Tottenham Hotspur vs Crystal Palace: Match preview and predicted line-ups
Alan Pardew’s Crystal Palace recorded an FA Cup 5th Round victory the last time they travelled to White Hart Lane in February, and Spurs will be looking for revenge as they look forward to their first home game of the season by welcoming their London rivals this weekend. Both sides will be under pressure after disappointing results in the opening weekend, and a host of England stars will be hoping to prove their point to their home crowd as Dele Alli, Harry Kane and Eric Dier return to their home stadium.
With just two league wins in 2016, Alan Pardew will be desperate to turn things around at Selhurst Park to avoid the drop which saw his side go from European contenders to nearing a relegation fight last season. Without such a good start, the Eagles could be in trouble this term, and a 1-0 home defeat to West Brom showed no sign of turning things around.
Pre-season did show an improvement in form at times, none more so than during an impressive performance against Valencia which ended with a 3-1 win, but performances such as the 3-1 reverse at Craven Cottage to Championship side Fulham mean that the summer was not enough to fill fans with confidence.
Tottenham started the season hesitantly, with a 1-1 draw at Goodison Park. Erik Lamela’s strike brought Spurs back level on the hour mark, but many of the side’s stars failed to shine.
Mauricio Pochettino’s men had a mixed, although short, pre-season campaign, with defeats to Atletico Madrid and Juventus followed up with a 6-1 thrashing of Inter Milan at White Hart Lane. After a disappointing end to last season after harbouring title hopes, a good start is vital for Pochettino’s and his men.
Tottenham predicted starting XI Palace predicted starting XI
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Despite far from living up to expectations last weekend, Mauricio Pochettino is expected to finish with the same side that drew with Everton last weekend in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Michel Vorm replacing the injured Hugo Lloris in the only change. There is a possibility that Pochettino will favour a more attacking approach, using Vincent Janssen alongside Harry Kane in a 4-4-2 at the expense of Eric Dier or Victor Wanyama, but he is unlikely to risk upsetting one of his star men by dropping them so early on in the season.
Palace will be forced into changes due to the sale of Mile Jedinak in midfield, and Yannick Bolasie will no longer take up a place on the bench. Pardew will retain his back four from last weekend, but will most likely push Jason Puncheon into a more attacking role now that Yohan Cabaye and Joe Ledley have another week of training under their belts after prolonged pre-season breaks after their participation in the Euros.
Tottenham will be without their captain and one of their key players as Hugo Lloris is out for around four weeks with a hamstring problem which forced him off in the first half at Goodison Park last weekend. Mousa Dembele will also miss out due to a suspension picked up at the heated London Derby against Chelsea at the tail end of last season. Clinton N’Jie has returned to training, but the Cameroonian flop is not expected to be included as the club look to sell him.
Palace will also be without some key players, with Jonathan Williams out until October with an ankle injury. James Tomkins looks set to wait even longer for his debut as he nurses a hamstring problem, whilst James McArthur is still not fully fit from a knee injury and Zeki Fryers, Bakary Sako and Fraizer Campbell all monitor muscle problems which mean they are likely to miss out. Palace are also likely to be without Australian midfielder Mile Jedinak if he is still a player at the club, as he is set to complete a move to Aston Villa.
Palace were in an atrocious run of form at the end of last season, and last weekend’s defeat to West Brom showed no sign of arresting that, yet Tottenham’s young side was clearly still suffering from a post-Euro 2016 hangover as Harry Kane, Dele Alli and others failed to impress. With no Yannick Bolasie to bring a goal threat and no striker brought in to add goals to a far from prolific front line, it won’t take much for Tottenham to produce enough to defeat their London rivals. Tottenham Hotspur win.