Tottenham defeated Crystal Palace with two second half goals from Christian Eriksen and substitute Jermain Defoe. Having survived a penalty miss by Palace in the first half, Spurs gave an improved display to take the three points and move into 5th place in the Premier League.
Tottenham Hotspur 2 Crystal Palace 0
Scorers: Eriksen, Defoe
Team: Lloris; Walker, Chiriches, Dawson, Rose; Lennon, Bentaleb, Dembele, Eriksen; Adebayor, Soldado Subs: (unused) Friedel, Fryers, Naughton, Capoue, Chadli, Holtby, Defoe
Crystal Palace can consider themselves unfortunate not to take something from this London derby at White Hart Lane. Having dominated the first half and missing a penalty before the interval, Palace discovered a more invigorated Tottenham team in the second half. Spurs went ahead six minutes after the break when a ball forward by substitute Kyle Naughton was flicked on by Emmanuel Adebayor to Eriksen in the area who controlled the ball and lashed it into the roof of the net. Spurs added a second in the 73rd minute. Defoe who replaced Roberto Soldado was in the area to receive a pass from Aaron Lennon and lifted the ball over the goalkeeper to secure the three points.
Tim Sherwood selected the same team as played last weekend but had a much stronger bench with Kyle Naughton, Lewis Holtby and Jermaine Defoe returning from injury. Nabil Bentaleb retained his place in the team for his first Premier League start in midfield, playing alongside Mousa Dembele.
Crystal Palace had much the better of the first half but it ended without a goal. They worked hard and crowded Tottenham out whenever they had the ball and then broke at pace and constantly troubling Spurs back-line. Palace set out at a high tempo which Spurs never matched and they spurned a 7th minute penalty, Jason Puncheon putting the spot kick, high and wide into the stand after a foul by Mousa Dembele on Chamakh who worked hard and caused Spurs problems with his pace and running from deep.
When Spurs had possession Palace were quickly back in position to force Spurs to pass the ball back and forwards across the edge of the area. When they dispossessed Spurs they broke quickly and from crosses and shots they won 5 corners which also caused Spurs problems. A corner after 31 minutes saw a Palace goal-bound shot blocked by their own player.
Spurs best moments came from 19 year old Nabil Bentaleb. After 4 minutes a low shot from 25 yards troubled the goalkeeper who saved it at the second attempt with Soldado closing in. Then after 33 minutes an even better effort from 30 yards beat the goalkeeper and hit the inside of the post but went across goal and out on the other side for a goal kick.
Tottenham had little time on the ball and with Palace having all 10 men back to cover, their crosses into the area were cleared with little trouble and Spurs only corner came in added time.Spurs took control from the start of the second half and worked much harder, denying Palace the opportunity to get forward. An early cross into the area by Danny Rose was played on by Soldado to Eriksen but defenders forced him across the area and his shot was blocked for a corner. Spurs didn’t have to wait long for the goal to break the deadlock, going ahead after 51 minutes. Eriksen finished well after Adebayor created the chance by flicking on Naughton’s long ball forward.
This was what Spurs needed, they were able to relax and played more possession football while Palace weren’t as effective as they had been before the interval. Spurs were being more positive, getting crosses into the area and forcing the Palace players to defend them. With just under an hour played Defoe replaced Soldado and six minutes later he had a cross/shot which just eluded Adebayor. A minute later a break by Bentaleb from deep presented the ball for Defoe whose shot was deflected but Adebayor had fouled the keeper.
Spurs positive play paid off with a second goal after 73 minutes. Lennon picked up the ball in a central position and played it to Defoe in the area. The Toronto-bound striker lifted the ball over the goalkeeper to wrap up Spurs win.
Spurs were now in control and could have added a third when Defoe broke from his own half but he elected to shoot when Bentaleb was free for a pass. There was much more movement from Spurs in the second half and it was only in the final minutes that Palace threatened from free-kicks and corners in added time although one shot from 35 yards curled past the post with Lloris rooted to the spot.
Tottenham, in their 200th Premier League London derby overcame a difficult first period to take the three points and secure their first home league win over Palace since 1980. They maintain their challenge for a top-4 finish with 13 points out of a possible 15 under Tim Sherwood. Palace despite their hard work drop to bottom of the table.