If this was the official start of the long, hard fold of the cold, dark months that often determine campaigns, Tottenham will draw a lot of hope from an ugly game in Selhurst Park.
Rain slammed, the wind swirled and the conditions were terrible for both parties. And Tottenham are far from near their battle, nowhere near how they can play.
And yet they won and are jointly second on points in the Premier League. They would certainly have taken that away from a leaky World Cup for nine of their players from the first team, a summer of inactivity in the transfer and a moral-sapping chipped move to a future new stadium.
Argentine defender Juan Foyth (center) of Tottenham is the head of the opening game in the 66th minute of the Premier League-game
Tottenham & # 39; s Foyth celebrates scoring their first goal of the match in the second half against Crystal Palace with his teammates
Foyth celebrates the impasse against Crystal Palace on Saturday night, which was his first Premier League goal
If the ability to scrap and fight for points in inhospitable conditions with a side weakened by injury and rotation is a measure of your character, then Tottenham passed the test on Saturday night. There was nothing remote from this victory. It was just as far removed from the popular image of Spurs as a lightweight team as you can imagine: it was a victory from pure grit.
The Argentinian Juan Foyth, who had passed an unhappy Premier League debut last weekend, was the man who made the difference. Yet there was still a shard of light for Spurs. After a few difficult months both on and off the pitch since he became World Cup winner, have we perhaps seen a return to the best of Hugo Lloris? Certainly he was crucial to the victory of Tottenham, his rescue at the death of Alexander Sorloth only one of a series of decisive interventions.
As far as Palace is concerned, the moment you heard that Wilf Zaha was missing with a hamstring injury, you were worried that this would not be the afternoon that they recorded their first home win of the season. It is September 2016 when they last won a league match without Zaha.
Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris saves an important save from the Alexander Sorloth of Crystal Palace in the injury time
Lloris celebrates with Foyth after Tottenham's 1-0 victory at Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Saturday
CONTEST FACTS, LIVE TABLE AND MATCH ZONE
Crystal Palace (4-4-1-1): Hennessey 7.5; Wan-Bissaka, 7 Tomkins, 6.5 (Kelly, 6) Sakho, 7 from Aanholt 6; McArthur, 6 (Sorloth 6.5) Milivojevic, 7 Kouyate, 6 Meyer 6 (Sclupp 66, 6.5); Ayew, 6 Townsend 6.5
Subs not used: Guaita, Ward, Puncheon, Riedewald
Tottenham: (4-2-3-1): Lloris 8; Trippier 6 (Aurier 23 6), Foyth 6.5, Alderweireld 6.5, Davies 6; Sissoko, 7 Wanyama 6.5; Lamela (Winks 83), 6, Alli 6.5 Lucas 6 (So 70 6.5); Kane 6
Subs not used: Gazzaniga, Animal, LLorente, Eriksen
Referee: Jon Moss 7
- League One
- League Two
- Scottish Premiership
- Scottish Div 1
- Scottish Div 2
- Scottish Div 3
- League 1
- Series a
- La Liga
This looked like the Premier League as we once knew, a decline to the nineties when moderate parties put the variable quality performances on the ground. On a dark, rain-soaked evening in South London, a solid 4-4-2 (from Palace) initially frustrated a side of Tottenham who saw six changes in the PSV Eindhoven game.
No Wilfried Zaha, unexpectedly equipped because of a hamstring problem, meant that the best offensive outlet of Palace would not be present. Although they were organized up to the last centimeter in terms of their shape, a real asset to a Roy Hodgson side, they also started well in the last third. A succession of angles created different difficulty levels for Spurs.
Foyth looked particularly vulnerable, his channel often attacked by Palace and at a certain moment so nervous that he simply played a pass to Hugo Lloris for a turn. At 15 minutes, Sakho launched a pass over his head and Andros Townsend, playing centrally, looked in briefly before grabbing the side net.
Jordan Ayew from Crystal Palace challenges Foyth of Tottenham during the first half of the Premier League meeting
Cheikhou Kouyate of Crystal Palace challenges Spors & Ben Davies during a tight first half in Selhurst Park on Saturday night
Tottenham eventually found their reach, but not with great authority, Moussa Sissoko went on an unbelievably mazy run at 19 minutes, passing Jordan Ayew, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and James Tomkins before a Sakho block saved the day. Tottenham's injury accident grew when Kieran Trippier had to limp for 23 minutes to be replaced by Serge Aurier.
headed from a Ben Davies cross at 28 minutes and Luka Milivojevic, otherwise excellent, looked like he had gone dead on 30 minutes, slipped on the wet grass and gave Harry Kane the chance to make a 20 meter shot. The captain of England beat well, but Wayne Hennessey went to drop him off. Similarly, a misplaced Sakho back pass brought in Lucas almost within 34 minutes, but Hennessey saved his defender.
Lucas then connected with an Aurier-cross on 41 minutes and took the ball from team-mate Alli, who looked much better than the score. But in reality it was a scrappy, unattractive first half year. When a player who is as gifted as Alli has hacked a ball wide to give up a corner at death, it more or less summarized the idiosyncratic quality of the procedure.
Tottenhams Kieran Trippier was forced out with an injury in the first half and Serge Aurier came on to replace the defender
Trippier receives medical attention after incurring an injury, but was unable to continue on Saturday against Crystal Palace
Foyth had not had the best introduction in the Premier League last weekend during his debut against Wolves; he gave away two penalties that invited Tottenham's opponents to the match again. And he had not looked particularly comfortable in the quiet wind and rain of Selhurst Park; more like a weak link waiting to be exploited.
But the 20-year-old Argentinian was the fastest of the match when a game that threatened to be forced to beat suddenly became a possibility for Spurs to establish their credentials.
Lucas had lifted the corner of the 65th minute to Harry Kane and his head was from Milivojevic's knee and jumped up in the six-yard box. But while Palace players seemed to be freezing, unable to attack the ball, Foyth reacted and decided to head home the ball. His joy was clear, as were those of his teammates, all of whom, except goalkeeper LLoris, came to congratulate him.
Tottenham & # 39; s English midfielder Dele Alli (left) bets with Crystal Palace's Scottish midfielder James McArthur (right)
Spangen & # 39; Moussa Sissoko fights for possession with Ayew and McArthur of Crystal Palace during the first 45 minutes
Crystal Palace's manager Roy Hodgson (right) embraces the boss of Tottenham, Mauricio Pochettino, before the competition clashes
There was probably an element of relief. The Roy Hodgson team does not care much. When they are drilled in such a 4-4-2 form, even the best opponents wrestle. And Tottenham were not at their best on Saturday. Indeed, Palace on the break and out of stretched pieces seemed threatening.
Tomkins had turned away from Milivojevic's corner at 53 minutes and after Spurs scored, they started a reaction, the best attempt came from a shot by Jeffrey Schlupp at 80 minutes that Lloris did well to push wide. In the ensuing melee, Lamela cut his head and although referee Jonathan Moss let the palace run, the sight of a player with a serious head injury eventually brought a temporary stop to light. The Argentinian was replaced by Harry Winks.
Shortly after a breakthrough, Andros Townsend went straight, who took it on his chest and only saluted the ball for Lloris to push wide.
The host defender James Tomkins made a good chance to break the deadlock in the second half, but the header missed the target
Crystal Palace & # 39; s Kouyate (left) and Tottenham's Erik Lamela compete for the ball while the sides enter the break all square
Lucas Moura of Tottenham misses an opportunity to score against Eagles, as Spurs seemed to be joining Liverpool and Chelsea at 27 points
Pochettino gives Alli instructions on the sidelines during the tight Premier League meeting in Selhurst Park on Saturday
Lamela receives medical attention after a head injury during the second half of the tight race in the top flight
Sissoko van Tottenham fights for possession with Kouyate or Crystal Palace while Spurs defeated the Eagles with 1-0 on Saturday