OPPONENTS Crystal Palace 
COMPETITION Premier League 
DATE Sunday 21st February 2016
VENUE White Hart Lane
PREVIEW No preview prepared.
PREDICTION Tottenham Hotspur    2        Crystal Palace    0

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Tottenham Hotspur  0 (0)                                                                       
Premier League
Sunday 21st February 2016
White Hart Lane
Crystal Palace  1 (1)

Kick off 15:00
None Kelly  45m + 0m 56s
Rose (foul on Zaha)  92+3 


Cabaye (persistent fouling)  74
Bolasie (foul on Mason)  84


Crowd :   35,547 Weather :  Mild
Referee :  Craig Pawson (South Yorkshire) Assistant Referees :  -; -
Fourth Official :  --  
Crystal Palace kicked off and played towards the Paxton Road end in the first half.
Game time : -  90 + 5 minutes.
Tottenham Hotspur : kit Crystal Palace : kit
13  Michel VORM

  2  Kyle WALKER
27  Kevin WIMMER
  3  Danny ROSE     

19  Mousa DEMBELE  (23  Christian ERIKSEN  46)
  6  Nabil BENTALEB

25  Josh ONOMAH
  7  Heung-Min SON    (22  Nacer CHADLI  66)
20  Dele ALLI  (  8  Ryan MASON  81)

10  Harry KANE  (c)

Unused subs: 
31  Luke McGEE

16  Kieran TRIPPIER
29  Harry WINKS

    1  Wayne HENNESSEY

  2  Joel WARD
7  Damien DELANEY
  6  Scott DANN (c)
  Martin KELLY 

11  Wilfried ZAHA
28  Joe LEDLEY
22  Jordan MUTCH
  7  Yohan CABAYE       (15  Mile JEDINAK  81)

  Emmanuel ADEBAYOR  (10  Yannik BOLASIE  776)

21  Connor WICKHAM

Unused subs: 
16  Alex McCARTHY
  3  Adrian MARIAPPA
16  Dwight GAYLE
LEE Chung-Yong
  9  Frazier CAMPBELL


Manager :  Mauricio Pochettino Manager :  Alan Pardew
Sponsor :   AIA Shirt sponsor :  Mansion
Kit Supplier :  Under Armour Kit Supplier :   Macron
Match report

Spurs were knocked out of the FA Cup at the Fifth Round stage at White Hart Lane, by a crude and well drilled display by Crystal Palace.  A single goal separated the sides but the score-line doesn't tell the whole story. Martin Kelly took one of Palace's few efforts on goal, when he found himself in space on the right of the box and from close range, thumped the ball hard enough to beat Michel Vorm at his near post. However, Tottenham had enough chances from the 19 shots they had in the match to have got something, although it was not to be our day.

Spurs were changed from the Europa League side of Thursday, but there was sufficient energy among the players to test Palace, albeit the passing was not of its usual quality and pace today. Nabil Bentaleb, getting a rare start, may not have done himself many favours, with his passing being mainly into the crowd and when the ball got to him, the move slowed down and didn't help Spurs get at Palace when they had the opportunity.

The lack of fluency in Tottenham's play hampered them getting at the visitors defence and when there were large numbers in the way, it was difficult to find a way to get in on goal, although this was not the difference between the two sides.  They say you need a bit of luck to win things and Palace certainly had that in spades today (not that I think they are going to win anything for an instance).  Even though Palace kicked off, a foul on Dembele gave Spurs the chance to move forward and within 90 seconds of the start of the game, Josh Onomah set up Harry Kane for a shot that Delaney got in the way of.  This was quickly followed by a Dele Alli diving header at the far post form the resulting corner, which was blocked on the line by Cabaye (some said with a hint of hand), then Onomah's follow up header went over the bar.

An early corner for Palace indicated their strategy, with the box becoming the land of the giants and without Toby Alderweireld, it was left to Harry Kane to be back defending to nod the ball away.  From the next one, Scott Dann won the ball at the far post, nodding it back across goal, where Emmanuel Adebayor failed to get his header on target.  There was also early indications of how the visiting team were going to play the game with a heavy tackle on Walker leaving him needing treatment and Connor Wickham (most famous for elbowing Jan Vertonghen) jumping on Kevin Wimmer's leg when not anywhere near the ball and Yohan Cabaye and Joe Ledley generally knocking people over for the fun of it.  Referee Craig Pawson was extremely lenient with allowing what was going on, but also allowed Palace to get away with a lot of time-wasting, which he failed to add on at the end of the second half.

In the 14th minute, Palace came close to taking the lead, but not from anything of their own making.  A long ball hoofed forward was caught in the swirling wind, which made defending problematical all afternoon, Wimmer was knocked over when he was underneath it and Walker headed home to Vorm ... only Michel had come off his line and had to hurriedly scamper back to palm the ball from just inside the post before it crossed the line.  Defending their own goal, Palace were throwing everything in front of the ball as Kane had two shots blocked and then Rose saw his get the same result.  When another skyscraper ball forward found Dann, still up from the previous attack, in space and he took the ball down before playing it in for Ledley, but Vorm was sharp off his line and claimed the ball first. 

Almost immediately, Tottenham went even closer to scoring.  Son set off on a run from halfway, with Palace players trailing behind him. As he entered the left of the penalty area, a defender's foot nicked the ball away from him as he was about to shoot, but the ball ran to Dele Alli, who side-footed the ball past the players in front of him.  The ball hit the inside of the post, ran across the goal and hit the other post before coming out to be cleared.  As Spurs piled on the pressure, Palace had to defend even deeper.  Son tried an effort from distance and it took a half-block to loop it into Hennessey's hands, while Walker's right wing run ended with a cross pulled back at the near post for Onomah to sweep it at goal, but it went across the face.  Hennessey almost turned into goal-maker, with a long clearance upfield that forced Vorm to come out and just about deny Adebayor, as Wimmer had left the ball for the keeper to deal with.  Vorm, nor anyone else for that matter got near a low Cabaye corner that flew across the size yard box with no players from either side to deal with it.  When a Spurs attack broke down and Palace were away at the other end, Mutch passed to Adebayor, but his hesitation allowed Eric Dier to get a block in to conceded a corner.  This prompted the visiting fans to sing "That's what you pay him for" !

The inconsistency of referees is a bugbear amongst quite a few who sit around me and when Ledley dragged Alli down as he burst past him into the Palace half, it was perhaps no surprise to see the referee only talk to the player who had already committed two other bad fouls.  Dier was booked for a first offence that was similar last week at City.  The poor officiating allowed Palace to carry on fouling and time-wasting with no punishment.  From the free-kick which was a full 30 yards out, Kane hit a fine curling drive that Hennessey pushed wide for a corner, having learned from Gylfi Sigurdsson beating him from a similar distance a couple of weeks back.

A wayward cross-field ball from Danny Rose, aiming for Kyle Walker, but going out for a throw some way behind him, was a pre-cursor to the only goal of the game.  From the throw, Palace worked the ball around to a point in front of the Spurs penalty area.  Just outside the D, Wilfried Zaha turned out to the right and slipped a pass to Martin Kelly, where he was left in a lot of space and he drilled the ball at goal, with it going in off Vorm's hand at his near post.  People would say he shouldn't be beaten at his near post, but he was so exposed he was trying to cover the whole goal and the opponent had a lot to aim at, so close in was he.

All this happened in added time at the end of the first half and the cheers from the away end were only exceeded by their boorish booing of half-time guest Alan Mullery, who was being interviewed with David Howells.  It was hard to see how Spurs might change things, but Pochettino did just that by brining on Christian Eriksen for Mousa Dembele and thus moved Dele Alli back into a defensive midfield position.  Palace had given Alli close attention in the first half, so dropping him deeper gave him the chance to arrive in forward positions without being as easily picked up.

Five minutes in, Dele slipped a pass out wide on the left of the box to Harry Kane, who cut inside and shot looking for the inside of the far post, but the keeper just got a touch to it to take it wide.   Alli's runs from deep were causing Palace trouble and he almost released Son in the box before repeating his previous set up for Kane and from a similar position, his effort came off Delaney for a corner. It was worked shot, but it was nicked off Walker and as Adebayor looked to break, Wimmer tidied up neatly.  Spurs almost worked a goal similar to the one against Watford, but on the other side of the pitch, with Walker passing wide to Alli, who put a ball across the face of goal that Kane could not reach, but Onomah got onto it at the far post, being denied by Ward's late intervention.

As Tottenham worked the ball around Palace's defending was getting more desperate and when Eriksen's cross was knocked away, it dropped to Nabil Bentaleb's right foot and he hit a first time volley that went high over the bar.   Closer to equalising was Dele Alli, who found himself unchallenged 25 yards out and his rasping drive left Hennessey standing, but the ball flew inches past the keeper's right hand upright.  Josh Onomah was having a decent game and started a good move by finding Kyle Walker, quickly moving the ball onto Eriksen on the right and he came inside to curl and effort at goal that the goalie grabbed. 

The odorous Cabaye was always looking to make the most of any contact, when he had been putting it about and received a booking for a(nother) foul on Rose (who must be one of the most fouled players even though he doesn't play every match).  When Tottenham won a second half corner, he tried to prevent Alli getting the ball to take it and when Dele grabbed it off him, he feigned an injury. He was off the pitch, so why the referee held up play I am not sure.  Once again, nothing was said to him, while Alli's reputation as a "bad boy" gets sullied by a piece of gamesmanship that the referee fell for.

Alli's change of position almost got him in beyond the defence, but Nabil's chipped ball into the Palace area was a tad too long and when substitute Nacer Chadli was robbed on the edge of the area, the visitors broke and Wickham had a shot but it was blocked by Dier.  The referee did show one bit of good officiating when he went back to book Bolasie after allowing play to go on, but I feel this might only have been because the victim, Ryan Mason brought it to the ref's attention. 

There was a late chance for Spurs, when Chadli knocked a cross back for Onomah, but once more there was a red and blue shirt in the way as the ball looked to be creeping inside the far post and any way back looked out of the question as the clock ticked into the 88th minute.  Now looking to hit Spurs on the break, Bolasie got away down the right, from where he hit a pacy cross waist high into the box.  Wickham got to it first to volley the ball into the net, but the celebrations were cut short by the lineman's flag, who spotted he had strayed offside.  It could have been worse, as Zaha chose to have a shot at goal from the edge of the box, with a man free to his left, with the resulting effort easy for Vorm.

Chadli had the last effort of the game, with a volley blocked by sub Jedinak, so that told the story of the game.  Penned back for the majority of the match, Palace rode their luck to go into the Sixth Round draw.  It was Tottenham's inability to finish the openings created that cost them.  It wasn't a bad performance and on another day, it would have been enough to beat teams who come to the Lane to frustrate and pressure Spurs. 

While there was an intent to win every competition that Tottenham were in this season, perhaps the exit from this one might be viewed as an opportunity to reduce the fixtures between now and the end of the season, but right now, it should give the team the impetus to kick on again and string together another run of results that will take them towards the aim of winning silverware this season.  There is one more cup match before league duty resumes, so with games coming so rapidly, there is an early opportunity to put things right.

Gary Sampson




Crystal Palace were named after the Chinese restaurant that was the first to open in Britain and was located near their first ground.


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What you thought
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Other scores in this round :
Arsenal 0 Hull City 0 Saturday
Blackburn Rovers 1 West Ham United 5 Sunday
Bournemouth 0 Everton 2 Saturday
Chelsea 5 Manchester City 1 Sunday
Reading 3 West Bromwich Albion 1 Saturday
Watford 1 Leeds United 0 Saturday
Manchester United - - - -day
Shrewsbury Town - - - -day



* Pub facts may not actually be true, but after a few pints everyone will think so.


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