Every match has vital moments which change the game and Tottenham’s win over Crystal Palace was no different. There were crucial seconds when if things had gone differently, Spurs could have been looking at another disappointing afternoon and a result similar to those they have experienced on previous occasions against teams battling against relegation.
Tim Sherwood acknowledged that Palace took them by surprise with their attacking intent in the first half and that the visitors deserved to be ahead at the interval. Palace’s missed penalty after 7 minutes was a major let off for Spurs. In his post-match interview with @SpursOfficial, Sherwood said,
Tim: "In all honesty, they were unlucky not to go ahead when they missed the penalty. We capitalised on that."
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) January 11, 2014
7th minute: Penalty Miss
Tottemham were very fortunate when after Palace’s lively opening, Jason Puncheon missed the penalty awarded for a challenge by Mousa Dembele. If he had scored rather than place it high and wide into the stand, Spurs task would have been so much more difficult as it would have given Palace added belief and something extra to fight for as they endeavoured to hold on to their advantage.
34th minute: Nabil Bentaleb Shot
If that shot had gone in, what a first Premier League start that would have been for Nabil Bentaleb. His effort from 25 yards hit the inside of the post with the goalkeeper beaten and rather than end up in the net, went across the face of the goal and out on the other side. A goal then could have lifted Tottenham’s confidence and seen them on their way to a more comfortable victory. It wasn’t to be so we had to wait for the second half drama.
Having reached half-time with the match still goal-less it was a relieved Tottenham team which heard some harsh words from Tim Sherwood. They started the second half in a much more positive manner and achieved what I had suggested in the match preview they would be looking for from the kick-off – an early goal.
51st minute: Christian Eriksen Goal
Kyle Naughton who had replaced the injured Kyle Walker, played a high ball forward towards Emmanuel Adebayor on the edge of the Palace penalty area. Adebayor won the aerial challenge and flicked the ball on to Eriksen who was in the box in support. The Dane took one touch and lashed the ball into the roof of the net.56th minute: Jermain Defoe Replaces Roberto Soldado
Soldado had another largely anonymous game with only 22 touches and 1 shot in the 56 minutes he was on the pitch according to the stats from WhoScored.com. The arrival of Jermain Defoe brought greater movement up front with Defoe working harder and looking for the ball. In the 34 minutes he played he was much more involved and had a greater impact with 2 shots, he scored a goal and had 15 touches.
73rd minute: Defoe Secures Victory
Seven minutes after coming on Defoe accepted Aaron Lenon’s pass inside the penalty to score the second goal of the afternoon which was sufficient to secure the three points for Spurs.