Match Preview – Crystal Palace (Home)

Tottenham welcome promoted side Crystal Palace to White Hart Lane this weekend in a game that could potentially see Spurs return to top four should the Merseyside double both fail to win in their respective games. Spurs have enjoyed a grand spell under new boss Tim Sherwood achieving an undefeated spell during his four league games in charge. The Lilywhites will be looking to progress from their fine win at Old Trafford on New Years Day with a win on their home turf.

Palace have become a changed side under their new boss Tony Pulis. The former Stoke manager has introduced a calmer system of football as opposed to the frantic and attacking nature of his predecessor Ian Holloway. Pulis has got his side working to their full potential in every game and has morphed the Play-off winners into a stable outlet capable of holding back even the most fierce sides in the land – as is shown by their resilience at the Etihad, home of Pellegrini’s City. The game between Spurs and Palace on the opening day highlighted this also considering Tottenham came away with only a penalty to separate the sides.

Tottenham’s win on the opening day of the season was only their third victory over Palace in nine Premier League encounters. Palace have never lost against Tottenham at White Hart Lane in the Premier League (W1, D3). Both teams finished last season on 72 points and finished fifth in their respective leagues. Spurs finished fifth in the Premier League after 38 matches, while Palace were fifth in the Championship following their 46 games. In 36 matches against Tottenham, Palace have won just seven times.

Spurs have picked up 15 points from 10 matches at home this season, scoring just 11 goals in those games. They have won three more league matches away than they have at White Hart Lane this campaign. After seven clean sheets in their opening 10 league matches of the season they have kept just one in their subsequent 10. They have lost just one of their last seven league matches. Aaron Lennon, Andros Townsend, Lewis Holtby and Gylfi Sigurdsson have yet to provide an assist in the Premier League this season.

Pulis’ men have won just one of their last five league matches. Palace have taken 10 points from their eight league matches under Tony Pulis (W3, D1, L4). After conceding 21 goals in their opening 10 matches of the season and keeping no clean sheets, they have let in just eight goals in their last 10 and have kept five clean sheets. Mile Jedinak has made more interceptions (67) than any other Premier League player this season. In Premier League history, only five teams have scored fewer than Palace’s 13 goals through their first 20 games of the season.

Injury wise, Andros Townsend, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Lewis Holtby and Jermain Defoe are all back in contention for the Palace game as confirmed by Sherwood however he has many a casualty also. Younes Kaboul (thigh), Sandro (hamstring), Jan Vertonghen (ankle) and Paulinho (ankle) all remain out with Erik Lamela facing a late fitness test after Sherwood confirmed fatigue in one of his thighs.

For Palace, Captain Mile Jedinak and Jason Puncheon are two men that could return in midfield, with 18-year-old Hiram Boateng likely to drop out. Cameron Jerome is still sidelined, Pulis may restore Marouane Chamakh up front alongside Dwight Gayle. Adlene Guedioura may be fit following a rib injury.

It is likely to be an engaging affair between the side. Luckily I’m in attendance at the Lane thanks to Barclays for my tickets!

Predicted team: Lloris; Walker, Dawson, Chiriches, Rose; Lennon, Dembélé, Sandro, Eriksen; Chadli; Adebayor (4-4-1-1)

Predicted score: Tottenham 3-0 Palace.

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