Sunday, 18 August 2013

Palace 0 - 1 Spurs

1/1 for Roberto Soldado
A potential banana-skin of a game against Ian Holloway's newly-promoted Crystal Palace was dealt with in efficient fashion by Spurs.  With Spurs lining up 4-5-1, with fit-again Vertonghen returning alongside skipper Dawson, debutant Paulinho anchoring a 5 man midfield with Dembele, the attacking trio made up of new boy Chadli alongside Lennon and Sigurdsson with £26m Roberto Soldado up front on his own.

A game of few chances but Spurs bossed the possession.  Dembele and Paulinho set the tempo excellently, the midfield attacking trio linked up well with Soldado and it was good to see the full-backs Walker and Rose over-lapping and getting beyond the midfielders.

Chadli missed a far post header in 1st half injury time, Sigurdsson's stinging drive brought a save out of Palace's keeper Spironi and Dembele shaved the cross-bar from distance but Spurs were by far the busier team.

Spurs started the second half brightly.  One penalty appeal turned down but then the Palace left-back handled Lennon's cross and referee Clattenburg righty pointed to the spot and Soldado put the penalty away with aplomb and wheeled away in delight towards the Spurs fans in the Arthur Wake stand.  Selhurst Park is a sh*t hole and always will be.

With 20 mins to go, Holloway prompted Palace into action with a triple change, bringing on veteran Kevin Phillips and new signed Chamakh (aka Ars*nal failure) and resorted to the long ball game but Dawson, Vertonghen and the returning beast of Kaboul, on for Danny Rose with 10 mins to go, held firm.  There was one last chance for Palace but it was hit straight at Lloris who in fairness had little to do throughout.

A great, workman-like win for Spurs.  The new boys Soldado, Paulinho, Chadli and Capoue [who came on for Dembele in the second half] looked at home and are now fully aware of the kind of thing that will be thrown at them on a cold Tuesday night in November or February up at somewhere like Hull or Stoke.

MOTM by a mile was Paulinho for me.  Hard to remember an occasion where he misplaced a pass.  I'm pretty sure he didnt all game.  Put himself about, made a couple of breaks forward.  Very promising indeed.  Strength in depth in that position is now excellent.  Dembele, Paulinho, Sandro and the impressive Capoue along with the likes of Holtby when he is fit, Spurs are clearly moving from strength to strength.

As for Palace, they worked hard but showed very little quality.  If throwing the kitchen sink for them means lumping the ball long to the likes of Chamakh and Phillips, they're going to have a very long season indeed.  My prediction is that they'll be relegated by Easter.

Next game up for Spurs, a little trip to Georgia, where we take on Dynamo Tblisi in the Europa Cup qualifying round on Thursday evening.

BBC Match report here

EDIT:  Check out the stat on the picture below...seems I didnt give Capoue as much credit as he deserved...

Capoue...The Beast Mk 2?