Away Block Report: Tottenham Hotspur 2 – 0 Crystal Palace


By - Sunday 12th January, 2014

A strong first half performance from the away side leads to nothing after horrendous penalty miss


Jason Puncheon missed a potentially decisive chance for Palace. Photo by David Pinkney, used under Creative Commons.

Despite the eventual 2-0 defeat, the Eagles can come away from the game feeling they had displayed, in the first half at least, the potential to gain something more from the game. It’s rare that the Citizen’s prediction for the final score is correct, and certainly no pleasure is taken in being correct on this occasion – yet the result may have been completely different had it not been for an awful penalty miss in the first half by Jason Puncheon.

Once again, the back line was tinkered with, Jonathan Parr being given the nod to start at left back, with Adrian Mariappa at right back and Joel Ward, with Kagisho Dikgacoi missing, once again lining up alongside Mile Jedinak in a defensive midfield slot. Yannick Bolasie started on the wing in favour of Barry Bannan; one feels for the diminutive Scottish winger, who had been perhaps Palace’s strongest performer this season up until losing his place in the team – many may argue unfairly. Tottenham were nearly at full strength, a strong spine of the team including Michael Dawson, Mousa Dembele and Emmanuel Adebayor.

The first real opportunity in a bright start for Palace was the above penalty. After Dembele sent Marouane Chamakh flying, up stepped Puncheon, who had calmly converted a spot kick in the Eagles’ previous home match against Norwich City. ‘Calm’ is perhaps as far as possible from what Puncheon’s latest effort can be described as. Unsurprisingly trending on Twitter following its execution, the winger stepped up and blasted the ball high and wide to the left of Hugo Lloris, and well in the Tottenham crowd. Palace had missed a glorious opportunity to take the initiative.

However, the wind had not been taken out of Palace’s sails and the away side continued to create opportunities, whilst simultaneously holding firm to limit Spurs chances for the most part. The home side still displayed their quality in managing to create a couple of opportunities, Adebayor perhaps could have done better to reach a cross from Aaron Lennon, and Nabil Bentaleb hit the Palace post with a long range drive. Cameron Jerome had the best opportunity for Palace, a shot from long distance putting Lloris through his paces.

Palace, for their part, were subdued by Tottenham’s endeavour in the second half

The second half was a different story. Tottenham gained control of the match, and their two goals were indicative of what Palace must resist for the rest of this season if they are to stay up. The first goal, converted by Christian Eriksen, came from a soaring ball by Kyle Naughton, who had only just arrived on the pitch from the bench. The ball was flicked on to the Danish midfielder, who sent the ball powerfully past Julian Speroni.

The second goal came from experienced striker Jermain Defoe, in his first appearance on loan from Tottenham after signing a permanent deal for Toronto FC. Perhaps the pressure had been lifted from the diminutive striker, as he firstly nearly scored a goal from nothing after sending the ball narrowly wide of Speroni’s post. Unsurprisingly, he scored later after a good through ball from Lennon, Defoe working his way into the box before slotting past Speroni.

Palace, for their part, were subdued by Tottenham’s endeavour in the second half, and only half chances, including a couple of headers from Chamakh and a long range drive from the returning Adlene Guedioura were created. Yet, despite slipping back to the bottom of the table because of other results, and losing their unbeaten Premier League record at White Hart Lane, Palace can look back at what might have been in the first half, and they will face weaker teams than Spurs – starting with their next two league matches, at home to Stoke City and Hull City.

Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris; Walker (Naughton, 48′), Dawson, Chiriches, Rose; Lennon, Bentaleb, Dembele, Eriksen (Chadli, 76′); Soldado (Defoe, 58′), Adebayor.

Crystal Palace: Speroni, Mariappa, Gabbidon, Delaney, Parr; Puncheon (Guedioura, 82′), Jedinak, Ward, Bolasie (Williams, 69′); Chamakh, Jerome (Gayle, 69′).

Goals: Tottenham Hotspur 2 (Eriksen 50′, Defoe 72′) Crystal Palace 0.

Referee: Michael Oliver.

Attendance: 36,102.

The Palace Away Fan

The Palace Away Fan

Following Palace over land and sea, The Away Fan is 100% committed to the cause. Often seen catching a train on a rainy Saturday, the Away Fan rarely returns home without a thousand stories to tell. Visiting exotic locations such as Stoke, Hull and Sunderland, this intrepid traveller is the authority on Crystal Palace performances away from SE25.

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