Gareth Bale and Harry Kane both scored twice to inspire Tottenham to a third consecutive Premier League win at the expense of Crystal Palace.

Gareth Bale
Gareth Bale has scored six goals in his last six games in all competitions for Spurs

Gareth Bale and Harry Kane both scored twice to inspire Tottenham to a third consecutive Premier League win at the expense of Crystal Palace.

On-loan Real Madrid forward Bale had Kane to thank for both of his goals, opening the scoring with a tap-in from Kane’s cross and heading in a superb second from another assist from the England forward.

In between, Christian Benteke had drawn Palace level with their first effort on target with a fine header from Luka Milivojevic’s cross.

However, while the returning Wilfried Zaha hit the post for Roy Hodgson’s side after being introduced as a substitute they were unable to cope with the firepower at the hosts’ disposal.

Kane, who had played the role of provider, opened his account for the evening with a curling 20-yard effort into the top left corner and then dispatched Son Heung-min’s cut-back to register his 24th goal of the campaign in all competitions.

The goal rounded off a fine Spurs display and brought up a notable landmark, with Kane and Son now having combined for more goals in a single season than any other duo in Premier League history.

The result lifts Tottenham up to sixth in the table and they are now just two points off a top-four place, with Palace remaining in 13th.

Tottenham had topped the Premier League table when these sides met in the reverse fixture on 13 December.

But while they faltered with seven defeats in a 12-game spell either side of Christmas, the manner of this performance will have delivered a stark warning to their competitors for the European places that they appear to have rediscovered a winning formula.

Much of that can be attributed to the attacking players that Jose Mourinho is able to call upon. And Lucas Moura, Son, Kane and Bale were all influential over the course of this victory.

While Moura will not grab the headlines, the only home player to cover more ground than the Brazilian was full-back Matt Doherty.

It was Moura’s persistence and energy that caught out Milivojevic, allowing Kane to tee up an easy opener for Bale.

The Welshman, who now has six goals in his last six appearances for Spurs looks rejuvenated and was excellent until his withdrawal in the 70th minute.

The 31-year-old may be approaching the twilight years of his career but he again exhibited his enduring quality – with glorious switches of play and shows of athleticism, most notably when he towered above Cheikhou Kouyate to score his second goal of the game.

Meanwhile, Kane’s selfless display and exhibition of clinical finishing ensured he became the first Spurs player to deliver two or more goals and assists in the same Premier League game for the club since Jurgen Klinsmann against Wimbledon in May 1998.

Having frustrated Tottenham with their regimented approach early on, Hodgson would have been angered by the manner in which his side fell behind.

It did not arrive from a moment of magic from Kane, Son or Bale.

Nor did it come from particularly incisive play to carve open the two banks of four visiting players patrolling the space in front of goalkeeper Vicente Guaita.

Instead, it came from their own ill-judged attempt to play out from the back, with captain Milivojevic losing possession to Moura and Kane and Bale doing the rest.

However, while the Eagles boss appeared satisfied by their response, and Milivojevic atoning for his error, they were unable to muster a single effort on target after equalising.

While Jean-Philippe Mateta and Jeffrey Schlupp were both introduced to inject pace and threat alongside Zaha, it proved a difficult evening on which to make an impact.

Palace’s passing in the final third of the pitch was lacking precision on too many occasions, and it ensured an end to a three-game unbeaten run which has left them in a strong position to retain their Premier League status.

‘We are in a positive moment’ – what they said

Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho to BBC Sport: “They were good goals. Harry Kane’s first one was magnificent. We played good football.

“It looks silly to say but I’m happy with the goal we conceded. My feeling in the 10 minutes of the first half was that if we finished 1-0 then maybe we would start the second half the same way.

“We lost a little bit of the hunger and desire to attack. We were too passive, we were in control. We made one mistake and conceded a goal. So I had a positive feeling when we conceded.

“In the second half we had to go with everything. Then it was the feeling that a one-goal difference is not enough, and then we made it 2-1 and went for 3-1 immediately after.

“I was happy with the attitude, the feeling and naughty smile of scoring 100 goals in the season and we are a defensive team. It was a good week for us – three matches, nine points, no injuries and everyone is coming back. We are in a positive moment.”

Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson speaking to BBC Sport: “I’m not good at taking positives from a game when I have seen the team lose by four goals to one. I thought we were heavily punished by the quality of the goals and some of the quality of play in the final third.

“I think on another day we may not have been punished quite as harshly. And also with some of the play in the second half we might have added to the goal we scored, which was a good goal.

“I thought we came across a Tottenham team tonight that is in fine form. They had all their star players and their really good quality players firing on all cylinders. As a result they overwhelmed us at times and won the game as a result of it.”

Tottenham’s home fortress

  • Only league leaders Manchester City (35) have earned more points at home in this season’s Premier League than Tottenham Hotspur (24).
  • Tottenham’s fourth goal was their 100th in all competitions this season, becoming the second club in Europe’s big-five leagues to reach that tally in 2020-21, after Bayern Munich (106).
  • Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson has failed to win all six of his Premier League meetings with Spurs’ Jose Mourinho (D3 L3), the joint-most he’s faced a particular manager in the competition without yet winning (level with Jurgen Klopp).
  • Crystal Palace’s goal was from their very first shot of the match, and their only shot on target.
  • Tottenham’s Gareth Bale has scored in each of his last three home appearances in all competitions, the first time he has done so since September 2018 for Real Madrid (four in a row), and first time for Spurs since May 2013.
  • Harry Kane has been directly involved in 40 goals in 36 games in all competitions for Tottenham this season (24 goals and 16 assists), the most of any player for a Premier League club.
  • Tottenham duo Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min have now assisted one another for 14 Premier League goals this season, breaking Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton’s all-time competition record of 13 set in 1994-95 for Blackburn.
  • Since the Belgian’s first Premier League season (2012-13), only Olivier Giroud (32) has more headed goals in the competition than Crystal Palace’s Christian Benteke (29).

What’s next?

Tottenham face Croatian side Dinamo Zagreb in the first leg of their last-16 tie in the Europa League on Thursday, 11 March (20:00 GMT). Their next Premier League game comes when they travel to Arsenal for the north London derby on Sunday, 14 March (16:30 GMT).

Crystal Palace host strugglers West Brom in their next Premier League fixture on Saturday, 13 March (15:00 GMT).

source:bbc

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