SATURDAY 10TH NOVEMBER, 2018
CRYSTAL PALACE 0(0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1(0)
Referee:- Jonathan Moss
Assistants:- Eddie Smart, Andy Halliday
Fourth official:- Roger East
Palace (4-4-2):- Hennessy; Wan-Bissaka, Tomkins (sub Kelly, 60), Sakho, Van Aanholt; McArthur (sub Sorloth, 70), Milivojevic (Capt.), Kouyate, Meyer (sub Schlupp, 67); Ayew, Townsend
Subs not used:- Guaita(GK); Ward, Riedewald; Puncheon
Booked:- Tomkins (foul on Lucas Moura)
Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Lloris (Capt.); Trippier (sub Aurier, 24), Foyth, Alderweireld, Davies; Sissoko, Wanyama; Lamela (sub Winks, 83), Dele, Lucas Moura (sub Son, 71); Kane
Subs not used:- Gazzaniga; Dier, Eriksen; Llorente
Booked:- Winks (foul on Ayew)
Hard fought win and a first goal for Foyth!
As I walked through the torrents of rain and the paths that were literally rivers of water towards Selhurst Park, I wondered if we were going to see a game of football. Premier League grounds (even that of Crystal Palace where the ancient Arthur Wait offers poor comfort, facilities and view of the game) are very resilient to such weather these days, so we did get a game, although it was one which lacked quality. I suppose that is not surprising bearing in mind the match was played in persistent and heavy rain throughout. It was certainly hard-fought, and Spurs were deserved winners with Juan Foyth celebrating his second Premier League start with a first career goal.
Even the Palace eagle did not want to fly much further than the gap between the crossbar and its handler, rather than tour the ground. The usual exuberant Palace atmosphere was missing tonight, which is not surprising as the fans have still yet to see even a home league goal from open play (their only two were Milivojevic’ s penalties against Arsenal two weeks ago). Nor have the home fans seen a league win. It is 8 games since Palace’s last league win, which was away to Huddersfield in September. Somehow they still sit above the bottom three (only just) and three teams are going to have to be really bad to be relegated this season.
Part of the problem (a big part in fact) for the lower half teams is that the top teams are so good. Three at the top of the league remain unbeaten (they all play today – Sunday) and Spurs are only two points behind the leaders (before they play today) and secure in fourth place for the International break as a result of this seventh away win of this season in the Premier League, which is their 12th this calendar year – more than any other team.
Mauricio Pochettino had hinted at rotation to protect some of his players who will be playing over the International break, and he did that with Eriksen remaining on the bench, along with Dier and Harry Winks did not appear until he replaced Lamela late on. Davinson Sanchez was absent, giving Juan Foyth that second Premier League start. It has been a great couple of weeks for Foyth. He was our man of the match in Spurs’ 3-1 Carabao Cup win away to West Ham; played well overall, but conceded two penalties at Wolves, and then scored the winner in this game! He also played very well beside the steadying head and feet that belong to stalwart defender Toby Alderweireld, whose only game missed in the last 11 was that league cup game at Stratford.
Foyth, Sissoko and Lloris were the Spurs stars last night. Lloris made crucial saves when required, not least from Palace sub Sorloth late in the game, and Sissoko’s name was chanted incessantly at the end of the game after another battling, driving and skilful performance playing this time next to Victor Wanyama in front of the defence.
Palace had to make do without their talisman Wilfried Zaha, who suffered a hamstring strain last week at Stamford Bridge. Hodgson played a 4-4-2 with Ayew beside Townsend up front, but most of the time their players were forming a defensive wall for Spurs to try and pierce. Palace kicked off but it was 12 minutes before anything resembling a chance occurred. That fell to the home side with McArthur delivering a header intended for Ayew but cleared by Lucas Moura in the Spurs area. Tomkins had a header go wide from a subsequent corner. Foyth lost his footing under the challenge of Townsend, but the former Spur’s effort went into the side netting.
After 19 minutes, Sissoko powered his way into the box after Ben Davies’ throw-in on the left. Moussa’s shot was blocked and cleared. Kieran Trippier suffered an early injury, and was replaced after only 24 minutes by number 24 – Serge Aurier! There were a couple of dangerous crosses left and right for Spurs with Aurier delivering one of those from the right and Davies the delivery merchant on the left. Palace cleared both times. Davies crossed again after 27 minutes and Dele Alli headed wide back across the goalmouth. Dele was very industrious in his role between Lamela and Lucas Moura, and will be reporting for England duty along with Kane, Dier, Winks and Trippier – assuming the latter has to report for assessment.
Harry Kane was onto a loose ball after 29 minutes and hit a good right footed shot which was well saved by Hennessy. Dele, Lamela and Kane tried to find a way through the middle of thee Palace defence, but Roy’s men were holding firm at this stage. Aurier crossed from the right after 4 minutes, and Lucas Moura headed the ball over Hennessy’s goal. Tomkins had already been booked for stopping Lucas but there was no card just before the break when he was tripped by Van Aanholt.
There were a couple of flappy clearances by Lloris following a Palace corner on the right, but clearances they were, supported by the defence. Spurs offered danger from a Lamela corner on the left which was cleared as far as Davies outside the area. His attempt bounced into the ground and up, and Harry Kane’s header went over the goal.
Tomkins had been replaced at the back by Martin Kelly and Spurs took the lead after another corner by Lamela from the left in the 66th minute. Kane’s header was knocked up by Milivojevic and Foyth was the first to react and seized upon the ball to head into the roof of the net for a memorable moment in his young career. Juan is off to report for International duty with Argentina next week!
Roy Hodgson’s response was to replace midfielder Meyer with former Leicester man Jeffrey Schlupp. Palace goalkeeper Hennessy had to be out sharply to firstly deprive Lucas Moura of a chance from Kane’s through ball, before doing the same against Lamela, trying to reach Dele’s ball. Hodgson’s last throw of the dice was to put Sorloth on for McArthur. Son came on for Lucas Moura.
Lloris batted away a shot by Schlupp after 79 minutes, following a long floated Palace free kick and a couple of headers in and around the box. Lamela took a facial injury and was replaced by Harry Winks. Lloris saved again – this time from a Townsend header after Van Aanholt’s cross. This one wasn’t a big test for Hugo, but the one he made from Sorloth as we entered 5 minutes of added time was a good one. Milivojevic’s shot had been deflected into the path of Sorloth, who shot from close range, but Hugo was our hero again. Sissoko brought the ball forward on a good run at the other end, and Son really should have done better, but as often happens, he allowed the defence to close him down.
Son and Kane worked together to run down time near the corner flag in front of the Spurs fans, and Son had the nerve to try and rouse the already roused Spurs support. The players got a rousing reception when the full time whistle was blown, and a very soggy day ended happily!
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