It took a while to get going, but Tottenham Hotspur got their win and another three points in the bag today at home against Crystal Palace. Spurs got first half goals from Harry Kane and Lucas Moura, and were put in the drivers’ seat midway through the first half after Wilfried Zaha picked up a second yellow card and was sent packing. From there it was pretty much all Tottenham. Son Heung-Min added an insurance goal in the second, and Antonio Conte was able to rest all of Kane, Son and Hojbjerg for large stretches of the second period. The final score ended 3-0.
Here are some of my notes from the match.
- Spurs missed Ben Davies in this match, and if you told that to 2020 Me, I’d have thought you were nuts. Tanganga wasn’t bad, exactly, but he’s not left footed nor does he have the passing that Davies does. It kinda ground things to a halt for the opening part of the match. Thankfully, Palace’s threat didn’t last long enough for it to matter.
- We were grumbling about Emerson Royal in the writer’s room, but credit where due — he was heavily involved in both of Spurs’ first half goals. His long ball to Lucas in the lead up to Spurs’ goal was fantastic, as was his chip/assist to Lucas for the second. He’s not going to provide that every time he touches the ball, but it’s nice to know he has those kind of passes in his locker.
- LOL Zaha
- The second half was kind of a slog. Spurs were trying to make runs and arrive into the box but most of what they were doing just wasn’t coming off. Palace seemed content to sit deeper and just try and not make anything worse.
- It was nice to see players like Bergwijn and Gil get some minutes, especially in relief of Kane, Son and Hojbjerg. Spurs have to manage minutes carefully these days, and so every bit of rest they can get for their stars is good rest.
- Lucas had another fantastic match, with two assists and a goal. He’s another of those players who Conte has taken and put in positions where his positive attributes are emphasized and negative ones minimized. How do you keep him out of this team?
- The more I see from Skippy this season the more impressed I am with his athleticism. He’s thriving under Conte and it shows.
- The win means Spurs are in fifth, six behind Arsenal in fourth, but with three games in hand. Spurs are also officially out of the GD red — they now have a positive goal differential, which is kind of incredible considering the way the season started. Next match: Tuesday at Southampton, who just knocked off West Ham.