Harry Kane’s 35th goal of the season ensured that Tottenham Hotspur kept their unbeaten start to 2018 intact courtesy of a hard-fought 1-0 victory away against Crystal Palace in the Premier League this afternoon.
It had looked like the Eagles would earn a vital point to bolster their bid to avoid relegation after an industrious game at Selhurst Park, but Kane headed home in the 89th minute to break Palace hearts and earn Spurs a third consecutive league win at Palace for the first time in the club’s history.
Spurs are now unbeaten in 15 games across all competitions, representing their best run in 19 years.
Palace started the game rather sloppily and Spurs might have grabbed a lead through Ben Davies, but he was unable to make the most of an almost-comical mixup between Wayne Hennessey and Andros Townsend after Christian Eriksen had sent a free kick into the box.
The hosts’ jitters seemed to be infectious early on, this time as Patrick van Aanholt knocked a poor touch back towards Hennessey which allowed Kane to nip in and steal possession, only for the Spurs striker to fire his effort straight into the keeper’s body.
Spurs could have been awarded a penalty on the half-hour mark when Alexander Sorloth gave the ball away needlessly on the edge of the box. The mishap allowed Kane to eventually gather possession, before going down under a poor challenge from Timothy Fosu-Mensah.
It would have been a stonewall decision, but for the linesman who had already flagged for an offside against the visitors. The resulting replays also proved inconclusive as to who exactly got the final touch on the ball before it reached Kane, allowing Fosu-Mensah’s lunge to go unpunished.
Mauricio Pochettino’s charges continued to dominate the second half and they should have taken the lead when the ball popped up kindly for Eriksen inside the box, although the Dane somehow skewed his volley over the crossbar.
A profligate Spurs were soon to miss another easy chance, this time as Eriksen chipped through to an unmarked Kane, who could somehow only pass wide of the far post with the entire goal gaping. The striker was arguably offside although there was no flag from the linesman, as the England international passed up one of his easiest chances of the season.
As the contest wore on, Palace still offered a threat on the counter and it took some standout defending from Aurier to deny Sorloth, as the full-back produced a vital toe-poke to deny the frontman just as he went to pull the trigger inside the box.
The visitors were not at their best in the final third, but they continued to toil and were almost rewarded when Davies turned in an effort after a melee in the box, although Hennessey was equal to it with a terrific save after seeing the ball late through a number of bodies.
In the end it proved to be Spurs’ day, though, as Kane finally broke free from Damien Delaney in the box to head home a corner in the 89th minute, handing the visitors a victory that had appeared to be elusive for much of the encounter in south London.
Hodgson’s charges now face the unenviable task of taking on both Manchester United and Chelsea in the coming weeks with a squad still ravaged by injuries.
As for Spurs, Pochettino’s men will turn their attentions to an FA Cup fifth-round replay with Rochdale at Wembley in the week.