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The Eagles looked set to put a block in the road by clinching a point at Selhurst Park with an organised and disciplined display.
That was until, with 12 minutes remaining, Eriksen strode forward and cracked home a stunning winner from 25 yards to keep the heat on Antonio Conte's Blues and secure a club record eighth straight Premier League win.
Here's what we learnt from Spurs' vital win in South London…
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Palace provide the blueprint
A trip to Crystal Palace was never going to be easy. The Eagles are soaring under Sam Allardyce and have beaten Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea in an eight-match run which has seen them win six games and lose just one.
For 78 minutes the Eagles showed exactly how to deny Mauricio Pochettino's free-scoring side. Whenever the hosts lost the ball they retreated, got organised, compact and invited Spurs to try to pick their way through.
And it worked until 12 minutes from time. In the first half the North Londoners huffed and puffed and ran out of ideas. An ambitious drive to the near post from Eriksen was all Spurs had to show for their first-half display with the Dane's effort the only one which required a save from Wayne Hennessey.
They kept going in the second period and when it really mattered Eriksen came up big to secure all three points with speculative drive from distance.
Spurs will be grateful for the fact that all of their remaining fixtures – bar the final day trip to Hull City – are against sides who will want to play on the front foot. But this was a glimpse into how to nullify Pochettino's side.
He's just too good for you
Report Spurs transfer target Wilfried Zaha showed exactly why he is wanted at White Hart Lane. The winger's ill-fated stint at Manchester United clearly came too early in his development.
However, the 23-year-old has matured in the four years since moving to Old Trafford for £15million and become one of the Premier League's most-feared wide players and one of the few who still plays like an old-fashioned wide-man.
Up against right wing-back Kyle Walker he enjoyed another impressive evening under the lights at Selhurst Park. It is his unpredictably and almost carefree attitude to wing play which makes him so effective and enjoyable to watch.
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Zaha is the sort of player Tottenham could have done with on their side at times on Wednesday evening – someone who will get his head down and just take people on regardless of how fraught a game is.
He has improved this season, as the statistics above underline, and Spurs won't be the only side interested in signing him this summer. The smart money says he'll cost more than £15million this time though.
Eriksen: Difference maker
However, Spurs do have a not-so-secret weapon in Danish maestro Eriksen. The former Ajax midfielder's late striker proved decisive and it came just as the visitors were beginning to run out of ideas.
Eriksen is one of the Premier League's most underrated players. With 12 assists – Dele Alli has the second most with five – he is by some distance Tottenham's most creative player. He has the most shots per game (3.8) and most key passes (3).
Last season at Selhurst Park it was Alli who scored a stunner to help clinch the win. That came in a 3-1 victory but Eriksen's effort was another decisive moment of quality worthy of winning any game.
Key players come up big when needed and the unassuming Dane did just that.
Not ‘Spursy' anymore
The phrase ‘Spursy' has been thrown around for years. Referring to the North Londoners' propensity to get into a good position before capitulating, it has been banded around this season too.
Trailing 1-0 at Swansea City earlier this month, Spurs scored three goal in the final two minutes and injury time to clinch a priceless victory in South Wales.
At half time at Selhurst Park the travelling Tottenham supporters could have been forgiven for fearing the worst. They have seen it all before. But they kept going and Eriksen's winner was their reward for refusing to collapse under the pressure.
This is a new era for Tottenham Hotspur. This is an exciting young side not burdened by the failings of the past. The term Spursy can be re-defined.
Hard act to follow
Until now Spurs have gone first in the Premier League title race, playing their fixtures before Chelsea. But with the Blues swatting Southampton aside on Tuesday night the pressure was on Pochettino's side to follow 24 hours later.
It will be the same next Sunday as Chelsea, by a matter of hours, take the stage first at Everton. Almost as soon as the fixture at Goodison Park finishes it will be over to Tottenham who tackle rivals Arsenal at White Hart Lane.
If the pressure of the final North London derby at the Lane wasn't enough already, Spurs will know exactly what they have to do. Going second crystallises what you have to do but also cranks up the pressure.