Tottenham Hotspur vs. Crystal Palace, Man of the Match: Jan Vertonghen

Jamie McDonald

Belgian defender Jan Vertonghen's fitness was in doubt coming into the opening fixture, but he proved to be the best player on the pitch.

On the opening weekend of the Premier League season, Tottenham Hotspur defeated Crystal Palace thanks to a Roberto Soldado penalty. There were lots of good performers for Spurs including Hugo Lloris, Kyle Walker, and in a short cameo Etienne Capoue, but it was defender Jan Vertonghen that looked the best.

The Belgian defender contributed greatly to Tottenham's clean sheet. Vertonghen had eight effective clearances in the match, made one tackle, and four interceptions. Vertonghen, along with Lloris, were especially stalwart in defense during the final few minutes of the match when Crystal Palace really ramped up the pressure, until a knock left him hobbled in stoppage time.

Vertonghen also did very well in his role as ball-playing defender. Though the Belgian had less touches than his other defensive compatriots, he completed 97% of his passes, including three accurate long balls. He also completed 2 successful dribbles.

Vertonghen may not have gotten on the score sheet like he did six times last season, but his defensive position was top notch. He was in the right place at the right time. He helped clear the lines on many occasions and was in general the team's rock at the back. For those reason's Vertonghen was Tottenham Hotspur's man of the match for the opening weekend.

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