Crystal Palace will host an out-of-sorts Tottenham side seeking relevance to stay in touch with the top four.

Patrick Vieira might have felt a sense of balance after his side cruised to victory over Bournemouth on New Year’s Eve. Goals from Jordan Ayew and Eberechi Eze proved enough to crush the Cherries, with Crystal Palace moving close to the top half of the table ahead of the game against Tottenham.

Another victory will see them leapfrog Brighton & Hove Albion in the table and move closer to Fulham. Their challenge is to maintain momentum and bring about the level of required consistency missing all season. Vieira will know the problems and might charge up his side to push ahead.

In recent seasons, they have had a good record against London rivals at Selhurst Park, and Vieira will hope to continue that run. This season, however, they have lost three times at home, and all those defeats have come to London teams Arsenal, Chelsea and Fulham, something they would want to put the brakes on.

Tottenham come into this London derby on the back of a morale-sapping defeat to Aston Villa on New Year’s Day. Unai Emery used up his experience as a former Arsenal manager and maintained his unbeaten streak against Spurs in their ground. Goals from Emiliano Buendia and Douglas Luiz opened the north Londoners up, and Antonio Conte seems out of ideas at the moment.

It was also their tenth game this season where Tottenham conceded the opening goal, and such has been their theme in recent matches. They conceded twice against Brentford on Boxing Day before pulling two back to draw the game. That was not the case against Villa, as Tottenham succumbed to their fourth defeat in the last seven games.

The draw and defeat since the restart has seen Spurs slip out of the top four. Manchester United took their fourth spot, and Spurs, having played a game more, will come under a lot of pressure to regain it. Tottenham face Arsenal, Fulham and Manchester City twice in their next four fixtures, which could end up defining their season.

Team News & Tactics

Crystal Palace

Patrick Vieira will enter this match against Tottenham with familiar absentees from the last game with Bournemouth. The disastrous result at home to Fulham still has repercussions, with Tyrick Mitchell yet to come back from his suspension following the straight red card. James Tomkins, however, will be back for the game against Spurs.

Considering Marc Guehi and Joachim Andersen are fit and firing, there is no room for Tomkins in the lineup. Sam Johnstone, James McArthur and Nathan Ferguson are the other absentees for the Tottenham clash. So as things stand, Vieira could name an unchanged lineup from the Bournemouth game.

Vicente Guaita is in goal with a back four of Nathaniel Clyne, Andersen, Guehi and Joel Ward in front. Vieira could look to keep Michael Olise in a midfield three or push him ahead on the right wing. In midfield, Cheick Doucoure and Jeffrey Schlupp will continue to hold the fort.

Considering the latter system worked in the previous game, Jordan Ayew will lead the line for the Eagles, with Eberechi Eze playing the no.10 role for Palace. Wilfried Zaha will take his usual spot on the left side of the attack and Olise on the right.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Guaita; Clyne, Andersen, Guehi, Ward; Doucoure, Schlupp; Olise, Eze, Zaha; Ayew

Tottenham Hotspur

Antonio Conte will have a few key decisions to make with his starting lineup and possibly weed out the errors that cost them the points against Aston Villa. Yves Bissouma joined the list of absentees after picking up a booking against Villa, which was his fifth yellow card of the season.

With the Malian suspended and Rodrigo Bentancur still out injured, Oliver Skipp is the natural replacement in midfield. He will play alongside Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg. Richarlison and Lucas Moura are the other confirmed absentees with no sight of return yet.

Conte might also make a slight tweak at the back, with the manager likely to drop Ben Davies from the starting lineup. Eric Dier might replace him, with Cristian Romero and Clement Lenglet likely to keep their spots in the back three.

Dejan Kulusevski is close to returning, but Conte was cautious in confirming he would start against Palace. However, the manager did leave the choice to the player. He did mention Bryan Gil as a replacement if the Swede does not play. It could be a late call. But considering the need of the hour and keeping the other big games in the background, the winger might start against Palace.

Probable lineup (3-4-3): Lloris; Romero, Dier, Lenglet; Doherty, Hojbjerg, Skipp, Perisic; Kulusevski, Kane, Son

Key Stats

  • Tottenham have conceded at least two goals in their last seven matches in the Premier League.
  • Tottenham have conceded the first goal in their last ten games.
  • Tottenham have won only once in their last five games across all competitions.
  • Crystal Palace are unbeaten in four games against Tottenham at Selhurst Park.
  • Crystal Palace have lost three times at Selhurst Park this season, all coming against London rivals.

Player to Watch

Harry Kane

Tottenham desperately need inspiration from somewhere in the squad. There is no better player than Kane to provide that. Unfortunately, despite getting Spurs to a flying start, their best in the Premier League era, Conte has seen his style struggle to impose themselves, particularly in the first periods.

That is one aspect they need to change, and Kane could become the catalyst by wearing his scoring boots. An early goal could shift momentum in Tottenham’s favour and may have a different sight on the scoreboard after ninety minutes.


Crystal Palace 2-2 Tottenham

Going by absolute current form, Crystal Palace may have the edge over Tottenham in this clash. Considering that the game is at Selhurst Park, the home team may even go on to win. However, Tottenham have the undoubted superior quality in their squad to down the Eagles.

Palace were sharp inside the box against Bournemouth, and if they maintain that form, the Eagles could hurt Tottenhamin many ways. Let’s assume Spurs can get something out of this clash if not a win. From what we have seen since the restart, this game has the hallmarks of an entertaining draw.

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