Crystal Palace welcome Tottenham Hotspur to Selhurst Park this Sunday for both sides’ Premier League opener. The Eagles will be up for their first Premier League game in eight years, while Spurs will be looking for a good start to their campaign. Palace head into the match with only one league win in their last 10 league games. The Eagles performed at the right time in the season managing to get promoted by beating Brighton over two legs, and Watford in the Play-off final. Spurs go into the game unbeaten in their last eight at the end of the Premier League season. Andre Villas-Boas’ men make the journey to South-East London only losing one of their last eleven away from home in the league.
Gareth Bale’s absence dominates the team news. Bale has been suffering with a foot problem and Andre Villas-Boas has revealed the player will miss the start of the season. Roberto Soldado is expected to make his Premier League debut and Younes Kaboul will be hoping for his first Premier League appearance since the beginning of last season. Danny Rose will be hoping for a start after a successful loan spell at Sunderland last season. Crystal Palace will be expected to give starts to new boys Dwight Gayle and Marouane Chamakh. Club captain Paddy McCarthy is not yet fit enough to gain a place in the squad after over a year out. Crystal Palace’s most notable absentee is last year’s top scorer Glen Murray, who is out for at least the rest of the year with knee ligament damage. New sigings Jerome Thomas and Jose Campaña will miss out as well as Yannick Bolaise who has a long term hamstring injury.
Rather surprisingly, Palace were unbeaten against Spurs both home and away last time they were in the Premier League. The last time the teams met at Selhurst Park, Palace got the better of their London rivals winning 3-0 in 2005. Palace’s first home game of their last Premier League adventure saw them lose 3-1 to Everton and Spurs will be hoping to inflict a similar result. Andre Villas-Boas side did not win their first three games of last season, so they will be hoping that this is not the case this time round.
With Gareth Bale set to miss out, Spurs will be looking to their new signings to step up and take some of the goal scoring responsibility. If selected, Roberto Soldado will be very important for Spurs, not only in this game, but for the rest of the season. The Spaniard, who Spurs signed from Valencia for £24m, has scored over 25 goals in each of his last three seasons for Valencia. Spurs will be looking for Soldado to replicate this sort of form. Crystal Palace will be hoping that new signing Marouane Chamakh will be able to have a big impact, not only in this game, but during the rest of the season. The striker had a troubled time at Arsenal and a brief loan spell at West Ham, but being Palace’s number one forward could give the striker the confidence needed to replicate the form he showed for Bordeaux in Ligue 1. Chamakh’s goals could go a long way to helping Palace stay up if Ian Holloway can get the best out of him.
Spurs are definitely favourites for this one and Pinnacle Sports reflect this in their odds with Spurs at 1.794 to win and Crystal Palace at 5.180. The draw is at slightly better odds of 3.710 but with the quality in Tottenham’s team it is hard to see Palace getting a result even with their home support. A 2-0 win for Tottenham seems a strong prediction for this game.
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