Tottenham Hotspur vs Crystal Palace Preview

It may be a brand-new calendar year, but for Tottenham fans, it was deja vu as they watched Conte’s side whimper to a 2-0 loss to Unai Emery’s Aston Villa in a game that was painful for fans and neutrals alike on New Year’s day. Today they will be hoping to bounce back into top-four contention when they face Patrick Vieira’s Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

Tottenham is coming off the back of a horrific home defeat to Aston Villa, during which they lacked the desire, intensity, quality and creativity required at any level of professional football.

The performance led to chants directed at Chairman Daniel Levy from Spurs fans to “get out of our club”, as it seems the fans have finally run out of patience with owners ENIC and the board’s lack of financial investment since taking over the club in 2001.

Whilst Daniel Levy is not the owner of Tottenham Hotspur, his philosophy of buying young players with potential for a cheaper fee, rather than more established stars for a significant fee has been largely unsuccessful in bringing the club any major silverware; with the club winning a single Carabao Cup back in 2009.

On the other side of London, Palace is having a decent season, with the club sitting 11th in the table and having found some form recently. However, Vieira’s side has had their struggles with consistency this season and has a massive chance to continue to hurt an already damaged Tottenham side.

Form and Previous Fixtures

Standings provided by Sofascore

If you change the table above to the form charts, you’ll see Spurs and Palace have similar records overall in their previous five fixtures, having both lost two but Palace having three wins and a draw in comparison to Spurs’ two wins and a draw. However, it feels that the momentum is with Palace after their weekend triumph against Bournemouth.

Spurs will take solace in the fact that Palace has only beaten them once in their last 10 attempts, with Spurs winning seven and drawing two of those fixtures. Furthermore, Antonio Conte is unbeaten against Vieira in their managerial careers thus far, with the Italian taking over shortly after Palace’s 3-0 win against home last season.

Spurs will not be looking for a repeat of their previous trip to Selhurst Park, during which Japhet Tanganga received a red card after struggling in his duel against Wilfried Zaha.

Embed from Getty Images

Tanganga did get his revenge in the reverse fixture last season, with Zaha being sent off after just 37 minutes in what was a mirror match of the previous fixture as the home side came out 3-0 victors.

Selhurst Park hasn’t been too much of a fortress recently. Palace has won four, drawn one and lost three at home this season. However, Tottenham has struggled to break down Palace away from home in the past, and with Spurs’ recent struggles with low blocks, as highlighted against Aston Villa, it will be a gruelling visit to the Eagles this time round.

Team News

Tottenham will be without Rodrigo Bentancur once again this week, as Spurs don’t expect him to be back until after the upcoming FA match against Portsmouth. The Uruguayan midfielder picked up an injury during the World Cup in a match against Ghana.

Richarlison will also be unavailable for selection and is having another MRI to assess the hamstring injury he picked up on International duty with Brazil. He isn’t expected to return until later in the month.

Dejan Kulusevski is being assessed ‘day by day’ ahead of the game against Palace. He missed Spurs’ recent fixture against Aston Villa. His absence left a massive void within the team, particularly his physicality, ball progression and ability to pick the right pass in most situations. Here’s what Conte had to say about Kulusevski’s potential return:

“I don’t know, honestly. Now, I don’t know because we have today and tomorrow to check his situation. For sure, we will see. The injury is not serious. Then, if the player gives his availability, he could play. Otherwise we have to wait and to have patience for the next game.” 

via Football London

Tottenham hasn’t lost any of the eight games Kulusevski has started this season but has lost four from eight games in which he hasn’t started. Furthermore, when the Swede plays goals per game doubles from 1.4 to 2.8, so his absence once again will be pivotal in determining the outcome of this match.

Yves Bissouma is also suspended for this match after accumulating a fifth yellow card for the season against Aston Villa, leaving way for Oliver Skipp to demonstrate his ability after long-term injuries have stunted his development, or Antonio Conte may gamble on new boy Papa Matar Sarr who is said to have impressed the Italian during the international break.

For the home side, Tyrick Mitchell remains unavailable for selection due to suspension.

A must-win for Conte and his struggling Spurs side, who could find themselves just two points off of third-placed Newcastle with a win at Selhurst Park, but also a massive chance for Patrick Vieira to get his first win over the Italian coach, and a chance to win back-to-back games for the first time since October.

Follow World in Sport for more Premier League coverage.

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