The lull

Spurs lose away to Crystal Palace. Not sure what I hated more. Alan Pardew's smug face or the fact that all the Eagles had to do is give it a bit of a go to make a breakthrough twice, one more than us, to claim all the points. They'll hardly the most astute or dangerous side yet we've failed to impress against them again, giving them more points towards their campaign to avoid the drop back into the Championship. Here's three of the most prevalent post-match thoughts which have aided me in processing the disappointment.

 

1) The Ref

Much like Mauricio Pochettino, I don't want to talk about him. He wasn't great but I'm not going to single him out as the reason for our loss. That would be the easy thing to do. I will talk about the decisions.

The penalty that allowed them back into the game was a mess. Benjamin Stambouli making a daft challenge on Joe Ledley leading to a theatrical tumble. It's one of those incidents where you know it shouldn't have been a penalty but the way our player attempted to intervene in the passage of play left the ref with little choice but to point to the spot. If it looks like a penalty, it probably is one. Even if it wasn't. The wonderful paradox of football. The ref (Anthony Taylor) could have made amends by awarding Harry Kane one. He didn't. There was also a handball controversy involving Kyle Walker. Regardless, if you're going to rely on the officials to navigate your journey through the game then you're going to doom yourself to failure.

2) Our lack of bite

Our goal was lovely. Harry Kane finding the net with killer composure. Sadly there was no further edge to our game. Neat football is all well and good but it's powerless if the team as a collective don't step up and attempt to dictate more. It's that legacy headache we are still attempting to cure. We don't overwhelm opposing teams. Nabil Bentaleb is away on international duty and Ryan Mason is missing due to injury but the problem has also existed with them in the team. We started well, scored but then failed to build on it. There's more to it than just a midfield reshuffle. We remain reactive. We have to be ruthlessly proactive. Playing pretty football won't win you games.

3) Creative crux

We have to impose ourselves so much more in the final third. Against Chelsea it was a display of clinical football mixed with a desire to create out of nothing. We have improved this season but there's going to have to be more responsibility shared by players other than Kane and Eriksen.

 

Conclusion? It was a touch untidy from us, too withheld. We made cheap mistakes giving them hope for a comeback. The defending for the second Palace goal was atrocious. Credit to Palace but we didn't have enough quality and urgency from our lot to bite back. We didn't respond to their fight. It's a lull to learn from. So let's learn and move on.

 

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