This was emphatically not the result Mauricio Pochettino wanted from Spurs in Sunday’s FA Cup fifth round match against Crystal Palace.
A goal from Martin Kelly in first half stoppage time proved decisive as Spurs were unable to break down a resolute Palace defense.
In truth, it’s hard to narrow down Spurs’ loss to individual performances. This was a sound defensive effort from Palace, one that nullified what would have otherwise been really impressive efforts from many Spurs players.
Let’s break down who did what best.
Michel Vorm – 6
Pochettino declined to blame Kelly’s goal on Vorm after the match, but it’s hard to imagine Hugo Lloris not getting at least a finger or two on that ball. Otherwise, though, Vorm was good. He chased down loose balls and made some crucial grabs.
Danny Rose – 5.5
As he always manages to do, Rose kept the left side of Spurs’ attack wide, always providing a target for out balls. Unfortunately, his crossing continues to be an issue. He was one of the reasons for Kelly’s goal.
Kevin Wimmer – 6
There were times where the lack of Jan Vertonghen was palpable. When Palace got forward in attack – however rare that might have been – Spurs’ backline looked occasionally disheveled and without leadership. Wimmer himself made no big mistakes, but it’s clear he’s still learning.
Eric Dier – 6
Spurs’ star midfielder dropped back into his customary centre-back role for this match. He had partnered before there with Wimmer, but here it seemed as if they lacked the proper communication.
Kyle Walker – 7
Frequently a threat down Palace’s left flank, Walker managed to get the ball into the box in dangerous situations rarely regularly. It’s hard to say if he’s yet done enough to earn the right-back spot permanently from Kieran Trippier, but performances like this certainly help.
Mousa Dembele – 6
Only played a half of football before being replaced by Christian Eriksen, but generally looked like he didn’t know what to do with the space afforded to him by Palace. Without having to utilize his pressing game, he’s a decidedly less effective player.
Nabil Bentaleb – 5
The referee would have been right to award Palace a penalty for Bentaleb’s handball in the first half. Even if otherwise he looked competent, that was a fairly flagrant error that could have made this match much more difficult.
Heung-min Son – 8
Even if he never actually got through to goal, the South Korean was a constant threat coming through the middle of the pitch. His ability and speed with the ball at his feet were unmatched on the pitch, and this was easily the best performance we’ve seen from Son in weeks.
Josh Onomah – 7
In a more just world, Onomah would have had his first goal for Spurs’ senior team on Sunday. He had a few opportunities from great positions to score and managed to miss them or have his shot blocked. Still, this was an encouraging game for the young midfielder.
Dele Alli – 7
Really should have scored twice in the first half, and he was profoundly unlucky to see a shot hit Palace’s post and roll across the face of goal harmlessly in the 23rd minute. A great performance from Alli.
Harry Kane – 6
Seemed crowded out of the box by Palace’ physically imposing defence. Needed another striker alongside him, or at least more incisive runs from the three midfielders behind him.