5 talking points from Tottenham’s 1-0 home win over Crystal Palace
Victor Wanyama scored a late winner on his home debut, heading home from a corner in the 82nd minute, as Tottenham beat Crystal Palace 1-0 at White Hart Lane today. Here are five talking points.
1. Tottenham are building for the future.
It was hard to miss the fact that this is going to be Spurs’ final season at White Hart Lane. The north east corner of the stadium has been removed during the summer – a disconcerting sight which will take some getting used to - and there has been clear progress on the club’s new home next door since the Lilywhites’ previous home game in May. Tottenham are building the foundations for the future but before then, sadly, the current ground must come down and that work has already begun.
2. Forward thinking.
Mauricio Pochettino opted to bring Vincent Janssen into the starting line-up in place of Dele Alli. The Dutch striker started in front of Harry Kane, who operated in the No10 role and did well, finding space between the lines and trying to feed Janssen while also maintaining a goal threat himself.
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Both players had chances, especially when substitute Alli sent Janssen through on goal immediately after his introduction in the second half. The Dutchman fluffed his big chance for a goal on his home debut but Kane was heavily involved when Wanyama eventually broke the deadline from a corner, winning the initial header, and the early signs are that it could be profitable to have both strikers on the pitch together.
3. Middle men.
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Pochettino paired Eric Dier and Wanyama together again in the absence of Mousa Dembele, who is still suspended. There has been a suspicion that the pair are a bit too similar and that the partnership might lack a bit of creativity. However, Wanyama provided some attacking thrust with a couple of powerful driving runs in the first half and it was he who scored the winning goal. Meanwhile, Spurs’ central midfield duo protected the defence ably and deputy goalkeeper Michel Vorm had relatively little to do.
4. Eriksen struggles.
Pochettino says the Dane is happy at Tottenham and that it is only a matter of time before he signs a new contract, but he was disappointing today, often making the wrong decisions on the ball and seeing too many passes intercepted. He was the first man to be substituted as Pochettino called for Alli.
5. Pochettino’s rollercoaster of emotions.
Tottenham’s manager cut a very frustrated figure throughout the first half, swearing, stamping his feet and shaking his head. It was a similar story for much of the second period but, when Wanyama headed home, the Argentine celebrated with abandon, punching the air in front of the fans. These may be early days in the season but Pochettino was clearly anxious to get three points on the board.
Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs