Tottenham dominate Palace as Son Heung-min scores in 200th start
After conceding first for seven straight league games, Tottenham Hotspur have finally cracked the code — score first, score lots and score with the creativity and confidence that ought to come naturally to a squad with so much depth.
Put that all together and you get a 4-0 rout of Crystal Palace on Wednesday night with two goals from Harry Kane, one from Matt Doherty and a cherry on top of the cake from the man behind the Zorro mask himself, Son Heung-min.
No surprise where Spurs are concerned, it was a scoreless first half. This time things felt different though — there was energy and urgency from Bryan Gil and Oliver Skipp that has often been lacking from the veterans in recent games.
Spurs were pressing throughout the first half, keeping Palace on the backfoot — a perfect reversal of the exact trick that everyone else has used to silence Tottenham in recent games. The score remained at 0-0 at the break, but the game was very clearly Spurs’ to win.
What followed was both a Kane masterclass and a perfect example of what happens when everybody plays nicely together.
Ivan Perisic set up the first goal, lacing a cross toward the far post and Kane was there in the air, overpowering Joel Ward to make it 1-0. Gil set up No. 2, dribbling in from right and feeding the ball across to Kane to lace past the keeper.
Goal No. 2 started with Kane, then went to Son who set up Doherty for a low finish, with Kane then also setting up Son for the last goal of the game, a perfect way to commemorate the Korean international’s 200th start with Tottenham.
Son’s 200th start for Spurs on Wednesday wasn’t only a huge moment in his career, but a significant milestone for the entire continent — he is the first Asian player ever to rack up 200 starts in the Premier League.
With the win, Tottenham showed that even with Dejan Kulusevski and Richarlison out of action they can still play the exciting, dominating style of football they ended last season with. The real challenge will be to see whether they can keep that momentum through the next week before they face vicious rivals and league leaders Arsenal on Jan. 15.
Before then, Spurs will be back in action against Portsmouth in the FA Cup on Saturday.
BY JIM BULLEY [email@example.com]