Palace 0-1 Spurs - match in focus
Report from Selhurst Park
Wed 26 April 2017, 22:10|Tottenham Hotspur
A moment of brilliance from Christian Eriksen 12 minutes from time sent records tumbling and gave us a vital victory at Crystal Palace on Wednesday night.
The Danish craftsman picked up possession some 35 yards out and saw his chance, sweeping a shot past goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey and into the bottom corner.
Dele Alli had earlier fired wide with our best chance of a tight, physically-demanding game, but we saw out the remaining moments well, including seven added minutes following a nasty-looking injury to Palace's Mamadou Sakho, to secure a 1-0 win.
It was our eighth consecutive domestic victory, the second-best winning run in our history and the first time we've done that in the Premier League era.
We also eclipsed our best-ever Premier League points tally of 72 as we leapt up to 74, while we're now on 22 wins in the division in 2016-17 - the most in a single Premier League season in our history - with five games still to play.
Crucially, we remain four points behind leaders Chelsea, who won 4-1 at home to Southampton 24 hours earlier.
There were two changes from the team that was defeated at Wembley in Saturday's FA Cup semi-final as Mauricio Pochettino swapped his full-backs for the journey across London to Selhurst Park. Ben Davies returned at left-back in place of Heung-Min Son who dropped to the bench and on the right, Kieran Trippier made way for Kyle Walker.
Chance: Benteke goes close - 14mins
Palace looked the more lively in the opening exchanges and Christian Benteke was the first to draw a save from Hugo Lloris. Former Spurs man Andros Townsend rolled inside from the left flank and found the Belgian striker in the right channel who had a clear sight of goal but struck his shot tamely to Lloris’ right and he easily saved. Other than that, chances were at a premium for both teams.
Chance: Davies almost forces an own goal - 48mins
We made changes at the break with midfielders Mousa Dembele, who appeared to be struggling, and Victor Wanyama, on a yellow card, replaced by Son and Moussa Sissoko. We started the second half with more purpose and created an opening with our first attack. Davies had found space on the left flank and was expertly picked out by Dele on the counter. The Welsh defender fizzed a dangerous ball low across the face of goal that forced Martin Kelly into a clearance that he almost sliced into his own net. Dele forced a save from Hennessey soon afterwards as finally we showed signs of gathering some momentum.
Above: Jan Vertonghen shields the ball from former Spurs team-mate Andros Townsend.
Chance: Dele so close with best chance - 58mins
For the first time in the match we enjoyed a sustained spell of pressure as we camped inside the Palace half. After Harry Kane saw a dangerous-looking shot charged down, Walker put a teasing cross to the back post for the arriving Dele who could only cushion a volley wide from close range with just the goalkeeper to beat. He followed that up a minute later with a curling effort that forced Hennessey into another save.
Goal: Crystal Palace 0-1 Spurs - Christian Eriksen - 78mins
We seemed confident in our play and the breakthrough arrived 12 minutes from time. Kane laid off to Eriksen in space in the middle of Palace territory and the midfielder - to the surprise of many - pulled the trigger, lashing a shot towards goal which dipped into the bottom corner.
Corners: Alderweireld close to adding a second - 85mins
We forced a succession of corners in the latter stages and from one of them, Toby Alderweireld got a shot away on the turn as he went to ground, but saw his effort fly the wrong side of the upright. Palace didn't manage to threaten late on and we held firm for another important win.
Mauricio Pochettino said
"It was a fantastic achievement to get the three points. I’m very pleased and the players deserved this win. It’s true it was tough. The first half was even but we dominated the second half. We created chances and they didn’t really have a shot. It was a fantastic performance and I’m pleased because to prepare for a derby with a victory is always better."
Christian Eriksen said
"I wanted the ball before then because it felt like I was free for a long time but when I got the ball, I knew there was space but also felt the striker made more space. We showed we’re still in it. We have to focus on ourselves and of course Chelsea have to lose some points but this was our chance to keep going and we took that and this result gives us a confidence boost for the last five games. We have to keep going and see where it ends."
Crystal Palace (4-2-3-1): Hennessey; Ward, Kelly, Sakho (Delaney 56), Schlupp; McArthur (Cabaye 63), Milivojevic; Townsend, Puncheon (c), Zaha; Benteke (Campbell 81). Substitutes (not used): Speroni, van Aanholt, Flamini, Sako.
Spurs (3-4-2-1): Lloris (c); Dier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen; Walker, Dembele (Son 45), Wanyama (Sissoko 46), Davies; Eriksen, Dele (Trippier 90+5); Kane. Substitutes (not used): Pau Lopez, Wimmer, Nkoudou, Janssen.
Goals: Spurs - Eriksen 78.
Yellow cards: Crystal Palace - Ward 65, Milivojevic 79, Zaha 90+7; Spurs - Wanyama 26, Walker 47, Kane 57.
Referee: Jonathan Moss.
We are back at White Hart Lane for the North London Derby against Arsenal on Sunday (April 30). There have been score draws in our last three Premier League matches with the Gunners. What will this latest meeting bring?