Match Report: Palace 1 Spurs 2 – and still top of the league.
What a fantastic start to the season; five points clear (now 2 pts), and whatever happens over this weekend, we will still be top. Our next game will be against Pochettino’s Rasputin’s, but not until a further weekend of matches have been played, where other teams who are in the chase could win, but then there will be only a point difference (that is us being behind by just a point).
After a couple of hours trip to Wimbledon to get a decent pub meal and meet up with Janet, the three of us eventually made our way to the Palace ground. Luckily, we parked near the stadium, so there was no distant parking/ walking, once in the ground and then to our seats.
Once in our seats, I must say that the Palace Stewards lost control of the crowds, and many people made their way to the front and either pushed into the seat rows or just stood in the aisles for better viewing, forcing everybody to squash up. I can see a disaster waiting to happen. The Stewards just shrugged their shoulders. If everyone rushed forward, there would be a serious accident. But nobody cares until there is a disaster, then action will be taken… just like Hillsborough, Brentford, etc., there were plenty of warnings beforehand in these disasters but nothing until people were injured and/ or killed. Anyway, that is a story waiting to be written once it does happen.
After the Palace victory, we are now the 13th side in Premier League history to take 26 points or more from our first 10 games of a season. Of the previous 12 sides, 11 of them finished in the top three, and half of them went on to win the title. The only side to have such an impressive start and not finish in the top three was Newcastle back in 1994-95 when they finished sixth. However, that was in a 42-game season. Every side to take 26 points or more after 10 games of a 38-game season has finished in the top three… so… fingers crossed.
Our current five-point lead is our biggest lead over second place in the top flight since the final day of the 1960-61 campaign (eight points) when we went on to win the League title.
And here is another bit of interesting information: Arsenic and Old Lace’s ‘Invincibles’ team of 2003/04 earned 24 points in their first ten games, two fewer than our current side. So, all is looking good so far, and may it long continue.
It is about time we’ve had some luck under Levy’s beady-eyed clutch on our team.
Now to the game itself…
How many times do I have to repeat it… in fact, with our poor trophyless years under Levy (OK, yes, we won the League Cup in 2008) it doesn’t hurt to pat ourselves on the back when we get the chance… So, we moved five points clear at the top of the Premier League table (now 2 points) and continued our superb start to the season with a win at Selhurst Park. All thanks to Ange – To Dare is to Digeridoo – Postecoglou.
Right from the start, we looked in control, however, a huge slice of fortune with the opener when Palace defender Joel Ward turned James Maddison’s cross into his own net (every little counts when you are chasing positions, trophies or cups). On the theme of Maddison, he was key to the second goal as his interplay with Brennan Johnson ended with Son firing home his eighth goal of the season.
The home side came back when Jordan Ayew shot in a stunning strike after taking the ball down on his chest in stoppage time for Palace. Still, there was to be no equaliser as we secured yet another victory to show that we were here for business and meant business.
The Digeridoo-blowing Australian has breathed new life into our side since joining us from the land of Scottish-Celtic fish bowl football in the summer, and this win extended our run to eight wins and two draws from our opening 10 games. This victory means we move on to 26 points, five ahead of Manchester City (who have lost two games) and the chasing Gooners, who both have a game in hand and can close the gap over the weekend (but will not go above us).
The other games this weekend – important to us – are pochettino’s Rasputin’s, who were beaten by Brentford. As for Arsenic and Old Lace, they beat relegation-threatened Sheffield United at their inferior Emirates stadium. On Sunday, we see the Scousers take on Forest at home while it is the big Manchester derby – City v United.
James Maddison and Son have been in superb form for us so far this season.
Postecoglou’s impact on the squad cannot be undervalued. He is enjoying the best start to a season by a new manager in Premier League history but has also guided us to our second-best start to a top-flight campaign. And that best-ever start, as I said earlier, came in the 1960/1 season when we won the double (League & FA Cup).
We were much improved after the break following a tight first half in which Palace striker Odsonne Edouard went closest with a low strike that Guglielmo Vicario pushed away. Palace had defended solidly and maintained their shape well for 52 minutes. Still, they buckled when Maddison found space inside the penalty area and drove the ball powerfully across the face of the goal to deflect in off Ward. After that, Maddison found space more frequently, and he played a significant part in the second, carrying the ball forward and gliding into the box before feeding Johnson, whose cutback was converted by Son.
Maddison and Son’s ability to maintain our brilliant form will be key in determining how seriously we can challenge at the top of the table as the season progresses. Nevertheless, I think we’ve got good cover just in case one or the other is injured. And then there is the January Transfer window, where the manager and Levy will be thinking of strengthening the squad even more. Still, both players are looking unstoppable right now.
Though Postecoglou will insist they are not getting carried away about a potential title challenge, the statistics look very positive for us.
The away crowd…
I must say that the away crowd have been brilliant, totally behind Ange and the team. As we/ they sing, #We’ve got our team back# along with other abusive bits of poetic works. Every goal that goes in is responded with back-slapping/ clapping, cheering, ecstatic behaviours, high fives, pushing forward, diving on top of others, jumping on seats, etc. It is all exhausting… well, especially at our ages… but all good, clean fun.
A note on Palace…
They have enjoyed a decent start to the season under Roy Hodgson, but have come out of two difficult games against Newcastle and now us with zero points, conceding six goals and scoring only once, and that was against us. Whatever happens to Palace, I can’t see them being relegated as poorer teams are beneath them.
So, that is that… this week and next, we’ll have the pleasure of watching our adversaries struggle to try to get their results in the hope of displacing us (which won’t be this weekend… maybe next… that is until we face Pochettino’s Russian blue boys, also known as Rasputin’s wannabee ducklings).
Until next time…
Up the Spurs!
My name is Glenn Renshaw.
I am currently a Premium Season Ticket holder (West Stand) in the new stadium. Before that – at White Hart Lane – a season ticket holder in various parts of the ground (mainly in the North stand).
Before becoming a season ticket holder, I stood on the shelf and various other parts of the ground since the 1960s (the season of the double). In 1987 I became one of the first to hold a Spurs Membership card. I was also a life long member of the Spurs supporters club (now defunct).
I go to all home, away and abroad matches.
I was born in 1955, Edgware, London. I currently live in Berkshire.
I also collect all Spurs books, Spurs handbooks, Spurs programmes etc.
Previously, I wrote for Spurs Fanzines: The Spur, Spur of the Moment, My Eyes have seen the Glory and various other Spurs fanzines’. I also wrote for the SpursWeb app & its website.
I currently write and work for spursnetwork.com and its website. I write its Reviews & Match reports and a lot more.
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I have been writing blogs/ articles since 1989
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