Tottenham Hotspur continued their unbeaten start to the season by securing a 2-1 win over Crystal Palace, propelling them to a five-point lead at the top of the Premier League on Friday.
Ange Postecoglou’s side found themselves evenly matched with their London rivals, Palace, during a closely contested opening period. However, the game took a decisive turn in their favour when a Joel Ward own goal provided them with the lead shortly after the break.
Spurs’ captain, Son Heung-min, further solidified their position by tapping in his eighth league goal of the season in the 66th minute. This effectively secured the points for Tottenham, and they were in full control of the match until Jordan Ayew scored in stoppage time for Palace.
James Maddison played a pivotal role in both of Tottenham’s goals, showcasing his outstanding performance for the visitors.
Tottenham’s victory, their eighth in ten games, brought their points tally to 26. This marks their best start to a top-flight season since 1960–61. They now enjoy a five-point lead over reigning champions Manchester City, who are set to face Manchester United on Sunday, and Arsenal, who will welcome bottom-placed Sheffield United on Saturday.
Despite possessing the ball for extended periods, Palace struggled to seriously trouble Tottenham’s goalkeeper, Sam Johnstone, in the first half. Palace did have some early efforts by Ayew and Odsonne Edouard saved by Tottenham’s Guglielmo Vicario.
Maddison played a central role in Tottenham’s offensive efforts and was instrumental in earning his side the lead. When Pape Matar Sarr’s attempted cross was blocked, the ball found Maddison, who drove it into a dangerous area. There, it ricocheted off Ward’s leg and into the net.
Tottenham’s second goal, however, was a result of excellent teamwork. Maddison combined skillfully with Brennan Johnson on the left, and the substitute Johnson squared the ball for Son to convert. This goal, surprisingly, turned out to be Tottenham’s only shot on target.
Although Spurs threatened to score a third goal, they had to endure an anxious ending to the match. Pedro Porro mistimed his jump when trying to clear a cross, and Ayew controlled the ball with his chest and arm before unleashing a shot past Vicario. The goal stood after an extended VAR review.
Regarding the controversial goal, Postecoglou remarked, “I am not going to talk about handball. I have no idea what is a handball.”
In more positive news for Tottenham, their Uruguayan midfielder, Rodrigo Bentancur, made a late appearance off the bench after being sidelined for nine months with a knee injury.