Although still very early into the proceedings of the Barclays 2015-16 Premier League season, fans will be now have been afforded a glimpse at what their side has to offer this season. The start the home side have made may leave Tottenham Hotspur fans feeling they will once again be victims of harbouring too much hope, and may fear another arduous year beckons at White Hart Lane. Those making the journey across London will be ecstatic after 3 wins from their opening 5 games, including a famous victory at Stamford Bridge. Alan Pardew has given the club a new lease of life, and after a promising start to the new season, the former Newcastle United manager will feel that the sky is the limit for his exciting outfit.
Influential midfielders, Christian Eriksen and Moussa Dembele, are expected to return to the side after shaking off injuries, but academy graduate and England youngster Ryan Mason is unlikely to feature after picking up an injury whilst scoring the winner in last week’s away win at Sunderland. Another midfielder, Nabil Bentaleb, is to remain side lined for several more weeks with an ankle problem.
Palace are expected to welcome back a number of faces to the side this weekend, with Damien Delaney, Joe Ledley and Connor Wickham all expected to return to the fray at White Hart Lane. Joel Ward and Marouane Chamakh remain unavailable, and long term absentee, Kwesi Appiah is not expected to feature again this season due to an ACL problem.
Head to Head
In years gone by, this fixture has been dominated by the hosts. In 34 meetings between the pair, Tottenham have taken the spoils on no less than 17 occasions, with Palace tasting success a meagre 6 times. 11 draws have been shared between the two, suggesting the teams to have been equally matched in almost a third of meetings. Since Palace’s re-emergence as a Premier League side in 2013, Spurs have won twice, Palace once, and one game has finished tied.
Tottenham: Kyle Walker
If Tottenham are to take the spoils from this encounter, then the wide attacking threat Palace offer must be contained. Full backs Kyle Walker and Ben Davies are likely to start, but it is the experienced Walker who is vital to his side’s chances of success. Up against pace and power, Walker must call upon his own ability of these attributes if he is to subdue the threat offered by the likes of Wilfried Zaha, Yannick Bolasie and Bakary Sako. Having scored the own goal which resulted in defeat at Old Trafford, and less than impressive performances in Spurs’ failure to secure a home win thus far, Walker has a lot to prove. With a European Championship to look forward to at the end of the season, every game counts, and Walker will be keen to secure his seat on the flight to France.
Crystal Palace: Bakary Sako
The Malian international was sensational during his spell with Wolverhampton Wanderers, and it was clear that the player was destined for the Premier League. Since arriving at Palace on a free transfer in the summer, the winger has exceeded expectation, with 2 goals and an assist in only 3 appearances. The player possesses all of the attributes required to succeed in the top flight, with an abundance of strength and speed at his disposal causing concerns for the most experienced Premier League defenders. Tottenham have endured a shaky start to the campaign, evidenced by their failure to see out victory after being 2-0 up at home to Stock City, and players with Sako’s ability have the potential to pile further misery upon Mauricio Pochettino’s men.
Tottenham are desperate to secure their first maximum home points of the season, but visitors Palace will be hoping to spoil the party. After victory at Chelsea, Alan Pardew’s men will certainly fancy their chances of another upset, and this encounter will surely be a tight affair which neither side will expect to lose. On current form, the teams seem evenly matched, and I expect this closeness to be carried into the fixture.
Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Crystal Palace
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