SATURDAY 11TH SEPTEMBER, 2021
CRYSTAL PALACE 3(0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 0(0)
Zaha (pen), 76
Edouard, 84, 90(+2)
Referee:- Jonathan Moss
Assistants:- Marc Perry, Timothy Wood
Fourth official:- Tony Harrington
VAR: Jarred Gillett
Assistant VAR:- Lee Betts.
Palace (4-3-3):- Guaita; Ward, Andersen, Guehi, Mitchell; Gallagher, Kouyate (sub Milivojevic, 67), McArthur (Capt.); Ayew (sub Olise, 86), Benteke (sub Edouard, 84), Zaha
Subs not used:- Butland; Tomkins, Clyne, Kelly; Hughes, Riedewald
Booked:- Zaha (unsporting conduct), Gallagher (foul on Davies)
Spurs (4-3-3):- Lloris (Capt.); Emerson, Dier (sub Rodon, 12), Tanganga, Reguilon; Hojbjerg, Skipp, Winks (sub Davies, 60); Lucas Moura, Kane, Dele
Subs not used:- Gollini; Doherty, Omole; Gil, Ndombele, Markanday; Scarlett
Booked:- Tanganga (foul on Zaha), Lucas Moura (Dissent)
Sent off:- Tanganga, 58 (second yellow for foul on Ayew)
Down to earth with an almighty thump
We knew about the extenuating circumstances regarding the absence of Lo Celso, Romero and Sanchez, who are isolating for Covid reasons after trips to South America and the injuries to Heung-min Son and Steven Bergwijn. Things became worse only 12 minutes into the game when Eric Dier had to leave injured and was replaced by Joe Rodon. Spurs did okay in the opening phases of the game without hitting even a shot on target, but overall they failed to compete with a Palace side who were looking for a first win and their first home goals under Patrick Vieira. Japhet Tanganga was sent off with over half an hour of the game to go and Spurs’ struggle became much harder, not helped when Ben Davies blocked a Gallagher cross with his hand and Wilfried Zaha scored from the spot.
Chelsea loanee Gallagher was a thorn in Spurs’ side throughout the game, and if he could have hit the target the scoreline might have been even worse. At Old Trafford today Cristiano Ronaldo made headlines with two goals on his return to “The Theatre of Dreams”. Here at Selhurst Park another new arrival, striker Odsonne Edouard also scored two goals on his debut. The first of these was scored with only his second touch within a minute of coming on. The first touch had been to control the ball.
Spurs had their own debutant at right back Emerson Royal. Emerson started well, displaying skill up and down the line, keeping Zaha at bay most of the time. Emerson has skill and pace. He failed with a couple of first half crosses, and perhaps tired and faded in the second half when Zaha put him to the sword at crucial times. Tanguy Ndombele was on the bench, but didn’t get a sniff of the game. Bryan Gil was also unused and I can tell you that another unused sub – Dilan Markanday – has creative and scoring ability aplenty. However, Nuno played a defensive midfield three, which included Winks, whilst Dele was pushed forward. Harry Kane hardly got a touch of the ball in the first half. Dele worked hard throughout, and even harder when we were down to ten men, at the back as well as at the front. Lucas Moura was our most dangerous forward, although his (and our only return) was a second half shot saved by Guaita and a header which passed wide.
We knew not to expect too much from our three opening wins and sitting top of the early table, but Spurs have been brought back to earth with an almighty thump today. This was our first Premier League defeat against Palace in 13 games since January 2015 and the first time Palace have put three past us since January 2005.
The game was preceded by a minute’s silence on the twentieth anniversary of the horrific “9/11” attacks.
Spurs kicked off playing towards the Holmesdale Road Stand. Lucas started a good move with pace out of defence after three minutes sending Reguilon away down the left flank. Sergio was looking for Dele, but failed with his cross. Emerson won an early corner on the other side. This was taken by Winks and came to nought. Poor play by the Palace defence let in Lucas who passed to Hojbjerg but his touch let him down (not for the last time) and Palace attacked. After this, Lloris sold Dier short with a pass and Dier went down under a strong challenge by Ayew. Eric got up without treatment, but he did not last long, and had to be replaced by Rodon, who at this stage was able to play in his favoured left of centre position. This was Rodon’s first game since the Euros in June.
Hojbjerg sent a lovely long cross-field pass to Reguilon, but Ward managed to defend against the threat. Palace were awarded a free kick for an alleged foul by Dele (there might have been a handball by his opponent). The kick from 25 yards was taken by Gallagher but passed well over Lloris’s goal. Harry Winks was involved in a good move which took the ball across the field from left to right, but the final cross was too high and was the goalkeeper’s ball.
Zaha got into a good shooting position in the middle, hitting a right foot shot which took a slight deflection and won a corner. Gallagher took this and Zaha had another shot deflected out of play. There was some stout defending by Spurs at this stage of the game with Tanganga winning plaudits. Oliver Skipp made a great tackle on Zaha inside the Spurs area, and also made a successful pass. Once again, a Spurs move had broken down through Hojbjerg before this Zaha run into dangerous territory. Palace came very close to scoring and Gallagher had his hands to his head when Zaha got to the bye-line close to goal, passed inside to Gallagher whose close-range shot was somehow blocked by Lloris, perhaps with a defensive touch too.
Spurs desperately needed to show some creativity. They came out early for the second half, and there were times when Harry Kane seemed to be indicating to his midfielders to try long balls over the top for he and Lucas Moura, but such moves did not surface. Once again Spurs had withdrawn to a too-slow and pedantic attempt to build a play. Oliver Skipp did play a great ball to the right wing where Emerson raced forward to collect. The ball came inside to Lucas who turned and hit a decent shot, unfortunately straight at the keeper. This was surely our first shot at goal, and applauded ironically by the travelling fans.
There was danger for the Spurs defence five minutes into the half when Zaha crossed and both Benteke and Gallagher had a go. Gallagher’s shot was blocked with Reguilon and Rodon to the fore. After another Spurs attack broke down, Palace broke forward and Tanganga “took one for the team” by clearly fouling Zaha who was running diagonally away from the goal area. Zaha took great offence and seemed to put his hands to Tanganga’s face (photographs have confirmed a hand around Japhet’s throat) but referee Jon Moss deemed this to be no more than a yellow card offence. Tanganga had been immediately booked. It was after this incident I felt we were playing palace and the officials, as Mr Moss seemed to ignore a number of quite blatant fouls against Spurs players. There was more ironic applause when we did get a decision. Gallagher again took the free kick, and was again way off target.
Spurs came under some pressure and Tanganga was no doubt rash when over-stretching and fouling Ayew, drawing a swift second yellow and a red card. Harry Winks was sacrificed to allow Ben Davies to join the defence. He played towards the left and Rodon was pushed to the right where he is less comfortable. The ten men defended another Gallagher free kick well. Dele made a great block from an Ayew shot inside his own area, and brought the ball out to safety. Reguilon somehow headed the ball over his own goal when Mitchell’s cross from the left had looped over Hugo Lloris.
Place had a couple of corners after which a Gallagher cross was blocked by Davies’ out-stretched arm and the assistant referee flagged vigorously before Mr Mos pointed to the spot. VAR confirmed the penalty and Zaha scored to the left of Lloris who had dived early to his right. Until this point, I had been thinking we might hold out for what would have been a satisfactory 0-0 with ten men, but there was to be no way back for Spurs, who crumbled.
Gallagher hit another shot wide. Lucas Moura thought he had been fouled but Mr. Moss ignored that and gave handball against Lucas as he fell to the ground. Lucas was booked for his dissent in bouncing the ball hard into the ground in protest. One of the Palace substitutions was to replace Benteke with the new man Edouard, who was successful at Celtic last season. Within a minute Edouard had scored as he took Zaha’s cross, controlled the ball with his first touch and beat Lloris with his second.
Spurs tried to get on the scoresheet, coming closest when Lucas met a Reguilon cross with a decent header, but that passed wide. Mr. Moss seemed to ignore a foul by Zaha on Emerson with Spurs fans baying for a second yellow for Zaha. The capitulation was complete in added time when the ball was crossed from the left. Gallagher was involved, but that man Edouard had the final say and two goals on his debut.
In his post-match comments, Nuno said the club would be making a statement regarding Son. This sounds ominous and perhaps means he has to have an operation.
After the Rennes game next Thursday we face a massive home challenge against Chelsea next Sunday. That will also be ominous.
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