Spurs put Cup defeat behind them with late winner at Palace
Ahead of north London derby, Christian Eriksen strikes in 78th minute to keep Mauricio Pochettino's in the title race
26 April, 2017 — By Dan Carrier
CRYSTAL PALACE 0, SPURS 1
A LITTLE piece of magic from the boots of Christian Eriksen kept the title chase alive this evening (Wednesday) when the Danish midfielder struck home late on from 30 yards to win his side three vital points.
Spurs had enjoyed most of the play against a Palace team who have beaten Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool in April – but despite the lion’s share of the chances, it seemed the players were still leg-weary after their exertions on Saturday in the FA Cup semi-final.
And what a way to shake off the disappointment of the Cup defeat against Chelsea.
Boss Mauricio Pochettino told Sky Sports afterwards: “It was unbelievable – a very good performance.
“We changed our shape at half-time and it was more fluid. We started to find space and and started to push Palace deeper and deeper.”
And he reiterated the line he has now been saying for weeks – that his team will chase the leaders until it is mathematically impossible for them to be caught. He said his players would now turn their focus to their visitors, Arsenal, on Sunday. A win against their rivals would make it eight Premier League wins on the bounce – a sign that Pochettino’s players feel the same as he does.
He added: “The challenge is to keep going. It will be a big derby, perhaps the last at White Hart Lane, and I think it will be an exciting game.”
Pochettino drew on his regulars, restoring full-backs Ben Davies and Kyle Walker to the starting line-up. But with the game goalless at half-time, the Spurs manager rolled the dice, taking off his two central midfielders, Mousa Dembele and Victor Wanyama, and shuffling his pack by introducing Heung-Min Son to give added width. Moussa Sissoko was also given 45 minutes.
Spurs dominated the second half. Dele Alli had a chance to get Spurs in front when he almost connected with a Walker cross from close range, and Harry Kane also found space at times. But Palace’s stubborn defence fought a good rearguard action to keep things level until Eriksen found the energy in the 78th minute to break into space. With Palace defenders in front of him, he chose to strike for goal, and Wayne Hennessey was beaten at last.
There are five games left and four points in it. Chelsea go to Everton at the weekend, while Spurs host Arsenal. The slim dreams of a title remain alive, until the weekend, at least.
SPURS: Lloris, Dier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Walker, Davies, Dembele (Sissoko, 45), Wanyama (Son, 45) Alli (Trippier, 90), Kane, Eriksen.