Spurs wasted no time in putting the pedal to the metal. Within the first few minutes, they had a couple of chances that they couldn’t quite finish. Son Heung-Min fired up the crowd just two minutes into the match on a day that only riled up the home crowd even more. Palace opted to start the match playing eleven behind the ball, determined to not give up the first senior goal in the stadium. The 17th minute was arguably the best chance early on as Christian Eriksen attempted a low shot for the far post but had his chance denied by Vicente Guaita.
Spurs had a golden opportunity in the 27th minute as Dele drew a foul about 20 yards away from goal. Harry Kane immediately grabbed the ball, refusing to let anyone else have it. His kick was powerful and looked headed for the net, but was deflected out to touch. The ensuing corner kick resulted in nothing of note, the score staying 0-0.
Spurs continued to dominate possession throughout the first half, sitting at 75% approaching the 40th minute. A lovely chip into the box found Eriksen, but the Danish International had to chest it down and couldn’t control it. Guaita gathered the ball up to end the chance. While Spurs continued to push the envelope, they couldn’t get the opening goal and the half ended as it started with no goals.
It was more of the same to start the second half. Spurs earned an early corner that ended with a Kieran Trippier stratosphere shot while Sonny got a chance a couple minutes later but also put his over the crossbar. Palace finally showed some interest in attacking in the 51st minute on a deep ball for Michy Batshuyai who attempted a curling shot far post but went wide.
After owning the match in almost every phase, Spurs finally got their first goal in the new stadium. Palace played a horrific pass into the middle of the pitch, allowing Spurs to get on a quick counter. Sonny gathered up the ball and fired a shot that looked like a curling attempt. The shot was deflected by Luka Milivojević, causing it to go near post and giving Guaita no chance at saving it. Spurs had their lead and the stadium erupted.
Harry Kane desperately wanted to score in this match, and there was no better chance for him in the 65th minute. Dele played Kane in on a lovely pass that put him one on one with Guaita. He opted for a curling shot instead of power but just couldn’t get the bend that he needed. The shot went a little over the bar and wide, keeping the score at 1-0.
Pochettino changed up the formation in the 68th minute, bringing on Harry Winks for Danny Rose and reverting to a 4-2-3-1. While the squad changed, the tactics didn’t. Spurs kept up the press and forced Crystal Palace to try and break them down. The south Londoners couldn’t and ultimately paid the price in the 80th minute. Getting free on the break, Kane faked out the Palace defense enough to force them into panic mode. He was taken down for what could have been a penalty, but the ball rolled right to a streaking Eriksen. He slotted it home past Guaita to make it 2-0.
Palace finally woke up and got a couple of chances on Hugo Lloris, the first one being a wild cross that headed for the far corner. On replay it looked like Hugo got just a hand on the shot to redirect it, but the second chance there was no question that he made a save. Wilfried Zaha juked Trippier enough to put a shot on target. Hugo made a wonderful kick save to send the shot toward the corner flag to kill the chance.
Spurs had one final chance to put the icing on the cake in the third minute of stoppage time as Lucas got free on a long ball, firing a shot from the edge of the 18. Guaita made the save and Kane tried to get a headed rebound, but he couldn’t get any power on it. Andre Marriner saw enough and brought the match to an end.
Thoughts on the Match:
- The stadium is incredible. I have so much more to say but we’ll save that for another article.
- From start to finish, Spurs owned this match. They crushed Palace with the press and gave them absolutely no chance to score until very late.
- I don’t know if anyone wanted a goal in this match more than Kane. He had his chances, but he was bright in attack and his usual self for 90 minutes even without a goal.
- The defense had themselves a strong match today. There were a couple of magnificent tackles to snuff out the few chances Palace had.
- I thought Sissoko was solid today. He was all over the pitch and made some key tackles.
- The purest man in football gets the first goal at the stadium. That works!
- For Palace, I would take Zaha and Wan-Bissaka right now, and I have no doubt we’ll be linked to both this summer.
- Spurs move up to third place, one point above Arsenal and Chelsea, though Arsenal have a match in hand. United fall to sixth.
- Bring on City.