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Crystal Palace v Spurs FA Cup Review

Spurs endured an afternoon to forget at Selhurst Park after a limp performance saw them lose 2-0 to Crystal Palace in the fourth round of the FA Cup. It caps off a miserable last few days for Spurs, as they have been knocked out of both domestic cup competitions in the last week.

Mauricio Pochettino rotated his side for the FA Cup clash just as he did in the last round against Tranmere. There were appearances for Juan Foyth, Kyle Walker-Peters and Oliver Skipp as well as a rare start for Georges Kevin Nkoudou, his first of the season. Spurs also reverted to a three man defence, which they deployed in the Premier League against Fulham, moving away from the midfield diamond that they lined up with against Chelsea last time out.

Crystal Palace Knock Spurs Out Of FA Cup

It was a terrible start for Spurs as within ten minutes they were one nil down. Former Leicester man Jeff Schlupp picked up a stray ball from right back Joel Ward and galloped into the Spurs area past Davinson Sanchez. His right footed shot was saved by Paulo Gazzaniga but only into the path of Connor Wickham who could not miss. It was Wickham’s first goal (and first start) since November 2016 and the joy he had in scoring was evident in his celebrations.

Spurs soon went close as they aimed to get back in the tie. Fernando Llorente took advantage of poor Palace defending, as they thought the Spurs striker had fouled Patrick van Aanholt, to tee up Lucas Moura. The Spurs man then had a shot from just outside the area, which had veteran goalkeeper Julian Speroni scrambling, but it went narrowly over the bar much to the relief of the Palace fans behind the goal.

The Eagles were then gifted the chance to get an equaliser after Spurs conceded a penalty. A cross was sent in towards Wickham, who had peeled off to the back post, but it looked like Kyle Walker-Peters would be able to intercept it. The Spurs academy graduate however inexplicably stuck his arm out at the ball, leaving referee Kevin Friend with little choice but to give a spot kick.

Former Spurs man Andros Townsend stepped up and stroked his penalty straight down the middle to give Crystal Palace a two goal advantage with ten minutes of the first half still to play. Townsend did not celebrate doubling Palace’s lead, confirming on Twitter after the game that it was down to respect for the club that he had been at since he was eight.

Townsend should have made it three for Crystal Palace before halftime after a flowing team move. Wilfried Zaha managed to wriggle free from Juan Foyth and release van Aanholt on the left hand side. The Dutch international was in a position to shoot but instead pulled back to the onrushing Townsend who looked certain to score. However his effort was too close to Gazzaniga, who parried away before the danger was cleared by Eric Dier.

Spurs then had a golden chance of their own through Georges Kevin Nkoudou. The key chance came about from a free kick right on the edge of the Palace area. Kieran Trippier stepped up and looked like he was going to shoot however Nkoudou peeled away from the Palace wall which contained seven players. That left Nkoudou completely unmarked, so Trippier squared the ball to him, giving the Frenchman a free shot at Speroni from six yards. However, like Townsend before him, Nkoudou’s shot was straight at the goalkeeper and he failed to convert the rebound after a brilliant double save from Speroni.

Yet an eventful first half was not over, as Spurs were awarded a penalty after Juan Foyth was fouled by van Aanholt in the area. With regular penalty taker Harry Kane out, it was Kieran Trippier who stepped up for Spurs however his effort went wide to compound the misery for Spurs. It was crucial miss as a goal before halftime could have changed the whole complexion for Spurs but they never really looked like getting back in the game after that moment.

Into the second half, Spurs did have a chance through a deflected Fernando Llorente shot, which again Speroni did well to save. Llorente then should have done more than force Speroni into a routine save soon after, after Eric Dier had linked up well with Trippier to set the Spurs striker up.

There was a late chance for Wilfried Zaha, which was saved by Gazzaniga, but other than that it was an uneventful second period as Palace coasted to victory. Roy Hodgson would have been delighted with the performance of his side, particularly the defence, however Pochettino must have been ruing the performance of some players who had the chance to make a claim for more first team involvement.

Spurs may have lost against Chelsea on Thursday but they played with an intensity that simply was not there at Selhurst Park. All eyes now turn to their Premier League match with Watford on Wednesday, which the club are hoping will see the return of Heung-min Son to the Spurs squad.

Crystal Palace v Spurs FA Cup Teams

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What the Managers Said

Spurs Manager Mauricio Pochettino

“Of course, I’m very disappointed because it’s a difficult moment, after the defeat, to be out of the Carabao Cup and of course now the FA Cup, but that can happen in this busy period of fixtures with a lot of circumstances.”

“I think we competed but we were not clinical in front of the goal. We dominated, we created chances and we were a little bit unlucky. In football, the key moments, if you don’t take those moments the things can go against you. The game was like this – we created chances, we didn’t score and that is football. We’re disappointed, but now we need to be focused on the competitions that we have ahead, that’s the Premier League and Champions League.”

“We need to fight, we need to be positive and try to win the next few games and start to change that energy and that feeling.” (Tottenham Hotspur Official)

Crystal Palace Manager Roy Hodgson

“Today we defended well throughout the game, we had that stroke of fortune just before half-time where after missing a chance to go 3-0 up – a very good chance to go 3-0 up – we first concede a free-kick and we had to defend it with 10-men which means they had a spare player who wouldn’t have been spare if we had 11 players on the field.”

“They took advantage of that and forced Julian Speroni into two fantastic saves. Then shortly after that a penalty kick which was fairly soft, an unfortunate one, a bit similar to ours really. It wasn’t one of those penalty kicks where you think someone is definitely going to score, but it was a penalty and we were fortunate Trippier missed that because at 2-1 it would have been much harder in the second half.” (football.london)

Crystal Palace v Spurs Man of the Match

On a forgetful afternoon for Spurs, Juan Foyth was probably the stand out player. The Argentine earned Spurs the penalty in the first half but was also impressive defensively, dealing with Wilfried Zaha well on several occasions.

What’s Up Next for Spurs?

Spurs are immediately in Premier League action on Wednesday when they take on Watford at Wembley. Then on Saturday Spurs are at Wembley again, this time at home to Newcastle in the lunch time kick off


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