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Happy Dele-versary: remembering THAT goal against Crystal Palace, two years later

More than any other, this was the moment the world took notice of Dele Alli.


Two years ago today, Dele Alli marked his official arrival on the world football stage. The 2015-16 season was his first at Tottenham Hotspur after joining the team from MK Dons, and while he was already an established part of Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs squad by that part in the season, he was seen more as a surprisingly young, very good player with a huge upside, and not a potential superstar.

On January 23, 2016, Tottenham traveled to Selhurst Park to take on Crystal Palace. After going down early to a Jan Vertonghen own-goal, Harry Kane had clawed an equalizer back midway through the second half. With the game drawn at 1-1, the match winding down and Spurs searching for a late winner on the road, Harry Kane put a long cross-field ball in front of Palace’s goal. The ball was headed centrally by Christian Eriksen towards Dele.

Who then did this.

I’ve been watching football games for a long time now, my football memory is mostly crap, and I don’t remember my exact reactions to most in-game situations. I remember this one. I emitted a... I guess “shriek” would be the only word to describe it. It was high-pitched, and almost inhuman. It scared the cat off my lap and out of the room. I think my hands ended up in the “surrender cobra” position. I know I jumped out of my chair and ended up on my knees in disbelief.

It was THAT good.

Nacer Chadli went on to score a third in injury time and Spurs won the game 3-1, but nobody remembers much about those other goals. Dele had already scored five league goals by that point of the season, but that goal against Palace was probably the exact moment when even casual watchers of the Premier League started to sit up and take notice of that teenager from Milton Keynes.

That goal is legitimately one of the best Tottenham Hotspur goals I’ve ever seen. Two years later I’m not sure if there’s another one in recent memory that comes close.

What was your reaction when you saw that goal? Share your memories and recollections in the comments. And happy Dele-versary.