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Tottenham Hotspur 4-1 Crystal Palace: 5 talking points as Harry Kane and Gareth Bale down Eagles | Premier League 2020-21 

Tottenham Hotspur v Crystal Palace - Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur v Crystal Palace - Premier League
Ume Elvis
ANALYST
Modified 08 Mar 2021
Top 5 / Top 10

A brace each from Harry Kane and Gareth Bale helped Tottenham Hotspur to an emphatic 4-1 victory over Crystal Palace on Sunday.

Spurs made two changes to the side that saw off Fulham in midweek, with Harry Winks coming in for Dele Alli and Sergio Reguilon replacing Ben Davies on the left of defense.

Tottenham Hotspur started on the front foot and fashioned their first chance of the game as early as the sixth minute. Bale found space on the right flank and sent a pristine cross into the area. However, Heung-min Son headed the ball straight at Vicent Guaita.

This was a sign of things to come as Spurs continued to ask all the questions in a one-sided first half that saw them dominate possession and fashion the best goalscoring opportunities.

Tottenham Hotspur finally made a breakthrough in the 23rd minute after the visitors lost possession while trying to play out from the back. Lucas Moura picked Milivojevic's pocket and played Kane in. The striker then teed Bale up with a left-footed square ball in the area, which the Welshman tapped into the back of an empty net.

Sergio Reguilon missed a golden chance soon after, and Crystal Palace made Tottenham Hotspur pay for their frugality with an equalizer right on the stroke of half-time.

Luka Milivojevic made amends for his earlier error by sending a delightful cross into the box that Christian Benteke rose highest to head home against the run of play.

Mourinho would have been livid at conceding a goal on the stroke of half-time but his locker room talk seemingly paid off as Tottenham Hotspur reclaimed the advantage barely four minutes into the second half.

It was again Kane who set Bale up, with the England international redirecting Reguilon's cross into the Welshman's path with a header at the backpost. The Tottenham Hotspur number nine, in turn, headed the ball home to put the hosts 2-1 up.

Kane got in on the act with a deserved goal just three minutes later. He finished Matt Doherty's pass with an exquisite one-time shot from 25 yards. This was undoubtedly a contender for goal of the season and gave Tottenham Hotspur some breathing space in the game.

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From then on, it was practically one-way traffic, and Spurs got a fourth goal when Son unselfishly cut back for Kane to tap into an empty net even though he had a clear sight of goal.

There was a brief VAR check to determine the legality of the goal but it was upheld after the Tottenham Hotspur striker was adjudged to be marginally behind the ball before the pass.

The hosts held on for the victory, which saw them move up to sixth spot in the Premier League table. Here are five talking points from the game.

#5 Three consecutive victories reinstalls Tottenham Hotspur in the top-four race

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Tottenham Hotspur are on a good run of form
Tottenham Hotspur are on a good run of form

Tottenham Hotspur have had an indifferent campaign so far. Despite picking up impressive victories against the likes of Manchester City and Manchester United, capitulations against smaller sides have cost them dearly.

A run of just one win from six Premier League games between the end of January and February saw them slide down the table. However, the Lily Whites have since responded in style.

A 4-0 whitewash of Burnley saw Mourinho's side end February on a high. They have followed that up with consecutive wins against Fulham and Crystal Palace.

This has put Tottenham Hotspur firmly back in the race for the Champions League spots. A favorable run of fixtures in the coming weeks has swung the pendulum back in their favor.

With Liverpool currently out-of-sorts and Everton due to play Chelsea on Monday, Tottenham Hotspur have a huge window of opportunity to stake a claim to the top four spots in the coming weeks.

#4 Wilfred Zaha back in action for Crystal Palace

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Wilfred Zaha is an integral player for Crystal Palace
Wilfred Zaha is an integral player for Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace can arguably be called the biggest 'one-man team' in the Premier League, as they are simply not the same side without Wilfred Zaha.

The signing of the talented Eberechi Eze from Queens Park Rangers last summer might have helped ease some of the creativity load from Zaha. However, it does not negate the fact that the Eagles are still extremely dependent on their number 11.

The proof of their dependence on the Ivory Coast international lies in the fact that they have lost over 70% of the matches they have played without him since he rejoined the club in 2015.

Furthermore, the Selhurst Park outfit have failed to score in 16 of their last 18 defeats without the former Manchester United man.

Having been ruled out for the last month with a thigh problem, Zaha made a return to the bench against Tottenham Hotspur and was summoned at halftime. He, however, failed to make a mark, as match rustiness was evident in his play.

Nevertheless, Roy Hodgson will be pleased with the fact that he now has the talisman at his disposal.

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Published 08 Mar 2021, 06:17 IST
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