Tottenham were on the back of a fantastic domestic run coming into this game. Jose’s side also had the chance to extend their lead at the top after Chelsea’s defeat to Everton. With Liverpool playing just a couple of hours later, Spurs had a significant opportunity for claiming a vital three points.
As for Palace, the recent results have been quite mixed. In their last game, they won against West Brom, scoring five goals after losing two on the spin. Coming into the Spurs game, Palace had 3 wins and 3 defeats in their last 6 games.
Crystal Palace started in their usual 4-4-2 with Zaha partnering Benteke up top and the exciting Eberechi Eze playing down the left. Not much surprise in the away side’s lineup as the returning Ndombele started in the well-established midfield trio.
Spurs started the game on the front foot and looked in control with the ball. As they usually play against the big sides, Palace did not get annoyed with a lack of possession. They stayed in their shape and waited for an opportunity to release the likes of Eze and Zaha on the break.
Tottenham were moving the ball well and quick in the middle, which was creating space for Aurier and Reguilón, who were constantly overlapping. Spurs did manage to get some good crosses and cutbacks into the box. However, Palace’s Vicente Guaita made a couple of outstanding saves to deny the away side.
However, sooner, Spurs broke the Palace resistance as Harry Kane unleashed a tricky strike from well over 25 yards. Tottenham had the lead. The build-up play was quick as Reguilón played a ball into Ndombele’s feet, who then put it into Son’s path. The South-Korean once again linked up with Harry Kane, who struck from long and scored. However, it has to be said that Guaita, who had a great game overall, should have saved this shot with ease. Instead, the curl away from him messed his footwork, and he got a slight touch to the ball, which wasn’t enough.
Tottenham were the better side in the opening half as they 60% of the ball and had 4 shots on target. They did utilize the possession well, but only for Guaita’s heroics; Spurs had just one goal to their name. Palace had a few good counter-attacks, as they recorded 2 shots on target out of 8 in total. The home side also hit the crossbar on a single occasion.
There was a lot of work to be done in half-time for both coaching staffs but more for Roy Hodgson and the team. Hodgson’s side were defending relatively weak, and it had to get better along with a bit more guile going forward.
The second half started with quite a similar theme as Spurs kept the ball and Palace denied them space. However, Spurs didn’t look equally threatening, and Palace on the break looked much better. It was clear that Roy Hodgson had a go at the players for lack of penetration from his.
Gradually, as the game grew, Palace got up the pitch, and Tottenham were looking tired. Palace starting to create some good-looking chances and smelled the tension in this Spurs side. With the pressure to get the three points, Spurs got deeper and deeper, and Palace began to recover the ball well.
Hugo Lloris was then involved in some moments and did make some critical saves. However, it seemed inevitable for Palace to get the equalizer, and soon they did. As the game entered its last ten minutes, Crystal Palace were awarded a free-kick from the wide left, which Eze took charge of. He then curled an inviting ball in the box, which went all the way to Hugo Lloris, who spilled the ball, and Jeffrey Schlupp equalized. However, Lloris could not see the ball due to the players’ jump in front of him. As a result, he could not adjust himself to hold the ball, and Schlupp was at the right place at the right time.
As they had to, Spurs launched some long balls and created a few half chances where they could have done better. Mourinho also sent Dele Alli on the pitch to provide more aerial dominance in the box. Jose also introduced Ben Davies to create something via a good delivery in the box. The Welshman did precisely that as he crossed the ball in, but an over-struck cross was awkward for Guaita, who pushed it away. The ball then came into the path of Aurier, who put it back in the box, and Kane headed it towards the goal. However, once again, Vicente Guaita came with another excellent save. Towards the very end, Eric Dier also had a free-kick saved, and that moment it was very much done. The game ended 1-1, and Spurs wasted a huge chance to extend their lead at the top of the division.
The experienced Spaniard made some exceptional saves against Spurs. He 5 saves, out of which 4 were from inside the box. Guaita also recorded a punch along with 11 accurate long balls. He may have been the culprit for Tottenham’s goal. Still, he certainly made up for that with some crucial and fantastic saves to keep Palace in the game.