Five things we learned as Tottenham clung on in the title race by beating Crystal Palace

Jack Austin
The Independent
Five things we learned as Christian Eriksen's goal keeps Tottenham in the title race to close the gap on Chelsea

Five things we learned as Christian Eriksen's goal keeps Tottenham in the title race to close the gap on Chelsea

Five things we learned as Christian Eriksen's goal keeps Tottenham in the title race to close the gap on Chelsea

A shiny new Palace

Sam Allardyce took over a Crystal Palace side staring down the barrel of relegation and after two months in the job it looked like even the great escape artist himself wouldn’t be able to save the south London club.

But something has changed at Selhurst Park – the thatch has been lit.

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Palace, in recent weeks, have gained maximum points from Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool and while they are still only seven points clear of danger, they would have been planning for life in the Championship by now if results were decided on paper.

Sakho the foundations of the house that Sam built

Jurgen Klopp may never take Mamadou Sakho back to Liverpool, but there will be a number of clubs having a look at the Frenchman this summer. Since his move to Selhurst Park, he has gone from court jester at the Reds to defensive general, and Palace has reaped its rewards no end.

In his seven appearance before Wednesday night’s game against Spurs, Sakho had inspired the Eagles to four clean sheets – one of which was against Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and co.

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Palace should, and probably will, break the bank to keep him but Allardyce won’t be the only person who has noticed the impact he has had on Palace’s resurgence. His injury – which looked serious – is very, very cruel.

Spurs suffering an FA Cup hangover

After continuing both their awful record at Wembley and in FA Cup semi-finals with the defeat to Chelsea on the weekend, the first half at Selhurst Park Spurs played exactly like a team with no confidence would play.

They looked weak, disjointed, unsure of themselves and a shadow of the side that has been terrorising defences and blunting attacks all season.

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Palace looked like the side trying to heap the pressure back on the league leaders. A lot of sport is how you react to setbacks and after their momentum-halting setback last weekend, Tottenham were poor and perhaps that is why they often come so close, only to ‘Spurs it up’.

The win, no matter how undeserved, will help restore that confidence somewhat.

What’s a Sissoko and how do you use one?

When you spend £30m on a player, especially if it is to break your club transfer record, you can be forgiven if you expect a bit back in return from said player. After 30 appearance and no goals, you can’t help but feel like you’ve overpaid a little and that is surely what Mauricio Pochettino is thinking with Sissoko.

Spurs were lifeless in the first half and Sissoko was sent on at half-time more in hope than expectation and did very little to suggest he will be at the club next season. Any takers? No? Good luck shifting this one, Daniel Levy.

Title race really still on?

It’s still all to play for then, right? It was always going to be an uphill task to chase down Chelsea, but with the game reduced to four points again, there’s still a glimmer of hope for Spurs.

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However, one glance at the remaining fixtures for each of the two title contenders will tell you that the Blues are unlikely to lose again. Tottenham, on the other hand, still have to play both Manchester United and Arsenal before the season’s close. Bigger leads have slipped with fewer games to play, but Antonio Conte’s men are in a very commanding position.

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