BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE
SUNDAY 20th SEPTEMBER, 2015
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1(0) CRYSTAL PALACE 0(0)
Referee:- Michael Oliver
Assistants:- G. Beswick & H. Lennard
Fourth official:- Lee Mason
Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Lloris (Capt.); Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies; Dier, Alli; Son (sub N'Jie, 79), Lamela (sub Carroll, 87), Chadli (sub Eriksen, 66); Kane
Subs not used:- Vorm; Trippier, Fazio; Townsend
Booked:- Lamela (foul on Cabaye)
Crystal Palace (4-2-3-1):- McCarthy; Kelly, Hangeland, Delaney (Capt.), Souare; Cabaye, McArthur (sub Mutch, 76); Sako (sub Bamford, 84), Puncheon, Zaha (sub Campbell, 46); Bolassie
Subs not used:- Hennessey; Mariappa, Chung-Yong Lee, Ledley
Booked:- Kelly (foul on Son), Bolassie ( foul on Walker)
Son shines at The Lane
I am sure I will run out of Son/sun puns and headlines before too long, but it is undeniable that Heung-min Son, who plays with a smile on his face, provided the highlight for Spurs fans with his third goal in two games, which was the only goal of the game.
I would suggest that Spurs did deserve their win, but as we all knew before the game, Palace are a force to be reckoned with, and had a few chances, one or two of which needed good saves from Hugo Lloris.
Spurs were once again the youngest side in the Premier League this week, with Dele Alli getting the nod beside Eric Dier, and once again proving he will be a great favourite with his home fans. Gary Lineker has even made a post match prediction that Alli will play for England in the Euro 2016 tournament, which is some feather in the cap of such a young player, still establishing himself in the Spurs team.
Son started on the right, with Lamela playing in the middle because Christian Eriksen was deemed not fit enough to start. Chadli played on the left, and Harry Kane was up front. The press will harp on about Kane's failure to score again, but there is plenty to Harry's game, and he and all his team-mates played a full part in a tight but entertaining game.
In the early stages, Spurs were on the front foot, but Palace always looked dangerous when they did get forward, with Bolassie up front, Zaha on the left and Sako on the right. Palace defended stoutly, getting men behind the ball in numbers, and often causing Spurs' attacks to break down because of the pressure put upon them.
Not only Son, but the sun shone upon us, and apparently there is an "Indian Summer" coming to the UK in the next three weeks.
With such an attacking midfield, Mauricio Pochettino clearly decided to keep his full backs in check a lot of the time today. Apart from one ricket, which might have led to a Palace goal, I thought Kyle Walker had an excellent game, and to be honest that was the only clear mistake I spotted from any member of the team. Yes, Lamela (and others) would occasionally over-run the ball, but Spurs exerted just as much pressure on the Palace players as they received.
Son, advancing down the left channel, after Davies' pass, hit a good shot which was blocked by a defender, winning a corner. This was taken on the right by Lamela, but headed over the bar by Kane.
Son was soon winning cheers again, as he battled for and won the ball in the middle, turned and hit the ball down the line for Kane on the right flank. Kane's pass inside did not find its target.
Spurs were putting the Palace team under pressure in and around the box, without finding a shot on goal. Alli found his way through the middle, and went down without winning a foul, but Spurs did win another corner. After 16 minutes, Alli was the provider for a chance for Lamela on the left of goal. His shot was saved by McCarthy, and Harry Kane's follow-up attempt finished in the keeper's arms
Palace found some space on the left after 20 minutes and won a corner after Sako's powerful cross. From the corner, Souare headed to the feet of Hangeland, whose shot was held by Lloris.
Spurs countered, with Son offering a pass from which Chadli hit a right footed shot which McCarthy held. By this time, Lamela and Son had switched positions, which was a trend to be repeated during the game. Toby Alderweireld hit a good long ball down the right for Lamela to chase, but the ball went out for a goal kick.
Another excellent long pass was played by Dier, this time towards the left, collected by Chadli, who passed back for Son, whose shot was deflected over the goal for another corner. Spurs had more good possession, but were a little slow in their build-up before Ben Davies hit an effort well over. Son made another good pick-up of a loose ball in the middle but just got closed down and couldn't get in a shot.
Alli and Chadli combined, before Kane hit a shot across the goal. Soon after that, Harry hit a good shot on the turn from the right, after Dele Alli had put him in.
After 34 minutes, Bolassie was onto Puncheon's long ball, hitting a right foot shot which Lloris saved quite comfortably. A better and quite spectacular save was required from Lloris to stretch to his top left corner and push away Sako's free kick.
Spurs followed that with a good attack led by Jan Vertonghen advancing just as we used to see so often. Vertonghen fed Chadli, whose effort did win a corner. There was a close call for Spurs just before the break, and this did follow that Walker error. Kyle was trying to defend a situation on the right and inexplicably passed inside to a Palace player. Spurs escaped when Cabaye hit a low shot which rebounded clear off the post.
At half-time, Alan Pardew replaced Zaha with the popular Spurs former loan player Fraizer Campbell, but he had little impact, truth be told. There was early excitement as Son closed down McCarthy's attempted clearance, but the ball rebounded wide of the goal.
Another good break by Vertonghen led to Chadli trying to hit a ball to Son, but it was just over-hit. Alli was fouled three yards outside the Palace area, and Lamela took the kick, saved by the keeper. A corner resulted, and Alderweireld rose to head for goal, but this was cleared.
Lamela and Son battled their way through the middle, until finally Lamela hit a ball which was cleared to Son. Son's shot was saved, and Ben Davies' had a header blocked. Davies soon tried to offer a ball for Kane, but the flag was up before Spurs had the ball in the net.
Sako had a shot saved at the near post by Lloris after Souare's cross, and after the corner, Hangeland had an effort blocked.
Christian Eriksen then replaced Chadli, and initially took up station on the left, but would again be seen in the middle. Palace right back Martin Kelly had a shot blocked, before Spurs countered in style from their own area. The ball was moved forward urgently through the middle, and Eriksen gets the assist for his pass to Son on his left. Son made room for his shot to the left of the defence, beating goalkeeper McCarthy through his legs at his right post for a much-needed goal in front of the Paxton Road crowd.
Perhaps Spurs were seeking to close out the game, but they did come under some pressure from the visitors, not before Alli went close with shot after another Eriksen pass. Palace won a few corners in the closing stages, but Spurs defended stoutly to secure their third consecutive Premier League clean sheet. Eric Lamela was replaced late in the game by Tom Carroll, and exited to great applause, without doubt the greatest appreciation he has yet experienced at White Hart Lane.
Another goal would have put us above Palace, but we have risen to a welcome 9th place, looking at those above, rather than over our shoulders.
Two wins in our next two games at The Lane over the next week would be most welcome, but no doubt Mr. Wenger will field a strong team on Wednesday in the Capital One Cup, before Man City come a calling, eager to put right that surprising home defeat by West Ham.
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