Tottenham Hotspur were held to a 0-0 draw by Crystal Palace at White Hart Lane on Saturday as the hosts were left to rue a lack of cutting edge. The home side were looking to win back-to-back home matches in the Barclays Premier League for the first time this season, but failed to break down a resolute Palace backline.
While Neil Warnock's side had the better of the first half in north London, largely inspired by their lively wingers Yannick Bolasie and Wilfried Zaha, Palace had their defensive ranks to thank after the break. The visitors did well to keep Harry Kane and Roberto Soldado quiet in the face of almost constant Spurs possession as Warnock's men bounced back from their 1-0 defeat at Aston Villa on Tuesday.
Soldado spurned a fair number of chances, displaying a lack of sharpness despite scoring his first league goal since March against Everton last weekend. Both sides had chances late on. Substitute Jason Puncheon almost gave Palace their first away league win since September when he rattled the crossbar.
Christian Eriksen sparked the game into life following a relatively low-key start, as he nutmegged Martin Kelly before firing into the side-netting seven minutes in. Palace's first sight of goal came shortly after as James McArthur blazed high and wide. Then Bolasie beat Eriksen with a deft spin before setting up the returning Joe Ledley to fire over after 20 minutes.
With Palace on top, Soldado, one of two Spurs changes from the defeat by Chelsea, missed the opportunity to put the hosts in front against the run of play when he cleared the crossbar from inside the area. Jan Vertonghen, who was making his 100th Spurs appearance, was needed to deny Zaha's progress soon after following a tricky run into the area.
Having switched wings with Bolasie midway through the half, Zaha went close again before the interval as the Manchester United loanee bamboozled Eric Dier and Ryan Mason before curling his strike wide.
Mauricio Pochettino brought on Nacer Chadli for Erik Lamela at the break, but Spurs continued to be contained by a well-drilled Palace team. The home side dominated possession and upped the pressure in search of an opener, with Soldado slicing a shot well wide from inside the area following an incisive ball from Eriksen just after the hour.
Palace almost grabbed the winner 17 minutes from time as Puncheon crashed a strike off the underside off the crossbar before Joel Ward blocked Paulinho's goalbound strike inside the six-yard box. However, the spoils were shared in a result that will likely please Warnock much more than Pochettino.
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino: "It wasn't an easy game, Palace played well. We are not very fresh because it was the third game in six days and it's difficult to manage.
"Maybe this game is one where we need to get the three points, but in the end I think the result was fair. We have a lack of freshness but we tried, we tried to win the game."
Crystal Palace manager Neil Warnock: "I'm lost for words. I can't understand how we've not won. The way we played, we deserved the points. The lads played some good stuff and it took a great goalkeeping performance to stop us getting the three points.
"We played some good stuff, created havoc at times and always looked a threat. I don't know how many times I put my head in my hands today as I thought we'd scored that many. Wilfried and Bolaise were brilliant, but my man of the match was Chamakh - he covered every blade of grass."
|14 Dec 2014||v Swansea (A)|
|20 Dec 2014||v Burnley (H)|
|26 Dec 2014||v Leicester (A)|
|28 Dec 2014||v Man Utd (H)|
|01 Jan 2015||v Chelsea (H)|
|10 Jan 2015||v Crystal Palace (A)|