Tottenham recorded their first Premier League home win of the season as Heung-min Son’s second-half strike helped beat Crystal Palace 1-0.
After scoring his first two goals for the club in midweek against FC Qarabag in the Europa League, Son fired in his first Premier League strike at White Hart Lane – although Palace keeper Alex McCarthy should have done much better with the effort.
The two sides were evenly-matched throughout much of the contest, with Ben Davies having a goal correctly ruled out for offside before Hugo Lloris expertly tipped Bakary Sako’s strike onto the post in the second period.
Son looked bright throughout on only his second start in the league for Spurs, who held on to claim all three points and move up to 9th in the table; just one place below their defeated opponents on goal difference.
Endearing himself to the fans on his home league debut, Son, signed from Bayer Leverkusen towards the end of the summer transfer window for a reported fee of £22million, scored the 68th-minute winning goal that his fine performance deserved.
However, for all of their superiority in possession and quality in the final third, Spurs were yet again at risk of finishing without victory. Harry Kane, perhaps owing to frustration, often left the area in pursuit of possession and in doing so left Spurs without a focal point.
Son impressed with his purpose and direct approach but, alongside him behind Kane, Erik Lamela was again disappointing and Nacer Chadli equally so.
As early as the third minute with both time and space, Kane, so far this season unable to recover the prolific form he enjoyed during the last, headed harmlessly over when last season a goal would have been the likely outcome.
Dele Alli, Lamela, and Kane again all had routine, close-range efforts saved by Palace goalkeeper McCarthy, who impressed with his reflexes and consistency, but still a goal rarely looked likely.
It was actually Palace, who struggled in possession amid Mauricio Pochettino’s pressing game, who had the most memorable chances of the opening half.
With 38 minutes gone, Sako – among Palace’s weaknesses given his lack of direction up front caused their limited possession – forced Lloris into a fine save from a direct free-kick that had been heading towards the top corner.
Shortly after and just on the stroke of half-time, Yohan Cabaye demonstrated his quality with a low swerving shot, from the edge of Spurs’ penalty area, that defeated Lloris but came back off the post. Had he scored, it appeared, Palace would have gone on to earn a comfortable victory.
Instead, from the second half Tottenham improved, and Palace only looked threatening on the counter.
Pardew introduced striker Fraizer Campbell for the underwhelming Wilfried Zaha and switched Sako to the right in an attempt to give his side more direction but it made little difference to their attempts to retain possession.
Spurs’ Ben Davies had a headed goal rightly disallowed when Kane was caught offside, and Lloris produced an exceptional save from Sako when the forward, taking possession from a cross following an attack down the left, struck a powerful half-volley from the goalkeeper’s right, but that was a rarity among the home side’s growing pressure, and the opening goal proved imminent.
Christian Eriksen, deemed not sufficiently fit to start, came on for Chadli in the 66th minute and within two minutes his impact was such that Spurs had scored.
Taking possession from Lamela, Eriksen looked up and found Son’s run. Playing with a by-now familiar belief, the South Korean continued his run into the penalty area and, before he could be challenged by Palace’s defence, sent an accurate shot beneath the unfortunate McCarthy.
A further chance later came to Alli, again of Eriksen’s making, to double Spurs’ lead but the promising midfielder shot wide after cutting in on his right foot inside the area.
Palace offered little more in response, however, and will likely reflect enough had not been done to avoid defeat.