Football Features

“His firepower can take them places” – Winners & Losers as Crystal Palace smash 10-man Spurs at Selhurst Park

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 14:53, 11 September 2021

In a stunning afternoon of football, Crystal Palace wrecked top of the table Spurs 3-0 at Selhurst Park.

Nuno Espirito Santo’s side had won all three of their previous games so far this season but they were dominated from start to finish as Patrick Vieira picked up his first win as Palace manager.

Who were the winners and losers?

Winner: Odsonne Edouard

Well well well! For years Crystal Palace have needed a goalscorer. A genuine goalscorer to make the difference in tight games like this. They signed Odsonne Edouard this summer to be that man and despite 77 goals in 150 games for Celtic and a hat-trick of Scottish titles, people still doubted whether or not he’d be able to cut it in the Premier League.

Well guess what? He’s scored with his first two shots in the Premier League. His movement drifting into space, ready to be found by his team-mates enabled Palace attacks to progress and the rapid way he would shift the ball and shoot so quickly made it hard for Hugo Lloris to make saves even if the shots weren’t the strongest (for his first) or best placed (his second).

Odsonne Edouard is a natural born goalscorer and he is definitely going to make a name for himself this season. More than that, the firepower he provides could really take Palace places.

Loser: Japhet Tanganga

In many ways you feel bad for Japhet Tanganga because he was playing quite well and although he got sent off for being aggressive it’s the kind of aggression that Spurs really do need in defence. Tanganga is obviously talented but his energy and aggression take it to the next level.

Of course today it backfired. He was sent off for two yellows in the space of five minutes. The first was after a scuffle with Wilfried Zaha, and fairly justified. The second felt a little harsh for a second yellow as he did pull out but still, he slide in which gave the ref the chance.

Tanganga’s red completely hamstrung a Spurs side already in trouble in defence because of Eric Dier’s injury, and it wasn’t a surprise that Palace managed to start scoring once the imposing Englishman was off the pitch.

Winner: Wilfried Zaha

While Edouard stole the headlines with a staggering 10 minute cameo, the man who dominated the game from start to finish was Wilfried Zaha. The winger was tormenting debutant Emerson from the first minute with his skill and pace and vision, completing 6/9 dribbles (a game-high) and generally being a problem.

It was a duel with Zaha that saw Tanganga pick up his first yellow card, and while Zaha didn’t win the penalty he did score it with unerring precision before superbly setting up Edouard for his first goal in Palace colours. In his post-match interview Zaha spoke enthusiastically about Palace “trying to play football” and you can imagine after years of Roy Hodgson, trying to be on the front foot must be so liberating.

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Loser: Eric Dier

For years no one knew whether Eric Dier would end up as a defensive midfielder or centre-back. There was a real danger of him Jack Rodwell-ing himself. And while last season seemed to make a decision that he was a defender, he didn’t look particularly good.

This season has been different, however. Under Nuno Espirito Santo, Dier has been an impressive stalwart at the heart of a Spurs defence that conceded 0 goals for the first three games of the season. But a sloppy throw out from Hugo Lloris 10 minutes into the game today at Selhurst Park saw Dier pick up an injury in a 50/50 and so, just when he was finally settling into his new role, injury has cruelly struck.

Winner: Conor Gallagher

If Wilfried Zaha is the king of Selhurst Park, then Conor Gallagher is surely the prince? The youngster on-loan from Chelsea was an absolute dynamo against Spurs, running, pressing, passing, shooting (albeit this is the one thing he didn’t do well, missing several presentable chances). Gallagher was absolutely everywhere in the best possible way.

When you want to play the way Patrick Vieira clearly wants to, you need midfielders that can advance the ball by multiple means and Gallagher is more than capable of carrying this burden. Nothing phases him and he quite simply makes things happen (such as the third goal with his delightful pass). Vieira praised his “fantastic” work-ethic after the game and that kind of thing is infectious, lifting the whole team.

Loser: Harry Kane

The answer of whether or not Spurs could perform without Harry Kane was answered in the first three games of the season where they won all three with minimal involvement from their star striker. Heung-min Son stepped up to lead his side from the front and all was good.

Against Palace we had the reverse with Kane needing to lead the side without Son and, well, suffice to say that didn’t happen. Kane’s lack of pace means he often relies on good service, which today was not forthcoming. Now when Son is around, Kane can drop deep and then spin to play passes for Son racing in behind. But without Son that option is gone and so Kane can only waddle around the field looking ridiculously ineffective and like maybe like Spurs should have taken the £120m Man City put on the table this summer.