Off-kilter Kane saves sloppy Spurs at Palace

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  • Tottenham goes fourth
  • Spurs with 76 percent possession
  • Kane scores 150th Spurs goal

Harry Kane made amends for an atypical day of sloppy finishing with an 89th minute winner as Tottenham Hotspur persisted to beat Crystal Palace 1-0 at Selhurst Park on Sunday.

The win gives Spurs 55 points, good for fourth in the Premier League before Chelsea faces Manchester United.

Palace remains 17th, behind Saints but ahead of Swans on goal differential. The Eagles are sorely missing Wilfried Zaha.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Ben Davies was fouled in a bid to meet a back post free kick in the eighth minute, but no penalty was given and Palace cleared the corner as Spurs provided the first true scoring chance of the match.

Palace keeper Wayne Hennessey was at his left post for a fine save on Harry Kane in the 10th, as Patrick Van Aanholt lost the English superstar.

At the other end, Luka Milivojevic‘s free kick was headed into the arms of Hugo Lloris by James Tomkins. Lloris would deprive Christian Benteke of a finishing bid in the 16th minute, too.

A penalty was coming for Kane before the referee noticed the linesman’s raised flag and saved Timothy Fosu-Mensah from conceded the opportunity.

Palace made it to the locker room at 0-0, with Townsend hitting a low ball to Lloris before the break.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

The second half began, and Spurs worked some chances to score that were lacking the appropriate finish. Both Kane and Christian Eriksen shanked attempts in the first five minutes.

A pair of gorgeous flicks from Serge Aurier and Eriksen met Kane near the back post, but the striker atypically missed what should’ve been an easy opener.

Palace thought Alexander Sorloth might’ve earned a penalty from Davinson Sanchez, but Spurs escaped punishment in the 63rd minute.

Hennessey continued to play his role, stopping from Aurier before extending fully to palm away Davies’ offering in the 73rd.

Dele Alli dove in a bid to win a penalty soon after the Davies denial, but had no success.

Kane found a moment of brilliance in the 83rd minute, but Benteke of all players slid to block the shot and Hennessey collected the ball.

Davies should’ve had an assist moments later, but Aurier tripped on the ball.

Kane dragged an 86th minute shot inches wide of the goal, and it just seemed unlikely to be Spurs day despite dominance on the ball.

Of course, that meant an off-balance Hennessey couldn’t get a hold of Kane’s header off an Eriksen free kick with 90 seconds remaining before stoppage time.

Everton 3-1 Crystal Palace: Toffees keep climbing

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  • Palace outshoots victors 16-11
  • Mangala leaves match injured
  • Sigurdsson, Niasse duel for Man of the Match

Gylfi Sigurdsson, Oumar Niasse, and Tom Davies scored second half goals as Everton climbed into ninth place with a 3-1 win over Crystal Palace at Goodison Park on Saturday.

The Toffees’ 34 points are two back of seventh place Burnley, who lost to Swansea City.

Luka Milivojevic converted a penalty for Palace’s lone goal. Roy Hodgson‘s Eagles are 14th, two points clear of the drop zone.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Clever work from Sigurdsson eaned him space to rip a 25-yard shot across goal that just missed the far post.

New signing Alexander Sorloth started a play in Everton’s end that finished with a Luka Milivojevic bullet wide of the near post.

Sigurdsson then slipped Oumar Niasse on goal, but the Senegalese striker couldn’t finish his chance. And Sigurdsson missed a chance to shoot from the back post when Joel Ward dove to push a cross out for a corner kick.

Idrissa Gana Gueye forced a fine diving save from Wayne Hennessey with a dipping effort from distance.

Theo Walcott drew a free kick from Timothy Fosu-Mensah after dribbling through three or four Eagles in the 28th minute.

Yohan Cabaye forced Jordan Pickford into a save, and Christian Benteke was offside when he scored off the ensuing corner kick.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Everton fittingly found its opener through Sigurdsson moments after halftime. James Tomkins gave the ball away with a poor clearance and then saw Sigurdsson’s shot off a Niasse feed deflect off him and into the goal.

Niasse made it 2-0 when Cuco Martina chipped a cross toward the penalty spot and the Senegalese headed across the goal into the side netting.

Davies was in the catbird seat to score a 76th minute insurance goal after Sigurdsson’s tight angle pass bounded off Hennessey and onto his path.

Ashley Williams gave away a harsh penalty when he handled a close-range shot in the box. Pickford got both hands on Milivojevic’s attempt, but it carried into the goal.

Watch Live: Crystal Palace v. Man City

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Crystal Palace host Manchester City on Sunday (Watch Live, 7 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) at Selhurst Park.

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Pep Guardiola’s City are aiming to stretch their lead atop the Premier League table to 16 points by securing a 19th consecutive win, while Roy Hodgson’s Palace have lost just once in their last nine games and that was last time out in a 3-2 defeat to Arsenal.

In team news Palace make four changes with Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Wayne Hennessey, Patrick Van Aanholt and Jairo Riedewald coming in.

City make three changes to the side which beat Newcastle. Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero drop to the bench with Leroy Sane and Gabriel Jesus starting, while Vincent Kompany (calf knock) is replaced by Eliaquim Mangala.

Fabian Delph and David Silva aren’t in the matchday squad but John Stones returns to the City squad for the first time since mid November.

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Crystal Palace

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Crystal Palace 2-2 West Ham: Palace snatch dramatic point

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  • Hernandez, Ayew put Hammers ahead
  • Palace launch incredible comeback
  • Zaha scores in 97th minute

Crystal Palace fought back to draw 2-2 against West Ham United at Selhurst Park on Saturday as Slaven Bilic‘s threw away three points.

The Hammers went 2-0 up early thanks to goals from Javier Hernandez and Andre Ayew but Palace came roaring back in the second half as Luka Milivojevic‘s penalty kick made it 2-1.

Joe Hart was in sensational form to deny Palace on multiple occasions as the Hammers looked like they would hold on to win a huge London derby but then Michail Antonio failed to hold the ball in the corner and Palace broke with Wilfried Zaha scoring a superb goal to make it 2-2. Cue bedlam at Selhurst Park.

With the draw the Hammers move on to nine points, while Palace stay bottom but now have four points on the season.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

A cagey opening first half saw both teams feel their way into the game but Palace soon had to make a chance as Patrick Van Aanholt came off and Timothy Fosu-Mensah came on at left back.

The game then exploded into life.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

West Ham went 1-0 up after Aaron Cresswell‘s cross from the left found Hernandez and his unorthodox finish flew into the net as Mexico’s all-time leading goalscorer has his fourth goal of the season for the Hammers.

Soon after it was 2-0 to the Hammers and Ayew scored a superb solo goal as he ran from close to the halfway line before cutting onto his left peg and slamming home a wonderful shot off the bar and in. 2-0 to West Ham.

Palace went close to getting back into the game as Joe Hart twice denied James Tomkins and Wilfried Zaha from close range and then Ruben Loftus-Cheek should’ve done better at the back post.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ] 

The Eagles were handed a lifeline early in the second half with Andros Townsend shoved in the box by Angelo Ogbonna and a penalty kick was awarded.

Milivojevic scored the spot kick to make it 2-1 and moments later it should’ve been 2-2. Yohan Cabaye smashed an effort against the post and the ball almost struck Joe Hart on the back as it rebounded into play.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Palace peppered West Ham’s goal late on as they pushed hard for an equalizer with Hart denying Zaha and then Cabaye’s brilliant free kick.

The Hammers looked like they would hold on but Antonio failed to keep the ball in the corner in the 96th minute and Palace broke with Zaha scoring with one of the last kicks of the game to make it 2-2.

PL Playback: Mane’s red masks Liverpool’s real problems

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MANE RED MASKS LIVERPOOL ISSUES

Sadio Mane‘s red card in the 36th minute was the main talking point from Liverpool’s 5-0 defeat at Manchester City on Saturday.

It was a big moment but in no way should it have masked the bigger problem Liverpool have failed to address over the offseason: their defense.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays

Jurgen Klopp was scathing after Mane’s red for a high challenge on Man City goalkeeper Ederson. Told to calm down on the sidelines by officials, perhaps Klopp was so incensed because he had seen his team go 1-0 down after a poor piece of defending, plus miss glorious chances via Mohamed Salah to compound Mane’s sending off.

[ MORE: Klopp vs. Guardiola antithesis

Speaking to the media afterward, Klopp stood up for Mane as Guardiola also believed it was an accident but that the action was dangerous.

“It was an accident. A very unlucky situation. I think everybody knows Sadio didn’t see the goalie. He just wanted to get the ball as soon as possible… and then it was a red card. We cannot change that anymore,” Klopp said. “Hopefully the goalie isn’t seriously injured. At the first moment when the people were on the pitch it looked like this, but after the game he was running around the dugout. Hopefully it was not too serious.”

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Ederson did not break anything but had some nasty cuts on his face and will be feeling the impact of that reckless challenge from Mane, which deserved a red, for quite some time.

Klopp was also asked if Liverpool would appeal against Mane’s three-game ban, and reports have since suggested they could do: “It would be another waste of time. Like the game today,” Klopp said.

Yet, the game wasn’t a complete waste of time.

We learnt an awful lot about Liverpool’s defensive deficiencies and the usually charismatic Klopp seem distracted as he mumbled through his answers in his post-game press conference.

He admitted it was far too easy for Man City’s midfielders, the brilliant David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne in particular, to turn and hurt his defense but that he “will try, with the boys, to forget the result. Not the mistakes, but the result” as Liverpool were torn apart time and time again.

“We have four in defense and six in midfield and in these situations, yes, we could have done better. We could have done better with the ball in the second half. You don’t lose 5-0 when a lot of things are right. It is not that I am concerned in the long-term,” Klopp explained. “I think if City takes too much confidence from this game today it is a mistake, if we lose too much confidence from this game we will also make a mistake.”

Analyzing Liverpool’s defensive display before and after Mane was sent off will draw a similar conclusion: gaping holes. Not just among the defenders because that is an easy target. But in midfield, which player is the true holding midfielder to provide a shield? Jordan Henderson isn’t and Emre Can and Georginio Wijnaldum lack discipline defensively. Even club-record signing Naby Keita, who will arrive next summer, is a two-way player who chips in with goals and assists.

City’s balanced midfield of Fernandinho behind Silva and De Bruyne is what Liverpool should aim for if their extreme attacking side is going to challenge for trophies.

Liverpool’s young right back Trent Alexander-Arnold was targeted too easily and the center back duo of Joel Matip and Ragnar Klavan (who was preferred to Dejan Lovren) didn’t know whether to step up or hold with Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus buzzing around them. Every time City put the ball in the box it looked like they would score and they had two more goals ruled out for offside. Yes, Liverpool aren’t a team who are ever going to set back but when you’re 2-0 down at Man City at half time and a man down, surely Klopp didn’t expect the defensive capitulation he witnessed.

Even if Mane hadn’t been sent off, it would be tough for Man City not to have won that game.

Liverpool went all-in on center back Virgil Van Dijk this summer and they didn’t get their man. They didn’t seem to have a Plan B about strengthening their defense, which is undoubtedly their Achilles heel. Until they defend better, they will not win the title or challenge in Europe. Simple.

Klopp tried to mask the issues with Mane’s red card but you felt that, like Liverpool’s defensive display, it was halfhearted.

“After the international break, one man down, young players on the pitch in different positions. It was hard for the boys, I know, but we don’t look for excuses. It [the red card] changed the game today, we know it,” Klopp said. “What would have happened if we played 11v11? But I don’t have the chance to watch this game.”


DE BOER UNLUCKY

Quite why Crystal Palace hired Frank De Boer in the first place is mind-boggling.

It is admirable that for the second time in 12 months Steve Parish and Palace’s U.S. owners Josh Harris and David Blizter want to change the playing style of the south London club to an attractive, possession-based side, but now on both occasions it has failed. Miserably.

Palace now have to be brave and stick with what they want to be. Substance over style is okay. If you’re going to do it, just own it. And give it longer than four games.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Frank de Boer was nothing more than a victim of Palace’s ongoing identity crisis. They have now replaced Alan Pardew‘s experiment with a more attacking side with the pragmatism of Sam Allardyce and after the de Boer experiment went horribly wrong they are reportedly going back to basics with Roy Hodgson lined up to take charge as a horror run of games is on the horizon with Man City, Man United and Chelsea all in their next four PL games.

Sacked just four Premier League games into the season, FDB lasted 77 days and set a new record for the fewest PL games managed by a permanent boss. This comes after his disastrous 85-day spell in charge of Inter Milan last season as the Dutchman will do well to rebuild his coaching reputation following his four-straight Dutch titles with Ajax.

He was given some funds to strengthen and loanees Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Timothy Fosu-Mensah looked okay, but Mamadou Sakho never played due to injury and Jairo Riedewald also suffered on the sidelines. The players are partly to blame, particularly with their poor finishing and shambolic defending, but without a complete squad overhaul these systematic changes were doomed from the start.

This squad flourished under the direct approach of Allardyce last season and was now expected to play expansive, flowing soccer from the back.

Yet, this isn’t really about de Boer. Sure, he wanted to bring his expansive style of soccer to Selhurst Park, but that’s what Parish and others wanted too. And although you could accuse Palace of making horrendous defensive mistakes as they tried to keep the ball, they mixed it up and played long balls and got in crosses against both Liverpool and Burnley where they could have picked up points.

But they didn’t and they lost all four opening games without scoring a goal and the killer-blow was that three of those defeats came against Huddersfield, Swansea and Burnley who are all likely to be relegation rivals.

With 54 points from their last 63 games, Palace have racked up the second-lowest points total out of the 92 professional teams in England in that period. They have been scrapping away and fighting with themselves for so long now. Do they try to create a different identity or do they play it safe and aim for 40 points each PL season? The financial implications of relegation, plus the impending arrival of Hodgson, suggest the latter.

This is no longer de Boer’s problem to sort out.


DE BRUYNE OTHER-WORLDLY

Kevin de Bruyne provided two wonderful assists for Manchester City on Saturday in their demolition of Liverpool and the Belgian wizard finally seems to have found his spot in the team.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule

Under Pep Guardiola last season he was played in a deeper role and he flourished, grabbing 18 assists in the Premier League (more than any other player)

This season he is again lining up centrally rather than out wide and it giving City extra balance to their play with a 3-5-2 system allowing Jesus and Aguero to start up top, plus wing backs Benjamin Mendy and Kyle Walker to bomb forward.

De Bruyne, 26, spoke to the media in the tunnel area at the Etihad Stadium with a smile on his face as he discussed his match-winning display like it was a kickaround with his mates in the schoolyard.

“I just do whatever I need to do. I’d prefer to get zero goals and zero assists and win the league. Obviously it is a little bit different. I will try to do my thing and the coach is very happy with the way I am playing since the beginning of the season. I feel sharp. It always depends, but think where I am playing right now is the position which is best for me. Obviously every game is a little bit different, higher, lower, but it is small margins.”

Those small margins are what Guardiola and City are all about and De Bruyne believes they are hungrier than ever to win silverware this season after a barren spell in Pep’s first campaign.

“Everybody wants to win,” De Bruyne explained. “Obviously we have a couple of years where we don’t win a lot so there’s maybe more urgency to win something between the players. I have a good feeling about this season but you never know. We started well.”

And if those trophies arrive with him playing in a deeper role and not scoring as many goals?

“If it happens, it happens. If we win at the end of the season you will see a very happy Kevin.”


USMNT UPDATE: CAMERON OUT; EPB ON THE WAY?

Couple of U.S. national team notes to catch up on from around the Premier League.

Pro Soccer Talk understands Stoke City’s Geoff Cameron will be out for up to two weeks after injuring his hamstring just before half time in the Potters’ 2-2 draw against Manchester United.

Cameron, 32, started at center back but hobbled off after pulling up as he tracked back Romelu Lukaku. The experienced defender will now face a race against time to get back to full fitness before the USMNT’s final two World Cup qualifiers against Panama and Trinidad & Tobago with a trip to the 2018 tournament in Russia on the line.

A younger USMNT center back has also been in the news with reports stating that Sporting Kansas City’s Erik Palmer-Brown will join Manchester City.

EPB, 20, has been a star for the U.S. youth national teams and his coach as SKC, Peter Vermes, has confirmed he will move on at the end of the 2017 MLS season when his contract expires.

Pro Soccer Talk understand there is interest from Man City and that any deal will be sealed for him to join at the start of 2018. A versatile defender who can also play in midfield, EPB will likely join City’s development squad and then be loaned out.


INTRIGUING GOLDEN-BOOT RACE

We are only four weeks into the Premier League season but the Golden Boot race already seems like an intriguing one.

Harry Kane, the reigning two-time top scorer in the PL, is off the mark (because it is September) with two goals, while he has a little catching up to do as Romelu Lukaku has four goals, while Alvaro Morata and Gabriel Jesus have three goals each.

[ MORE: Premier League stats

There’s no doubt Sergio Aguero and Alexandre Lacazette (both on two goals) will also be up there all season long, but this could well be a three-horse race between Kane, Lukaku and Morata.

All three are the main-men up top for their teams and will likely start every single game. They are also very similar players who are comfortable with scoring in the air, holding the ball up and able to score all kinds of goals.

Let the best man win. And by win, I mean score a bucket load of goals.


Premier League Playback comes out every week as PST’s Lead Writer and Editor takes an alternative look at all the action from the weekend. Read the full archive, here