It was late, but it was deserved. Victor Wanyama’s nod home from close range after Kane had risen highest to head Erik Lamela’s corner towards goal came in the 83rd minute but it was just desserts as for the previous 82 we’d been the better team even though we were rarely at our best.
Palace were typically Palace. Tall at the back, tricky on the wings and toothless at the front. Tactically they were naive as well; as every schoolboy knows you shouldn’t make one substitution at an opposition corner let alone two. Mutch and Tomkins had only been on the pitch for seconds when Lamela floated the decisive corner over.
Pochettino can’t have been as happy with the performance at Goodison as he claimed last weekend as he rang the changes for the start of this game. Not only did Janssen come in for Alli, Kane changed position to play behind the Dutchman and Eriksen and Lamela swapped sides. We can probably expect changes again next week as despite the fact we were superior, we weren’t the smothering, overwhelming, slick passing, chance making machine in front of the Toby led, tighter than Ivan Gazidis purse strings defence that we were last season.
We created chances, Alderweireld and Janssen had the best ones and half chances, Kane went close several times as did Alli, but there was a snap in midfield missing that meant that Townsend and Zaha were occasionally allowed to be menacing, although there was no sign of any end product. Cabaye had their best opportunity in the second half but that was just a snatched at side foot from the edge of the area.
Only an idiot would use the building work going on outside the ground as a metaphor for the job that Pochettino is doing inside it, but I’m not going to let that stop me. The sight of Onomah and Carter Vickers on the bench proves that Poch has his eye on the future, he’s not settling for what he’s currently got. Good as that is, he’s preparing for more. Having said that, that same bench is a worry given the games we have ahead during the next few months. We have Son and Dembélé to come in but that’s it. By the time we face Liverpool next weekend we’ll know who our three Wembley opponents will be and the chances are we will need men not boys if we’re going to make a decent fist of the Moneybags League group stages.
It was a good three points, even if it was a long time coming. We played well today and the shadow of the familiar slow start has been removed for the present. The red Scousers next week as I say. If Burnley can turn them over though, then surely…
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