London - Victor Wanyama sparked Tottenham's
season into life as the Kenya midfielder's late goal secured a 1-0 victory over
Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Saturday.
Wanyama's 83rd minute header at White Hart
Lane finally broke the resistance of a Palace side who are without a goal and
without a point after the opening two games of the campaign.
After last weekend's frustrating draw at
Everton, the Kenya international's goal brought relief for Mauricio
Pochettino's side, who finished third last season after challenging champions
Leicester until the final weeks.
The late rally, inspired by the
introduction of Dele Alli who had been surprisingly omitted from the starting
line-up, kick-started Tottenham's anticipated title challenge while underlining
the problems confronting the problems confronting Alan Pardew, the Palace
manager, whose side have won just two league games in 2016.
Palace were handed a major lift before
kick-off when they completed the signing of striker Christian Benteke from
Liverpool for a club record fee of 27 million, rising to a possible 32 million
Pardew had spoken before the game about the
importance of quickly bringing in a high-profile player after the departure of
Yannick Bolasie to Everton and former captain Mile Jedinak to Aston Villa.
Benteke, though, was ineligible for the
trip to north London, leaving Connor Wickham as Palace's only recognised
striker as they attempted to get their season on track following the
disappointing opening day defeat to West Bromwich Albion.
Pochettino is in a much stronger position
when it comes to forward options and the Tottenham manager opted to pair
Vincent Janssen with Harry Kane up front.
Janssen was handed his first start since
his 18.5 million move from AZ Alkmaar at the expense of England midfielder
Alli, who dropped to the bench.
Pochettino had been fulsome in his praise
for the forward following Janssen's performance at Everton and the Dutchman
quickly settled in front of his home supporters, with his partnership with Kane
offering early signs of promise.
The pattern of the opening half ensured the
Tottenham forwards had much more opportunity to get involved than Wickham,
whose best work was helping his side defend a succession of Spurs set-pieces.
Apart from an effort from Jason Puncheon
that brought a smart save from Michel Vorm, deputising for injured Spurs keeper
Hugo Lloris, Palace showed few signs of being capable of ending the problems in
front of goal that marred last season.
Their weaknesses only highlighted the
importance of getting Benteke match-fit and involved as quickly as possible,
although the visitors could at least draw satisfaction from the way they
prevented Tottenham turning territorial dominance into goals in the first half.
Central to those efforts was Wayne
Hennessey who pulled off three excellent saves to keep his side on level terms.
The keeper was well positioned to deny Toby
Alderweireld's free header from an Erik Lamela corner, although the centre-back
should have done much better with his effort.
And midway through the first half,
Hennessey adjusted his position well to parry Kane's deflected shot before
recovering to smother Janssen's follow-up.
to show more invention if they were to find a way through although Kane
was unfortunate to see a diving header drift wide from Eric Dier's
Alli provided the spark when he
eventually appeared in the 67th minute, immediately setting up Janssen
for a good chance before firing over with a first time shot.
seven minutes from time, he won the corner that allowed Lamela to cross
for Kane whose header was diverted home by Wanyama for the winning goal.