Despite win, Tottenham Palace clash reminds team of key weakness

Spurs pulled out a crucial win, but an Eberechi Eze goal served as a reminder of Tottenham's struggles against set pieces.

Tottenham Hotspur v Crystal Palace - Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur v Crystal Palace - Premier League / Marc Atkins/GettyImages
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The deadlock was broken in today's London Derby when Crystal Palace's Eberechi Ezi sent a curling shot past the outstretched gloves of goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario. The shot came from a set piece just outside of the 18, following a rough challenge from Rodrigo Bentancur on Palace's number 10.

Tottenham looked ready to defend the strike, with a four man wall, a player on the floor to block the low shot, and everyone holding the line. However, it seems that Eze's knock was able to catch Vicario off guard, putting Spurs on the back foot late into the game.

Supporters were surely holding their breath leading up to the goal, since anyone who's watched Spurs' recent fixtures knows that they're prone to concede on set pieces, whether they be free kicks or corners.

In Tottenham's previous match, a 2-1 loss to Wolves, the first goal against Ange's side came from a corner in the 42nd minute. Two matches before that, in a 2-2 draw with Everton, both conceded goals came from set pieces, one being a corner, the other a free kick which saw the opposition equalize in the 94th minute.

The Spurs defense has been scrutinized in the past for their shortcomings on multiple fronts, but the major issue at present seems to be their inability to mark tightly and clear the ball out of the penalty area.

Despite the concession, however, the team were able to rally back, carrying forward an attacking foray comprised of Timo Werner, Son Heung-min, Brennan Johnson, James Maddison, and Dejan Kulusevski.

In the end, Ange's boys got the job done, but not before they were reminded of a crucial area on the pitch that needs much improvement. Hopefully, in the week between now and their next fixture, the coaching staff and defensive personnel can work in tandem to shore up the gaps in the back, and assuage the worries of supporters every time an opponent lines up to take a set piece.

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