Date : –  26th December 2021 Kick off : –  15.00
Competition : –  Premier League Venue : –  Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Crowd : –  40,539
Referee : –   Jon Moss (Leeds) Linesmen : – Mr. Marc Perry; Mr. Timothy Wood
Fourth official : –  Stephen Martin
VAR official : – Mike Dean VAR Assistant : – Neil Davies
Weather : – Mild, misty
Crystal Palace kicked off the first half attacking the Park Lane end
Playing time : –   90 + 6 minutes


    Kane  31m 15s   None
    Moura  33m 30s   
    Son  73m 33s   
  Sanchez  (foul on Ayew)  68   Zaha  (foul on Sanchez)  26
       Tomkins  (foul on Skipp)  46
  Zaha  (second yellow – pushing Sanchez over)  37


1.   Hugo LLORIS (c) 1.   Jack BUTLAND
6.   Davinson SANCHEZ  2.   Joel WARD
15.   Eric DIER 16.   Joachim ANDERSEN
25.   Japhet TANGANGA 5.   James TOMKINS 
3.   Tyrick MITCHELL  ( 36.   Nathan FERGUSON  82)  
12.   EMERSON Royal     
29.   Oliver SKIPP 23.   Conor GALLAGHER  ( 15.   Jeffrey SCHLUPP  76) 
5.   Pierre-Emile HOJBJERG  ( 28.   Tanguy NDOMBELE  79)  8.   Cheikou KOUYATE
3.   Sergio REGUILON 12.   Will HUGHES
27.   Lucas MOURA  9.   Jordan AYEW
7.   Heung-Min SON    ( 11.   BRYAN Gil  76)   22.   Odsonne EDOUARD  ( 14.   Jean-Philippe MATETA  63)
11.   Wilfried ZAHA     
10.   Harry KANE    ( 23.   Steven BERGWIJN  64)     
Substitutes Substitutes
22.   Pierluigi GOLLINI 19.   Remi MATTHEWS
2.   Matt DOHERTY 6.   Marc GUEHI
8.   Harry WINKS 34.   Martin KELLY
14.   Joe RODON 44.   Jairo RIEDEWALD
20.   DELE Alli  
33.   Ben DAVIES  


Manager : – Antonio Conte Manager : –  Osion Roberts (Patrick Viera absent testing Covid-19 +ve)
Kit Supplier : – Nike Kit Supplier : – Puma
Shirt Sponsor : – AIA Shirt Sponsor : – W88
Shirt Sleeve Sponsor : – cinch Shirt Sleeve Sponsor : – Facebank
Colours : –
Colours : – 
Images of kits courtesy of the marvellous Colours of Football website


Having been beaten 0-3 at Selhurst Park, this should have been a tougher task than it was, but the Premier League refused Palace’s request to postpone the game as they had some Covid-19 cases and the strong team they put out was brushed aside 3-0 by Tottenham, maintaining the club’s very good Boxing Day record.  The fact that Wilfried Zaha got sent off before half-time didn’t make the task that much easier, had he was hardly involved before he took exception to someone going within five yards of him and picked up two unnecessary yellow cards to leave his team a man short.

The game appeared to be in doubt on Christmas night, but it was on in spite of the lack of public transport and the miserable grey weather that tipped rain down before kick-off.  Spurs were free of Covid cases and with only Cristian Romero and Ryan Sessegnon out injured, there were plenty of options for Antonio Conte to choose from.  Palace were missing their manager who tested positive and they could only put seven players on the bench, although one wonders whether they could have raised a few Under-23s from their beds.

Anyway, for all the claims of players being unavailable, it was a strong side that started for them and within a minute they had a good opportunity when a ball was played into the box from the left for Odsonne Edouard to take down providing Jordan Ayew with the chance to fire in a shot halfway up the South Stand.  It was an early example of the problems Palace are now suffering, with Benteke ruled out (not that he is a regular scorer, but he can be a problem for defences), Edouard not clicking as he did when he first arrived, Ayew lacking the quality of finishing needed in the Premier League and Mateta being a big old boy but it is difficult to pin down what his strengths are.

Within a minute, Spurs had a shot on target with Son hitting a dipping effort from outside the box that Butland needed to dive to his right to push the ball out for a corner.  Tottenham were sharper into the tackle and in closing down than Palace from the start, causing possession to be turned over. Japhet Tanganga had come in for Ben Davies and he was showing good aggression and good reading of the game when he blocked an Ayew shot for a corner.  He even got forward to have a shot that was charged down and Skipp benefitted when the ball came to him outside the Palace area and he shot, but the ball squirted off his boot and went wide.

With 24 minutes gone, Spurs had a golden chance to take the lead, with Kane hitting a cross-field pass to find Reguilon in space.  Sergio played a one-two with on to get to the dead-ball line and find a cross to the near post, where Lucas Moura had made a run un-noticed.  He tried to glance the ball into the net at the far post, but didn’t quite get enough contact on it and the ball went wide of the goal.  When Palace played the ball out, it went up their left wing to Zaha on halfway.  Sanchez was quickly on him and stuck a leg round him to win the ball.  It was played back to him and as he was running to get to it and knock it back to Hugo, Zaha petulantly kicked at his ankle and gave away a free-kick and Jon Moss booked him as there was no need to do that at all.

The next time Zaha got the ball, he made sure he collapsed like a tons of bricks when Hojbjerg tackled him, immediately asking for a booking for the Spurs man, along with about five of his team-mates.  Unfortunately for Palace a few minutes later, Zaha knocked Skipp over when the Spurs midfielder had the ball and as usual, the first thing Zaha did was plead his innocence to the ref (as he did with the booking for a couple of minutes).  However, Moss had waved play on as the ball had gone to Hojbjerg and he played a quick ball up to Moura on the edge of the centre circle in the Tottenham half.  His touch took the ball into the air and as Tomkins came charging in too quickly, only being able to touch the ball towards Emerson Royal on the right touchline.  The Brazilian wing-back played a return pass to his fellow countryman setting him clear, racing away from Joachim Andersen and he looked up to see Harry Kane making strides into the middle to provide the ball into his path to be swept past Butland, who got a hand to it but couldn’t keep it out.  It is not hard to see why Spurs didn’t pursue the rumoured interest in the Danish centre-half, as his lack of pace was cruelly exposed by Moura’s run and Kane’s finish was typical of him at his best from ten yards out.

Before you knew it one became two.  A tackle on Moura inside the Spurs half took the ball to Skipp, who passed it back to Lucas and he set off infield from the left to move the ball onto Kane.  Harry played a good pass in Emerson’s stride and he produced a fine lofted cross towards the middle of the goal.  Despite Andersen being stationed there, he waited for the ball to arrive, but Moura had continued his run and attacked the ball in the air, powering a header under Butland’s arm as he tried to get across to keep it out.  It was a flowing move and the static stance of Andersen allowed Lucas to have the run on the ball and produce a prodigious leap to score.

Another couple of minutes had gone when Spurs nearly had another goal.  Regi’s left wing cross missed out Kane in the middle but dropped at Oliver Skipp’s feet at the far post and not expecting it to arrive, it hit him and was cleared.  Then, a forward ball for Palace down their left wing saw Emerson get to it and play the ball back down the line to Davison Sanchez.  Closed down by Zaha, the Colombian didn’t really know where to go with it and the ball trickled out of play.  For some reason unbeknown to the rest of the world, Zaha turned and pushed Sanchez to the ground and then was apoplectic when Moss walked towards him getting a yellow and a red card out for him.  Not quite the Christmas cards he might have been hoping for, but he had been ineffective during the previous 36 minutes, giving the ball away and only once making a positive contribution for his team when playing a one-two on the edge of the Spurs box.  He really does have some sort of superiority complex that means he thinks he shouldn’t be challenged in any way, shape or form, reacting out of all proportion to any sort of contact, but in this case, there wasn’t even contact.  It must have taken him just as long as Liverpool’s Andy Robertson to leave the field from about the same place that red card came and he was still full of disbelief as he left the pitch.

Spurs sensed more goals and Reguilon’s cross was met by Royal just beyond the middle of the goal and his header was on target, but it was headed down too soon and it took a lot of the pace out of it.  Sergio was involved a lot in the last few minutes of the first half, but he couldn’t find the right ball to hurt them.  There was another Palace booking when a fat James Tomkins couldn’t get near to Skipp to tackle him and had to bring him down to stop his progress.

Half-time gave the Palace assistant manager an opportunity to get the remainder of his team together to try and get them in some sort of shape, which they had failed to do so far.  it didn’t really work, as the game was going in the direction of their goal most of the time and Hugo Lloris enjoyed a quite birthday, without too much exertion.  Tottenham were playing some nice one-touch football and giving the Palace team the run-around, but could not find a third goal as the eagles went through a little spell of possession that was better than anything they did with eleven men.  

Son fizzed a cross across the face of goal that Kane couldn’t get on the end of and although Spurs were controlling the game, Palace were working hard to get behind the ball when they lost it.  Sanchez got booked for fouling Ayew as he looked to get away from him on the halfway line, but it was nothing more than a lot of the Palace players had got away with.  The visitors won a couple of free-kicks and corners that they put into the box, but they failed to get a shot on target all game.  Son was the one who couldn’t get forward the extra yard to reach Reguilon’s ball across the face of goal, but luckily, he was alive to Moura’s cross a minute later.  From inside the Palace half, Sanchez played the ball forward to Hojbjerg, who laid it square to Skipp before Kouyate flattened him.  Skipp just managed to poke it to his right to Moura, in space wide of the box before Mitchell could tackle him and Lucas measure a ball a couple of feet off the ground for Son to make a run to the near post and guide it in at the near post ahead of Butland, who was diving across the goal.  Again, it was Andersen who let Son go, as he stopped tracking his run preferring to claim offside, but although VAR did look at it, the goal was quickly given.

It was the last action for Son, who was substituted immediately, joining Kane on the bench, who had gone off in the 64th minute.  Bergwijn, who had replaced Kane, looked keen on running at the Palace defence and got a low shot away, which Butland couldn’t hold, but gathered at the second attempt and Son’s sub, Bryan Gil, showed some tricky footwork in the area on the right side before rolling the ball across the 18 yard line for Reguilon to hit a shot at goal, but it was blocked for a corner.  Moura hit a rising shot that went over the top and then he tried an acrobatic volley that also went high into the South Stand.  Reguilon was furious with him as he was in space behind him on both occasions and felt he was in a better position to score.

Tottenham’s final chance came in the last minute of normal time, when Sanchez played the ball wide to Reguilon, who put in a cross that Sanchez took as he had moved into the box. His first touch was good to take it away from a Palace defender in front of him, but, with a lot of goal invitingly in front of him to shoot into, he sliced his left foot shot horribly wide.  Although substitute Schlupp got down the left to put the ball across goal, there was nobody up for Palace to get on the end of it and so, the clean sheet stayed intact and if Sanchez had scored, 4-0 would not have been an unfair score-line considering the superiority Spurs had over the South Londoners.

As a Boxing Day game it contained a lot of the usual fare, with goals, some good Spurs play and a pantomime villain in the shape of Palace’s Zaha, who too often could have said of his passes to his team-mates that they were “Behind you !”

Nobody on the Tottenham side had a bad game, the defence looks pretty well organised and we are making chances and taking more of them than of late, so things are looking good.  We know that one game it will come unstuck, but with the January transfer window opening soon, it will give Conte a chance to make the team more of his own and strengthen where it is needed.

Phil Eastcott   


Harry Kane equalled the most number of goals scored in Premier League Boxing Day games, going level with Robbie Fowler on 9 goals.

Nathan Ferguson made his debut for Crystal Palace.

Tottenham took their unbeaten Boxing Day run to 15 matches, stretching back to 2004.

Heung-Min Son’s goal was the 175th Tottenham goal scored against Crystal Palace in competitive matches. 


Burnley P Everton P
Brighton & Hove Albion 2 Brentford 0
West Ham United London 2 South Coast Big Club 3
Norwich City 0 Woolwich Wanderers 5
Liverpool P Leeds United P
Manchester City 6 Leicester City 3
Aston Villa 1 Chelsea 3
Wolverhampton Wanderers P Watford P
Newcash United  1 Manchester United 1

Premier League Table 2021-22

Played Won Drawn Lost For Against Points Goal difference
1 Manchester City 19 15 2 2 50 12 47 +38
2 Liverpool 18 12 5 1 50 15 41 +35
3 Chelsea 19 12 5 2 42 13 41 +29
4 Woolwich Wanderers 19 11 2 6 32 23 35 +9
5 Tottenham Hotspur 16 9 2 5 21 19 29 +2
6 West Ham United London 18 8 4 6 30 24 28 +6
7 Manchester United 17 8 4 5 27 25
28 +2
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 18 7 4 7 13 14 25 -1
9 Brighton & Hove Albion 17 5 8 4 16 17 23 -1
10 Leicester City 17 6 4 7 30 33 22 -3
11 Aston Villa 18 7 1 10 24 28 22 -4
12 Crystal Palace 18 4 8 6 24 27 20 -3
13 Brentford 17 5 5 7 21 24 20 -3
14 South Coast Big Club 18 4 8 6 19 28 20 -9
15 Everton 17 5 4 8 21 29 19 -8
16 Leeds United 18 3 7 8 18 36 16 -18
17 Watford 16 4 1 11 21 31 13 -10
18 Burnley 15 1 8
6 14 21 11 -7
19 Newcash United 19 1 8 10 19 42 11 -23
20 Norwich City 18 2 4 12 8 39 10 -31