Tottenham Hotspur 4
Crystal Palace 0
The South Koreans who come to White Hart Lane in their hundreds, if not thousands, these days will have left the ground this afternoon delighted – like the rest of the Spurs faithful - after witnessing their hero Heung-min Son destroy a sorry Crystal Palace.
When Son is on form, so, more often than not, are Tottenham – and today he was white hot as the Lillywhites romped to a 4-0 victory.
Spurs were without key players Juan Foyth, Eric Dier, Kyle Walker-Peters and Giovani Lo Celso, although summer signing Tanguy Ndombele made a comeback from the bench.
But despite the absences, the home side were three up midway through the first half, and before Palace had blinked – game over.
Whereas in their most recent home game, a 1-0 defeat to Newcastle United, Spurs were narrow and predictable, here they used the full width of the pitch; Toby Alderweireld spraying long passes from the back, Harry Winks creating openings from the centre of the pitch, and Serge Aurier giving Patrick van Aanholt a torrid afternoon down the Spurs right. Three of the four goals came from that side of the pitch.
Tottenham took the lead after 11 minutes, when Son beautifully controlled Alderweireld’s long pass, cut inside Gary Cahill and stroked the ball into the corner.
Spurs were ripping Palace apart and it was only a matter of time before a second came, and it duly arrived after 21 minutes, when Son again played in Aurier down the right, the Ivorian’s centre turned into his own net by the hapless van Aanholt.
Two minutes later the game was all but over when Aurier, again given far too much space in the Palace left-back position, crossed for that man Son again, who volleyed past Vincent Guaita.
And it was four three minutes before the break when a cross, yet again from the right, from Harry Kane – otherwise unusually quiet in such a Spurs stroll – was turned in by Erik Lamela.
Palace, who occupied one of the four Champions League places before the start of play, were restricted to a couple of long range shots from Zaha and a scuffed shot from Jordan Ayew in the first period.
When one team wins the game in the first half, the second is often more sedate, and so it proved here.
After the break Son had a couple of chances to complete his hat-trick – most notably when van Aanholt’s mistake allowed him a shot from the right which he couldn’t curl into the near corner. Soon after van Aanholt blocked a fierce drive from Aurier.
At the other end Gary Cahill, a summer signing from Chelsea, saw a downward header from a corner easily pushed away by Hugo Lloris.
But the game was up long before the final note from whistle-happy Craig Pawson, who booked four Spurs players and three from Palace in a game which was far from dirty.
Son scored 18 goals for Spurs last season and 21 the year before; a similar return from the South Korean this term will more than likely mean another decent year for the boys from White Hart Lane.
Spurs: Lloris, Rose (yellow, Davies), Alderweireld, Vertonghen (yellow), Son, Winks (yellow, Ndombele) Kane (Moura), Lamela, Sissoko, Eriksen (yellow), Aurier
Subs: Gazzaniga, Wanyama, Dier, Ali, Moura, Ndombele, Davies
Crystal Palace: Guaita, Ward (yellow), van Aanholt, Milivojevic (yellow), Kouyate (McCarthy), Ayew (yellow, Benteke), Townsend (Camarasa), Zaha, Sakho, Schlupp, Cahill
Subs: Hennessey, Tomkins, Meyer, Benteke, McCarthy, Camarasa, Riedewald
Referee: Craig Pawson