Crystal Palace 0-1 Tottenham: Revisiting the Things to Watch in Spurs' Victory
Tottenham got their Premier League season off to a perfect start Sunday, defeating Crystal Palace 1-0 at Selhurst Park.
The victory was not an easy one for Spurs, as their only goal came from the spot and their defense was tested on multiple occasions.
However, three points earned away from home are never easy to come by in the Premier League, so the North Londoners should be thrilled with the start to their season.
Heading into the match, we broke down the six things fans should watch for through the first 90 minutes of Tottenham's 2013-14 campaign.
So what did Sunday's match reveal about Spurs' side and their ambitions going forward this season?
Let's revisit the six things to watch from Tottenham's opening-day win over Crystal Palace.
The Opening-Day Jinx
Heading into the match, Tottenham's abysmal run in Premier League openers over the past several years made one wonder if an upset could be in the offing.
Over the past seven seasons prior to this one, Spurs had won just one opening-day match and lost five.
However, the North Londoners were able to overcome this statistic Sunday in defeating Crystal Palace.
Now, Tottenham will hope that this is a sign of things to come throughout the rest of the season.
After all, the last time they won the first match of a season, Spurs went on to qualify for the Champions League.
Tottenham's summer signings were given a chance to make their anticipated competitive debuts for the club on Sunday and did not disappoint.
Roberto Soldado showed why he became Spurs' record signing, slotting home the penalty and putting together some fine linking play throughout his time on the pitch. The Spaniard seems like a fine solution to the striker problems that plagued the club all of last season.
Winger Nacer Chadli was given a chance to start due to Gareth Bale's injury and showed some silky movement in space. The Belgian provided a good foil to Aaron Lennon's pure pace and should be a useful tool throughout the season.
Central midfielder Paulinho didn't get as much time on the ball as one would have hoped, but he was still able to influence the match greatly with his fine runs off the ball. The Brazilian should be a fixture in this side as long as he is available.
Even Etienne Capoue, who signed from Toulouse just days ago, made his debut off the bench and put in an impressive run and some fine play.
This summer was clearly a successful period at White Hart Lane, and these players look like they will need little to no time adjusting to their new club.
The expected returns of Younes Kaboul and Sandro to Tottenham's starting lineup did not come to fruition in Sunday's season opener.
Sandro was left off the squad completely, as Gylfi Sigurdsson was given an attacking-midfield role in his stead.
Meanwhile, Kaboul was left on the bench, though he did make a triumphant cameo as a substitute for the last few minutes.
The biggest return for Spurs ended up being Jan Vertonghen, as the Belgian overcame the slight injury he suffered in preseason to play an effective 90 minutes in defense.
In terms of Sandro and Kaboul, manager Andre Villas-Boas is probably playing it safe, holding off on bringing them straight in and instead slowly working them back into the lineup.
It's a smart move for all parties.
Spurs Without Bale
While Tottenham was able to pick up the victory over Crystal Palace on Sunday, a few of the same issues the club experienced last year were evident.
For instance, Spurs were unable to turn their dominance in the first half into a lead, as Aaron Lennon's numerous great runs seemed to be wasted by his errant crossing.
Later, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Jermain Defoe missed gilt-edged opportunities in front of net that could have made the match more comfortable.
In the end, Tottenham was lucky to come out of a match they controlled with all three points. After all, if not for a few great saves from Hugo Lloris and a silly handball by Palace defender Dean Moxey, the result have easily gone the other way.
It's easy to point to Gareth Bale's absence as the reason for Spurs' tenuous victory, as the Welshman carried the side with his fine goals last season.
However, this North London side is just coming together with a few new pieces in important places.
The result is the most important thing, and Spurs were able to get it without Bale available.
That should say a lot about the potential of this side.
Left-Back Is Rose's
23-year-old Danny Rose looks like he's taken over the left-back position at Tottenham.
The youngster has taken the place of Benoit Assou-Ekotto, who was left off the squad completely after an inconsistent run last season.
Rose's performance was decent throughout the match, with his runs and link-up play down the left as the high points.
However, he also made some silly fouls and had the occasional lapse in defense.
Still, it was great to see Rose's aggressive play in the side.
Tottenham's long-awaited tactical shift to a 4-3-3 formation did not surface Sunday, as manager Andre Villas-Boas stuck with the more familiar 4-2-3-1 that Spurs played last season.
This does not mean that a shift in philosophy is not in the offing at White Hart Lane.
Perhaps Villas-Boas held off on the introduction of the formation because of some key missing links, such as reigning PFA Player of the Year Gareth Bale and potential holding lynchpin Sandro.
AVB might have even held off on the tactical switch merely to help ease his side into his preferred lineup.
In any event, it should be interesting to see how Tottenham approaches future matches and what lineups they will send out.