Opinion: Five things we learned from Tottenham’s defeat to Crystal Palace

Joe Rodon
Paul Harding/Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur suffered their first loss in the Premier League this season with a lethargic display against Crystal Palace.

Here are five things we learned from the disappointing 3-0 loss at Selhurst Park:

Centre-back crisis mounting – It was a day to forget for Spurs defenders, particularly for centre halves, after Tanganga’s red card and Dier’s shin injury. With the likes of Sanchez and Romero still training in Croatia, Nuno is running out of options to use ahead of next week’s big clash against Chelsea. Rodon is an almost certain starter, but things are looking slightly bleak at the back after three clean sheets earlier this season. 

Tanganga’s inexperience – Although Tanganga has received more opportunities for game time, his rawness and inexperience still showed against Palace after receiving a disappointing red card. He appeared to let Wilfred Zaha get into his mind after a coming together on the touchline, which snowballed into him lunging at Jordan Ayew. On a booking, he should have known better than to dive in like that, and ultimately it put his teammates with an uphill task for the remainder of the game. It is likely going to be a big learning curve for Tanganga, who will now have a period of reflection during his time out. 

Emerson’s debut – It wasn’t the result Emerson would have wanted on his first start for Spurs, but overall, he had a decent showing in what were tricky circumstances. It looked like he couldn’t plough forward as much as he would have liked, but the intent to provide an outlet from out wide was there. He tussled with Wilfred Zaha relatively well and wasn’t afraid to get challenges in, but in a better defence, he will definitely have more to offer the side. 

Midfield woes – Spurs’ midfield trio of Hojbjerg, Skipp and Winks struggled to generate anything productive against Palace, and were overrun by the likes of Gallagher and McArthur. Winks particularly didn’t enjoy a good afternoon and often played the safe pass as opposed to going forward. The game was crying out for someone to unlock the Palace defence from midfield, through Gil or even Ndombele who made the bench today. Ultimately the red card changed Nuno’s substitute plans, who was a little bit static himself on his approach to changing the balance. 

Kane massively isolated – It is fair to say that Harry Kane has enjoyed more productive days in a Spurs shirt. Not helped by the lack of creativity in midfield, he barely had a sniff throughout the whole game and couldn’t muster a single shot at goal. Although it was a slightly makeshift starting line up, it was once again a story that the Spurs supply lines were simply not good enough to feed a striker of his quality. He has demonstrated time and again that with the right service he will bag plenty of goals. Nuno needs to get the balance right to avoid him getting starved like this again. 

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