Quite a comedown from Wednesday. The news that Dele would not play set a sober tone. Injuries in the first half to both Harrys continued the dread that set into Wembley today. One knew and accepted that Palace would sit back and force us to break them down. It was not so predicatable that for over an hour nearly all the best chances for goal would come from the visitors, as one chance after another was saved by the backup keeper. Who, surprisingly, was not Michel Vorm. Paulo Gazzaniga’s brilliance (and one piece of luck when Zaha missed an open net) kept Spurs afloat and finally a more energetic second half effort paid off with Son converting one of the few buildups we managed today.
Three points are three points, and if there is a silver lining surely Kane and Winks will now join Dele, Lloris and Alderweireld in getting the next week off in hopes they might be fit for the NLD in three weeks. The second half was better—Danny Rose in particular grew into the game and provided the spark we needed going down the left side. Mousa Dembele in for the injured Winks was also active, and for those who continually why it is that Moussa Sissoko has played every game this season, I give you today as Exhibit A. He was aggressive both on defence and attack and it was his ball that ultimately found Son for the one goal.
Kane was a bit muted both before and after his knock; Son was not having a particularly good afternoon before the goal, and of course he bungled the best chance to clinch it on the break. He seems to thrive on more open games than the one Palace was always going to play. Eriksen was nothing too special either. The Eagles actually were best on defence in those moments after the goal when Spurs threatened to break free on the counter. One would think with Zaha back this is a team capable of getting itself out of the relegation zone.
As for the rest, Eric Dier had a particularly strong game but for the usual pass or two that went awry; Sanchez and Vertonghen played well but then again somebody was responsible for the two near-misses in close quarters that Gazzaniga reached. The less said about Serge Aurier the better. We all know he can’t cross or attack as effectively as Kieran Trippier—and he did play hard as always. But there were three almost calamitous foolish giveaways in the second half alone—Spurs were very fortunate one of them wasn’t turned into an equalizing goal.
But this was a day for the Argentine we’ve all forgotten about, and I don’t mean Erik Lamela. When the story of this season is told—if it might result in a trophy—we cannot forget what Gazzaniga did today. Michel Vorm is clearly headed out to pasture—or somewhere— after this season. We appear to have found a hardy backup for our skipper.