Match report and highlights as Tottenham move up to fifth with a 3-0 win over 10-man Crystal Palace, who were without manager Patrick Vieira due to Covid; Harry Kane, Lucas Moura and Heung-Min Son scored for Spurs; Eagles had Wilfried Zaha sent off
Sunday 26 December 2021 23:26, UK
Harry Kane, Lucas Moura and Heung-Min Son were on target as Tottenham continued their resurgence under Antonio Conte with a 3-0 win over Crystal Palace, who had Wilfried Zaha sent off for two bookable offences in the first half.
The Eagles had asked for the game to be postponed after manager Patrick Vieira and several players were sent into isolation following a Covid outbreak, but the Premier League insisted they had not reached the necessary threshold, finally confirming the fixture would go ahead a few hours before kick-off.
Spurs duly capitalised on the apparent disruption to Palace's preparations, with Harry Kane scoring for a second successive Premier League game when he converted Lucas Moura's low cross to open the scoring in the 32nd minute.
Moura doubled their lead himself just two minutes later when he headed home Emerson Royal's cross from close-range following another rapid Spurs attack.
Crystal Palace's afternoon then went from bad to worse as Zaha, who had earlier been booked for a foul on Davinson Sanchez, received his marching orders for a shove on the same player while Vieira's assistant Osian Roberts watched on from the technical area.
Tottenham's dominance thereafter was such that Conte was able to withdraw Kane soon after the hour-mark with Tuesday's trip to Southampton in mind, and Heung-Min Son wrapped up the victory when he flicked home another Moura cross in the 74th minute.
The win lifts Tottenham up to fifth in the Premier League table and means they have taken 14 points from a possible 18 since Conte replaced Nuno Espirito Santo. Palace, meanwhile, slip to 12th.
Tottenham: Lloris (7), Sanchez (7), Dier (7), Tanganga (7), Emerson (8), Skipp (7), Hojbjerg (7), Reguilon (7), Moura (9), Son (8), Kane (8).
Subs: Bergwijn (6), Gil (6), Ndombele (6).
Crystal Palace: Butland (5), Ward (5), Andersen (5), Tomkins (5), Mitchell (7), Kouyate (6), Hughes (6), Gallagher (5), Ayew (5), Zaha (3), Edouard (5).
Subs: Ferguson (6), Schlupp (6), Mateta (6).
Man of the match: Lucas Moura
Palace had spent the build-up to the game pushing for postponement but their starting line-up was not far off full strength and they started brightly, dominating possession in the early stages and creating a couple of half-chances for Jordan Ayew.
Soon, though, the hosts began to assert their superiority, with their first chance falling to Oliver Skipp, who fired wide from the edge of the box after Japhet Tanganga's effort was blocked.
Spurs began to pin the visitors back and should have taken the lead in the 25th minute when Son sent a pass to Sergio Reguilon through the legs of Joel Ward and the Spaniard's left-wing cross was headed wastefully wide by the unmarked Moura at the near post.
It did not take long, however, for the Brazilian - picked ahead of the resurgent Dele Alli - to make amends. His cross for Kane's opener, having latched onto Emerson's through-ball, was perfectly weighted, and he made no mistake with his second headed chance just two minutes and 16 seconds later.
Emerson was involved again, the marauding right-back providing the cross for his countryman, and Palace's afternoon soured further a couple of minutes later when Zaha needlessly lashed out at Sanchez for his second yellow card.
The 29-year-old protested Jonathan Moss's decision but he had little grounds to do so having allowed his frustration to get the better of him. He left the field having lost possession nearly twice as many times (10) as any other player on the pitch.
The second half was a story of attack-versus-defence, with Conte even able to rest Kane, replacing him with Steven Bergwijn after he had sent a flicked effort narrowly over.
Spurs continued to push for a third goal and it arrived courtesy of Son, who steered another dangerous Moura cross past Palace goalkeeper Jack Butland before he too was substituted.
Conte's men could have extended their lead further, with Sanchez firing their best chance of the closing stages wide two minutes from time, but their work was already done by that point.
A side which had only won two of their last seven Premier League games at the time of Conte's appointment have now won five out of seven under their new head coach.
They sit six points behind fourth-placed Arsenal, but with three games in hand on their north London rivals. While Palace lick their wounds, Spurs supporters are entitled to feel optimistic about the future.
Moura had only played nine minutes of Tottenham's 2-2 draw against Liverpool in their last Premier League game but his goalscoring showing in the Carabao Cup win over West Ham convinced Antonio Conte to start him and he duly rewarded his manager's faith.
He was guilty of missing a glorious chance to put Spurs ahead midway through the first half but that spurned opportunity soon became an irrelevance. The Brazilian set up Kane's opener, scored the second himself, then provided the cross for Son's third.
Tottenham head coach Antonio Conte: "For sure we have to try to continue to improve, and to exploit the confidence that is going to improve.
"We know very well that we have a [big] job to do. It's good to get three points; it's good to score three goals with your three strikers; it's good to keep another clean sheet. But we know very well that we have to work very hard to improve the situation.
"We have strikers who are very good at receiving the ball and then creating something important to make an assist. But at the same time, we also have strikers who are good when they have space in front to attack.
"We are trying to improve both situations because when you find a team who want to stay in their half of the pitch, you have to use more quality, not run but use your quality to make a good pass and beat a man in a space that is not so large.
"Today I'm happy because they scored and for sure they have to say thanks to our team because the rest of our team worked very hard to create chances."
Crystal Palace assistant Osian Roberts: "We're disappointed because [the sending off] made it such a difficult afternoon for us after a bright start, we felt.
"We were fairly comfortable and okay with the start we had but it's a difficult place to come at the best of times, especially with the form they're in at home.
"Going down to 10 men made it difficult but I think in the second half we showed a lot of character and a lot of discipline to make sure they didn't run away with it.
"Ultimately you saw we were short of options on the bench today but, to be honest, we've been focusing football-wise throughout the week and preparations went very well in a football sense.
"In the last 24 hours, we were in our bubble, coaching staff and players, just focusing on the game and leaving the other aspects to others at the club. We tried to get on with it the best we can and unfortunately we didn't get what we wanted out of the match today."
Both sides face quick turnarounds before their next games, with Spurs travelling to Southampton on Tuesday and Crystal Palace hosting Norwich on the same day. Both games kick-off at 3pm.