Tottenham will be full of confidence after their historic mid-week win over Real Madrid in the Champions League and they will want to build further momentum with a win over Crystal Palace. Although the Eagles are at the bottom of the Premier League, they are starting to show improvement under Roy Hodgson after taking four points from the last three matches. In the two meetings between the clubs last season, Spurs took maximum points, but it wasn’t easy for them and both matches were decided by just the one goal.
Mauricio Pochettino is now regarded as one of the best coaches in Europe and his reputation improves with every passing week. It looked a difficult task for Tottenham to better what they had achieved last season, but the early indications are that they are ready to challenge for major honours. Supporters will be craving a trophy as the club haven’t won one since 2008, but it would be churlish to ignore the progress being made on a yearly basis. They are now one of the best clubs in the country and an established title contender. Everybody in England knew the quality of this Spurs team, but the result in the week brought them to the attention of the rest of Europe and their manager deserves a lot of praise for the job he has done.
Crystal Palace have had a disastrous start to the season, but they are only four points away from safety. Although it isn’t an ideal position to be in, there is a lot of football to be played and those that are writing them off are doing so too soon. Roy Hodgson wasn’t a glamorous appointment, but he is having an effect on the team and the performances are improving every week. The result this weekend isn’t too important. That said, he will be hoping that his players deliver a good display and continue showing signs of improvement, as they have some winnable matches coming up after the international break.
Since Mauricio Pochettino took over at Tottenham, they have taken 31 home points from Premier League London derbies. This is more than any other team during the period.
Palace haven’t scored a goal in their first five away fixtures of the Premier League season. The last team to go six away matches without a goal were Derby County in in 2007.
It has been a slow start to the season for Dele Alli, as the focus has been on Harry Kane and Harry Winks at Tottenham. However, the 21-year-old brought the attention back to him with an excellent performance against Real Madrid. The midfielder scored the opening two goals and was a constant threat to the La Liga side’s defence. During the match, he completed five dribbles, which was more than any other player on the pitch. He caused problems when he opted to run at defenders with the ball and looked full of confidence every time the ball fell to his feet. However, his tenacity and work rate were equally impressive as he completed four tackles during the match. His Premier League start has been decent if unspectacular as he has scored three and assisted one in the opening ten matches. The performance during mid-week will give him momentum and he will be keen to continue that good form in the league.
The star of the Crystal Palace team is Wilfried Zaha and supporters weren’t surprised that an upturn in results arrived at the same time as the winger returning to the team. He suffered an injury during the opening weekend and didn’t return until the match against Chelsea. Not only is the Ivory Coast international a great player, but he is an influential player in the dressing room. It is clear that the team look like they have more belief when he is in the team. Tottenham are likely to dominate possession at the weekend and that is why Zaha will be the key man for Palace. The visitors will look to be compact at the back and play quick counter-attacking football when they win the ball back. The 24-year-old has the dribbling ability and end product to cause damage on Sunday, if his team-mates can get him on the ball in dangerous areas.
Hugo Lloris and Toby Alderweireld will both be missing for the home side, which creates a selection headache for Pochettino. Michel Vorm will deputise in goal, but the Argentine may be forced to play with a back four in the absence of Alderweireld. Erik Lamela and Victor Wanyana are both making progress, but neither will feature this weekend.
Mamadou Sakho and James McArthur are both back in training and have a good chance of playing a part on Sunday. Patrick van Aanholt is a doubt with a hamstring injury.
There is a danger that this will be after the Lord Mayor’s show for Tottenham as the whole club is on a high and it will be difficult to replicate the result earned in mid-week. Palace shouldn’t be taken for granted as they are a team better than their league position suggests and they will be keen to spoil the party at Wembley. The defensive injuries cause complications for the home side, but they should have enough to take three points. It won’t be as pretty as their performance against Real Madrid, but the result will be the same.