By Editor Wayne Veysey
Defeat will help Spurs title challenge
Tottenham have cleared almost every hurdle that has come their way this season but the second of four matches in three competitions in 11 days ultimately proved one too many. Spurs dominated the match and gave everything to reach the FA Cup quarter-finals but even their most one-eyed supporter will accept they don’t have the squad to go all the way in three competitions. A defeat against a London rival will be hard to take but in hindsight it could prove the best possible outcome for the club’s title challenge. It will allow key players to remain fresh and focused on an opportunity that is tantalisingly within grasp.
Alli does not shirk confrontation
Lucky to escape a red card for a crude kick in midweek, all eyes were on the midfield sensation. In this thrill-a-minute clash, Dele Alli made no attempt to play it safe for fear of upsetting anyone. He was a huge influence for the home side in the No10 role as he demonstrated that his understanding of the position is developing by the game. Extremely unfortunate that his 23rd minute shot cannoned off both posts before being cleared off the line, he set up Harry Kane for a glorious chance that was spurned and went close with a 30-yard shot. The less appealing side of Alli’s game was once again in evidence. Early in the second half, he sent Yohan Cabaye flying to the ground with a snide kick by the touchline. The teenager certainly does not shirk confrontation.
Lloris class is badly missed
Michel Vorm is a capable deputy but the experience and class of Hugo Lloris, who missed a second consecutive match with a shoulder injury, was badly missed for this match. Martin Kelly’s winning goal was emphatically struck into the corner but it is unlikely that Lloris would have been beaten so easily at his near post. The Frenchman’s outstanding distribution was also missed by the home side.
Son is coming into his own
The south Korean is starting to establish himself as a key player at White Hart Lane. Deployed in his favourite attacking midfield role, Son Heung-Min was outstanding against Palace, particularly in the first half. He demonstrated his skill at finding pockets of space and then popping off quick passes to the feet of his team-mates in dangerous areas. Spurs were less effective when he was replaced by Nacer Chadli.
Dier’s versatility makes him priceless
A centre-back by trade who has made himself undroppable as the midfield anchorman, the England international dropped back to central defence in the absence of the rested Toby Alderweireld and the injured Jan Vertonghen. Eric Dier looked comfortable alongside Kevin Wimmer, even if their partnership lacked the velvet smoothness of the Belgian duo. Dier’s versatility and reliability makes him priceless in the Spurs squad.