TOTTENHAM V CRYSTAL PALACE: Roy Hodgson’s high-flying Eagles looking to capitalise on Mauricio Pochettino’s woes in all-London clash
- Tottenham welcome Crystal Palace to the new White Hart Lane on Saturday
- Palace enter the match sitting in the top four with two wins in their last two
- Spurs have struggled for form and have won only one match so far this season
- Wilfried Zaha is tipped by the bookmakers to match Harry Kane in the scoring
- Tottenham v Crystal Palace, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Saturday 3pm
Any Tottenham fans heading into this one feeling entirely content and fully expectant of three points and a simple afternoon? Yeah, thought not.
It’s been a very odd start to the season for the Champions League runners-up, and things just don’t feel quite right.
Mauricio Pochettino has been making all the grumblings of a dissatisfied man, while Spurs’ recent lacklustre showing in the north London derby highlighted their current predicament.
Tottenham are relying on talisman Harry Kane to fire them back into contention this weekend
Crystal Palace on the other hand enter this fixture sitting pretty in the top four. It’s early days, of course, but Roy Hodgson’s men are giving a steady account of themselves.
Victory at Old Trafford has already been an early-season highlight, with Palace having won their last two matches on the bounce.
However, there isn’t any realism like Roy Hodgson realism. The Palace gaffer has been keen to remind the club’s loyal fan base that there will be ‘heartache’ and ‘suffering’ along the way this season. Enjoy the moment, Roy, surely?
When quizzed on whether Palace can kick on from last year and trouble the top order, Hodgson was largely dismissive.
He said: ‘I would like to say that to you but if I’m realistic I’m not certain I can. I think staying in the Premier League is always going to be the be all and end all for us and always going to be a fight, a bit of suffering.
‘There’s not going to be rainbows and blue skies and rose coloured spectacles all the way through. There’s gong to be plenty of fighting and heartache along the way.’
So, erm, don’t say you haven’t been warned Palace fans.
In Wilfried Zaha Crystal Palace have a threat who can both create and score goals with ease
Spurs new boy Giovani Lo Celso is undergoing rehabilitation will be playing no part after injuring his hip on international duty. Juan Foyth is ‘concluding late stages of conditioning before returning to training’ and will also not feature, while Davinson Sanchez is a doubt with his ankle injury.
A boost for Pochettino’s lot however, with Tanguy Ndombele (thigh), Ryan Sessegnon (hamstring), Kyle Walker-Peters (hamstring) and Eric Dier (hip) all having returned to training and will be assessed for selection.
Palace boss Roy Hodgson will assess Scott Dann and James McArthur.
Centre-back Dann missed the 1-0 win over Aston Villa with a hand issue but could return, while midfielder McArthur will be checked for an unspecified injury.
Defender Martin Kelly (groin) remains sidelined as does striker Connor Wickham.
What the bosses are saying
Pochettino wants focus ahead of his side’s return to their stunning new stadium, and spoke rather frankly on the subject during his pre-match press conference.
‘To be clear in our minds, to think that the most important is the collective and start to put outside individual situations, all together again and try to create a dynamic and be strong and starting winning games,’ said Pochettino. ‘That’s the most important thing for us now.’
The Argentine has also addressed Christian Eriksen’s situation, after the wantaway star remained in north London.
‘He’s happy. He was always happy. He never said he wasn’t happy here. Everyone of course has aims, goals, challenges. I told you before the Arsenal game he was in his right mind and that’s why I played him.’
Mauricio Pochettino wasn’t happy with what he saw in the north London derby at the Emirates
What the bookies say
There is potentially quite the earner to be made, for punters looking to go bold and stick a hefty sum on a Palace win at 8/1. The bookies, generally speaking, are suggesting Spurs players will return from the international break and get back to winning ways. The hosts are 2/5 with the draw 21/5.
MailOnline Sport prediction
Harry Kane returns to Spurs with four goals in two games for the national team, so is not short of form. Palace will make the short trip to north London with a ‘nothing to lose attitude,’ but Sportsmail has this one in favour of the hosts. To be winning at half-time and full-time, they’re 11/10. LONG SHOT – Gary Cahill earned many plaudits after making his Palace bow, and he’s priced at 25/1 with some bookies to score at any time.
THE STATS THAT MATTER
- Tottenham have won their last eight Premier League games against Crystal Palace, conceding just one goal in that run. Only against Birmingham (10 in September 1964) and Blackpool (9 in January 1964) have they had longer winning runs in their top-flight history.
- Crystal Palace are winless in their last seven away Premier League games against Spurs (D2 L5), failing to score in each of the last six.
- Tottenham lost their last home Premier League London derby, 0-1 against West Ham in April. They last lost consecutive home London derbies in the league back in November 2004 (vs Charlton and Arsenal).
- Tottenham have lost two of their last four home league games (W1 D1) – more than they had in their previous 30 in the Premier League at White Hart Lane/Tottenham Hotspur Stadium (W25 D4 L1).
- Crystal Palace’s last five Premier League away games against ‘big six’ sides have seen them pick up wins against Man City, Arsenal and Manchester United (L2), while they were also the last side to win away at Anfield. Indeed, since the start of 2016-17, the Eagles have won away at five of the ‘big six’ sides (more than any other club), with Tottenham being the only exception.
- Spurs have trailed for 127 minutes in home Premier League games this season – 22 minutes more than any other side.
- This is only the fourth time Crystal Palace will play a Premier League match starting the day in the top-four and the first time manager Roy Hodgson has done so since March 1998 with Blackburn Rovers, losing 4-0 away at Leeds United.
- Spurs have won just 16 points from their last 16 Premier League matches (W4 D4 L8), 23 fewer than they won in their previous 16 games (W13 D0 L3).
- Harry Kane’s goal against Arsenal for Spurs was his 28th in Premier League London derbies, drawing him level with Jermain Defoe and Ian Wright – only three players have more than Kane; Thierry Henry (43) and Frank Lampard & Teddy Sheringham (32).
- Crystal Palace’s Jordan Ayew has scored in each of his last two Premier League appearances – he could become the first Ghanaian to score in three in a row since his brother André Ayew in 2016 and only the fourth overall (also Asamoah Gyan in 2010 and Tony Yeboah in 1995).