Son Heung-min and James Maddison spearheaded another Tottenham victory on Friday, this time 2-1 over Crystal Palace, keeping Ange Postecoglou’s side unbeaten 10 games into his tenure.
Before the rest of the matchweek 10 fixtures are played, Spurs sit five points clear at the top of the Premier League table.
[ MORE: 10 key questions for Week 10 of the Premier League season ]
Tottenham were certainly made to wait and work for the win, though, as Roy Hodgson’s side executed its game plan to defend deep in a 4-5-1 and chase chances on the counter-attack to near-perfection. Unfortunately for the Eagles, the part they couldn’t do — put the ball in the back of the net, until it was too little, too late — is the most important part of the equation. Despite Tottenham having 72 percent of possession in the first half, Crystal Palace out-shot the PL leaders 8-3 (2-0 on target), even if their efforts only amounted to a grand total of 0.27 xG (to 0.13).
Maddison, Son and Co., found far more joy following the halftime restart, and in the 53rd minute it was the former who almost singlehandedly caused the opening goal. After closing down goalkeeper Sam Johnstone into within an inch of a tragic goalkeeping blunder, settling instead for a desperate clearance and Tottenham throw-in. Spurs quickly won the ball back after the throw-in and eventually it fell to Maddison on the corner of the six-yard box. His shot was dragged wide, but hit with real venom — too quickly on defender Joel Ward that he could only shin the ball into his own net.
13 minutes later, Maddison’s fingerprints were all over the move that led to Spurs’ second goal, though again he didn’t receive credit for an assist. As substitute winger Brennan Johnson made a clever run into the left channel, Maddison found him with a deftly placed through ball. Johnson cut the ball back first-time with his left foot and found Son lurking on the edge of the six, completely unmarked.
Palace pulled a goal back three minutes into stoppage time, but the decision to give the goal upon video review was perhaps controversial with Spurs supporters. Joachim Andersen played a high ball into the box, where Ayew chested it down, turned and volleyed a fantastic finish past Guglielmo Vicario. However, video review quite clearly showed that after coming off his chest first, the ball then struck Ayew’s forearm and/or wrist before falling, helpfully, right at his feet. Alas, the goal stood and, alas, it was the closest that Crystal Palace would get.
Tottenham will be back in Premier League action in 10 days’ time, a week from Monday (Nov. 6), when they host Chelsea and beloved former Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino makes his return to north London. Crystal Palace will travel to Turf Moor to take on Burnley next Saturday (Nov. 4).
Player ratings – Crystal Palace vs Tottenham
Crystal Palace vs Tottenham Hotspur, live score: 0-2
Goalscorers: Joel Ward (53′ – OG), Son Heung-min (66′)
53rd minute – James Maddison forces Joel Ward into opening own goal
66th minute – Brennan Johnson finds Son Heung-min for Spurs’ second goal
How to watch Crystal Palace vs Tottenham Hotspur live, stream link, time
Kickoff: 3pm ET, Friday (Oct. 27)
TV channel: USA Network
Online: Stream live on NBCSports.com
Crystal Palace starting lineup
Johnstone — Ward, Guehi, Andersen, Mitchell — Ayew, Lerma, Doucoure, Schlupp, Hughes — Edouard
Focus on Crystal Palace
OUT: Eberechi Eze (thigh), James Tomkins (calf), Dean Henderson (thigh) | QUESTIONABLE: Michael Olise (thigh)
Tottenham starting lineup
Vicario — Porro, Romero, Van de Ven, Davies — Bissouma, Sarr, Maddison — Kulusevski, Son, Richarlison
Focus on Tottenham Hotspur
OUT: Ryan Sessegnon (thigh), Manor Solomon (knee), Ivan Perisic (knee), Alfie Whiteman (ankle) | QUESTIONABLE: Destiny Udogie (undisclosed), Ben Davies (knock)