Palace 0-1 Spurs
All but the most optimistic of Palace fans went into this game expecting a loss and maybe even a bit of a thrashing. The loss materialised but the gutsy display put in by the fourteen Eagles used resulted in 20,000 fans leaving Selhurst Park with far more optimism than they harboured upon entering some two hours before.
This is not to say that the Palace fans were displaying negativity, never that. Realism and rational thought more reflected the mood. Playing against a team that had just spent £26m on one player alone, a figure that is not too far away from the money shelled out by Mark Goldberg when purchasing Crystal Palace Football Club back in 1998 (I say shelled out... oh let’s not get into that here!). That’s without taking into consideration the £17.4m spent on Paulinho, the £9.7m spent on Capoue and the £7.1m spent on Chadli. Spurs are simply a world apart from Crystal Palace.
"22 men and one football."
At the risk of sounding cliché (who am I kidding, this is totally cliché) once the whistle blows to signal the start of the match it is just 22 men and one football... and 3D/HD cameras, goal line technology, a ref, two assistant refs, the fourth ref, two managers, two assistant managers, two physios... have I missed anyone? But you catch my drift.
In the first half an hour perhaps Spurs were shown a little too much respect. This is completely understandable on the grounds that they have a far superior playing squad and are likely to challenge for a Champions League place this season. The last half an hour was a very different story, however.
"The respect/fear was shaken off."
Holloway made all three of his allotted substitutions in one fell swoop and changed the mindset of the eleven men donning the new half and half red and blue kit on the hallowed 12bet turf (I kid! I kid!). The respect/fear was shaken off. Chamakh, the holder of a Champions League scoring record, has come from Arsenal and a (sort of) winning mentality and thus has nothing to fear from Spurs. Super Kevin Phillips has been there and done it, including once winning the Premier League Player of the Year award and thus has nothing to fear from Spurs and Joniesta is just too young, dumb and full of majestic skills to be scared of anyone!
These substitutions saw the Eagles have a real go at Villas-Boas’ men and only some fine stops from Hugo Lloris, a keeper worth more than the entire Palace starting XI, ensured that Spurs made the short trip back to North London with the full complement of points.
Sure, Spurs had their chances to kill off the game, once they had taken the lead through a Soldado penalty five minutes after the restart, as Sigurdsson and Defoe were both guilty of missing good chances. But all teams have to ride a bit of luck in all games and as Kevin Phillips nodded the ball down to an onrushing Kagisho Dikgacoi in the closing seconds (if only it was the other way around) my eyes widened in the stands expecting Palace to steal the point that their, for want of a better word, plucky display arguably deserved. Alas Lloris was expert between the sticks and the wait for a first Premier League point in eight years will go on for at least another six days.
The eleven that started for Palace were not once all on the same pitch at any point during pre-season and it showed. Whilst the back four and Jedinak and KG looked solid, Garvan, Gayle and Dobbie were not just singing from different hymn sheets, they were singing from completely different books! A perfect example being the ten yard pass from KG that Dobbie and Garvan left for each other, allowing Spurs to pick up possession and threat on the break.
Injuries have plagued the off season and the patchy performance that was on display can be fully understood. With a new formation and new personnel and yet minimal amount of actual game time together, to expect a fluent display would have been somewhat unrealistic. What was encouraging, however, was the way in which we grew into the game, even after conceding the first goal.
"What we may lack in technical ability we will certainly try and make up for in spirit and togetherness."
It would have been easy for the heads to drop after conceding a goal in such harsh circumstances, more on that later, but instead it spurred (no pun intended) us on and lead to our best spell in the match. What we may lack in technical ability we will certainly try and make up for in spirit and togetherness.
In an ideal world a better pre-season would have been had but when are things ever ideal in SE25? Instead we should look at the Spurs match as our final pre-season match. The next two matches are the important games.
Beating teams like Spurs, Chelsea, the Manchesters and Arsenal (well, maybe not Arsenal) is not what is going to keep us up come May. Points against the likes of Stoke and Sunderland are. If we are still pointless come 8pm on August 31st then we are in for a long season.
Chamakh’s performance should have put a few doubts into the heads of the Palace fans who have already written him off as a flop. His mobility, strength, aerial ability and vision were all plus points on his debut and this is with absolutely no pre-season under his belt.
Better still, the instant understanding that Chamakh and Gayle appeared to strike up saw me tacking on a few extra goals to my projected seasons tally.
With the introduction of the Moroccan Gayle looked immediately more threatening and on several occasions a slightly better touch would have resulted in some very good chances.
"The wily old Kevin Phillips."
On top of this we had the wily old Kevin Phillips showing that this game does not need to be all about pace. His movement saw him lose Tottenham defenders on a regular basis and only some very smart keeping from Lloris, rushing out to tackle the veteran some twenty yards from goal, prevented Phillips from perhaps adding to the many Premier League goals that he has scored in his long career.
At the end of the day it will be goals that keep us up. I saw enough glimmerings of a threatening partnership yesterday to hearten my thoughts.
Yes BUT if it had happened at the other end then I would want it given.
Naturally a few moronic people took to Twitter to abuse Dean Moxey for giving away the penalty and to these people I say “grow up!” It was ball to hand and simply unfortunate. To even suggest that this inopportune moment should detract from his otherwise stellar performance is even more ridiculous.
Dean Moxey is not the greatest left back in the world and nor, I would assume, does he claim to be. However, he has never put in any less than 100% when he has taken to the field and that is all that we can ever ask for.
Yesterday he was up against two England International’s in Walker and Lennon. On his day, there is a case for calling Lennon one of the best wingers in the world. His pace and skill will cause problems for far better full backs than Deano yet he stuck to his guns and on very few occasions did Lennon manage to get past the Palace left back. I assure you that not many full backs will keep Lennon as quiet this season as Moxey did at Selhurst Park yesterday.
Sigh. He has copped a fair bit of abuse for this and deservedly so. Dobbie was not fouled. If he was then Jedinak is fouling every single time he goes into a challenge. On top of that, to suggest that this foul was in the build up to the penalty is ludicrous. Palace recovered possession two more times after that incident which should have been more than enough to avoid the eventual penalty.
I do, however, agree with his sentiment. Big teams get more decisions against small teams. In this case though, he is just clutching at straws.
Palace Are Here. Let the Games Begin.
Yet another exceptional display from the Holmesdale Fanatics.
People do not fully appreciate the time and effort that goes into making displays like this happen. Further, nor do people seem to grasp that they happen, in the main, on the back of money out of their own pockets.
With the display being broadcast to millions of people around the world, they have done our club very proud this opening weekend and I look forward to the next one.
Man of the Match: Mile Jedinak
I believe that Paulinho was given the official award on Sky but everyone knows that that award is nowhere near as prestigious as the RedNBlueArmy MOTM Award.
We all knew that Jedinak was Premier League class and yesterday the rest of England found out. Time and time again he dispossessed a host of internationals and looked as if he had been doing it his whole life.
“Your number 15 is the nuts!” was one of many texts that I received during the match from fans of other Premier League teams.
Holding onto him past this season could prove very difficult.
“Why are the Palace fans singing like that when they are losing?” was what a work colleague told me that her husband had said to her when watching the game on Sky.
“Because we are proper football fans” was what I told her to tell him.
Even before a ball had been kicked the big screen showed the team in the tunnel, and 20,000 Palace fans sang Mile Jedinak’s name before welcoming the team on to the field with a deafening chorus of “Glad All Over”.
Apparently Spurs have one of the best away supports in the division.
Well guess what, the Barclays Premier League?
“Here we are!
You’ll know us by our noise!
The Pride of South London!
The famous Palace boys!”
Up Next – Stoke City
It is widely agreed that Mark Hughes men will be in the relegation mix at the end of the season. At least a point is required from this match as we cannot surrender three points to a relegation rival.
Get up there, sell out the away end and tell Delilah where to get off!