Premier League - Toronto-bound Defoe scores as Spurs battle to victory

Premier League, White Hart Lane – Tottenham 2 (Eriksen 50 Defoe 72) Crystal Palace 0

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Tottenham Hotspur's Jermain Defoe (L) celebrates his goal against Crystal Palace (PA Photos)

Tottenham shrugged off an abysmal first-half performance to earn a 2-0 victory against Crystal Palace and move to within a point of a top-four spot in the Premier League.

Palace started brightly and had a huge chance to take an early lead when Mousa Dembele bundled Marouane Chamakh over in the box, only for Jason Puncheon to balloon his spot kick horribly into the stands.

The hosts were lacklustre in possession as Palace flooded forward and caused them a host of problems with Chamakh unlucky to see his goal-bound effort stopped by team-mate Yannick Bolasie, although Nabil Bentaleb was unlucky to see his long-range effort strike the inside of the post.

But Spurs put a characterless opening 45 minutes behind them and grabbed the opener when Emmanuel Adebayor flicked the ball into the path of Christian Eriksen, who finished emphatically.

A huge cheer greeted the arrival of Jermain Defoe shortly before the hour mark and the Toronto-bound striker wrapped up the three points when he twisted inside the area and lifted over Julian Speroni in the Palace goal.

KEY MOMENTS

8’ – TERRIBLE PENALTY: Chamakh’s first touch is woeful but that doesn't stop Dembele clattering into the back of him. Penalty! It's Puncheon vs. Lloris from 12 yards... Oh wow! The Palace man may have just ballooned that out of the stadium. Expect that to feature of a bloopers montage at the end of the season.

33’ – CHANCE: Chamakh finds himself unmarked from the corner and prods at the Tottenham goal... Cleared by team-mate Bolasie! So unlucky for Palace.

35’ – POST: Bentaleb fancies having a dig from 25 yards. It's a beautiful effort which strikes the inside of the post, rolls along the line and, somehow, stays out. What a mad few minutes.

48’ – CHANCE: Soldado does brilliantly inside the area to feed Eriksen. The Dane elects to dribble before seeing his effort blocked... Probably should have shot first-time.

50’ – GOAL: A long ball from the back is flicked on by Adebayor into the path of Eriksen... Smashed home and Tottenham lead!

62’ – CHANCE: Defoe, with his back to goal, turns inside the box and drives at the Palace goal. He sets his sights for the far corner and unleashes a low shot which Speroni, with the faintest of touches, turns behind.

72’ – GOAL: Lennon threads it into the path of Defoe, who turns clear of a couple of challenges before popping the ball in the back of the net.

90+2’ – CHANCE: Substitute Guedioura has a shot from 35 yards... Lloris doesn't move... Swerves narrowly wide. So close.

90+3’ – CHANCE: Lloris comes for a corner and doesn't get there. Chamakh gets his head on it... Lloris atones and tips it over the bar.

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KEY STATS

With 13 points, Sherwood now has the best point tally of any Tottenham boss after five PL matches in charge – Harry Redknapp had the previous best, with 10 at this stage. (Infostrada)

Jason Puncheon is the first player to put their penalty off target this season in the Premier League. (Opta)

Jermaine Defoe scored his 28th goal in a Premier League London derby, to join Ian Wright as joint fourth highest PL London Derby goal scorers. Thierry Henry leads with 43, then Teddy Sheringham and Frank Lampard both have 32. (Infostrada)

Tottenham are unbeaten in their last 53 Premier League home matches when scoring the first goal (43 wins) – since the 3-1 defeat v Man Utd in Sept 2009. (Infostrada)

TALKING POINT

Does playing two upfront really benefit Spurs? Tottenham lacked an out-ball in a hugely disappointing opening 45 minutes with Roberto Soldado and Emmanuel Adebayor locked in a personal battle to see who could put in the least effort. Things improved after the break but unless their strikers show more willingness to move and link up play, better teams than Palace will rip them apart.

MATCHCAST: FULL COMMENTARY AND PLAYER RATINGS

MAN OF THE MATCH

Nabil Bentaleb (Tottenham): The 19-year-old was one of only a few Spurs players to put in an acceptable first-half performance. So close to grabbing the opener with a stunning strike and looks a real prospect.

PLAYER RATINGS

Tottenham: Lloris 5, Walker 5, Chiriches 6, Dawson 6, Rose 5, Lennon 6, Bentaleb 7, Dembele 6, Eriksen 7, Adebayor 6, Soldado 5. Subs: Naughton 6, Defoe 7, Chadli 6.

Crystal Palace: Speroni 6, Mariappa 6, Gabbidon 6, Delaney 6, Parr 6, Bolasie 7, Ward 6, Jedinak 6, Puncheon 6, Jerome 7, Chamakh 7. Subs: Williams 6, Gayle 6, Guedioura 6.

THE MATCH IN A TWEET

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