FRIDAY 27TH OCTOBER, 2023
CRYSTAL PALACE 1(0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2(0)
Ward (o.g.), 53
Assistants:-Nick Hopton, Wade Smith
Fourth official:-Graham Scott
Assistant VAR:-Nick Greenhalgh
Palace (4-2-3-1):- Johnstone; Ward (Capt.), Andersen, Guehi, Mitchell (sub Clyne, 70); Doucoure, Lerma (sub Franca, 79); Ayew, Hughes (sub Ahamada, 70), Schlupp (sub Rak-Sakyi, 60); Edouard (sub Mateta, 79)
Subs not used:- Matthews; Holding, Richards; Riedewald
Booked:- Andersen (foul on Gil), Ayew (foul on Sarr)
Spurs (4-2-3-1):-Vicario; Pedro Porro, Romero, Van de Ven, Davies (sub Emerson Royal, 46); Sarr, Bissouma (sub Hojbjerg, 64); Kulusevski (sub Bentancur, 90), Maddison (sub Gil, 89), Richarlison (sub Johnson, 64); Son (Capt.)
Subs not used:- Forster; Dier; Skipp, Lo Celso
Booked:- Johnson (Dissent)
Five points clear and loving it!
Thanks to Cassim Patel for the picture, taken at last night's game
Spurs skipper Son Heung-min put the finishing touch to a fine team move to score his eighth goal of the season, securing our fourth consecutive win and our place at the top of the table. Whilst we did have to endure no less than 12 added minutes during which Palace reduced their deficit to one goal, the success of "Ange-ball" continues and Spurs went five points clear at the top of the table after 10 games. I'm loving it!
Postecoglou made two changes. Yves Bissouma returned from suspension to replace Hojbjerg whilst Ben Davies replaced the injured Destiny Udogie. The travelling fans cheered the return of Rodrigo Bentancur (to the bench) who had been absent for over 8 months due to his ACL injury.
Roy Hodgson had to make do without Henderson, Tomkins, Olise, Eze and Henderson - all of whom are injured. This was 76-year-old Hodgson's 500th game in charge of an English league club team. There was plenty of noise from the ever-enthusiastic home fans.
The game was preceded by a light show of sorts; silence for the victims in Israel and Gaza, and applause for the late Sir Bobby Charlton.
Spurs kicked off and Ben Davies was finding the same positions as Udogie. Davies and Richarlison combined several times, not always to the best effect. Richarlison worked hard, but sometimes his touches were not quite right.
After last week's 4-0 drubbing at Newcastle, Palace were determined to close us down and actually had the better chances in the first half with Vicario having to make a couple of decent saves. The first of these came after a cross from the right reached front-man Edouard, whose right-footed shot needed Vicario to save low to his left.
Maddison won a corner with his cross from the left after being fed by Richarlison. Nothing came of that, but at the other end Vicario was tested again, having to pluck Ayew's cross out off the air. Our new goalkeeper is proving to be very trustworthy and reliable.
Maddison was fouled by Ward and left writhing. Bissouma skied his free kick from distance. A good cross by Kulusevski to the back post was fielded by Richarlison who managed to get the ball back to Maddison, but his shot was off target.
Davies got forward and passed to Maddison who fed the ball to Richarlison. His right foot shot passed just wide of Johnstone's right post.
Palace appealed for a Spurs handball in the area after free kick, but VAR found no penalty offence. Referee Andy Madley was generally giving nothing to Spurs who had already been subject to some hard tackles and fouls. He kept his cards in his pocket until almost the very end of the game.
Sarr had made good ground to the right bye-line early in the game and crossed, but he embarrassed himself in front of the home fans with an air-kick when attempting another cross from a similar position. He is a great athlete and this season is proving to be a real blessing to the team.
Van de Ven needed treatment after a tough challenge by Edouard. Spurs were very much on top in terms of possession, but had nothing to show for that domination. Van de Ven was soon back in action, using his pace and tenacity to clear from the feet of Ayew, at the expense of a corner.
At the other end Richarlison passed forward to Davies, whose deflected cross rolled to the keeper. Bissouma passed long to Son, who teed up Maddison, but the ball was taken off his feet as he went to pull the trigger. Spurs then suffered a little pressure with Palace winning four successive corners, but all were defended competently. Johnstone held Bissouma's cross at the other end with Richarlison threatening.
At half-time, Davies was replaced by Royal, who played on the left, as he had when replacing Udogie on Monday. Johnstone held Pedro Porro's deflected cross, and Kulusevski soon wasted a corner he had won on the right.
After more danger in the Spurs box, Maddison nicked the ball off the errant Palace keeper at the other end, but overhit the ball when trying to take advantage.
Maddison doesn't win credit for an official assist, but it was his cross/shot from the right of the box that was turned into his own net by Palace captain Joel Ward. Sarr had reached the bye-line again to give Maddison his chance.
Palace won a corner when Edouard's shot was deflected and Guehi headed wide when presented with a decent chance to score.
Spurs were happily passing at the back, and were constantly frustrating the home fans when taking their time to pass. With the ball on the ground and no threat from Palace players, Spurs had that freedom. The travelling fans revelled in singing "Glory, Glory Hallelujah!"
Bissouma was replaced by Hojbjerg, presumably to protect our number 8 from a fifth booking with the next game against Chelsea in mind. Brennan Johnson also came on, replacing Richarlison.
Our second goal was a work of art and a great team goal, after one of those periods of playing at the back. In a flash, the ball was sent forward to Sarr who hit a brilliant crossfield pass to Johnson. Johnson had a one-two with Maddison whilst advancing inside the area on the left, before cutting the ball back to Son, who scored with a deft left-footed touch. I'd call that our goal of the season, so far.
Romero was happy to head over a free kick Ayew's free kick, and Spurs were happy to defend the corner. Kulusevski had a shot blocked and Spurs won a corner after Sarr's pass to Son was intercepted. Royal lifted a short cross from the left and Johnson headed back into the centre of the area. There was a VAR review of a possible Palace handball, but play continued.
Spurs defended three more corners and with added time looming Spurs fans heartily welcomed Bentancur onto the pitch for his return. Somehow, the officials found 8 minutes to add on. Son had a shot blocked after good work by Johnson, but more pace and good defending was needed by Van de Ven at the other end.
Pedro Porro failed to reach a cross from Palace's right and Jordan Ayew scored with a right-footed shot that seemed to have hit his arm on the way down from his chest. VAR took an age and in the end allowed the goal because they could not detect a handball (accidental or not) no matter how long they looked. This led to over 12 minutes of added time in all.
The conclusion became more nervy than we had expected, and the referee did produce three yellow cards as the tension rose. Andersen was booked for a messy challenge on substitute Bryan Gil and Ayew saw yellow over a challenge on Sarr. Somewhere in the mix Brennan Johnson was also booked for dissent.
Finally, after another long Palace ball to the back post, and space left by Pedro Porro, Palace sub Franca put a golden chance to equalise wide.
Spurs had their win, which was celebrated wildly in the away section, who also heartily cheered Bentancur who received lots of hugs from his team-mates too.
No-one can catch us this weekend and we can look forward to our next game - at home to Chelsea on Monday 6th November - with some confidence. I'm loving it!
. Spurs record in recent London Derby League matches
. Squad numbers,appearances,bookings & goalscorers
. Read the preview for this game.
. All the Spurs Stats you could hope for here! THFC6061 Sports Stats
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