Block G Report: Crystal Palace 0 – 1 Tottenham Hotspur

By - Monday 19th August, 2013

Whilst the gulf in quality was clear, only a silly mistake separated Crystal Palace and Tottenham Hotspur

Crystal Palace  0

Tottenham Hotspur  1 (Soldado (pen) 50′)

Credit to Dean Moxey; from starting his career in non-league at Exeter City to facing up to an England winger in the Premier League, there is a comic-book quality to his footballing CV so far. Yet it was the left back who made the crucial mistake in an otherwise solid personal performance. By allowing Aaron Lennon’s cross shortly after the half time break to strike his hand in the box, Moxey made an unnecessary error that will rarely go unpunished in the Premier League, new Spurs signing Soldado coolly dispatching the resulting penalty.

Despite this, the fact that Spurs could only score from this mistake should be a source of great comfort for Palace, whose starting line-up was formed of nine players who started the play-off final last May. Only £4.5 million signing Dwight Gayle and former loanee Stephen Dobbie were a departure from that team. There is no denying the first half was a battle; Lennon and Walker consistently linking up well on the right hand side, the England duo giving Moxey a rough time in front of the home fans – although he proved up to the challenge on a number of occasions. Yet chances were few and far between, with Gylfi Sigurdsson’s powerful shot forcing a world class save from Speroni; something Palace fans have got used to in the last nine years. For their part, Palace were sloppy in possession; continuously misplacing passes, the home side looked nervous and nearly conceded on the stroke of half time, Chadli heading over from close range for the north Londoners.

The Palace fans were passionate, noisy, colourful throughout; yet they really shone upon conceding of the goal

The Eagles looked much brighter after the break – it seemed as if the nervous tension and excitement that had been building up all summer had finally dispersed. A shame then that this was the moment that Palace chose to concede. Not that you would have guessed Palace had conceded if you were walking down Holmesdale Road at that moment. The Palace fans were passionate, noisy, colourful throughout; yet they really shone upon conceding of the goal, when the shouts of encouragement for their losing team drowned out the Spurs’ celebrations. It wasn’t until after the hour mark that the home team really started to show some quality however. Holloway made three changes, with youngster Williams, new signing Chamakh and play off hero Phillips coming on – the latter becoming only the third 40 year old outfield player in Premier League history to do so.

Moxey conceded the penalty, but had a decent Premier League debut otherwise. Photo by Tom Brogan. Image used under Creative Commons License.

The Eagles enjoyed much greater possession and calmer passing from thereon. Chamakh nearly set up Gayle with his debut Premier League goal, and Dikgacoi forced a double save late in the game from Tottenham ‘keeper Lloris. Kevin Phillips so nearly was through on goal from a long goal over the top, but Lloris, with a reputation for good defensive qualities, quelled the opportunity. Tottenham had a couple of clear cut chances to seal the game, but Sigurdsson and Defoe both missed.  Both teams left the pitch to rapturous applause, the Palace crowd appreciating the effort put in and understanding there will be easier afternoons than this. Holloway however looked furious as he marched straight to the tunnel, angry with the penalty decision.

Palace clearly need more quality. Nonetheless, there were numerous positives to take. Captain Jedinak looked completely at home in the Premier League, winning the majority of tackles and headers. Chamakh and Williams looked a threat off the bench, and Delaney, Ward and Dikgacoi all put in solid performances. With Campaña only on the bench, struggling for match fitness, likewise with fellow new signing Florian Marange, there is more to come squad wise from the Eagles.

Cut out the silly fouls, and look for the simple pass rather than trying to complicate things should be Holloway’s message; Palace gave away possession far too easily and were lucky to remain largely unpunished. However, an organised defence and a raucous home support are two key qualities Palace should exploit to their advantage this season – the likes of Norwich and Stoke have built a solid Premier League foundation on these factors. This is perhaps the key positive to take – the defence did not look frail. Building a team on a defence which concedes infrequently will provide a solid base for the south Londoners, and once the attacking players have spent time learning each others nuances and techniques, the goals – and victories – may follow. Palace face Stoke, Sunderland, Southampton and Swansea in their next five games, split with a trip to face Manchester United at Old Trafford. One would expect points on the board and at least a couple of wins from these five will be crucial for Palace if they are to remain competitive this season.

Crystal Palace: Speroni; Ward, Delaney, Gabbidon, Moxey; Jedinak, Dikgacoi, Garvan (Chamakh 66′); Dobbie (Williams 66′), Gayle, Wilbraham (Phillips 66′).

Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris; Walker, Vertonghen, Dawson, Rose (Kaboul 86′); Lennon, Paulinho, Dembele (Capoue 57′), Chadli, Sigurdsson; Soldado (Defoe 83′).

Referee: M. Clattenburg

Attendance: 23, 285

Tom Lickley

Tom Lickley

Contributing a variety of roles to the Citizen since early 2013, Tom now focuses upon regeneration, urbanism and real estate writing. He is a strategic communications consultant specialising in the real estate sector, and counts a number of the world's largest investment and fund management companies amongst his clients.

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