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December 17 2018 6.09am

Player ratings: Tottenham v Palace

November 6 2017

Luka Milivojevic

Luka Milivojevic

Crystal Palace lost by the odd goal against Tottenham Hotspur. Mike Scott looks at how the team played against high-flying Spurs…

Last season saw the Eagles lose 1-0 in both the home and away league games against Tottenham, in two tight games.

History seemed to repeat itself again, with Palace giving as good as they got throughout, but losing out on valuable points thanks to a fine Son Heung-min strike just after the hour mark...

Julian Speroni - 7

Speroni did not have a great deal to do throughout the game, with Spurs having no notable shots on target in the first half and limited chances until the goal itself. The finish from Son Heung-min was just about perfect and left the Argentinian with no chance. After that, with the formation change that saw Sako bought on, Tottenham broke with more ferocity and he was tested on a couple of occasions and did well. He looks to be working really well with the backline now, spreading confidence through the team.

Joel Ward - 6

Ward’s renaissance continues, with another solid performance for the defender – this time at left back. He had his hands full, with a rampant Serge Aurier attempting to get behind him a lot in the first half. It was perhaps a lack of support from the men in front of him that saw Spurs find space; generally, he got back and covered well enough anyway to minimise the amount of crosses they managed to get in.

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For the second game running, Ward was sacrificed for Bakary Sako (5), this time with 15 minutes to go, to chase the game. Sadly, Sako did not have the same impact he did against West Ham and the formation seemed to have an adverse effect of Palace’s quick breaking.

Mamadou Sakho - 8

Undoubtedly the coolest man on the pitch, the returning Frenchman led from the back as he did so well last season. At times pirouetting around to lose attackers as the last man, at others tackling in his own box, he barely put a foot wrong, even if he did make a few Palace fans’ hearts skip a beat or two. Was unlucky very early on with a chance to open the scoring, getting clattered by Spurs keeper and man-of-the-match Paulo Gazzaniga after finding himself one on one in the six-yard box. Palace simply look a better defensive outfit with him on the pitch.

Scott Dann - 8

The Sakho-Dann pairing is definitely beginning to instil the kind of confidence throughout the team that was missing for the first two months of the season. Dann continued his transformation, skippering a solid backline and ensuring his side’s positioning was as good as it could be. Commanding in the air at the back, he was menacing going forward too, forcing Paulo Gazzaniga into a fine save when it was still 0-0.

Timothy Fosu-Mensah - 7

It may be merely chance that saw Fosu-Mensah replace Van Aanholt last week following an injury, but he looks streets ahead of the competition now. He had a returning Danny Rose to contend with, but had the better of the England man for large portions of the game, restricting him to a single headed chance that he fluffed his lines for. Again was an outlet going forward. Surely now is a must for the starting XI after the international break.

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Luka Milivojevic - 6

The Serbian was unlucky not to find himself scoring in consecutive games, having a fine header kept out by a reflex save from the reserve Spurs keeper, who was ultimately responsible for Palace not getting a point. However, Milivojevic did not have quite the impact he has had the last few games, finding it hard to dictate play in a crowded and strong midfield.

Yohan Cabaye - 7

After his vintage performance against West Ham, Cabaye had a tougher day at the office at Wembley, needing to spend a lot of his time tracking back rather than instigating attacks, which tended to go from back to front as lightning quick counter attacks. Some of his corners seemed to loop up too slowly to make them too venomous for the taller Palace players who came forward, but they still were the catalyst for some of the away side’s best chances.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek - 5

Following his England call-up, Loftus-Cheek started in place of the injured McArthur again, but had one of his toughest games of the season so far. Hodgson’s disciplined defensive strategy, with two banks of four, seemed to place him outside of comfort zone, and Serge Aurier found a lot of joy in the space left by Loftus-Cheek’s slow track backs in the first half. After the break, a word from the boss did seem to do the trick, but the big no.8 had limited impact going forward and, at times, looked to be playing out of position.

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Jeffrey Schlupp - 6

Schlupp lacked the impact he has had in recent games as the outlet in midfield. He was stifled by a strong Spurs midfield, chasing and playing catch up for a lot of the game. Served some fine balls to Zaha in the first half, but in the second half was not involved in anything of note for Palace. A tough game for him.

Andros Townsend - 7

Townsend had another afternoon of running miles and making a nuisance of himself, playing his false no.9 role as best as he could and causing the Spurs defence problems. He set up Zaha for Palace’s finest chance of the game, as well as forcing a decent save from Paulo Gazzaniga after he fizzed a low shot (very similar to Zaha’s equalizer last week) towards the far corner in the first half. After Sako’s introduction, Townsend found himself playing a deeper role, which seemed to limit him a little more.

Wilfried Zaha - 6

Hodgson’s inspired plan to place his danger men up front in unfamiliar roles has definitely paid off, although this was Zaha’s toughest game in the role. He still passed players at will and ran the ball into the box on half a dozen occasions to scare the home supporters, but he certainly had an off day with his finishing, especially when he rounded the keeper only to hook the ball wide of an empty net. On another day, would have secured some reward for the effort.

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