We Lost to Spurs, So What?

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Last night we lost to Spurs 0-1, a team that is second in the league yet there didn’t seem to be a gulf in class that the league table suggests.

I was going to start off this article by saying that I didn’t expect us to get a result against Spurs given that we had a day less to rest than they did and they have a bigger squad in which to rotate than we do.

But after thinking about it for a few moments I came to the conclusion that I don’t know what to expect from Crystal Palace these days after the sublime highs of beating Chelsea and Liverpool away and thumping Arsenal at home balanced by the awful performance at home to Sunderland and away to Southampton.

Going into the game I expected us to tire more towards the end of the game and that extra days rest that Spurs had would start to tell. Of course, Spurs had more in their locker than a little extra energy but looking at the game they didn’t seem to be a team 2nd in the league playing a team that has spent most of the season in the bottom 6 yet that was how the game was.

Spurs only seemed to start getting the upper hand when Sakho went off injured. If nothing else it seem his presence alone is enough to inspire members of the team to perform above and beyond what they have been capable of in the last months of Alan Pardew’s reign.

Spurs didn’t look like scoring despite having the better chances and you kind of knew it was going to take something like Dele Alli’s ‘wonder goal’ from last season to break the deadlock. Sure enough, up stepped Eriksen with a 30 year strike that dipped and bounced just before Hennessey’s outstretched hand.

I have been very critical of Hennessey in the past but have given him credit in recent weeks because he has deserved it. I think if he is honest with himself he’ll be disappointed he didn’t get a hand to the shot but even if he had done it probably wouldn’t have stopped it going in. In the end his arm came across a fraction after the ball went past.

Other than that Hennessey had another solid game and it makes me wonder if he can continue the form he has shown recently. If he can then maybe he will be in contention to keep the number 13 jersey next season, maybe upgraded to number 1?

From where I sat, at home on the couch, the whole team put in a good shift and worked hard but ultimately it was a little too much to ask. After Spurs scored they could afford to sit back and control the game and we lacked that little bit of sparkle to unlock their defence even if Zaha and Townsend tried their best to do so.

We could point to the fact that Wanyama should have received a 2nd yellow card for his tackle on Townsend but sometimes those things go both ways. When we played Chelsea at Stamford Bridge Milivojevic was sailing close to the wind after having been booked in the 73rd minute and carried on making some rash tackles. He was lucky to stay on the pitch. Ying and yang.

Either way our fete was never going to be decided last night even if we had won the game. Had we beaten Spurs we’d have been 10 points ahead of Swansea with 12 points still to play for. Admittedly it would have been nicer knowing that a win over Burnley would see us mathematically safe but if we win on Saturday Swansea have to go to Old Trafford and beat Manchester United.

I think our safety will be done and dusted come Sunday dinner time and then we can all breathe a sign of relief and hope to see Speroni given a run out at home to Hull City.

Over all I don’t really care about the result last night. Getting beaten by Spurs isn’t a disgrace and the fact we were so difficult to break down, even after Sakho went off, shows how far we’ve come under Big Sam.

For me, and I’m sure for you too, the biggest disappointment was seeing Sakho stretchered off the field with a knee ligament injury. At the time of writing it isn’t clear which ligament is damaged but he will not feature for us again this season.

Sakho has been immense for us since he first stepped onto the pitch as a Palace player and I am sure he endeared himself to every Palace fan by congratulating Benteke after he scored at Anfield.

I am under no illusion that we will be able to sign him in the summer, barring a more serious ACL injury such as Wickham and Bolasie had. Even so, for what he has done for Crystal Palace in the short space of time he has been with us I wish him a speedy recovery and good luck at whatever club he ends up with next season.

Should Sakho line up against Palace he would be one of the very few players I would cheer on the opposing side of the pitch. It’s a great shame that a player who has been so wronged by the morons at the FA over the false drug accusations resulting in him missing out on a European Championships in his own country faces the prospect of missing a large chunk of time through injury.

It would be nice if Sakho was at Selhurst for the final home game of the season and given a send off he deserves. He has been immense and my heart goes out to him!

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