Spurs 2-0 Palace
Crystal Palace slipped back to the bottom of the Premier League table as two second half Spurs goals saw the home team take advantage of the Eagles missed first half opportunities. Paying no attention to the league table Tony Pulis’ men took the game to Tim Sherwood’s. Despite their dominant first half display the South Londoner’s could not find the net with Jason Puncheon guilty of missing the best chance from the spot with what must rate as the worst penalty in Premier League history.
Marouane Chamakh broke into the Spurs area and was felled by Mousa Dembele presenting the Southampton loanee with the prospect of scoring from 12 yards for the second league game running. Instead the winger sliced his attempted chip high and wide.
Spurs emerged at half time a different side to the one that turned up in the first half and their extra quality, especially in front of goal, told and they ran out relatively comfortable winners in the end thanks to strikes from Christian Eriksen and Jermaine Defoe.
Lack of Punch in Front of Goal
At this level you will get punished if you do not take your chances and yesterday was a text book example of this. At half time I met up with my friends out back and glumly discussed, in and around the disgraceful performance from the referee, how we were obviously going to lose the game. After without doubt the best half of football that we have played this season it shouldn’t have been like this. If Jason Puncheon had score it wouldn’t have been like this.
"13 goals from 21 games is simply not good enough."
Unfortunately what his half of football did is further expose our lack of punch, excuse the pun, in front of goal. 13 goals from 21 games is simply not good enough and is something that will have to be addressed in the current transfer window.
Of course we have looked far better going forward under Pulis but it is a tale of two polar opposites when we do venture forward. We are extremely clinical at creating chances on the limited occasions that we do venture forward. “Created a high number of chances relative to their possession” is a team strength on WhoScored.com. Unfortunately a team weakness is “Were poor at finishing.”
"Weirdly the problems all point towards Cameron Jerome."
Weirdly the problems all point towards Cameron Jerome. I say ‘weirdly’ as his inclusion as a centre forward, with Chamakh in behind, is the main reason that we have been able to create a high number of chances. His hustle and bustle and his hold up play gives us a presence in the final third, something that we lacked pre Pulis. However, his finishing can be appalling at times. Now there were no specific examples in this particular match as he never really got into a position from which he might score so this is a more general observation.
So how do we address this issue in the window with seemingly ongoing financial restrictions? We look set to miss out on Jelavic and Long and others alike on the grounds that we refuse to yield to their outrageous wage demands so we may just be left with looking in house and crossing our fingers that Glenn Murray can come back from injury and make a difference.
Now Glenn Murray, before his injury at least, has the game to meet what is required from what we will call the Jerome role. He can run all day and his hold up play and aerial ability is exceptional. What Murray does possess is a finish that is far superior to that of Jerome’s.
"Could Murray be the answer to our goalscoring issues?"
Could Murray be the answer to our goalscoring issues? There are a lot of factors here that could lead to a “no” answer here. He has never kicked a ball in the Premier League. He has been out for almost a year are but two. However, with our cost challenges the way they are facing it looks that we are going to have no choice but to rely on the man who bagged 31 goals last season.
Performances into Points
At some point we are going to need to turn these great away performances against the bigger clubs into points. We have left Stamford Bridge, The Etihad and now White Hart Lane feeling a little aggrieved that we are pointless. Harsh criticism I know, but good performances do not equal points.
Man of the Match: Marouane Chamakh
The only option for me. He won the penalty, won everything in the air and once more displayed his superb technical ability and touch over and over.
I saw an argument on Twitter after the game suggesting that he should be wading in with more goals as a striker. For me he is playing in the hole or as an attacking midfielder. This suggests to me that goalscoring is not his main task and his return of goals since Pulis came in seems more than sufficient for me.
Incredible from the Palace fans and dire from the home fans. In a week that our fans were voted as the best in the Premier League, we sang nonstop again and left Spurs fans salivating over us on all the social networking platforms.
Highlight for me? “Stand up if you beat West Ham!” Football banter at its best.
Up Next: Stoke
Since Holloway left we have been doing well in games against the teams around us. Despite the much loftier position in the league of Stoke, their points tally tells us that they are in the relegation battle with us. No doubt that a win will take us off the bottom of the league and maybe even out of the relegation zone.
Come on you Palace!