Tottenham Hotspur rode their luck before claiming a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace at White Hart Lane.
Spurs were second best for a large portion of the contest and saw Palace squander a host of chances, including a penalty.
Tim Sherwood’s men improved after the interval, and a goal from Christian Eriksen eased the nerves.
Jermain Defoe was introduced as a second-half substitute, and he sealed the win with an excellent finish.
Palace were bright from the off, with Jason Puncheon sending a shot narrowly wide of the target.
That early effort from Puncheon was nothing compared to his penalty miss on nine minutes.
Puncheon took responsibility after Marouane Chamakh had been felled in the box. He stepped up and took aim at the top corner, but his radar was sadly awry as the ball flew high and wide.
Palace were not deterred, and on 11 minutes, a further chance came their way. Chamakh looked primed to score after finding space at a corner, but he was nudged in the back by teammate Mile Jedinak and the ball flew over the top.
Cameron Jerome forced a save out of Hugo Lloris, and Puncheon fired into the side netting as Palace continued to probe.
Spurs were all at sea for much of the opening half, but they came close to breaking the deadlock on 34 minutes. And what a goal it would have been.
A loose ball fell to Nabil Bentaleb, and he executed a glorious curling effort with his left foot. The shot beat Julian Speroni, but it crashed into the inside of the post, bounced along the line and went out for a goal-kick.
Spurs were brighter after the break, with Eriksen and Aaron Lennon going close.
Whatever Spurs boss Sherwood said at the break, it must have been good, as his side took the lead on 51 minutes.
It was the in-form Eriksen who found the target, with the Danish midfielder taking a flick from Emmanuel Adebayor in his stride and lashing the ball beyond Speroni.
4 - Christian Eriksen has been involved in four goals in his last four Premier League games (three goals, one assist). Groove.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 11, 2014
The biggest cheer, aside from the goals, was reserved for Defoe, who came on as a second-half substitute a couple of days after the announcement of his move to Toronto.
The forward had an early chance, but he fired wide after making space for himself in the box. It proved to be a sighter.
Defoe has made a career out of being a predator in the box, and he showed exactly why Toronto have moved for him on 73 minutes. He collected a low pass, wriggled free of his marker and scooped the ball into the top corner.
Sabetti (@nicksabetti) January 11, 2014
Kyle Walker: D
A rare off day for the dashing full-back who is reported to be a target for Ligue 1 side Monaco. On this evidence, they will look elsewhere. His distribution was poor, he found himself out of position on a number of occasions and was fortunate to escape a booking for a petulant kick at Jedinak. His day ended early, as he was substituted after seemingly picking up a leg injury.
Vlad Chiriches: D
The defender has looked good since making the move to Spurs in the summer, but he had an off day against Palace. He and centre-back partner Michael Dawson were dominated by Chamakh and Jerome in the first half. At times, it was not good viewing for Tottenham fans.
Marouane Chamakh: B
The only thing missing from the forward’s performance was a goal. At times during his Arsenal career, Chamakh frustrated on account of his work rate (or lack of it). He has looked like a player transformed under Tony Pulis. He never gave the Spurs defence a moment’s piece, linked up well with Jerome and performed like a target man should.
Spurs are on their travels next week, while Tim Sherwood's men will make a trip to Swansea.
For Palace, next week will be an interesting one for manager Pulis, as he will welcome his old side Stoke City to Selhurst Park.
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