OPPONENTS Crystal Palace
COMPETITION Premier League
DATE Sunday 18th August 2013
VENUE White Hart Lane






So, the TV schedule for live coverage has Spurs playing catch up from the very start.  A Sunday lunch-time kick off at Selhurst Park against newly promoted Crystal Palace provides Tottenham with a tough opening game, with the home team looking to give their fans something to give them hope for the coming nine months.

Ian Holloway is a shrewd operator, despite his knock-about jokey reputation.  With Palace the latest team he has taken into the top flight, he did it the hard way through the play-offs, but he will have studied the teams he will face over the summer and be ready for the challenge.

However, it is the unknown that might cause him some problems, as well as being a major factor in the Eagles' first season back in the Premier League in a while.  The impact of promoted teams often have is a new approach that existing Premier League sides are not accustomed to, but conversely, while Holloway might have studied Tottenham videos from last season, this team is different from the one that finished the campaign in May.

Firstly, Gareth Bale will not be playing for Spurs.  For two weeks, because of a foot injury.  And it might be even longer than that.  Secondly, there have been four new arrivals and three main departures from the squad from last season.  Thirdly, the team may be set out differently to the last campaign, with AVB believed to favour a 4-3-3 formation.

But Palace have been active in the transfer market, having had the disadvantage of coming through the play-offs and starting behind everyone else in buying players.  Former striker Kevin Phillips, who scored the goal that won them promotion, has signed permanently for a last hurrah in the top flight at 37, midfielder Elliott Grandin has followed Holloway from Blackpool, young Spanish starlet Jose Campana will miss the game through injury, as will former WBA winger Jerome Thomas.  Marouane Chamakh has joined for a season on a permanent deal and has Premier League experience, although he was deemed not good enough for Arsenal and didn't shine on loan at West Ham last season, while over night, Palace signed French defender Florian Marange on a free from Bordeaux, but he will not be available.  Palace have invested heavily in their forward line with Peterborough United forward Dwight Gayle coming in and Swansea City striker Stephen Dobbie joining permanently after a loan at the Eagles last season.  They have also signed competition for Julian Speroni in goal, with former Glasgow Rangers keeper Neil Alexander joining them.

Several of these players and the rest of the squad have played in the Premier League before.  Owen Garvan (Ipswich), Aaron Wilbraham (Norwich), Kagisho Dikgacoi (Fulham), Dean Moxey (Stoke), McCarthy (Charlton) and Gabbidon (West Ham), but whether their best days are behind them, we will see.

Spurs are strong in midfield and will be looking for more goals from there this season, as well as now having a heavy scoring striker in Roberto Soldado.  There should be enough in the squad to provide most teams with a stern test, but with time still left until the window slams shut, further changes still might take place. 

With a new midfield and Paulinho being the one who might offer something very different to other Premier League midfielders, Spurs might provide a difficult team to pin down.  Soldado to notch on his Premier League debut and Spurs to go on to a narrow win against a side who will be up for it in their opening Premier League fixture.

PREDICTION Crystal Palace    1        Tottenham Hotspur    2
Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , an alternative history, etc.
Spurs will give a late fitness test to see if Jan Vertonghen is over his ankle injury, but will have Gareth Bale missing with a foot injury and Lewis Holtby out still with his knee injury.  Otherwise, the rest of the squad is available for selection.
Winger Jerome Thomas misses out on a debut with an ankle injury picked up in last week's friendly with Lazio, as does Jose Campana (foot).  Up front, Glenn Murray (knee) is still out from last season, while Marouane Chamakh (illness) is doubtful.  Midfielder Yanick Bolasie (thigh) and defender Paddy McCarthy (groin) are both ruled out, while midfielder Jonathan Parr (fitness) and goalkeeper Lewis Price (calf) are doubtful for the match.

Sky Sports 1 - (live coverage)
Match of the Day 2  (BBC 2) - 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 1089 MW)
Absolute Radio  (1215 AM/MW)

If available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard in these countries on these stations ...
Australia (Melbourne)
SEN  -  116 AM  Live Transmissions: TWI, Saturday. 12.45 & 1500 matches
Australia (Sydney) 
Radio 2  -  1611AM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 12.45 Match
Media Corp Radio  -  93.8 FM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
South Africa 
SABC (Radio 2000)  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
Uganda  Radio 1 (English) 90.0 FM, Radio 2 (Lugandan) 87.9 FM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
North America (USA, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean) 
Sirius Satellite Radio  Live transmission: Saturday - 12.45, 15.00 (TWI) & 17.15 (BBC) Sunday - 14.00 & 16.05 (BBC) Mon, Tue, Wed - Various times (BBC)

Internet :   Live webcast  - subscribers only
BBC London - click on link to "Listen to Tottenham Hotspur live commentary" on top right hand menu.

Crystal Palace  0 (0)                                                                                Tottenham Hotspur  1 (0)    
Sunday 18th August 2013                                                                                                                     Kick off 13:30
Selhurst Park
Soldado (p) 50
Jedinek (persistent fouling)  90  




Crowd :   23,285 Weather :  Rain before the game, then warm, sunny
Referee : Mark Clattenburg (Tyne and Wear) Assistant Referees :  Mr. S. Child; Mr S. Beck
Fourth Official :  Mike Jones -
Spurs kicked off and attacked the Holmesdale End in the first half.
Crystal Palace : kit Tottenham Hotspur : kit
  1 Julian SPERONI

  2  Joel WARD
19  Daniel GABBIDON
27  Damien DELANEY
21  Dean MOXEY

  8  Kagisho DIKACGOI
10  Owen GARVAN (29  Marouane CHAMAKH 66)
15  Mile JEDINAK (c)      
11  Stephen DOBBIE (20  Jonathan WILLIAMS 66)

16  Dwight GAYLE
18  Aaron WILBRAHAM (  9  Kevin PHILLIPS 66)

Unused subs: 
  3  Florian MALANGE
12  Stuart O'KEEFE

  25  Hugo LLORIS

  2  Kyle WALKER
  Michael DAWSON (c)
  3  Danny ROSE (  4  Younes KABOUL 86)

19  Mousa DEMBELE (15  Etienne CAPOUE 57)

  7  Aaron LENNON
21  Nacer CHADLI

  9  Roberto SOLDADO    (18  Jermain DEFOE 83)

Unused subs: 
17  Andros TOWNSEND

Manager :  Ian Holloway Manager :  Andre Villas-Boas
Sponsor : Shirt sponsor :  Hewlett Packard
Kit Supplier :  Avec Kit Supplier :   Under Armour
Match report

With three new signings in the starting eleven, it was a new look Spurs team.  But the performance added to that impression, with a comfortable, although not entirely comprehensive victory over newly promoted Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

Where Palace had been very good at home and Spurs very good away last season, the step up was almost bridged by the effort and determination of the South London side, but the difference between the two sides was the extra quality that Tottenham had in their ranks.  Soldado, Paulinho and Chadli began in the eleven and while there were new faces in the Eagles line-up, including their record signing Dwight Gayle, his fee was about a quarter of Roberto Soldado's - Tottenham's record buy.

The game had been preceded by rain showers, but the sun soon came out for a real opening day of the season feel to proceedings.  There was a nervy start with some misplaced passes on both sides, but three minutes in, Speroni had to rush out of his box to the left to stop Soldado getting the ball. From the throw, Walker got into the box on the right to almost set up Sigurdsson, but the ball was intercepted.

Eight minutes in, Rose got a yard to cross from the left, but Soldado's header ahead of the near post, but 12 yards out, went wide.  A minute later, Paulinho, Lennon and Walker work space on the right wing and Lennon's cut back is put out for a corner.  As usual, nothing came from it !!

It was in the 12th minute that former Swansea City striker Stephen Dobbie got away on left in Palace's first foray forward, but he delayed his cross and it was cleared away.  Within a minute, Spurs were on the attack again, with Soldado's back heel on the right to Lennon, who then played it to Dembele an the Belgian let fly from 25 yards out.  The ball dipped just scraping the bar on it's way over the top.  It looks like Mousa has been told to get more shots away and more goals this season.

Dobbie got away on left once more and pulled the ball back, but  there was no-one in a red and blue shirt on edge of box to cash in on the opportunity.  Soldado got his first effort on goal in the 21st minute, when a foul on Rose on left wing saw Gylfi Sigurdsson put a low ball into near post. Roberto got there with a flick of the outside of his foot, but it flew over the top.  The combination on the right was working well and Kyle Walker played a great ball inside the full back to Lennon, but his cross was cut out again.  Spurs had been working both the flanks well and getting into crossing positions, but they need to get the ball away quicker to cause more problems in the goal mouth.

A 27th minute free-kick brought Palace's first on target effort, as a free kick 30 yards out was flighted onto Aaron Wilbraham's head, but it was straight in the middle of the goal and straight at Lloris.  The home fans were making a lot of noise and having a fine time with their coloured sheets making a mural before the game and singing their weird songs, but then this is a big experience for them and they are out to enjoy it.

Michael Dawson was using his trademark driven diagonal ball from right to left to find Rose or Chadli. When he licked out the Belgian on the half hour, Nacer cut inside to unleash a shot but it was blocked by a defender for  a corner.  Tottenham's best effort of the half came in the 35th minute, as Lennon played a ball into Gylfi and although the ball went away from him, it bounced back into the D of the penalty area and his shot was athletically tipped over by Speroni.  It would have dipped just under the bar without the keeper's save.
A minute after the save, Chadli and Rose worked a 1-2 on the left and Danny burst into the area, but pushed the ball too far.

Spurs were getting muscled off the ball .. and not always fairly ... with Clattenburg not giving a lot of protection to our players, while Palace got a bonus for promotion in that they were awarded soft free-kicks for should charges and when Spurs players won the ball.  I am reliably informed that Niall Quinn on Sky thought that Clattenburg got everything right and that Spurs players were guilty of all they perpetrated.  Quelle Surprise !!

Neat little passing interchanges were being played by Spurs now as their confidence grew and one almost saw Chadli on right of centre fed the ball to Soldado, but there was a little too much pace on the pass and he couldn't control it.  Five minutes before half-time, Walker and Lennon's 1-2 put the winger away, with him trying to find Soldado at the near post, but his cross was just too far in front of the Spanish striker.

Another fine example of the leniency shown to Crystal Palace was on 41 minutes when Dwight Gayle went through onto a return pass, but with Walker coming in, the ex-Peterborough striker threw himself to the floor and the ref pointed for a goal-kick.  Last season, it would have been a yellow card had Bale done it.  Instead, he just got a telling off.  Where's the justice, eh ?

Late in the half, Owen Garvan went down and the players took a drinks break.  It gave a chance to look around the stands and I noticed a fair number of empty Palace seats.  How excited were their fans then ?  Maybe the thought of a season of misery in the top flight and a relegation fight from the time the fixtures were drawn randomly (our 16th away opening fixture in 21 Premier League seasons ... Moyes is right !!) may have persuaded them that the 96 million game in the play-off was the pinnacle of their ambitions.

In the last seconds  of the three added on minutes,  Lennon's long right wing cross saw Chadli racing in at the far post and get the jump on Ward to win the header, but it was just over the top.  The half-time whistle brought a chance to gather our breath after a pacy first 45, with Palace doing a lot of closing down to try and stop Spurs playing.  They surely wouldn't be able to keep that up for 90 minutes ?  With the pom-pom girls out at half-time (as they were before the match), the thumping music made it hard to take stock of what had gone on in the first half.

Palace had a quick start to the second half, with a couple of balls into the area, but after Paulinho had been bundled over with no penalty given, the move continued with Lennon getting away on the right, hitting the line and then crossing to finds Moxey's arm blocking it and this time Clattenburg did point to the spot.  50 minutes into the season and Roberto Soldado stepped up to send Speroni the wrong way from the spot, as the ball flew into the left side of the goal as he looked at it.  All last season without a penalty and one in the first game of this !!  Just as well we bought someone who knew what a penalty kick was !!

Capoue made his entrance in the 57th minute, on for Dembele, announcing his transfer with a shot from 25 yards that went almost that high over the bar !!  I know he is versatile, but hopefully the coaches can get him to practice with football goals and not rugby ones in future.  Clattenburg was still allowing rugby style tactics, as Gayle was released after the ball had been taken off Paulinho by wrestling him aside and the new Palace man had a rush of blood and shot  from 25 yards, but it rose over the top.  Palace made a triple substitution in the 66th minute, to try and make them more offensive, with Phillips, Chamakh and Williams all entering the field.  And it did seem to work for a little while, with some more creative passing an an old head in Phillips to hold the ball up.

Spurs had the next scoring opportunity though, with Walker slipping the ball inside the left back to Soldado and his square pass to Sigurdsson was taken first time from around the penalty box, but the shot wide left of the goal by inches.  it was a good opening and one that should have been put away, as it might have settled the game then.  Especially when, a minute later with 70 on the clock, Chamakh played Gayle in, but Lloris was quick off line to dive and grab ball first.  Then our keeper had to race well outside of his box to tackle Phillips and out of position, was vulnerable to being chipped, but Williams dallied on ball and was robbed, thus avoiding an embarrassment for Hugo.

Chadli was getting into the match more, after a relatively quiet game, coming in from the left and to fire a shot wide of far post.  The referee gave a cheap free kick to Palace when Sigurdsson blocked Dikagcoi as Walker ran forward. After what had gone on in the previous 74 minutes, the award was a joke.  Anyway, the eagles fluffed it up and they were better off when Spurs had a set-piece.  A 77th minute corner was cleared to Paulinho outside the edge of the box and he sent his volley into ground, which was  cleared upfield. Kevin Phillips flicked it  on and Gayle went through, but Rose was quick enough to cover and was fouled by the former Gooner trainee.

Another chance to put the game beyond Palace came in the 80th minute, when Dawson intercepted a sideways pass and the ball went to Soldado.  He ran it forward and played Chadli in for shot that goes a couple of feet wide low to the left of the goal.  It was another opportunity that should have hit the target.  The Belgian winger did well a minute later, when a Walker cross was too long, but it was picked up by Nacer on the left wing and he changed feet twice and then tried a chipped shot that lands on the roof of the net from a narrow angle.

Palace were still trying to find an equaliser, so when a tackle was won on half way, the ball ran forward to Phillips and he had a shot, but he dragged it way wide.  With five minutes remaining, Lloris came for a corner that he dropped under pressure, then had to dive at his near post to stop Delaney's shot getting through.  Spurs took Soldado off and brought on Defoe, s an impact sub, while Kaboul came on for a run-out with Rose being rested.  Defoe broke away and held up ball with good upper body strength to win throw-in near the corner at the Palace end of the pitch.  Jermain was also involved in a neat move, when Lennon played the ball into him, left of centre on the edge of the box.  His flick through his legs found Chadli and he played a low square ball into the heart of the area for Sigurdsson, whose shot was blocked.  Just a minute later, Spurs broke quickly from the back as Palace tired and it ended with Defoe going past four defenders before dragging a low shot wide of the goal by a yard from inside the box.

Chances were slipping by and Spurs had to be vigilant as Palace pressed at the end of the game.  With 90 minutes showing on the clock, a long right wing cross saw Phillips head the ball back for Dikagcoi to shoot low to Lloris' right and the Frenchman dived to make a good stop and then saved at the near post with his feet from the same player who got the follow-up.  There was also a nervy moment in added time, when a long ball was played into the Spurs box, with Walker heading it back to Lloris, who had to jump high to reach it !!  Another few inches and it could have been very embarrassing.

As it was, Spurs ran down the clock with possession keeping the ball away from Palace players and Clattenburg's final whistle was greeted with the joy of three points in the bag by the Spurs fans.  It is not always the best day for Tottenham supporters, with our noted slow starts some times costing us come the tail end of the season, but one this occasion, the team played a solid game, without being extravagant and while Palace fashioned a few chances, they were very much in a Championship style.  The difference in quality showed in the end and while there is still time left in the transfer window, the sort of quality they need will not come cheap.

The outcome of this game is not really an indicator to how the rest of the season will go, but it will act as a useful introduction to our new boys about how the Premier League works, with this one of the teams tipped for relegation and they pout in a good shift, letting the incoming players know that they have to perform to a high level consistently.  Paulinho was neat and covered a lot of ground, always making himself available, while Soldado looked to get an effort on goal whenever he could, but also linked play well and set up some chances.  Chadli warmed to the game as it went on and he will be a sound winger, who can give Rose a bit of protection behind him.  Capoue didn't get a full run-out, but looked strong and someone who doesn't mind a tackle and likes to go forward with the ball.

Swansea at home next and that will be a  very different match ... but not half as different as the Dinamo Tbilisi one that comes before then in the Europa League !!

Aidenby Quernhow


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What you thought
Baz from Basildon I thought that Ian Holloway was going to give up his humorous persona ?

Seems like he is still doing it, as he must be having a laugh going on about some clubs get more decisions than others.  Talk about talking out of his backside ! 

Today was our first Premier League penalty since 6th May 2012.  More than a whole season ago.  And frankly, we should have had one just before we did, with Paulinho being bundled over.

For Holloway to say that his team should have had a free-kick for a foul on Dobbie by Chadli, when his players were getting away with going through the back of the Tottenham players or wrestling them off the ball is a joke.

Mark Clattenburg had been getting better as a ref after his problem with Chelsea, but today, I thought he allowed a lot to go and most of it was Palace's way ... and they still couldn't get anything out of the match.

Nice to see our new boys in action and the team looked strong and smooth in possession.  Need to sharpen up some of the passing and crossing, but a good start and we sit nine places above Arsenal ... so that can't be bad !!

Steve Churchill Average without Bale ?

That was the cry from a lot of on-line and on air Spurs fans after the 1-0 win over Palace, but I will settle for an average display if it means we win more games like this.  but let's look at the stats  ... not the answer to everything that went on, but a good clue.

Possession was in Tottenham's favour and the team looked more comfortable on the ball after an early spell of early season nervousness.  This was not just relying on Bale to take the game to the oppo, but for everyone to get involved.

Shots on goal ... Lots !!  Unfortunately, not enough of them on target, but then it only took one of the two the BBC claimed we had to win us the points.

Palace shots on goal ... five shots, three on target.  The defence looked less likely to concede than in previous seasons, with the defensive set-up in front of them solid, with Paulinho and then Capoue giving the team an energy and willingness to get a foot in than maybe others have done in the Spurs team of late. 

Hugo Lloris ... OK, so he fluffed the catch from the corner, but he was down to save the shot that came after and then did well to stop Dikacgoi twice.  Swept well and looked comfortable in most things he did.

Roberto Soldado.  A striker who seems to love scoring goals.  Especially from the penalty spot !!  Let's hope that Holloway was right in his comments ;o)  The Spaniard also held the ball well and looked to bring people into the game, so I am hopeful he will go on and improve game on game for Spurs.

Early days.  Players still settling in,  Maybe more players to join and some to leave.  What the side have achieved for traditionally slow starters, is a good first day win and hopefully, it will give them confidence to go on from there.

- -.



Other scores during this week :
Arsenal 1 Aston Villa 3 Saturday
Liverpool 1 Stoke City 0 Saturday
Norwich City 2 Everton 2 Saturday
Sunderland 0 Fulham 1 Saturday
Swansea City 1 Manchester United 4 Saturday
West Bromwich Albion 0 Southampton 1 Saturday
West Ham United 2 Cardiff City 0 Saturday
Chelsea 2 Hull City 0 Sunday
Manchester City 4 Newcastle United 0 Monday
Chelsea 2 Aston Villa 1 Wednesday




League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Chelsea 2 2 0 0 4 1 6 +3
2 Manchester City 1 1 0 0 4 0 3 +4
3 Manchester United 1 1 0 0 4 1 3 +3
4 West Ham United 1 1 0 0 2 0 3 +2
5 Aston Villa 2 1 0 1 4 3 3 +1
6 Fulham 1 1 0 0 1 0 3 +1
7 Liverpool 1 1 0 0 1 0 3 +1
8 Southampton 1 1 0 0 1 0 3 +1
9 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1 1 0 0 1 0 3 +1
10 Everton 1 0 1 0 2 2 1 0
11 Norwich City 1 0 1 0 2 2 1 0
12 Stoke City 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 -1
13 Crystal Palace 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 -1
14 Sunderland 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 -1
15 West Bromwich Albion 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 -1
16 Arsenal 1 0 0 1 1 3 0 -2
17 Cardiff City 1 0 0 1 0 2 0 -2
18 Hull City 1 0 0 1 0 2 0 -2
19 Swansea City 1 0 0 1 1 4 0 -3
20 Newcastle United 1 0 0 1 0 4 0 -4


Position before match :  14th
Position after match :  7th
Position after the weekend :  9th


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