EPL: Super Son strikes twice as Tottenham demolish Crystal Palace

EPL: Super Son strikes twice as Tottenham demolish Crystal Palace

When was the last time Tottenham produced a performance this complete in a league game? You’d probably have to go back to last season’s Boxing Day victory over Bournemouth to find one, which goes to show how long it has been since Mauricio Pochettino’s side played with this much energy, class and craft.

In that context this thrashing of Crystal Palace could end up being remembered as one of the most important victories of the Pochettino era. After a spluttering start to the season, not to mention all the angst caused by the uncertainty over Christian Eriksen’s future during the summer, Spurs demonstrated that there is plenty of life left in them yet by devouring a ragged Palace side during a first half in which Son Heung-min stole the show with two goals of the highest quality.

Spurs clearly took their cue from their manager. Before this game Pochettino had told the players who were unhappy not to be sold before the European transfer window shut earlier this month to knuckle down and it was satisfying for the Argentinian to see Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen provide a solid base in central defence, Danny Rose keep Wilfried Zaha quiet and Eriksen produce a typically intelligent display in attack.

The sense was that Spurs needed to score early to ensure the game did not fall into a familiar pattern. They have struggled to pick the lock against deep defences in recent months and few teams are better at spoiling a spectacle than Palace, who used the 4-4-1-1 system that brought them victory at Manchester United last month.

With Zaha and Andros Townsend poised to race down the flanks whenever space appeared on the break, there were no surprises from Palace – other, that is, than their ability to keep it tight during a first half in which Spurs seemed capable of scoring at will.

Roy Hodgson’s suffering began when one peach of a long ball from Alderweireld cut through the red and blue wall in the 10th minute. The Belgian centre-back’s pass drifted over Mamadou Sakho’s head and gave Son the chance to control with his left thigh, skip round the flat-footed Gary Cahill and wrongfoot Palace’s goalkeeper, Vicente Guaita, with a shot that bobbled inside the near post.

The goal acted as a release for Spurs, enabling them to summon an intensity that suggested reports of their demise are premature. Harry Winks and Moussa Sissoko had an impressive grip on midfield and the hosts tore forward, pinning Palace back and hunting greedily for more goals.

Plan A had gone out of the window for Hodgson’s side, whose increased adventure meant that Spurs had plenty of space to attack. In the 21st minute Serge Aurier received a pass from Son, sauntered into the area from the right and saw Patrick van Aanholt deflect his low cross into the Palace goal.

Poor Van Aanholt. The left-back was horribly exposed by Townsend’s failure to give him enough cover and Spurs were not in a mood to be merciful. They were rampant in the wide areas and made it 3-0 when Aurier, enjoying a fine game at right-back, dropped a deep cross on to the left foot of Son, who clobbered a ferocious volley past a stunned Guaita.

Son was in one of his waspish moods and he was involved in the fourth goal as well, spinning clear in the middle and moving the ball sharply on to Kane, whose bending cross from the right presented the tigerish Erik Lamela with an easy finish.

After a gloomy few weeks everything felt lighter in Pochettino’s world.