Crystal Palace ran out 2-0 winners over Tottenham Hotspur at Selhurst Park yesterday and whilst there were a lot of great individual performances throughout the side, it was impossible to look beyond Julian Speroni for Man of the Match after a clean sheet which saw him break the all-time record for any Eagles keeper.
After a day to forget in his previous outing at Anfield, the 39-year-old was on his game from the start against Mauricio Pochettino’s men, making saves and playing with a level of confidence that felt like he was rolling back the years in between the sticks.
Having enjoyed first half goals from Connor Wickham and Andros Townsend, Palace were given one or two scares before and after the break, with Kieran Trippier’s missed penalty, a well-worked free-kick which required a superb double save from Speroni and plenty of other attempts on goal in the second period never allowing the home fans to feel as though their team were coasting towards victory.
If that was Julian’s last ever #cpfc game at Selhurst (or ever) then what a great performance to end an amazing career in South London. The whole team pulled together & got a well deserved clean sheet. Crowd amazing, holmesdale packed out 🔴🔵 🦅 pic.twitter.com/yVAmAQem7V
— Speroni Testimonial (@JS_Testimonial) January 27, 2019
Julian Speroni is now the oldest active player across the Premier League but the aforementioned double save really was a wonderful example of what he still brings to the table, provoking rapturous applause from the fans stationed behind him in the Holmesdale Road end. To make the first save after such a craftily worked free-kick was one thing but to spring back up and push the second effort off for a corner showed the sort of reflexes that you would usually associate with a keeper 10 years the Argentine’s junior.
There were one or two rumblings that yesterday was set to be Jules’ last ever appearance in Palace colours but after a display like that, you wonder if there’s reason to keep him around a little longer. He’s quite clearly not ready to throw in the towel just yet and without putting too fine a point on it, we may well have gone out of the cup without his presence in goal yesterday afternoon.
Make no mistake, the man is a Crystal Palace legend.