Spurs 1-0 Palace - report from Wembley
Sun 05 November 2017, 13:59|Tottenham Hotspur
Heung-Min Son scored an excellent goal which was very much out of keeping of an otherwise scrappy game as we edged past Crystal Palace at Wembley on Sunday afternoon.
The forward struck in the 64th minute, his 20th Premier League goal and one which saw him become the all-time leading South Korean goalscorer in the competition, overtaking Ji-Sung Park.
But while he took the plaudits for the goal, it was a fine performance from goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga that ensured the points were won. Our summer signing from Southampton was drafted into the side following injuries to Hugo Lloris and Michel Vorm and made a string of excellent saves on his debut to preserve our clean sheet.
A lacklustre first half saw opportunities at a premium, Palace’s centre-half pairing of Mamadou Sakho and Scott Dann sweeping up our crosses into their box while the only real chance fell to the visitors, Gazzaniga producing a fine save from Dann’s header.
We were indebted to our goalkeeper on a number of occasions in the second half as he made top-class saves to deny former Spur Andros Townsend and Luka Milivojevic, although when Wilfried Zaha rounded him on the edge of the area when clean through, it looked for all the world as if he was going to give Palace the lead, only to slide his effort wide of the far post.
The winner arrived soon after, the ball pinging around the Eagles’ area before falling at the feet of Son, who curled a left-foot shot into the top corner past Julian Speroni.
He could have added a second late on when through on goal, only to send his shot into the side-netting, but one was to prove enough to settle a tight contest.
Mauricio Pochettino made five changes to the team that started against Real Madrid in the Champions League on Wednesday night. With Lloris (groin) and Vorm (knee) both missing through injury, Gazzaniga came in for his Spurs debut. Also in the side were Serge Aurier, Danny Rose, Moussa Sissoko and Son, in place of Kieran Trippier, Toby Alderweireld, Ben Davies and Dele Alli, the latter having sustained a hamstring injury.
Save: Gazzaniga keeps out Dann – 35mins
Perhaps the early kick-off played it its part but it was certainly a subdued start to the game, with little goalmouth action. Palace appealed for a penalty when Gazzaniga caught Sakho as he went up for a cross early on, but nothing was given while at the other end, Sakho and Dann were clearing the plethora of crosses that we were sending into their box. Eric Dier got the better of the pacy Zaha on four separate occasions to nullify that threat, before the first save of note on 35 minutes. A Palace corner was met well by Dann, his header was going to creep in but Gazzaniga stretched down to his left and made a fine fingertip save.
Above: Paulo Gazzaniga in action.
Chance: Zaha misses empty net – 57mins
There was certainly a greater tempo to the game in the opening minutes of the second period and Gazzaniga was there again to save us on 48 minutes. A poor pass from Aurier was picked up by Townsend on half-way, he ran at Dier, shifted the ball to the left and hit an angled drive towards the far post which Gazzaniga again tipped wide. We created a few moments of danger in the Palace area without getting a clear-cut chance before the visitors spurned a great opportunity. Aurier again misplaced a pass, Townsend quickly set Zaha free, he rounded Gazzaniga on the edge of the area but, with the goal gaping, sent his effort wide.
Goal: Spurs 1-0 Palace – Heung-min Son – 64mins
It was Palace who were looking the more likely to score and when Luka Milivojevic rose at the back post following another corner, it needed another excellent stop from Gazzaniga to deny him. But moments later, we finally found that one clear chance – and buried it. The ball was flying across the area from side to side before Sissoko slammed it back into the danger zone, Yohann Cabaye cleared only as far as Son on the edge of the box and he curled a delightful left-foot shot past Speroni.
Chance: Son fires wide – 82mins
The goal opened the game up further as Palace pushed forwards in search of an equaliser and we needed to be alert defensively as the pace of Townsend and Zaha was always a threat. But, in turn, gaps were appearing for us at the other end and when Jan Vertonghen won possession and released Son, he was clear on goal. He shaped to go across the goalkeeper but then fired towards the near post, his shot hitting the side-netting.
Mauricio Pochettino said
"The win was so important, a massive three points for us. We can talk about different things but after a few difficult circumstances the answer was fantastic from the squad. That pleased me the most, because it’s about the squad and today the squad was amazing. We won the because of the squad."
Harry Kane said
"It was a big game – a big game for momentum so to win that was fantastic and we can go away happy into the international break. It wasn’t the prettiest of performances but it’s a win and that’s all that matters. Sonny's goal was fantastic. I've said it before – left and right foot, he's unbelievable and it was a great touch to set it up, he whipped it in and gave the keeper no chance."
Spurs: (3-4-2-1): Gazzaniga, Sanchez, Dier, Vertonghen, Aurier, Winks (Dembele 46), Eriksen, Rose (Davies 90+2), Son, Sissoko, Kane (c, Llorente 76). Substitutes (not used): Whiteman, Trippier, Foyth, Nkoudou.
Crystal Palace (4-4-2): Speroni, Ward (Sako 76), Dann (c), Sakho, Fosu-Mensah, Milivojevic, Cabaye, Schlupp, Loftus-Cheek, Townsend, Zaha. Substitutes (not used): Hennessey, Tomkins, Souare, Riedewald, McArthur, Puncheon.
Goal: Spurs – Son 64.
Yellow cards: Crystal Palace – Townsend, Schlupp.
Referee: Kevin Friend.
Man of the match
With 55 per cent of fans' votes on social media, debutant goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga was named Man of the Match.
The Premier League takes a break for the next round of internationals after today, so we’re not in action for a fortnight.
But when we return, we’re off to The Emirates for the first north London derby of the season on Saturday 18 November.
The Gunners started the day in fifth, one point behind us in the table, having won six and lost three of their 10 games in the league so far.
Kick-off in N5 is at 12.30pm.