Harry Kane scored in a second Premier League game in a row as Tottenham Hotspur secured a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Crystal Palace.
Tottenham Hotspur maintained their excellent record under Antonio Conte by securing a comfortable 3-0 victory over Crystal Palace on Boxing Day. The three points helped them move to fifth position in the Premier League table, trailing fourth-placed Arsenal by six points but with three games in hand.
As the scoreline suggests, Tottenham were the better of the two sides as they applied pressure on the Crystal Palace defence right from the beginning. Oliver Skipp and Son Heung-Min came close with their efforts on goal. But Spurs’ eventual breakthrough came in the 32nd minute through Harry Kane, as he turned home a square ball from Lucas Moura.
A few minutes later, Lucas himself got on to the scoresheet by latching on to a cross from Emerson Royal, thus doubling his side’s advantage heading into half-time. Tottenham’s job became even easier when Wilfried Zaha pushed Davinson Sanchez to the floor, leading to his second yellow and sending off in the 37th minute.
The ten-man Palace tried their best to make things happen in the second half. But they were unable to trouble the Tottenham defence. Their hopes of a potential comeback were shattered when Son Heung-Min netted Spurs’ third in the 74th minute, thereby sealing all three points for his team. Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will take a look at how both the set of players performed in the game in North London this weekend.
Hugo Lloris: 6/10
With just four attempts on goal and zero on target, Hugo Lloris had a very quiet afternoon as Crystal Palace struggled to create anything of note. It led to a relatively easy clean sheet for the Tottenham goalkeeper – his fourth under Antonio Conte.
Davinson Sanchez: 8/10
Davinson Sanchez was a victim of both the fouls that led to bookings for Zaha. Defensively, he was a rock at the back, looking particularly strong in his tackles, while his ability to read the game helped him neutralize potential counter-attacking threats posed by Palace.
A moment of madness from Wilfried Zaha 😤
He receives his second yellow card for this shove on Davinson Sánchez! 🟥
From bad to worse for Crystal Palace… pic.twitter.com/sP6whMwezo
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) December 26, 2021
Eric Dier: 7.5/10
Operating at the heart of Tottenham’s three-man backline, Eric Dier played a vital role in his team’s build-up from the back. His imposing figure in defence was also crucial in helping Spurs keep the lid on Odsonne Edouard for the most part of the game.
Japhet Tanganga: 7.5/10
Japhet Tanganga offered adequate defensive cover to his partners in Dier and Sanchez. He showcased his strength in one-on-one duels, leading to very little space or time on the ball for the opposition wingers.
Emerson Royal: 8.5/10
It was an excellent display from Emerson Royal, whose influence on the right flank was crucial to Tottenham’s chance creation. The former Barcelona man impressed the onlookers with his link-up play whilst making marauding runs out wide. His crossing also looked strong, with the defender notably registering the assist for Lucas’ goal in the first half.
🇧🇷 Emerson Royal tem a maior média de desarmes entre TODOS os 1.967 jogadores das grandes ligas da Europa na temporada 2021/22:
◉ 12 jogos
◉ 42 desarmes
◉ 3,5 desarmes por jogo
— Footstats I2A (@Footstats) December 26, 2021
Oliver Skipp: 7.5/10
Oliver Skipp had an early attempt on goal swivel away from Jack Butland. But as far as his contributions in midfield are concerned, the Englishman offered stability and aggression in the second line of press for Conte’s men. His understanding with his midfield partner was vital in helping Spurs remain on top throughout.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg: 7.5/10
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg was at his usual best on Sunday. His willingness to get into tackles made life difficult for the Palace midfielders. The Dane’s return to form is good news for Tottenham, as they look to push for the top four places during the second half of the campaign.
Sergio Reguilon: 7.5/10
Sergio Reguilon wasn’t as impressive as Emerson Royal on the opposite flank. But he played a critical role in applying pressure on the Palace defence thanks to his marauding runs out wide and combination play with the wingers.
Lucas Moura: 9/10
Lucas Moura was the undisputed Man of the Match in this 3-0 win over Crystal Palace. The Brazilian was involved in all of the goals, assisting both Kane and Son’s strikes while netting one for himself just before half-time.
The smallest player on the pitch, Lucas Moura, rising like a salmon to score for Spurs 🐟 pic.twitter.com/7PolzTqP0j
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) December 26, 2021
The former PSG star has certainly been the most improved player under Conte, showcasing a whole new level of quality, commitment and aggression. His form during the second half of the campaign could be crucial in helping Spurs reach their objectives.
Son Heung-Min: 8.5/10
Son Heung-Min didn’t fail to impress either, using his technical prowess, speed and tactical flexibility to cause all sorts of problems for the Palace defence. It was yet another lively performance as the South Korean international slowly begins to form a deadly trifecta alongside Lucas and Kane.
Harry Kane: 8.5/10
With just two goals in the Premier League this season, the onus was on Harry Kane to deliver this weekend. And the Englishman didn’t disappoint at all, channelling his last season’s performances by playing the role of a playmaker at times.
Indeed, the forward’s ability to find cross-field passes was integral in helping Spurs create goalscoring opportunities. Kane was rewarded for his efforts as well, with the Tottenham superstar scoring the opener around the half-hour mark before playing a vital role in the build-up to the second goal from Lucas.
Harry Kane in the Premier League In 2021:
🥅 22 goal involvements
⚽️ 17 goals
🅰️ 5 assists
Son Heung-min in the Premier League In 2021:
🥅 22 goal involvements
⚽️ 14 goals
🅰️ 8 assists
Both so important to this Spurs side. 🤝 pic.twitter.com/ZwfWLeIEkv
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) December 26, 2021
Steven Bergwijn: 6/10
Offered more pace and energy to Tottenham’s game after coming on for Kane around the hour mark. Did not really make a telling impact on the proceedings.
Bryan Gil: N/A
A late replacement for Son. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.
Tanguy Ndombele: N/A
A late replacement for Hojbjerg. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.
Jack Butland: 6/10
Jack Butland made a decent save to keep out Son’s long-range effort early on in the proceedings. But the Crystal Palace goalkeeper could not have done anything to save any of the three goals scored by Spurs later on in the proceedings.
Joel Ward: 5/10
Operating at right-back, Joel Ward was always going to have a difficult afternoon dealing with the threat of Reguilon and Son. His struggles allowed Spurs to put pressure on the opposition defence, with many of the attacks originating from the right-hand side.
Joachim Andersen: 4.5/10
It was evident that Joachim Andersen was lacking sharpness, having returned from an injury spell recently. The Dane could not catch up with the Tottenham forwards on multiple occasions, thus allowing the opposition attack to run rings around the Palace defence.
James Tomkins: 4/10
A disappointing performance from James Tomkins, who particularly struggled to keep a lid on Kane. The forward’s movements made life difficult for the centre-back, who should have done better to prevent the goals.
Tyrick Mitchell: 5/10
Tyrick Mitchell didn’t have the best of games either, which is not surprising given that he had to deal with the threat of Lucas and Emerson on the far side. It was a bit too much for the youngster to handle, although he was relatively solid after the restart.
Conor Gallagher: 6/10
Hailed as one of the most in-form midfielders in the Premier League heading into this game, Conor Gallagher was overwhelmed by Tottenham’s dominance in the proceedings. The on-loan Chelsea youngster did try to get himself involved in the game by taking part in one-on-one duels or tackles, but it wasn’t enough to make any difference.
Once again, with all this attrition, Chelsea should recall loanees Conor Gallagher and Billy Gilmour in January. No brainer at this point.
— Matt Murphy (@MattMurph24) December 26, 2021
Will Hughes: 5.5/10
Will Hughes had an underwhelming afternoon at the heart of the Palace midfield. The former Watford man had very little impact on the game, with the Eagles certainly missing the presence of someone like Luka Milivojevic, whose proficiency from set-pieces may have led to opportunities.
Cheikhou Kouyate: 6.5/10
Cheikhou Kouyate was certainly the pick of the Palace midfielders in the defeat to Tottenham. The former West Ham man offered good defensive resistance in the middle of the park, thanks to his ability to read the game and hassle the opposing ball-carriers.
Jordan Ayew: 5/10
Jordan Ayew was unable to offer any quality in the Crystal Palace frontline. The forward was certainly lacking the confidence in possession, especially in front of goal, with his only attempt not finding the target.
Odsonne Edouard: 4/10
Tasked with the responsibility of spearheading the line for Crystal Palace, Odsonne Edouard was anonymous for the large parts of the game. He was expertly defended by the Tottenham back three, with the former Celtic star managing only 27 touches in the game before being subbed off in the second half.
Wilfried Zaha: 1/10
Wilfried Zaha had a disastrous game, to say the least. The former Man United starlet struggled to create anything in the final third, but it was his lack of temperament that truly cost the game for Palace.
— Mirror Football (@MirrorFootball) December 26, 2021
Indeed, the winger sabotaged his team’s chances of making a potential comeback by nonsensically pushing Sanchez to the floor, thereby earning a second yellow. It was a childish move and certainly an unacceptable one at this level of football.
Jean-Philippe Mateta: 5/10
Jean-Philippe Mateta was brought on in place of Edouard around the hour mark, as Palace opted for fresh legs in the final third. Unfortunately, the former Mainz man failed to make any real impact on the proceedings and mustered a total of just 11 touches in the final 25 minutes.
Jeffrey Schlupp: N/A
A late replacement for Gallagher. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.
Nathan Ferguson: N/A
A late replacement for Mitchell. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.