Red-mist red for Zaha makes it easy for Tottenham as Eagles fail to find their wings
Tottenham (2) 3 Kane 32, Lucas Moura 34, Son 74
Crystal Palace (0) 0
Spurs brushed Palace aside with almost contemptuous ease to keep the momentum going for Antonio Conte.
They gained ample revenge for a 3-0 drubbing at Selhurst Park earlier this season, with the Eagles putting up scant resistance.
They had to play out nearly an hour without Wilfried Zaha, who was sent off by ref John Moss on 37 minutes after picking up a second yellow card, and although they showed some spirit with 10 men, the game was won and lost before the first half was over.
Having already shown a total lack of discipline by making a pointless and spiteful challenge on Davinson Sanchez, the Eagles winger’s senseless shove on the same player near the touchline effectively closed the door on any comeback.
By then, Spurs were already two goals to the good and cruising to a seventh undefeated domestic game under their hyperactive Italian boss, who has reinvigorated this Tottenham team – helping them rediscover the zest and belief of old.
Once again, fans in the massed south stand chanted his name fervently in appreciation.
Palace must have wished that the game that very nearly never was had been called off after all – it was only confirmed as going ahead in the morning after late Covid tests in the Eagles camp.
Boss Patrick Vieira had to sit this one out after testing positive and there were only seven named subs on the bench rather than the usual nine.
Even before Spurs broke the deadlock, the writing had been on the wall.
Heung-Min Son hit a rasping low drive full of menace which Jack Butland was relieved to get his gloves on to turn aside.
Palace were also left holding their breath when Oliver Skipp homed in on a ball bouncing loosely just outside the area to fire just wide after Japhet Tanganga had seen his effort blocked.
Skipp is left still seeking his first goal for Spurs but he had a fine game.
Somehow, Lucas Moura contrived to steer a glancing near-post header wide of the far post after being picked out by Sergio Reguilon’s cross.
Palace could see how this was going and got frustrated trying to change the script. Zaha picked up his first yellow and soon after, the visitors were behind.
Emerson Royal played a superb first-time ball to Lucas Moura down the right channel and the Brazilian’s low cross was swept in by Harry Kane – Butland getting a hand to it but unable to deny Kane yet another Boxing Day goal.
He now has nine December 26 goals in his career – a Premier League record matched only by Robbie Fowler at Liverpool.
Moments later, Emerson was down the right flank himself and he stood up a perfect hanging cross for Lucas Moura to get on the end of with his head – his leap beating Joachim Andersen.
More goals looked inevitable after the break, but Spurs took their foot off the gas – Conte ordering the throttle back with future crowded fixtures in mind.
Kane almost converted a corner from Son but came off early. Son also departed, but only after touching in a Lucas Moura cross to make it 3-0.
Spurs: (3-4-2-1) Lloris - Sanchez, Dier, Tanganga – Emerson Royal, Hojbjerg (Ndombele 78), Skipp, Reguilon – Lucas Moura, Son (Gil 76) – Kane (Bergwijn 64). Subs not used: Gollini, Doherty, Winks, Rodon, Alli, Davies
Eagles: (4-3-3) Butland – Ward, Andersen, Tomkins, Mitchell (Ferguson 82) – Gallagher (Schlupp 75), Kouyate, Hughes – J Ayew, Edouard (Mateta 63), Zaha. Subs not used: Matthews, Guehi, Kelly, Riedewald