Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Crystal Palace: 5 things we learned following narrow loss at White Hart Lane

Written by Matt Webb

After a somewhat uncharacteristically flat away display from Pardew's Palace, let's take a look at look at 5 things we learned from this afternoon's loss to Tottenham Hotspur.

Cabaye Hand Out

When the team sheets were announced, eye brows were raised at the lack of a striker starting and with Fraizer Campbell and loanee Patrick Bamford making the substitutes bench ahead of Dwight Gayle, also noticeable were the absences of Scott Dann and Joel Ward through injury.  

Palace started the first half slowly and were lucky to weather some early Tottenham storms, but as the minutes elapsed Palace grew into the game.  Chances began to tally up and the half ended shortly after a thunderous shot from the outside of Cabaye's right boot struck the inside of Hugo Lloris' right goal post.  Pardew, never afraid to ring the changes, subbed Wilfried Zaha at half time, bringing on Fraizer Campbell in his place.  Zaha had a frustrating first half, but there were indications he may have been carrying an injury. Palace were flat in the second half, but Campbell will have been frustrated he didn't see more of the ball.  After a rare Palace attack, Spurs countered and the Korean Son slotted the ball through Alex McCarthy's legs to take the lead which they held on to, despite Palace hitting the post a second time through Backary Sako's driven shot that so nearly beat Lloris.

1. Scott Dann has cover

Albeit, not a lot.  Many fans worst fears were realised today as Scott Dann was ruled out through injury.  Luckily for Palace Damien Delaney had returned from the injury that kept him out against Manchester City, so Hangeland was able to slot in, in place of Dann.  Hangeland and Delaney both performed well against Spurs and Hangeland was probably Palace's most important player on the day, second only to Cabaye.  Palace coped without Dann, but an injury to one of Hangeland or Delaney leaves Palace worryingly threadbare.

2. McCarthy has not made number 1 jersey his own.

When Palace legend Julian Speroni was ruled out of the start of this season through injury, many expected Wayne Hennessey to take over - but it was new signing Alex McCarthy who Pardew trusted between the sticks.  McCarthy had the opportunity to make the number 1 spot his own, but in my opinion has failed to do so. Arguably responsible for the Nathan Redmond goal at Carrow Road, he should have done better with the one between his legs today.  McCarthy's parrying has also been the cause of much concern at the back, as too often he seems to save majestically only to deliver the rebound right into the feet of oncoming attackers.

Don't be surprised if Speroni starts against Charlton, where a good display may earn him back his starting place in the league as well.

3. We still need a striker

Following the exit of Glenn Murray, many Palace fans indicated that the squad didn't have enough options up front; today that became particularly evident.  Like Wayne Hennessey, none of the past 4 Palace managers have consistently trusted Dwight Gayle to start.  Gayle does best when played as a second striker, and was more effective partnered either with Murray or Chamakh.  With Connor Wickham ruled out against Spurs, Pardew went with Bolasie up front, but Yala is far from a prolific goal scorer and Pardew recognised this when at half time Fraizer Campbell came on, but Campbell was clearly off the pace.  Bamford was better when he replaced Sako late on, but he is one for Chelsea's future, not our own. 

4. Cabaye and McArthur partnership is growing

The McJedley trio (McArthur, Jedinak and Ledley) has been an everpresent for Palace in the last two Premier League seasons, but Pardew never seemed as convinced of it as Pulis and this summer he completed the signing of Yohan Cabaye.  Many thought Cabaye would be used further forward, possibly putting Jason Puncheon's starting position under threat, but Pardew has used him much deeper demoting Mile Jedinak and Joe Ledley to the bench.  Against Spurs, Cabaye really showed his defensive quality with a string of perfectly timed tackles and interceptions to stop Spurs multiple times; the Frenchman seems to have formed a good understanding with James McArthur and it looks stronger with each game.

5. We miss Chamakh

I was tweeting the match day commentary for FYP today, and at full time I highlighted that today we were without our most accomplished defender, but also Wickham and Chamakh.  When fit Marouane Chamakh is one of Palace's most important players and today was tailor made for his insertion - what Palace lacked was a big target man with the ability to hold the play up and bring others in.  Neither Bolasie or Campbell are particularly strong in those areas and with Wickham out and Murray now at Bournemouth, Palace would really benefit from a fit and in form Marouane Chamakh.

 Follow Matt on Twitter @doctordubbs