The international break seems to have been the perfect tonic for Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs side. A team that couldn’t buy a win, now has three victories in succession. The difference in truth is partly a change in fortune but some of the credit also has to go to our new South Korean signing, Son Heung-min.
Son was also the hero in midweek with two goals against Qarabag but this was a much sterner test. Pardew’s arrival at Palace last term galvanised the club and summer additions, including Yohan Cabaye and Bakary Sahko, have made them a challenging opponent.
The south London club’s three wins this term included one of the shocks of the season so far, with victory at Stamford Bridge. However, they have allowed the most shots against of any of the twenty Premier League teams hinting at some defensive vulnerabilities.
Spurs dominated possession (57%) and outshot our opponents 22 – 12 but it was Son who stood out a mile in a man-of-the-match performance. His energy, pace and willingness to run at the opposition is exactly what the team has been missing.
Spurs’ dominance of midfield was in no small part due to our young central partnership of Eric Dier and Dele Alli. Dier’s solidness and strength are complemented perfectly by Alli’s box-to-box dynamism.
If there was one ingredient missing, it was the more subtle passing influence of Christian Eriksen. Spurs had lots of the ball and were generating shots but many were from distance.
Palace were a danger on the break, particularly rumoured Spurs’ target Yannick Bolasie who at times seemed to be a one man attack. They hit the woodwork twice and Lloris had to make several vital saves, including a fantastic stop from Sako just moments before the goal.
Kane is still to register and the young England forward didn’t have a particularly good game. A lot of his “failure” this season can probably be attributed to a regression to the mean. His goals per shot ratio from last season was never likely to be sustainable. He still came close, driving a rebound across the goal line, after a long range shot from Alli was palmed out by the Palace keeper.
It was no coincidence that the goal came later in the game when Palace had come more into it allowing us to hit them on the break. Lamela battled well to come away with the ball on the edge of his own area, feeding the substitute Eriksen. The Dane quickly moved the ball on to Son, coming in from the left. The Korean drove into the box with the pace and directness he had displayed all game, firing a low shot that squirmed under McCarthy.
There were some nervous moments as Palace pushed forward searching for an equaliser but Spurs held firm for a much deserved win. Three wins in a row, now even including a post-Europa League game, leaves Spurs full of confidence. With the developing talents of Alli and Dier and the new attacking impetus provided by Son, things are definitely looking up.
What did you make of the game? Were Spurs lucky to win? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.