Spurs 1-0 Palace

Son (64)
Sun 5th November 2017

Short one this week I'm afraid. Busy man!

Crystal Palace suffered a gut-wrenching defeat at Wembley on Sunday after missing a multitude of guilt-edged chances against Spurs. Paulo Gazzaniga, who stood in for the injured Hugo Lloris, denied Scott Dann, Luka Milivojevic, Andros Townsend and, arguably illegally, Mamadou Sakho before Son scored for the hosts.

The biggest chance of the game was missed by Wilfried Zaha, who rounded Gazzaniga and fired wide of the open net.

Roy Hodgson’s Time is Ticking Nonsense

I have read a few reports since the match that suggest that Roy Hodgson’s “time is ticking” as Crystal Palace manager. This is utter bullshit.

Since Hodgson came in, the team has looked increasingly more organised, fitter and dangerous. To point to the fact that he has only won two of his first nine games in charge is simply ill-informed. We’ve lost only once at home and lost away at Man City, Man City and very unfortunately at Newcastle and Spurs and with a second string at Bristol City. Sam Allardyce won only two of his first eleven games in charge and that was with a fully fit Christian Benteke and Wilfried Zaha.

The next eight games will be the time to judge Roy Hodgson. When he can finally pick an actual striker, a plight that is not his fault, we will start to see exactly the impact that Roy has had on the team.

Let’s look at this Spurs match in isolation. Tactically, Hodgson got it perfect. We played narrow at the back and conceded the space out wide. With only Harry Kane in the middle up against Sakho, Dann and Milivojevic, Hodgson fancied that we could keep the prolific man quiet on crosses – he was right. Without Dele Alli in the team, he put the hones on Spurs to break us down through the middle. With Cabaye in the form he is in and with Milivojevic and Schlupp buzzing around, he fancied that their industry could keep Spurs’ effective second string midfield quiet. He was right.

With Townsend and Zaha as a front two, you’re always likely to get free kicks in and around the area and taking advantage of these would be our chance. On any other day, we would have had a couple of goals from this avenue of attack.

Then, as Spurs got more frustrated at not being able to break us down, the more they overcommitted and the more that space was going to open in behind on a big pitch like Wembley. Again, on another day, we would have a couple of goals through this route.

Of course, it didn’t quite work out on the day, but as Roy says: “you get what you get and not necessarily what you deserve.

For the third week running, we didn’t win because we didn’t have a striker on the field. But, you know, maybe the Sun will come up tomorrow.

Kevin Friend and his team

I haven’t laid into a referee recently, so here goes.

What a pile of shit he was.

I am not sure if I buy into the Gazzaniga on Sakho being a penalty. Sure, the keeper was nowhere near the ball and he punched, albeit accidentally, Sakho in the face, but he had to make himself big there and I just think that it is unfortunate.

The main problem for me, with all the niggly decisions that he gave to Spurs yet not to Palace aside, was the decision that Friend (or maybe his assistant) made to stop play when Son played injured in the penalty area. Palace had Spurs on the ropes like a boxer trying to survive post a knockdown and Son simply laid down in the penalty area until the referee blew his whistle. As soon as he did blow the whistle, Son was up on his feet, was not even made to leave the field of play and moments later, scored before sprinting in celebration and executing a knee slide – the injury must have been terrible. I was infuriating.  

Man of the Match: Mamadou Sakho

He was, in a word, brilliant. Spurs came out of the blocks fast and he repelled everything they had to throw at us and gave us a platform to build on. Later, he was like a one-man wall as Palace looked for an equaliser.

Up Next: Everton

The international break comes at a good time for us. It is a chance for us to get Christian Benteke closer to fitness and for Hodgson to further drill his ideas into the players. Then, it is a big game – probably against a Sam Allardyce team. Hopefully, if he is their manager, he will start as badly there as he did at Palace.

Come on you Palace!

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Kevin Friend

Crystal Palace

Palace Manager: 
Roy Hodgson


Opposition Manager: 
Mauricio Pochettino