Spurs 0-0 Palace
Crystal Palace came away from White Hart Lane with a point but it could have easily been all three for the visitors. A combination of poor finishing and an inspired performance from Hugo Lloris prevented the Eagles from claiming their first win away at Spurs since 1997.
The Frenchman in between the sticks superbly denied Scott Dann in the first half and the impressive Yannick Bolasie in the second half but was helpless when Jason Puncheon nearly snapped the crossbar in two with a thunderous effort. Puncheon, a second half substitute, also had a goal correctly ruled out for offside. As the ball came of the top of the Spurs defence both Puncheon and Marouane Chamakh were clean through. Puncheon took the shot on but should have left the ball for Chamakh who had timed his run perfectly. The linesman on replays was clearly saying to Chamakh when asked if it was him who was offside; “You no, Puncheon yes.”
"The first chance was made for him after one of the best pieces of skill you could ever wish to see saw Bolasie get away from two Tottenham defenders."
Joe Ledley was guilty of missing two excellent chances. The first chance was made for him after one of the best pieces of skill you could ever wish to see saw Bolasie get away from two Tottenham defenders down the left flank. His cut back found the Welshman but he could not keep his effort down. The second the bearded midfielder made himself with some neat footwork to beat his man and burst into the area, only to drive his effort high again.
Spurs were not completely chanceless with Roberto Soldado guilty of missing a hattrick of half chances but there is no doubt that Neil Warnock’s team deserved all of the points. More shots, more shots on targets and more corners goes some way to showing the dominance of the visitors.
Warnock & Puncheon
After more appalling decisions from the bench against Villa on Tuesday night, Warnock and his staff made the perfect substitution. I was crying out for Puncheon to come on against Villa to add that extra bit of quality in the final third in terms of decision making and passing. The change didn’t come until the final minute. This time Puncheon was given 25 minutes and he made his time count.
In that 25 minutes he managed to complete three key passes, created plenty of chances, smashed the crossbar and caused Spurs no end of problems. His extra quality in terms of vision and pass execution made a huge difference and it was refreshing to see such a fired up Puncheon on the field.
"I called for better from Puncheon after the Swansea game and he has delivered."
I called for better from Puncheon after the Swansea game and he has delivered. He singlehandedly won us a whole heap of points last season and we need more of the same from him this season if we want to survive comfortably this time around. The signs were certainly back yesterday and an in form Jason Puncheon will make life a whole lot easier for Neil Warnock. Lets hope it wasn’t just the return to scene of THAT penalty miss that had him so fired up.
Back to Warnock and his team (I will keep bringing his team into conversations around substitutions after the Swansea game as it is clear that they have a big say after the managed to convince Warnock to bring on McArthur instead of Campbell in that match) and a discussion about inconsistency.
"Why can they bring on Puncheon in this game but not do it against Villa on Tuesday night?'
Why can they bring on Puncheon in this game but not do it against Villa on Tuesday night? It is one step forward two steps back for Warnock for me at the moment. I will compliment him, and his team, on this substitution but I am not confident that he will continue it against Stoke next week. A game that, in the grand scheme of things, is much more important than those against the likes of Swansea and Spurs. We need to pick up points against the teams around us and we are just not doing this at the moment.
Grow the balls in those games instead of the games in which you feel that you having nothing to lose, Neil.
The Bigger the Better?
Old Trafford aside, where we seemed to lose our bottle, it seems that the bigger the opposition the better we are doing this season. When teams want to keep the ball and take the game to us we are very good at holding strong and hitting on the counter attack, just like we were under Pulis.
However, what Pulis got right was the balance between playing counter attacking football against the bigger clubs and being able to break down the teams that decide to sit against us. This is something that Warnock needs to figure out.
On paper it would appear that the only exception to rule that we do better against the bigger teams this season would be Leicester. We beat them 2-0 at Selhurst Park but they were fresh off the back of their 5-3 win over Manchester United and they came to Selhurst and tried to attack us and ended up paying the price.
As good as the performance was yesterday, we need to make the smaller teams our bread and butter as eventually the results against the bigger teams will dry up.
What could have been!
My frustrations this season are coming out of ‘what could have been’ if better decisions had been made at key times. Not just yesterday, but on Tuesday night and at Old Trafford as well. Better decisions in the final third in the last two games would see us 4 points better off and siting in twelfth position in the table. Better tactical decisions at Old Trafford might have seen us another 3 points better off. Considering how badly I feel that this season is going, that would not be a terrible position to be in and the fact is I was expecting 3 points from our last 4 games yet we have come out with 5.
Man of the Match: Yannick Bolasie
Several people could have laid claim to this award. Ward, Dann, Hangeland, Jedinak, McArhur, Chamakh and Puncheon all had very good games but the fear that Bolasie put into the hearts of the Tottenham players was a joy to behold. And then there was THAT bit of skill. Most players would have been happy with the simple around the world step over. To then have the ability to flick the ball on to your standing foot in order to chip the ball over a potential challenge is world-class skilling. Even better was the fact that there was end product. He burst into the box and found Ledley who should have worked the goalkeeper as a minimum.
Up Next: Stoke City
The kind of game we need to be winning. We won at Hull last year and beat West Ham and Aston Villa at home last season. We have already lost these fixtures this season. Having beat Stoke at home last season, we need to stop this rot at Selhurst and mimic the result from last season.
Come on you Palace!