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Crystal Palace 0-1 Tottenham: Harry Kane proves his class with late winner

Jake Jackman

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Tottenham

Tottenham managed to get a late winner against Crystal Palace to move into the Champions League places. They were the dominant force and had the better chances, but their final product wasn’t as reliable as usual. It looked as if an injury-hit Palace would earn a valuable point, but Harry Kane scored late on to win the game.

Mauricio Pochettino’s men are hitting form at the right time and look a good bet to finish in the top four for the third successive season. Meanwhile, Roy Hodgson was visibly frustrated at the end of the game and he will be aware of his team’s position.

They are only outside of the relegation zone on goal difference and have a number of key players unavailable with matches against Manchester United and Chelsea on the horizon. Here are three talking points to come out of the game at Selhurst Park:

Harry Kane proved why he is world class

The England international will be the first to admit it wasn’t his best performance. He had six shots during the match and missed a couple of really good chances before he finally did find the back of the net.

However, he remained confident and continued to take attempts on goal. It was a good header and earned the side a crucial two points.

Although Kane can miss a lot of chances and he did during this match, he doesn’t allow himself to get affected by his misses. Alvaro Morata is a high-profile striker that appears to lose confidence in himself after a big miss and that is a worrying trait to have as a goal-scorer.

The Tottenham number ten doesn’t have that and a miss only motivates him more. That was evident on Sunday. That shows an elite level mentality and one of the reasons why Harry Kane is one of the best strikers in the world. Despite playing poorly against Crystal Palace, he worked hard and got the crucial goal. That is all that matters.

Crystal Palace’s injury crisis could cost them their Premier League status

With ten matches to go, Crystal Palace will be confident that they can stay up as they have a more talented squad than the majority of clubs down there.

However, a lot of their best players are out injured right now and they were hindered by that on Sunday. They had only 24% possession and offered little attacking threat.

They were missing Wilfried Zaha, Scott Dann, Yohan Cabaye, Jason Puncheon, Joel Ward, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and a number of other first-team players. Their woes were compounded on Sunday as James Tomkins was forced off with an injury.

Palace’s next two matches are against Manchester United and Chelsea, two teams competing for a Champions League place. On one hand, these are tough matches that they would be outsiders in with a fit squad, therefore it is beneficial these are being played now.

That said, they are slipping closer to the relegation zone and building negative momentum at a bad time. Supporters will be more worried than they were at the beginning of the month.

Eric Dier impressed at centre-back

The 24-year-old is a great squad player to have and he showed his versatility on Sunday as he filled in at centre-back in the absence of Jan Vertonghen.

Toby Alderweireld suffered a setback and it was important that Tottenham fielded a player with experience there. Dier has benefitted from focusing on the midfield role in terms of development, but he remains able of filling in at the back.

During the match, he won four aerial duels and completed four ball recoveries. The time spent playing midfield has helped him develop on the ball and his distribution was very good on Sunday, as he completed 90% of his passes.

Tottenham will be hopeful of getting both Alderweireld and Vertonghen back together at the heart of their defence for the run-in, but the fact that they kept a clean sheet without both is encouraging. They have built a strong squad under Pochettino with plenty of options in every posiion and Dier’s centre-back display underlines that.

Jake is a journalist based in the South East. He is a Newcastle United fan and has a keen interest in Dutch football. Jake can be found on Twitter here - @jakejackmann.

Crystal Palace

Khouma Babacar would be underwhelming solution to Crystal Palace’s striker problem

The 25-year-old isn’t exactly a prolific goalscorer.

Max Cohen

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Babacar
Photo: Getty Images

According to the Mirror, Crystal Palace are close to completing a £12 million move for Sassuolo striker Khouma Babacar.

The Senegalese forward scored just six goals in the league last season and would represent an underwhelming solution to Crystal Palace’s striker problem.

Last season, the Eagles struggled massively for goals, with only central midfielder Luka Milivojevic reaching double figures in the league. As for strikers, Christian Benteke scored just three goals in a hugely disappointing year, and Alexander Sorloth failed to score in his four appearances.

It is clear the south Londoners desperately need a prolific centre-forward in order to succeed in 2018/19, yet Babacar simply is not the right choice.

(Photo by Mario Carlini / Iguana Press/Getty Images)

At 25 years of age, he has already been around Italian football for a long time, making his debut for Fiorentina in 2009 as a 16-year-old. Yet he struggled to nail down a starting spot and spent time on loan in Serie B and La Liga before enjoying a breakout season for Fiorentina 2016/17.

In that year, he banged in 10 goals in 22 league appearances while also netting four times in the Europa League. Yet disappointingly, he scored just four times in the first half of 2017/18, before being shipped off to Sassuolo on loan where he found the net on just two occasions in 13 appearances.

Far from an outstanding goalscorer in Italy, it is unclear where Babacar would fit in at Palace, and it is unlikely he could turn around the fortunes of the club’s struggling strike force.

Roy Hodgson would do well to pass on the signing of the £12 million Senegalese international and focus his efforts on a more proven striker with a better goal record.

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Crystal Palace fans should praise Roy Hodgson’s defiant Andros Townsend comments

The winger has been attracting interest from Premier League rivals.

Max Cohen

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Andros Townsend
Photo: Getty Images

In early July, Sky Sports reported Newcastle United were in talks with Crystal Palace winger Andros Townsend over a return to St. James’ Park.

Yet, Roy Hodgson’s defiant comments have quashed those rumours and will be greeted by Palace fans as a strong signal to other clubs who have aimed to buy the Eagles’ best players.

Speaking in a press conference (h/t football.london) over the weekend, the Palace manager made it clear he had no intention of selling his key squad members.

“[Townsend] has got three years on his contract, and we have no interest at all in selling Andros Townsend. We are not a selling club at the moment, far from it.

“We are working very hard to keep the players we have got, and players of big importance, and Zaha and Townsend are right up there as players we want to keep.”

(Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)

Hodgson deserves praise for this strong stance, as he is sending a clear signal to rival clubs who aim to pinch settled players.

Townsend was crucial to the club’s resurgence last season under Roy Hodgson, and after Bakary Sako’s departure, the need to hold on to attackers is even more important.

By rebutting the advances of Newcastle and clubs interested in Wilfried Zaha, Hodgson not only boosts the confidence of the fans, but also the Palace players.

Knowing that your club aims to hold on to your fellow teammates means the side will be better and more exciting to play for.

Hodgson has already saved Crystal Palace from relegation, and now his stewardship can lead the club to the top half of the Premier League by keeping hold of the Eagles’ star performers.

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One winner and one loser as Bakary Sako rejects new Crystal Palace contract

The 30-year-old has rejected a new deal at Selhurst Park.

Max Cohen

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Bakary Sako
Photo: Getty Images

Earlier this week, Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson confirmed that winger Bakary Sako had rejected a new contract at the club.

The news came as a shock for many supporters, as Sako enjoyed a bright 2017/18 season at Selhurst Park and the club wanted to secure his services for the immediate future.

Sako is set to lose out from rejecting a new contract at the Premier League club, but one player who could be poised to benefit is rumoured transfer target Ollie Watkins.

Winner: Ollie Watkins 

According to The Sun, the 22-year-old Brentford winger has been linked with an eight million pound switch to south London, and Palace will be sure to pursue his signature even more vigorously after losing out on Sako.

Watkins is a dangerous winger who impressed last season at Griffin Park, scoring ten goals and notching five assists in 45 appearances for the Championship club.

A move to the Premier League beckons for the exciting winger, and due to Sako’s rejection of his contract, Watkins is set to benefit and could fill the Malian’s void.

(during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Burnley at Selhurst Park on January 13, 2018 in London, England.

Loser: Bakary Sako 

Just as teammate Yohan Cabaye bafflingly failed to extend his contract at Selhurst Park, Bakary Sako is set to make the same misguided decision.

At 30 years of age, few Premier League clubs are set to offer the Malian international a chance to play at the highest level. Palace had gifted Sako with a perfect opportunity to play more years in the top flight, but Sako turned them down.

His decision is especially confusing given the good form Sako had last season, scoring crucial goals against WatfordLeicesterBurnley, and Brighton from December to January before succumbing to injury.

A fan favourite at Selhurst Park, Sako will be missed both on and off the pitch, making his departure all the more foolish.

 

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