When Andros Townsend left Tottenham Hotspur in January 2016, many at Spurs greeted his departure as a necessary move for a player who had fallen out of favour and down the pecking order at White Hart Lane.
But after Townsend’s remarkable performance in Crystal Palace’s improbable 3-2 victory against Manchester City, some may be left wondering if Spurs could have gotten the best out of the mercurial talent if he had stayed at Tottenham.
Palace defeated City at the Etihad in swaggering fashion, propelled by a contender for goal of the season by Townsend. With the score tied 1-1, the winger volleyed home a thundering strike from well outside the box that venomously arrowed into the top right corner.
The wonder goal came just weeks after Townsend scored a blinding curler against Burnley, a sign of a recent uptick in goalscoring form from the winger.
Although the Englishman’s goal tally has been far from prolific in past seasons, Townsend clearly possesses the quality to win a match with a moment of pure magic — a priceless commodity in Premier League football.
To produce a goal of that magnitude at the toughest ground in the Premier League takes special talent, and Palace’s win was all the more impressive considering City’s domination of English football.
Townsend’s mercurial talent led his new team to a feat that Tottenham have achieved just twice in the past eight years: Spurs’ only league victory at the Etihad since a 2010 win came in 2016.
While Tottenham chase the league’s leading clubs in hopes of a title, Mauricio Pochettino might be left wondering whether they could have coaxed the best out of Townsend, a player whose bursts of brilliance are unparalleled.