Tottenham were well tested by Crystal Palace tonight at Selhurst Park, but a 35-yard wondergoal from Christian Eriksen sealed three points for Spurs and kept their title dreams alive.
It was a nervy first half for Tottenham, with Palace causing them a lot of problems with Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend’s pace and dribbling ability. Tottenham were stretched, Palace closing them down and not giving them any space or time to create any opportunities. A couple of skied efforts were all Tottenham had to show for their first 45 minutes, although Victor Wanyama was very lucky to remain on the pitch when he slid in on Townsend while on a yellow card. Palace tested Lloris on a few occasions but he wasn’t particularly troubled on any of these occasions.
The second half really picked up the pace for Tottenham. The substitutes made a big difference with both Dembélé, who’d taken a knock, and the lucky-to-be-on-the-field Wanyama making the way for pace-fueled Heung-Min Son and Moussa Sissoko. Palace were suddenly on the back foot, and despite glimpses of resistance, ultimately spent most of the second half in their defensive third.
Palace’s defence held strong and frustrated Tottenham as they were unable to get a breakthrough (they recorded just 4 of their 18 shots on target). One of those four did break the deadlock however. In the 78th minute, Eriksen collected the ball 35 years from goal from Harry Kane. He took a touch to get it out of his feet, before unleashing an unstoppable low shot into the lower left corner of Wayne Hennessey’s goal. Replays suggested Eriksen waited for Jason Puncheon to come across to limit the goalkeeper’s view further, meaning he saw the shot late as it passed him into the net.
Tottenham held on for the final 19 minutes (there were 7 additional minutes due to a Mamadou Sakho injury) to claim the win and reduce the gap to Chelsea down to four points. Palace remain 7 points clear of the relegation zone.
Attention now turns to Sunday, and the North London derby for Tottenham, who crucially need the win over Arsenal. Palace have another home fixtures against Burnley on Saturday, where they will be looking to cement their place in the Premier League next season.