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20 August 2016|Tottenham Hotspur

Victor Wanyama was the match-winner on his White Hart Lane debut as he headed home a late goal to settle a tight and testing match against Crystal Palace on Saturday afternoon.

It was no more than we deserved though as we dominated possession and shots, eventually making that pay with our Kenyan midfielder’s 83rd minute goal.

Palace were indebted to goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey for a number of good saves to keep us out in the first half including a trio of stops on one occasion, while we continued to have the upper hand after the interval.

Harry Kane, Vincent Janssen and substitute Dele Alli all had chances to open the scoring, Janssen having the best when through on goal but putting his effort wide, while Yohan Cabaye had Palace’s best opportunity but he blazed over from 12 yards.

It looked like we were heading for a second successive draw when Wanyama popped up with the winner to give us our first three points of the season and we held on for the remaining minutes.

Team news

Janssen was rewarded for the impact he made as a second-half substitute at Goodison Park last weekend with his first start in our colours, on his home debut. Michel Vorm, who came on for the injured Hugo Lloris at Everton, continued between the sticks – his first start since, coincidentally, our FA Cup tie here against Palace in January. Christian Eriksen made his 100th Premier League appearance for us, Harry Kane wore the captain’s armband while his fellow Spurs Academy graduate Andros Townsend started for the visitors, his first return to the Lane since leaving us in January.

Key action

Save: Hennessey prevents early breakthrough – 12mins
After a bright start to the game, we almost took the lead when Erik Lamela whipped in a corner which Toby Alderweireld met unmarked with a powerful header, but it was straight at Palace keeper Hennessey who kept him out. He was there again a minute later to keep out Kane’s drive from a tight angle.

Triple save: Hennessey heroics keeps game goalless – 27mins
Chances were coming at either end but we were creating the better ones and it was that man Hennessey again who kept us out just before the half-hour. Kane’s 30-yard drive deflected off Damien Delaney but the Welsh stopper got across to save, then was up quickly to deny Janssen from the rebound and saved again from our Dutch striker from the second loose ball.

Chance: Kane blazes wide in stoppage time – 45+1mins
Just seconds before the half-time whistle, Eriksen controlled a pass down the right flank and delivered a low square cross to Lamela on the left-hand edge of the penalty area. He laid it back to Kane who took a touch and let fly, the ball fizzing just past Hennessey’s far post.

Chance: Kane goes close – 55mins
Shortly after Palace substitute Yohan Cabaye had drilled a 20-yard shot wide, Eric Dier floated in a teasing cross at the other end which Kane met with a diving header under pressure but he couldn’t divert the ball on target and it went inches wide.

Chance: Cabaye over the bar – 61mins
A spell of pressure for the visitors almost saw them take the lead. Townsend’s low cross into the area fell perfectly for Cabaye but he could only fire over the crossbar and moments later, after Chung-Yong Lee had dispossessed Dier, Townsend’s effort deflected away for a corner, which came to nothing.


Golden opportunity: Janssen through on goal – 69mins
With just over 20 minutes remaining, the best chance of the game so far fell to Janssen (pictured, above) but he couldn’t take the opportunity. Kane and Lamela combined to set substitute Dele Alli free on the left, he clipped a first time ball over the top for the Dutch forward who was one-on-one with Hennessey but he got his shot all wrong and side-footed it well wide.

Chance: almost for Alli – 79mins
Wanyama was tackled on the edge of the Palace area and the ball ran to Alli who hit a first-time shot which just grazed the top of the net as it went over.

Goal: Spurs 1-0 Palace – Victor Wanyama – 83mins
The breakthrough finally came just seven minutes from time. Danny Rose had whipped in a cross which was cleared for a corner, eventually taken following an injury and subsequent substitution for Damien Delaney. From the set-piece, Lamela’s centre was headed goalwards by Kane and nodded into the net from inside the six-yard box by Wanyama. We subsequently dealt with Palace's attempts to fashion a chance at the other end, with Vertonghen making a key block as we saw out the game.

Mauricio Pochettino said

"It was a difficult game from the beginning because we created a lot of chances but couldn’t score. The most important thing is belief, always. We didn’t give up, we fought until the last minutes and it’s for that reason we scored and won the three points."

Victor Wanyama said

"It means the world to me, getting a goal on my debut in front of our fans is amazing. It’s maybe the only thing I could ask this year! The fans were unbelievable and that goal,  I can’t describe it. It was a special goal for me."

Win late or early, it’s a win, I’m happy and very pleased with the performance of our players.

Mauricio Pochettino

Match data

Spurs: Vorm; Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose; Dier, Wanyama; Lamela (Carroll 90+3), Kane (c, Onomah 90), Eriksen (Alli 68); Janssen. Substitutes (not used): McGee, Carter-Vickers, Davies, Mason.

Crystal Palace: Hennessey; Ward, Dann (c), Delaney (Tomkins 82), Souare; Ledley (Cabaye 46), Puncheon; Zaha, Lee (Mutch 82), Townsend; Wickham. Substitutes (not used): Speroni, Anderson, Kelly, Ladapo.

Goals: Spurs – Wanyama 83.

Yellow cards: Spurs – Walker, Vertonghen, Dier; Crystal Palace – Zaha, Dann, Townsend.

Referee: Michael Oliver.

Attendance: 31,447.

Up next

We are back at the Lane next Saturday for a lunchtime, televised Premier League clash against Liverpool. The Reds made a great start to their season with a 4-3 win at Arsenal on the opening weekend, but were unable to build on that as they lost 2-0 away to Burnley in their first away trip of the campaign. It promises to be a cracker!