OPPONENTS Crystal Palace at White Hart Lane
COMPETITION Premier League 
DATE Wednesday 3rd April 2019
PREVIEW So, we are home at last.  Youth games and Legends match to one side, this is the main event, with Crystal Palace the first visitors.  With a full house, we will test the stadium properly for sound and vision.

But will the evening prove that the stadium is a help to us ... or to the opposition ?  Well, the players have had the benefit of training there and are used to the big crowds at Wembley, but need to find their bearings out on the pitch rapidly to make White Hart Lane the fortress it was before we left. 

However, which Crystal Palace will turn up ?  The one that has folded against a lot of sides this season or the one that has scored victories over Manchester City. Leicester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers, while pushing Liverpool and Chelsea close and taking a point at Old Trafford and off Arsenal at Selhurst Park or the one that lost to Brighton twice, drew with Cardiff City, Newcastle United and Southampton as well as losing to the Saints and West Ham United London ?

There is no doubt they have talent among their ranks, with Zaha and Wan-Bissaka the two who are most linked with moves away, but they are not the Terry Venables "Team of the Eighties".  Early season promise developed into a fight to pull away form the bottom of the table, which they look like they will achieve, although some players are nearing their sell by date, so Roy Hodgson will have a big re-building job in the summer, which might require sales before buys.

Palace have five senior goalkeepers in their squad, which is a lot, but they and the defence in front of them haven't conceded lots of goals (compared to some).  Vicente Guaita is in possession of the gloves at the moment and is a decent shot-stopper, but there is some question over his positioning and with Hennessey dropped while under a FA investigation for a Nazi salute at a club function, Julian Speroni has also come back into contention.  With Wan-Bissaka and van Aanholt attacking from full back positions, the two centre-halves of Tomkins and Dann could be found out for pace, as Moura had a good game against them in the FA Cup tie at Selhurst.  They will try and be physical with Kane, but that should allow others to find space and if Son plays, he might benefit from attention going Harry's way. 

The midfield is fairly stable, with Milivojevic the hub that they revolve around.  Solid and a good passer, he is a dead ball expert, especially from the spot, where they have been profiting from Wilfried Zaha's presence in the area.  Max Meyer was a player who attracted a lot of top clubs a few years back, but Palace took a punt on him and he looks a skilful midfielder who can link play well, alongside the hard-working Schlupp and former Spur Andros Townsend.  Both play in wide positions and will cut inside to shoot at goal, but can also sling in decent crosses.  James McArthur and Cheikhou ouyate are the other options for hard worker sin the middle of the team to put Spurs under pressure.

Zaha has been a player who has threatened to blossom for many years.  His move to Manchester United probably came too soon, but they are looking at him again, as they are still owed money for his move back to Palace and may see him as a more attacking option should Pogba leave.  On loan striker Michy Batshuayi nearly joined Spurs in January on loan, but Chelsea upped the premium for us, so his deadline day loan to Palace has given them more firepower up front.  Christian Benteke has endured a dire time since joining the Eagles, so has not been a first choice for a while, with Connor WIckham coming back from long term injury to score against us in the Cup and Hodgson can also call on Bakary Sako and Jordan Ayew, but neither are regular scorers.

There will be confidence in the Palace side after their FA Cup win, but we were under-strength and under-performed on that day, but still could have salvaged something if Trippier hadn't hit a penalty well wide.  Spurs have had the upper hand in league games with 1-0 wins in the last five, but that should be forgotten and this game approached with a fresh slate.  A win with the big crowd behind Spurs is vital having been on our worst run for a long time, so responding by going on a wining run would be a great way to welcome the new stadium and to finish the season.

Palace will be no pushover and Spurs will need to work hard and produce a performance such as the one in the second half at Anfield, but we need to be more clinical with our finishing, as chances are going begging and we are being made to pay for that.  Space will be at a premium, so sharp, one-touch passing will help Tottenham open up Palace and I can see a narrow win, but one that might give the team something of a boost ahead of the Manchester City triptych.

PREDICTION Tottenham Hotspur    2        Crystal Palace   1
Tottenham will be without Eric Dier, Serge Aurier, Eric Lamela and Fernando Llorente due to injury, but Harry Winks returns to the squad after overcoming his groin injury.
Mamadou Sakho is recovering from an operation on his knee and is the only player missing for Palace.

Sky Sports 1 -  Highlights -  Saturday 22.30
Match of the Day  (BBC 1) - Saturday 22.20 - 23.50 (highlights)   [repeated at 07:40 Sunday]  Also available online.
Goals on Sunday (Sky Sports 1) - Sunday 10.30 (repeated at 21.00)
Match of the Day 2  (BBC 1) - Sunday 22.25 (highlights)  Also available online.

For coverage in all parts of the world, check here and here.

Radio :  
BBC LONDON 94.9FM (London area only), Digital Radio (London area only) &  Sky Channel 0152  (live coverage)
Commentary may be found on
>   BBC Radio Five Live (live coverage)  606/939 MW
TalkSport (DAB or 2nd89 MW)
Absolute Radio  (1215 AM/MW)

Internet :
The THFC Official website   Live webcast  - subscribers only
BBC London -  Live commentaries listed down the page.
TalkSport (DAB or 1089 MW)

Premier League Kick off 19:45
Tottenham Hotspur  2 (0) Crystal Palace  0 (0)


Son  54m 49s
Eriksen  79m 48s



Dele (foul on Milijovevic)  29 




Crowd :   59,215 Weather :  Sleet, snow and hail before the game then chilly
Referee :  Andre Marriner (West Midlands) Assistant Referees :  Mr. Scott Ledger; Mr. Simon Long
Fourth Official :  Chris Kavanagh  
Crystal Palace kicked off and played towards the Park Lane end in the first half.
Game time : -  90 + 7 minutes.
Tottenham Hotspur : kit Crystal Palace : kit
  1  Hugo LLORIS

  2  Kieran TRIPPIER
33  Ben DAVIES

17  Moussa SISSOKO
20  DELE       (27  Lucas MOURA  82)

  7  Heung-Min SON    (12  Victor WANYAMA  90+2)
23  Christian ERIKSEN 
  3  Danny ROSE  (  8  Harry WINKS  69)

10  Harry KANE

Unused subs: 

  6  Davinson SANCHEZ
21  Juan FOYTH


  31  Vicente GUAITA

  Martin KELLY
  5  James TOMKINS
  3  Patrick van AANHOLT

  James McARHTUR
  4  Luka MILIJOVEVIC  (c)
  8  Chiekou KOUYATE  (10  Andros TOWNSEND  79))
11  Wilfired ZAHA
15  Jeffrey SCHLUPP

  Michy BATSHUAYI  (17  Christian BENTEKE  81)

Unused subs: 
  6  Scott DANN
  2  Joel WARD
  7  Max MEYER
14  Jordan AYEW


Manager :  Mauricio Pochettino Manager :  Roy Hodgson
Sponsor :   AIA Shirt sponsor :  Mansion
Kit Supplier :  Nike Kit Supplier :   Macron
Match report

An impressive opening ceremony stirred the crowd into creating a great atmosphere that was rewarded by a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace to christen the new stadium with a needed victory and three points to end a bad run of results.  The pre-match sleet, hail and snow storm threatened to start our tenure of the new ground as the last one ended,

While the match was not a classic by any means, Spurs dominated the game and the stats of 65% possession and 26 shots tend to support the balance of play, but Palace stirred themselves in the final ten minutes when 0-2 down, having their first shot on target and creating a couple of more chances that caused ripples of nervousness among the Spurs crowd. 

Pochettino continued with Hugo Lloris in goal despite the criticism he received after Sunday's game at Liverpool, while Danny Rose was promoted to midfield, where he had proved effective recently.  Palace made changes, while sticking with Batshuayi up front where he was facing the club he could have joined on loan in January.

From the start, Spurs pressed as they used to and turned the ball over in the first minute, when Palace kicked off and conceded possession by a loose pass and that characterised their game over the 97 minutes of playing time.  Tottenham were moving the ball quickly and confidently, with Palace offering little in opposition.  That allowed Spurs the opportunity to try and break down the massed ranks of red and blue shirts that Roy Hodgson had tried to arrange to stop Tottenham breaking through.  It was in contrast to the FA Cup game when they had a go and put Spurs under pressure.

A second minute corner from Rose on the left was met by Dele in the six yard box, but his downward header lacked power and it popped up comfortably for the keeper to hold.  But from that, a through ball by McArthur was left by Alderweireld and Trippier for each other, leaving Schlupp to run into the box.  Toby went with him and his presence did enough to put him off and he blasted powerfully at goal, but well wide.   Trippier was fining lots of space down the right until Schlupp clattered into him in an aerial challenge, but it looked as though he had meant that the contact would hit Trips.

On ten minutes, Eriksen struck another shot that lacked power and bobbled wide. Tottenham then had a chance when Eriksen spread the ball wide to Trippier, whose low ball in was scuffed at goal by Harry Kane, causing Guaita to save low down, but he didn't hold the ball and when Son went for the rebound, the keeper went down holding his head even though he hadn't been subject to much contact.  Kane looked to score with a first time shot from the right and tried to dip it over Guaita, but it cleared the bar, then Harry turned in the box before falling into Tomkins, with some shouts for a penalty, but it wasn't enough to interest Marriner.  With twenty minutes on the clock, Dele looked to find Eriksen's run to the left of the goal, but the Dane couldn't reach it, but in leaving it, he nearly tricked Guaita, who scrambled to make sure that the ball went wide.  Christian did get a shooting opening shortly after and from a  long way out he struck a shot that sailed into the Paxton Road end.  Kane also found the crowd off the wall when he tried a curler from 20 yards out, but it was a little too close to get it up and over the wall.

Tottenham's crosses into the box were now producing more threatening positions, with Tomkins seemingly on the end of most of them.  When Kane was on Kelly, he managed to get to Eriksen's ball into the box first and glanced a header low to the keeper's left, but it didn't have enough power to trouble Guaita.  The keeper found it a bit more difficult when Son took Eriksen's pass and hit a low shot to the keeper's left hand post and the Palace goalie unconvincingly smuggled the ball round the post for another corner. 

Palace had another shot five minutes before half-time when van Aanholt hit it wide,  with the half ending with a couple of corners that Spurs didn't make much of to leave the game score-less at the interval.  A half-time that included Robbie Keane back at the Lane a few days after he graced the turf in the Legends match.

The second half started with Tottenham attacking the Park Lane end (as will be their preference form now on) and they started the half that same way that they had the first by winning a first minute corner.  From it, Son fired a set-up from Kane over the bar, then Palace worked in Batshuayi away on goal, but he dragged his shot across goal from the edge of the area and that was against the run of play as Spurs pressed forward again.  A cross-field ball by van Aanholt was intercepted by Rose, but he was tackled.  As the ball ran towards Milijovevic, Eriksen stole into take the ball off him and saw Son on his right, so played the ball to him 20 yards out.  He looked to come inside and beat Tomkins and Kouyate before shooting with his left foot from the D, when Milijovevic tried to recover the situation, but only deflected Son's on target shot past his keeper.  The first goal at the new stadium was reassuringly scored by a Spurs player and the crowd created an incredible noise to greet it as Sonny ran to celebrate in front of the South Stand.  it was a great moment,

As the goal had been secured, Tottenham continued to move towards the Palace goal, with the ball cleared out to Sissoko, who looked as though he was going to strike it on the half-volley from 30 yards.  However, he played the ball into Eriksen in the box, who turned it round the corner and although Moussa and Kane both went for it, they won a corner.  From that the keeper mis-punched the ball onto Ben Davies, but grabbed it at the second attempt.  With Palace making weak attempts to get back in the game, Tripper's strong challenge on Zaha seemed to wind up the Palace winger.  He started to front up to Trips as he held the ball and it looked like he was losing his head like when he was sent off against Southampton recently.  There was no real reason, other than his side were playing badly. 

It continued when Toby's raking pass looked for Dele and two defenders went for the same ball, but the keeper managed to get to the ball before the Tottenham midfielder.  Dele was involved again when Kelly's pass forward was cut out by him and went forward to Kane on the left side.  He ran forward with two defenders inside him, opening up his nobody too much to try and curl his shot past the keeper's left.  Unusually, the ball went too high and wide.  When Trippier made a run down the right in acres of space, his ball across the box ended up at Son's feet on the other side of the area, just outside the box and his low effort was straight at the keeper, who held the ball.

The second goal came in a similar way to the first.  Davies won it just inside his own half, Son knocked it down the left wing for Harry Kane, who took on McArthur, whose attempt to stop him saw him throw himself at Harry's body in the area and as everyone expected the referee to point to the penalty spot, the Palace defenders stopped expecting to hear the whistle too.  Alert to the situation, Christian Eriksen nipped in to get to the ball virtually unchallenged and swept it past Guaita fro the six yard line even though the ball had been slightly behind him.  There was a moment's calmness before the Spurs fans had realised that the penalty hadn't been given, but a goal had been scored and then the noise flooded down from the stands.

Dele left the field to be replaced by Lucas Moura and Benteke came on for Batshuayi as the game entered the last ten minutes.  And Tottenham continued to attack the Palace goal, with Davies having a pop at goal from just outside the box that went too high, but the first shot on target for the visitors came with five minutes left.  van Aanholt made ground down the left in space and put in a cross, which he got all wrong and Hugo was alert enough to tip it away as it looked as though it might drop over him and into the goal at the far post.  A couple of minutes later McArthur put a cross into the area from the left and Benteke got his head to it, left alone at the far post, but he couldn't get his head around it to get it on target.  Palace were pushing harder on the spurs goal than they had in all the rest of the game, with Zaha taking on Toby, then coming inside before checking wide again to run at Trippier.  Knowing Zaha's propensity to hit the ground, Kieran stood off him a little and this allowed him the space to drive in a shot from the left of the goal that Hugo stood firm to block it and it flew away from the danger area.

Son had the ball on the right and his cross found Vertonghen in the box (!), but he couldn't get any power in the header and it was comfortable for Guaita, but when Spurs broke away and Winksy's perceptive pass from the left to right found Lucas Moura.  Running at goal from 30 yards out, he took the ball in his stride and got inside the box to hit a cross across the keeper from the right, but Guaita made a good save in palming the ball out.  It popped up into the air, with Harry Kane trying to nod it in, but again, the effort wasn't a clean collection and it bounced into the hands of the keeper.  

.At the end of the game, there was a huge cheer for the Spurs side who made the most of the occasion and took their time leaving the field.  A first win in a new stadium is not always the outcome when club's change grounds, so three points came in handy as other sides around us won on the night and we needed to turn around the poor run of results.  The game proved that the stadium could cope with the large number of fans, unlike the train station at Northumberland Park, where a new queuing system was slow and caused a lot of anger among some fans.  Not having been tested for the test events as it was not in service, maybe things will get batter as the games go on.

Two Palace fans on the train were in agreement that the stadium was "beautiful", but said that the away end could have had more urinals, as they were well spaced out and that the concourses at their end lacked a shelf to put your drink on while you were eating, but other than that were gushing about the ground.  Ironically, they said that they have had season tickets behind the goal in the Holmesdale end at their place, but next season were being moved out by chairman Steve Parrish to install the Holmesdale Fanatics there (they are the children with their shirts off, who think singing non-stop means that they are following a great team).  A shocking disrespect for long term fans and one of them said that he was not renewing his ticket because of that. 

A worrying in night, in that you really wanted Spurs to score first and to win, so Palace were innocent bystanders on the night, leaving Spurs fans flooding out to look forward to the next game.  Oh, no !  It's Man City in the Champions League !  Let's hope we can keep our unbeaten home run going !

Marco van Hip

Match facts

Harry Winks makes his 100th appearance.

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What you thought
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Other scores during this week :
Watford 4 Fulham 1 Tuesday
Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 Manchester United 1 Tuesday
Chelsea 3 Brighton & Hove Albion 0 Wednesday
Manchester City 2 Cardiff City 0 Wednesday
Southampton 1 Liverpool 3 Friday
Newcastle United 0 Crystal Palace 1 Saturday
Bournemouth 1 Burnley 3 Saturday
Huddersfield Town 1 Leicester City 4 Saturday
Everton 1 Arsenal 0 Sunday


League Table  2018-19
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Liverpool 33 25 7 1 75 20 82 +55
2 Manchester City 32 26 2 4 83 21 80 +62
3 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 32 21 1 10 60 34 64 +26
4 Arsenal 32 19 6 7 65 40 63 +25
5 Chelsea 32 19 6 7 55 34 63 +21
6 Manchester United 32 18 7 7 61 43 61 +18
7 Wolverhampton Wanderers 32 13 8 11 40 39 47 +1
8 Everton 32 13 7 13 46 42 46 +4
9 Watford 32 13 7 12 47 47 46 0
10 Leicester City 33 14 5 14 46 44 44 +2
11 West Ham United London 32 12 6 14 41 48 42 -7
12 Crystal Palace 33 11 6 16 39 43 39 -4
13 Bournemouth 33 11 5 17 44 61 38 -17
14 Burnley 33 10 6 17 40 60 36 -20
15 Newcastle United 33 9 8 16 31 43 35 -12
16 Brighton & Hove Albion 31 9 6 16 32 46 33 -14
17 Southampton 32 8 9 15 36 53 33 -17
18 Cardiff City 32 8 4 20 28 61 28 -33
19 Fulham 33 4 5 23 30 76 17 -46
20 Huddersfield Town 33 3 5 25 19 63 14 -44

Position before match :  4th
Position after match :  3rd
Position after the weekend :  3rd


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