Tottenham Hotspur were made to work hard for a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace on Wednesday in their English Premier League fixture, with Christian Eriksen’s 78th minute strike ensuring the Lilywhites reduced Chelsea’s lead at the top of the table to four points in the process.
After the Blues had beaten Southampton 4-2 on Tuesday, Mauricio Pochettino’s men were under pressure to beat the in-form Eagles whose most recent scalps include heavyweights Chelsea and Liverpool.
Spurs were looking to get over their FA Cup exit at the hands of Chelsea over the weekend but despite having the likes of Kyle Walker and Ben Davies back in the starting XI, took time to get going.
The first-half saw plenty of end-to-end action, with Palace giving as good as they got, sitting deep and hitting the Lilywhites on the counter. While Spurs had plenty of the ball, as expected, they weren't able to really test Wayne Hennessey before the interval.
Pochettino made a double substitution at half-time, sensing that he needed to make a change to force the result, bringing on Son Heung-min for Mousa Dembele and Moussa Sissoko for Victor Wanyama.
Bolstered by the presence of fresh legs, Spurs started to dominate the home side but with Sam Allardyce tactics are almost always spot on and with six, even seven players inside the box at times, it looked like they would continue to stymie the Lilywhites for the whole game.
Harry Kane cut a frustrated figure at Selhurst Park, almost immediately closed down whenever he got the ball and even got a yellow card as tempers flared in the second half.
The away side continued to press and were rewarded for their perseverance in 12 minutes from time when Eriksen let loose a sumptuous shot which beat Hennessey all ends up from outside the box. The Danish midfielder hasn't been scoring a lot this season, but sure picked the right time to find his scoring boots.
While Spurs cooled down after the goal, not expending much energy as they knew the job was done and held on for the priceless three points. For Eagles fans, the loss was not the only bad news as defender Mamadou Sakho was stretchered off early on in the second half after suffering an awkward knee injury and they will hope it is nothing serious.
Spurs have a tougher fixture up next, as they entertain arch-rivals Arsenal in the North-London Derby on Sunday, but Chelsea face a daunting task when they travel to Everton earlier on the day, with the title race still very much alive.
In the other matches on the night, Arsenal beat Leicester City 1-0 thanks to a Robert Huth goal while 19th-placed Middlesbrough beat bottom-ranked Sunderland 1-0 via Maarten de Roon strike.