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Spurs v Crystal Palace, 07.03.21

PREMIER LEAGUE
SUNDAY 7TH MARCH, 2021
(7.15pm)
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 4(1) CRYSTAL PALACE 1(1)

Spurs scorers:-
Bale, 25, 49
Kane, 52, 76

Crystal Palace scorer:-
Benteke, 45(+1)

Attendance:- 0

Referee:- Stuart Attwell
Assistants:- Constantine Hatzidakis, Neil Davies
Fourth official:- David Coote
VAR:- Darren England
Assistant VAR:- Mark Scholes.

Teams:-
Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Lloris (Capt.); Doherty, Sanchez, Alderweireld, Reguilon; Winks (sub Sissoko, 70), Hojbjerg; Bale (sub Lamela, 70), Lucas Moura, Son; Kane (sub Vinicius, 80)

Subs not used:- Hart; Dier, Davies; Ndombele, Dele, Bergwijn

Booked:- Doherty (foul on Zaha), Vinicius

Palace (4-4-2):- Guaita; Ward, Kouyate, Cahill, Van Aanholt; Townsend (sub Schlupp, 65), Riedewald, Milivojevic (Capt.), Eze (sub Zaha, 46); Ayew, Benteke (sub Mateta, 74)

Subs not used:- Butland; Dann, Kelly, Hannam; Wickham, Batshuayi

Booked:- Ayew (foul on Bale), Cahill (foul on Lucas Moura), Riedewald (foul on Lucas Moura)

Spurs win with some world class touches

Spurs won their third successive Premier League game in a week (their best run since October - November). Gareth Bale and Harry Kane both scored two goals. Kane assisted for the goals he didn't score. We scored our 100th goal this season in our 44th game. Bale and Kane showed their world class, not only with their goals. We climbed above Liverpool (who lost a sixth successive home game against Fulham) and West Ham on goal difference. We are within two points of the top four. What more could we want?

Well, we could do with Leeds beating West Ham tomorrow night and Chelsea drawing with Everton. Spurs have done their bit today, that's for sure.

There was no sign of Serge Aurier in the Spurs 20 and we must hope he will be involved in Thursday night’s Round of 16 game at home against Dinamo Zagreb. Perhaps it with half an eye on that game that Jose also kept Tanguy Ndombele on the bench, giving Harry Winks his first Premier league start since mid-January. Gareth Bale did start and inside him was Lucas Moura, perhaps chosen for his ability to run through and past defenders in the knowledge that Palace would seek to form a defensive barrage consisting of two blocks of four. Lucas played a very strong part in our success tonight.

Wilfried Zaha was held on the bench until half-time and did have his moments in the second half where the athleticism of Sanchez came to the fore. Sanchez and Alderweireld have started all three of these Premier League wins and perhaps Jose has found his best centre-back pairing. There is always a case for “horses for courses” of course. It has to be said that Joe Rodon does not seem to be in training for any course at present. He last featured in a Spurs 20 in our FA Cup game at Goodison Park, and didn’t get off the bench. Joe is still not registered in our Europa League squad.

Palace kicked off and played towards the South Stand. Within the first minute, Riedewald had fouled Lucas Moura who was on the advance at the half-way line. Referee Stuart Attwell was clearly tempted to book the Palace man even at such an early stage, but decided to “have words”. As anticipated, Palace were getting men behind the ball and to their credit defended stoutly, with Spurs having plenty of possession but little penetration in the early phase of the game. Sergio Reguilon was prominent down the left wing, but also turned up in and around the Palace area, adding to our offensive armoury.

After 5 minutes Heung-min Son switched the play to Doherty on the right. Doherty does seem to have built a good working relationship with Bale and passed inside for Gareth, whose cross was met by “Sonny” in the middle of the area with a header which was held by Guaita.

It took Spurs until the 25th minute to forge another chance of note, which resulted in the opening goal. Lucas Moura stole the ball (off Milivojevic, I believe) as Palace tried to move out of their last third. Lucas quickly released Harry Kane who advanced deep on the left of the area, crossing hard and low with accuracy so Bale had an easy finish in front of the back post.

Jordan Ayew was booked for a challenge on Bale in the Palace half. In another move Gareth tried a left foot shot from the right corner of the area, but Guaita held the ball under his bar inside his right post. Cahill was booked for a foul on Lucas Moura just outside the box. Harry Kane took the free kick which was heavily blocked and looped up beyond the keeper’s left post where Lucas tried to get a shot on goal, but miscued.

Now Kane was switching the play from a position towards the left, sending the ball to Bale. Bale crossed quickly and Reguilon was the man in the middle who tried a first-time shot, but put it wide.

Palace came out of their shell and did win a couple of corners, one conceded by Sanchez when van Aanholt was threatening to reach a lofted pass. The goal did not follow either corner, but it did come after a free kick conceded by Winks. It was Milivojevic who sent in the perfect cross and Benteke rose magnificently between our two centre halves to beat Lloris with a majestic header. Hugo Lloris’s 102nd Premier League clean sheet will have to wait. Next Sunday against Arsenal would be nice!

Zaha came on for Eze after the break. Having had that early warning, and been noticed committing other fouls as the game progressed, Riedewald got his booking for a foul on Lucas Moura. Lucas was soon involved in a very welcome second goal for Spurs. He combined with Bale and Doherty on the right, giving Bale a skilfully flicked pass before Gareth hit a long pass to Reguilon who was deep on the left of the area. “Reggie” crossed and Kane headed the ball back across goal where Bale, who had started the move, finished with a close range header. That was Gareth’s fifth Premier League goal in only 5 starts and also his sixth goal in his last 6 games since 18th February.

Three minutes later (52 mins) it was 3-1 with a superb strike by “one of our own”. Bale had been involved when he passed outside to Doherty who cut the ball back to Harry who was positioned towards the right edge of the Palace area. He quickly positioned himself to hit a magnificent right-footed shot which had a slight curl on it to beat Guaita inside his right post. “What a goal!” I shouted, and it was goal number 211 for Spurs by Harry. Number 212 would follow.

Bale hit another great pass from the right wing, finding Son with pinpoint accuracy towards the left of the area. Son came inside but hit his right foot shot over. Harry Kane actually cleared the ball from in front of his goal-line when Benteke had another header. Kane was composed and did not rush his clearance, taking a touch before sending the ball well clear.

After 57 minutes, Doherty’s cross was headed on by Kane and Reguilon had a shot beyond the back post which hit the side netting. He wanted a corner, and replays showed we should have had one, but the decision was to give a goal kick. Bale took a subsequent corner from the right and Kane headed wide at the back post. He too wanted a corner, but got no joy.

Doherty defended well against a threat by Zaha, diving to head the ball out of play for a corner. Gareth Bale was often seen assisting his defence and he hit another great ball from his own half which was chased by Reguilon who did win a throw. Back in the Spurs area Zaha did get a left foot shot which beat Lloris and rebounded off his left post.

Jose Mourinho now brought on Lamela and Sissoko for bale and Winks. Lamela had a shot blocked which did look on target, before Spurs scored a fourth goal in the 76th minute. This move started on the right with Lucas feeding Lamela who found Son on the left side of the box. Son crossed accurately and Kane headed into the net from close range. That was goal number 212. There was lengthy consideration by VAR but the goal was confirmed. Son’s left foot had been well ahead of Kane, but it was a close call regarding his kicking foot. These two players have now combined for more goals in a single season than any other duo in Premier League history! Kane took a rest and Vinicius was given 10 minutes, plus added time.

Palace tried hard for a goal with Zaha and another sub Schlupp to the fore, but Spurs kept them out with Sanchez again involved. The very last piece of significant action was a low cross which passed through the danger zone, hit by Lucas Moura.

Jose Mourinho said:- "I was happy with the attitude, the feeling and naughty smile of scoring 100 goals in the season and we are a defensive team. It was a good week for us - three matches, nine points, no injuries and everyone is coming back. We are in a positive moment."

I am happy too, although Spurs have plenty of potential for improvement still.

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