Rare Werner goal inspires comeback win for Tottenham against Palace

02 March 2024 17:19
What was it like to be at that wedding in Cana when the water wasturned into wine? How did it feel to be in Smyrna in 155 when theflames refused to burn the body of St Polycarp? Do the holy waters ofLourdes really cure the halt and the lame? Miracles, it turns out, canhappen, and the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday witnessed one ofthe most improbable there has ever been: Timo Werner scored.Tottenham, not for the first time recently, got away with it.They had fallen behind to Eberechi Eze just before the hour, butWerner’s first goal for the club followed by a Cristian Romero headerand a neat finish from Son Heung-min gave them a win that keeps thepressure on Aston Villa in fourth and increases their lead overManchester United to six points ahead of Sunday’s Manchester derby.But it was a close-run thing and Oliver Glasner can feel that, withperformances like this, relegation shouldn’t really be a threat forCrystal Palace. The shape may have been Glasner’s preferred 3-4-2-1rather than Roy Hodgson’s beloved back four, but the approach willhave been comfortingly familiar to Palace: let the opposition have theball, keep it tight and look to keep it 0-0 till half-time. In whichthey were extremely successful.Spurs may have taken 11 points from the previous six league games andlost only two of their previous 10, but the pizzazz and sparkle of theearly part of the season has gone. Palace were diligent and Spurscouldn’t get going in a first half where the only opportunity was oneof those that somehow makes the scoring of a goal seem a feat ofimplausible difficulty – which may simply be to say that it fell toWerner.There is something agonising about watching the German in thecontemplation of a chance. The shoulders stiffen, the stride becomes alittle tighter, a sense of unease descends upon the stadium. He is theman who, midway through signing a stack of Christmas cards, suddenlyfinds the pen sticking as he attempts to write his own name, enduringan awful mental glitch as the capacity to do something that ought tobe second nature deserts him.The longer Werner has to think about it, the worse it is and when hewas released by Son after 20 minutes, he had a long, long time tothink about it. Werner had run from inside his own half, charged on,drifted right, seemed as though he might have gone past Sam Johnstoneand then found that the subterfuge of changing the angle of his run byperhaps 30 degrees wasn’t enough, and that the keeper had scrambledacross to block. Good goalkeeping, yes, but that was Werner’s twelfthshot in his fifth league start since joining on loan from RB Leipzigin January.There was more enterprise about Spurs after the break and Son clippeda shot against the base of the post from a Dejan Kulesevski crossafter Emerson Royal had regained possession. But one of Spurs’problems this season has been balance: they are perhaps never quite sovulnerable as when they are at their most dangerous.Palace have missed Eberechi Eze badly this season. He managed only 65minutes on his return from a hamstrung injury but they were critical.It was his forward surge on the break that drew the cynical foul fromRodrigo Bentancur from which he flashed a free-kick into the topcorner. It was a high-quality strike, his sixth goal of the season,but at the same time there must be questions about the position ofGuglielmo Vicario in relation to his wall, with neither seeminglycovering the right side of the goal.And then, with 13 minutes remaining, it happened. Brennan Johnsonwobbled in from the right, crossed low, and Werner knocked the ballinto a gaping net. The sun pierced the clouds, and joy abounded innorth London. Romero nodded in James Madison’s lobbed cross to putSpurs ahead soon after before Son made the game safe with awell-worked counter.It may not have been the most convincing win, but nobody will rememberthat in years to come. This was the day Timo Werner scored. Continue reading......read full article

Source: TheGuardian