Following on from the absolute euphoria of beating back-to-back European Cup winners Real Madrid 3-1 at Wembley on Wednesday night, Spurs were back in action in the Premier League to face struggling Crystal Palace at Wembley in the early kickoff on Sunday afternoon.
Spurs headed in to the game with a number of first team players absent through injury with Alderwiereld and Dele completely missing the game with Hamstring injuries, whilst Goalkeepers Hugo Lloris and Michel Vorm also out with niggles, leaving Paulo Gazzaniga as the only senior goalkeeper fit for Pochettino to pick.
Pochettino decided to go for a 3-4-2-1 formation, with Danny Rose and Serge Aurier starting the match as the preferred wing-backs for the game. Rose, who was making his first start since his lengthy layoff which saw him miss the majority of the second half of last season, replaced Ben Davies who picked up a slight niggle against Real Madrid and was only fit enough for the bench.
Should both left-backs now be fit for the remainder of the season, I would choose Davies over Rose – he has proven that he is more than capable of standing in for Rose and got better and better towards the end of last season when filling in for him at left back. Rose’s comments at the beginning of the season regarding his future have also done him no favours in regards to his long term future and I would not be surprised in the slightest if we see the England international move on in the summer.
Spurs: (3-4-2-1): Gazzaniga, Sanchez, Dier, Vertonghen, Aurier, Winks (Dembele 46), Eriksen, Rose (Davies 90+2), Son, Sissoko, Kane (c, Llorente 76). Substitutes (not used): Whiteman, Trippier, Foyth, Nkoudou.
It was a laboured performance from Spurs all afternoon, who were clearly struggling with a bit of fatigue following the win over Real last week. Palace turned up with a gameplan and caused Spurs issues all afternoon, with chances from Wilfried Zaha in particular causing concern amongst the 62,000 Spurs fans who turned up expecting to see a comfortable win for the home side.
Despite making his Premier League debut, it was Gazzaniga who was called in to action several times throughout the 90 minutes, making a string of impressive saves, keeping the score at 0-0 before Heung-Min Son popped up with a brilliant left footed curled finish past the Palace keeper to open the scoring and secure the 3 points for the home side after 64 minutes.
The goal opened the match up and with Palace pushing forward to get level, Son missed a clear chance in the 82nd minute which would’ve killed the game off. However, Spurs held on and secured 3 points which consolidated their third place in the Premier League, level on points with Manchester United after their 1-0 defeat to Chelsea, who are 4th, 1 point behind Spurs.
When asked for his thoughts on the game, boss Pochettino said;
“The win was so important, a massive three points for us. We can talk about different things but after a few difficult circumstances the answer was fantastic from the squad. That pleased me the most, because it’s about the squad and today the squad was amazing. We won the because of the squad.”
Spurs’ next game is against the old enemy Arsenal in the North London Derby on Saturday, 18th November – 12:30pm kick-off.
Keep your fingers crossed for no injuries during the international break. Wrap our England boys in cotton wool, Gareth.
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