Crystal Palace’s game-plan at Spurs seemed to just be to not lose and it eventually failed, despite a battling first half in which the Eagles fought valiantly to keep the scores level – they were somewhat indebted to the efforts of James Tomkins and Vicente Guaita though.
Unfortunately for Roy Hodgson and Co, Spurs’ sustained pressure finally paid off as they capitalised on a Luka Milivojevic mistake and scored via Heung-min Son and a sizeable deflection. The Serbian was dispossessed on the edge of his own box, allowing the Spurs number 7 to drive towards goal and get a shot off – one which finally broke Palace’s resolve.
The Eagles captain is usually a reliable figure at the base of midfield, with his penchant for penalties, work-rate and passing abilities all huge assets to his side, although he was caught out on Wednesday – and not for the first time.
The number 4 all too frequently takes far too long on the ball when the best decision would just be to hit it forward and that has cost his side on a couple of occasions – he gave away a silly free-kick, from which Granit Xhaka scored, against Arsenal at Selhurst Park having messed about too much.
The enforcer’s display was otherwise solid – he completed a match-high six interceptions and three tackles as he worked tirelessly in the middle of the park, although a temporary lapse in concentration undid all of that hard work.
Ever willing to get on the ball and control the game when his side were afforded possession, the 6 ft 1 former Olympiacos man also took 63 touches and completed one key pass, although none were impactful – the Eagles were wasteful with their chances and the performance, overall, was poor.
Has this guy found the worst stadium in English football? Decide for yourself by watching the video below…
Milivojevic is one of Palace’s most indispensable players but soon other teams will figure out that, once they get touch tight and put him under pressure, they can force a mistake which they can take advantage of. This is something that the 27-year-old cannot allow to remain in his game as he will soon become a liability.