win the ball back.
Pochettino will have a tough selection problem soon, with Eriksen fit again and showing he can open side sup with just one pass, but you cannot drop Alli and while Lamela is slammed in the papers, he does a lot of work off the ball and in helping out the back four that he is a valuable player in the way Poch wants to play at the moment. Chadli may be the one most at risk should Eriksen be included, but he adds a different outlet in a strong man, who should be able to hold the ball up.
Good times for Spurs, who move up the table to ninth and that puts us back above Chelsea. The important thing it to keep the momentum of these results going and with Arsenal and Manchester City visiting the Lane in the coming week, it will be a big test to see how well our young side (the youngest fielded this weekend in the Premier League again) can cope with different opponents.
Crystal Palace were
previously nicknamed "The Glaziers" as their players in the early
days developed the skill of restoring windows that they had broken
with their wayward shots.
|Match ball sponsors||-|
|Match programme sponsors||-|
|Match shirt sponsors||-|
|What you thought|
Burton, you were right to mention Oliver's incompetence, but you
missed out on one aspect of his dire performance and that was
In the space of a couple of minutes he booked Erik Lamela for taking a Palace player down from behind, which is a booking in anyone's language. However, he had soon before let Delaney get away with the same offence without a yellow card and leaving the crowd to make up their own minds about his decision-making ability.
Garth Crooks ranted the day
before about Mike Dean spoiling a game by sending players off ...
well, Oliver did just that without pulling out a red card. On
those grounds does that make him a better ref than Dean ?
|Other scores during this week :|
|Aston Villa||1||West Bromwich Albion||2||Saturday|
|Manchester City||1||West Ham United||2||Saturday|
|Stoke City||2||Leicester City||2||Saturday|
|3||West Ham United||6||4||0||2||13||5||12||+8|
|12||West Bromwich Albion||6||2||2||2||4||6||8||-2|
Position before match :
Position after match : 9th
Position after the weekend : 9th
* Pub facts may not actually be true, but after a few pints everyone will think so.
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