Crystal Palace 1-3 Tottenham

Dele Alli’s wonder goal has snatched the headlines of newspapers globally but it was the whole team’s performance that Pochettino wanted to praise after the final whistle. Palace took a surprise lead through Jan Vertonghen’s unfortunate own-goal, it was the London club’s first goal in 500 or so minutes. Nacer Chadli’s cross to Kane gave Spurs the equaliser before Alli’s goal of the season gave Tottenham the advantage in this London derby. Spurs were lucky not to have conceded a second as the ball cannoned off the cross bar twice in two seconds before Alli smashed a shot against the bar at the other end. Chadli’s impressive stoppage time curler gave Spurs the security that they would be taking the three points back to the Lane (or Barcelona it seems).

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Pride and Passion

Tim Sherwood suggested that goalkeeper Hugo Lloris was the best in the division after the several spectacular saves he made during the match. Even Palace manager Alan Pardew believed that if you replaced Lloris with an ‘average’ keeper, Spurs would have ended up on the wrong side of the score line.

It was captain Lloris who typified what Spurs are all about. This season the North London side seem to have extra strength and solidity and this resolute performance proved this. Even during tough spells in the match, the team was able to stay together and defend impressively, denying Palace of clean opportunities from which they could score. Danny Rose threw himself into challenges, Toby Alderweireld made painful blocks, Lloris was like a jack-in-the-box in goal, leaping around the goal, especially when Palace hit the bar twice in succession.

Pochettino has stated this month that he is going to be cautious in the transfer market this month as not to break the great team spirit within the squad and because he has noted his previous error whilst at Southampton, signing Osvaldo. Some fans were disappointed that Spurs failed to gain reinforcements in the defensive midfielder area during the summer but Pochettino proved to them that it was unnecessary as they already had Eric Dier in the waiting. Perhaps we should be prepared to respect Pochettino’s decision not to sign a striker. Of course, we may still sign a striker which would be a benefit to our chances of winning the league – will we get a better opportunity?

Delightful Dele

Dele Alli’s wonder goal is a great advert for the lower leagues in the England footballing system. The England international has been superb this season, providing assists and scoring goals, chasing down lost causes and being proud to wear the cockerel badge. Bought for only £5 million, Alli looks to have been the deal of the summer and may convince other top teams to scour the lower leagues, looking for more hidden talents. I believe Leicester City have found a gem in Demarai Gray, also bought for a reasonably low price.

Pochettino also deserves credit for Alli’s meteoric rise this season which, as he said, has even surprised himself. Many top managers would be inclined to leave Alli out of the starting eleven and wouldn’t be prepared to give him a long run of starts as Pochettino did and it is from here that he has blossomed into becoming most definitely the best under-21 player in England’s top division. Kane and Mason also benefitted from long runs in the first team – will it be Winks and Onomah next?

 

Unbelievable Depth

Tim Sherwood, as a pundit on Match of the Day, stated that Spurs have the best team regarding squad depth bar Manchester City in the league and I believe him. Nacer Chadli’s excellently taken goal proves the huge quality Spurs have on the bench. Son Heung-min who doesn’t feature regularly in the first team proved his quality with a superb goal against Leicester City in the FA Cup. The club has great cover in the full-back positions in Ben Davies and Kieran Trippier for Danny Rose and Kyle Walker and Kevin Wimmer has been impressive when deputising for Vertonghen. Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentaleb have almost been shoved out of the starting eleven by the stunning form of Eric Dier and Mousa Dembele. You almost feel that the only area Spurs need one more player is up front but if N’Jie returns, is all fine?

Delight for Roy

Roy Hodgson featured at the match in the stands, casting his eye over Alli, Kane, Dier, Trippier and Rose who all started the match. And with them all performing, it will be no surprise to see the England team come Euro 2016 featuring several Spurs players.

Tottenham have set a great example to other top teams such as Arsenal and Chelsea (there were only 2 English players out of the 22 starting Sunday’s match [Terry, Walcott]).

What next?

Spurs face League One Colchester in the FA Cup on Saturday before travelling to Norwich next Tuesday in the Premier League.

 

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