SUNDAY 26TH DECEMBER, 2021
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 3(2) CRYSTAL PALACE 0(0)
Lucas Moura, 34
Referee:- Jonathan Moss
Assistants:- Marc Perry, Timothy Wood
Fourth official:- Stephen Martin
VAR:- Simon Hooper
Assistant VAR:- Neil Davies.
Spurs (3-4-3):- Lloris (Capt.); Sanchez, Dier, Tanganga; Emerson Royal, Skipp, Hojbjerg (sub Ndombele, 79), Reguilon; Lucas Moura, Kane (sub Bergwijn, 64), Son (sub Gil, 76)
Subs not used:- Gollini; Doherty, Rodon, Davies; Winks, Dele
Booked:- Sanchez (foul on Ayew)
Palace (4-3-3):- Butland; Ward (Capt.), Andersen, Tomkins, Mitchell (sub Ferguson, 82); Gallagher (sub Schlupp, 76), Kouyate, Hughes; Ayew, Edouard (sub Mateta, 63), Zaha
Subs not used:- Matthews (GK); Guehi, Kelly; Riedewald
Booked:- Zaha (foul on Sanchez), Tomkins (foul on Skipp)
Sent off:- Zaha (second yellow, foul on Sanchez, 37
Conte’s Spurs exact full retribution
When Nuno Espirito Santo’s Spurs lost 3-0 at Selhurst Park in September, they had registered just two shots on goal with one on target. Here at The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Conte’s spurs gained full retribution with three fine goals, 17 shots of which 6 were on target. Spurs have even got a positive goal difference now and climbed above West Ham with this win. They have, of course, also got games in hand over most of those teams around them.
Spurs’ excellent Boxing Day record continues but the Palace Football.London reporter had caused great doubt on Christmas night regarding the prospects of this game being played. Palace had Covid-affected players and backroom staff, plus manager Patrick Vieira had to self-isolate. The uncertainty regarding whether the game would be on or off was not cleared until late morning. Thus, many supporters were no doubt discouraged from travelling, what with the continuing Covid situation and the lack of public transport. Those that made it to the ground saw a Spurs performance which was dynamic in places.
Spurs were helped by the sending off of Palace talisman Wilfried Zaha for two bookable offences, both on Davinson Sanchez. Spurs had just gone two up anyway, but the loss of Zaha from a Palace side featuring just one change to their starting line-up from their last game put paid to any chances of an away win. Zaha’s temperament let him down – not for the first time. A third goal scored by Son in the second half and made by man of the match Lucas Moura finished the scoring very nicely.
Palace started nicely and if it wasn’t for the profligacy of Jordan Ayew, they might have had a first minute lead when, after a cross from the left, Ayew skied his shot on goal. Spurs responded with Lucas Moura feeding the ball to Son from the right. “Sonny” hit a powerful left-footed shot which goalkeeper Butland pushed out for a corner to his right. The corner was a poor one.
Emerson Royal did so well bringing the ball out of defence as far as the halfway line, but his pass in to a central area went astray and Ayew had another chance. This one was well blocked by Japhet Tanganga, who was covering for Ben Davies in the back three. Tanganga made more good tackles and clearances during the game, and the Spurs back three was strong. Both Eric Dier and Sanchez took opportunities to supplement the attack too.
Palace had a free kick from the right, taken by Gallagher and headed over by former West Ham man James Tomkins. Gallagher was generally kept quiet. There were excellent individual performances all round by Spurs with Skipp and Hojbjerg tigerish in the midfield and all three front men causing danger. Son passed to Tanganga towards the left. His cross was blocked and fell to Skipp whose shot from 25 yards was not far off the target.
Dier sent a great long ball to Emerson, who passed inside to Lucas. Lucas ran towards the middle and had passing options, including Reguilon, but chose a shot which was blocked. Son did not make best use of a good pass down the left channel by Hojbjerg, but generally speaking this is a forward-playing, positive Spurs side.
After 24 minutes there was more good play from Spurs. Skipp won the ball in midfield and passed to Kane. The ball then passed through Son to Reguilon, who ultimately crossed with Lucas glancing a header just wide across the goal.
Zaha got his first booking for a foul on Sanchez. Kane sent a great ball to Emerson, who had a chance to shoot, but just lost control of the ball at the vital moment. It should be said that Kane offers a great pivot in the middle of a front three, and if he’s not scoring, he is creating plenty of opportunities.
Spurs’ first goal followed a slow burning move. After a free kick around halfway, Spurs fed the ball backwards, and just as I was expressing some despair Emerson was suddenly released and advanced down the right. The move was swift and deadly as Emerson passed to Lucas who quickly passed inside to Kane who finished superbly with a first-time right foot shot. It’s only his third Premier League goal of the season, but it is his 10th club goal of the season and 231st in total for the club.
The second goal was scored less than two minutes later. Lucas was involved in the beginning and end of the move which started with his determined short run and a pass to Kane in the inside right slot. Kane quickly passed to Emerson who lifted a nice cross into the middle by which time Lucas had arrived to score with a header from a magnificent leap!
Zaha’s moment of real madness followed after he threw Sanchez to the floor. Referee Jon Moss had seen enough, but of course there was a VAR review which supported the referee’s decision.
Emerson headed straight to Butland from a Reguilon cross. Spurs were playing good flowing football, but there were a couple of occasions when Reguilon did not make the most of his opportunities, firstly with an intended cross, secondly with a shot which passed wide.
Spurs kicked off the second half and were now playing towards the South Stand. They dominated the early possession and in one move Eric Dier got forward and shared a move with Emerson to his right. There was more good tackling by the effervescent Oliver Skipp and Japhet Tanganga. Son had a run, but Kouyate brought that to an end. To their credit, Palace fans gave their team great support and most stayed to the very end of a game which was lost well before the finish.
Lovely swift passing play by Lucas and Kane won us a corner on the right. Son took the corner from which Kane had a right foot effort go just wide. Kane had another effort blocked following build-up play by Hojbjerg and Son.
Palace replaced the ineffective Edouard with Jean-Phillippe Mateta, whilst Antonio Conte gave Kane a rest in favour of Bergwijn. Sanchez was shown Spurs’ only yellow card for a tackle on Ayew in the Palace half. Tanganga defended well against Gallagher following a Palace corner.
Son had a chance in the middle, but this was blocked after Skipp had passed to Reguilon who made the cross. Spurs’ third goal followed a throw on the right after which Lucas advanced towards the right side of the Palace area unleashing a cross into the 6-yard zone which was met by a lovely glanced shot by Son across the keeper. We had to wait for a VAR review, but the goal stood, and the game was secure.
Bryan Gil made a welcome return to action for only his second appearance under Conte’s charge, replacing Son. Bergwijn had a shot saved at the second attempt by Butland. Lucas received a ball from Skipp and fired just over the target. Lucas had another shot on goal after Gil found Emerson on the right whose cross was turned over by the Brazilian man of the match, who had scored one goal and made the other two. Even Sanchez had a chance after he had first passed to Reguilon, then received the crossed in the area, before firing wide.
Next up for Spurs is a trip to Southampton who managed a win against West Ham at The London Stadium. We’ve had five consecutive home games (won four, drawn one) and now have to prove ourselves on the road in our next three league and Carabao Cup games.
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