OPPONENTS Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park
DATE Sunday 27th January 2018
PREVIEW With most of our Cup games this season in the domestic competitions being drawn in and around London, the travelling hasn't been too onerous, which is just as well as we approach this match at Palace with a depleted squad.

Missing Dele, Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son, losing Ben Davies and Moussa Sissoko on Thursday night didn't help things.  Palace have a couple of injury issues, with Wayne Hennessey having a thigh problem as well as being investigated by the FA for being pictured giving a Nazi salute, Papa Souare still getting over a dislocated shoulder and Vicente Guaita suffering from a calf strain.  However, with a battle to move his side up the Premier League, boss Roy Hodgson will have to decide no how strong he goes with his selection on Sunday.  Without the benefit of a deep squad, with a number of players out on loan too, he will pick a spine that shows the first choices off, but might mix and match around that, perhaps boosted by the return of Christian Benteke to fitness.

Julian Speroni is likely to take the gloves, with a back four in front of him which will include Martin Kelly, who scored the winner against Spurs in the Fourth Round in first half injury time in 2016.  It will be interesting to see if he risks some of his potential match-winners in Zaha and Townsend, as he might need them for league points in games ahead.  It has become a dilemma for managers who might not think the can win the competition and in years gone by, they might have welcomed a cup run, but nowadays some appear happy to remove the Cup fixtures from their list.  The lure of playing in the top flight with the associated riches it brings is now looked on more favourably then a piece of silver in the trophy cabinet for many and you can't blame them, as relegation might cost them their job.

I think that the changes Hodgson makes might be minimal, as he hasn't got a huge number of players to choose from, unless he throws some youngsters in. 

Pochettino has the same considerations, with league games coming up and Son not back until midweek at the earliest, so fringe players might be called on.  With some looking to get away on loan or for good, it is another aspect of the team selection that causes issues.  If you find a buyer for a player, do you risk him in a game, possibly getting injured or do you leave them out and jeopardise the chance to progress.  We saw GK Nkoudou come on last week to set up a goal for Harry Winks at Fulham, but now he is strongly linked with an initial loan move to Besiktas.  Llorente has been mooted as returning to Athletic Bilbao and Vincent Janssen wants out, although I don't think there is much chance of him getting a look in.  That only leaves the Academy players - Skipp, Sterling and Parrott - who have been with the squad over the last week.  Skipp looks a comfortable player who can slot into the Premier League, while the other two are untested at that level, having shone in the Under-23 side.

Poch has enough to choose from to send out a strong side and it depends on how  hungry they are to salvage something from this season after losing out to Chelsea on Thursday. 

I am going to buck the trend of 1-0 wins that have taken over the fixture between the two clubs of late and hope Spurs will turn up and put the ball in the bag for the next round at the first attempt.

PREDICTION Crystal Palace    1       Tottenham Hotspur    2
FA Cup Fourth Round Kick off 16:00
Crystal Palace  - (-)  
Tottenham Hotspur  - (-)

Wickham  08m 25s
Toansend (p)  33m 49s



Crowd :   19,491 Weather :  Wet before game; breezy and chilly
Referee : Kevin Friend (Leicestershire) Assistant Referees :  Mr. Adam Nunn; Mr. Matthew Wilkes
Fourth Official :  Roger East  
VAR :  Lee Mason VAR Assistant:  Adrian Holmes
Spurs kicked off and played towards the Holmesdale End in the first half.
Game time : -  90 + 8 minutes.
Benteke (foul on Wanyama)  90+2 
Zaha  (foul on Lamela)  90+4


Foyth  (foul on Schlupp)  59
Sanchez  (foul on Townsend)  55  


Crystal Palace : kit Tottenham Hotspur : kit
  1  Julian SPERONI

  2  Joel WARD
  6  Scott DANN  (c)
  Martin KELLY
  3  Patrick van AANHOLT

10  Andros TOWNSEND    (14  Jordan AYEW  88)
  7  Max MEYER  (  4  Luka MILIVOJEVIC  79)
  Chiekou KOUYATE
15  Jeffrey SCHLUPP

21  Connor WICKHAM    (17  Christian BENTEKE  70     )
11  Wilfried ZAHA     

Unused subs: 
41  Joe TUPPER
12  Mohamed SAKHO

  22  Paulo GAZZANIGA

21  Juan FOYTH     
  5  Jan VERTONGHEN (c)  (11  Erik LAMELA  46)
  6  Davinson SANCHEZ     

  2  Kieran TRIPPIER
Eric DIER  (12  Victor WANYAMA  66)
52  Oliver SKIPP
  Georges-Kevin NKOUDOU


27  Lucas MOURA  (50  Kazaiah STERLING  81)
18  Fernando LLORENTE

Unused subs: 
  3  Danny ROSE
  8  Harry WINKS

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

Another cup game and another London derby and for the second time in four days, a cup exit.

This wasn't a typical Spurs performance and Palace were more up for it than us, leaving us trailing 2-0 at the break, when it should have been closer, then shutting up shop in the second, despite Tottenham having a go in a re-run of Thursday night's League Cup defeat at Chelsea.

For the best part of the opening ten minutes, Spurs held the majority of possession, but nine minutes in, a Palace move made it into the Spurs half for the first time, Schlupp broke into the box on the right, putting in a shot that Gazzaniga could only parry out, straight onto Wickham’s knee to nudge the ball in from close range. It was an early goal in a series of games dominated by 1-0 score-lines and the remaining 80 minutes were left for Tottenham to retrieve the situation.

A corner awarded against Walker-Peters when it clearly came off Townsend prompted a spell of Palace pressure, but it didn’t threaten the goal. With seven changes from Thursday night’s game, Spurs were finding it hard to find some fluid passing and Lucas Moura decided to take a 25-yard pop at goal that Speroni couldn’t reach, but the shot cleared the bar by a foot. Van Aanholt tried the same from a little further out, but Gazzaniga was right behind it down at his right-hand post. From a botched Spurs short corner, Palace broke with Townsend, but Skipp got back to make an important intervention on the halfway line. It came in a period of the game when neither side were hitting their targets with passes. When Kyle Walker-Peters went up for a cross in the area and pushed the ball away with his hand with Wickham behind him, it was a straightforward task for Andros Townsend to stick the ball into the net from the spot to put Spurs two behind with Gazzaniga diving left as the ball went down the middle.

When Zaha was handed the ball, he played van Aanholt down the left and he squared for Townsend to shoot from inside the box, but Gazzaniga made a fine reflex save. A third goal then would have been fatal. It was hit straight down the middle, but Paulo had to adjust having started going the wrong way. When Spurs actually put a bit of play together, Llorente laid the ball off for Moura and he was brought down on the edge of the box by Meyer. After Ward had blood wiped off his face and had to leave the pitch it took an age for the kick to be taken. Trippier shaped up to take it and ran up to pass to his left where Nkoudou was free and scuffed shit shot that Speroni saved, as he did
with the follow up, as GK shot at his body.

When Spurs had another free-kick, it was hoicked into the box, cleared, but when it came back in, can Aanholt pulled Foyth over in the box and Trippier stepped up to take the penalty, putting it wide of the goal to the keeper’s right. It was a poor effort when a goal just a minute before the half-time whistle would have made the game a very different proposition.

It was a shocking half of football by Spurs and there was little to commend anything about their play.  Bringing Lamela on for Vertonghen was a surprise, but the side moved to a 4-4-2 from 3-5-2. A passage of good passing moving the ball around the left wing before moving it across field and Dier swung a cross in that Ward had to bravely dive in to head out for a corner. That was cleared, but Spurs won another, which Trippier put over everyone to a long way beyond the far post. Spurs were looking more attacking and Trippier played Llorente in inside the box. He turned quickly and shot, with the ball taking a deflection, making Speroni having to dive to his right to get a touch to take the ball wide for another corner.

Tottenham did have a problem with GK and KWP playing on the left, when both are right-footed, meaning that there weren’t early crosses coming into the box. It was left for Spurs to run at the Palace defence and Lucas did that, being brought down right on the edge of the box by Kouyate.  Another free-kick, but this time it was Lamela who took it, hitting the end of the wall. The team passed the ball in the second phase, but Lamela was wrong-footed when he came to shoot and the ball was dragged wide.

Another move on the right between Trippier and Dier, created a pass square to Llorente and his shot was saved by Speroni from six yards out. Wanyama came on for Dier, as Spurs looked to add some fresh legs and protect Dier for other games. Our passing was sloppy, handing the ball to Palace when well positioned, but GK’s ball into the box saw Lamela denied and then Trippier volleyed Lamela’s ball across the box across the face of goal with Llorente too far away to apply the finishing touch.

Foyth hooked a difficult bouncing ball away from Wickham and then took the ball off Zaha, as he looked to get into the box one-on-one. KWP won a corner on our left, but Moura won the header at the near post, but couldn’t turn it on target. With Tottenham needing to make an inroad into Palace’s lead, they were passing well, but with little incisiveness, while Lamela was getting caught in possession, but with few options, it was not surprising.

Trippier almost put Lamela in on the right side of the area, but the ball wouldn’t come down for him and then Foyth and Llorente were causing problems in the box before the ball ran to Trippier, whose shot was blocked. Lamela hit a 25 yard shot straight down Speroni’s throat before Meyer went off for Milivojevic to shore up the midfield. Llorente won a couple of headers for himself and then played the ball wide for KWP to win a corner. That lead to the ball bouncing around the penalty area in the air, but ended with VAR looking at Sanchez’s foul on Milivojevic for a possible red card. It wasn’t … and you didn’t need VAR to see that.

With time running out, Pochettino gave Kazaiah Sterling some time on the pitch, but his impact was limited by Palace players going down under the slightest contact. They brought Jordan Ayew on and his first touch was studs into Oliver Skipp’s foot. In comparison to the foul that earned bookings for Spurs players, it was a joke. Friend eventually booked Benteke and Zaha for cynical fouls as Spurs looked to move the ball forward, but they made nothing of the possession and unsurprisingly, the game ended without us scoring away from home for the first time this season.

The changes Pochettino made (and there was little flexibility left to him bearing in mind our diminished squad) unsettled the side and left them without much imagination in how to bring Llorente into the game. It didn’t help that a number of Spurs players were less than average, despite their efforts. Trippier played poorly and failed to find anyone with his crosses or the net with his penalty, while KWP was having a tough time, typified by the concession of the penalty, being scared that Wickham could be in behind him. Sanchez let Schlupp in easy for the shot that led to the first goal, but did stiffen up a bit after that and when Wanyama came on, he looked tentative on the ball. 

Another whimper of an exit from the FA Cup, albeit the team did give it a go in the second half, but never looked like scoring. If we end up in the top four at the end of the season, it will be forgotten, but with so few premier League teams in the hat for Round 5, it looked a good chance to go a long way in the competition.

Stanford Rivers

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What you thought
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Other scores in this round :
Arsenal 1 Manchester United 3 Friday
Bristol City 2 Bolton Wanderers 1 Friday
Brighton & Hove Albion 0 West Bromwich Albion 0 Saturday
Accrington Stanley 0 Derby County 1 Saturday
AFC Wimbledon 4 West Ham United London 2 Saturday
Doncaster Rovers 2 Oldham Athletic 1 Saturday
Manchester City 5 Burnley 0 Saturday
Millwall 3 Everton 2 Saturday
Middlesbrough 1 Newport County 1 Saturday
Newcastle United 0 Watford 2 Saturday
Portsmouth 1 QPR 1 Saturday
Shrewsbury Town 2 Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 Saturday
Swansea City 4 Gillingham 1 Saturday
Chelsea 3 Sheffield Wednesday 0 Sunday
Barnet - - - -day
Brentford - - - -day


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