Following the international break Crystal Palace travel to North London for a showdown with Tottenham Hotspur.
The Eagles have gotten off to a strong start to the season with a negative blip against Sheffield Untied the lone loss amongst the opening four games of the season. Palace come into this weekend with seven points and are currently perched in fourth place above sides such as Manchester United and this weekend’s opponents Tottenham. This match also marks the start of a tough run in the Schedule for the Eagles with Manchester City, Wolves, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and Leicester City making up seven of the next nine opponents including Spurs.
While Palace may have gotten off to a good start many Spurs fans may be less thrilled with their start to the season. Tottenham haven’t won since the opening matchday with a loss to Newcastle sandwiched between draws with Manchester City and Arsenal, in which they blew a 2-0 halftime lead, making up their last three games. Spurs also begin their Champions League campaign, as the reigning runner ups, against Olympiacos. Despite Crystal Palace having established themselves as giant slayers they have struggled against Tottenham in the Premier League, with the opposite being true in FA Cup matches.
Expect a very similar Palace line-up to the won that has won two matches in a row in a 4-3-3 formation. The one change that could be made is a potential first start for centre-back Mamadou Sakho after he replaced the injured Martin Kelly in the last game against Aston Villa. If Kelly is fit to start he could get the nod for his recent form this season but don’t be surprised if the Frenchman makes his first start of the season. In the front line expect Jordan Ayew to continue to lead the attack with two goals from his last two games and the Player of the Month Award from the fans likely spurring his confidence. The midfield three of James McArthur, Cheikhou Kouyaté, and anchor Luka Milivojević has performed well in recent weeks and will have to be on top of their game to contain the talented attackers of Tottenham.
When one looks at the Tottenham team sheet there are multipleworld class names that stick out. Be it the stellar Belgian cerntre-back dou of Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld, Danish attacking puppet-master Christian Eriksen, World Cup winning goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, or dynamic and versatile attackers Son Heung-Min, Deli Alli, and Lucas Moura, the name that stands above all others is English star striker Harry Kane. The two time Premier League Golden Boot winner is a threat to score from any place in the opponent’s box with his ability to create something from nothing making him a danger to any defence. If there is a weakness in this team it is the defensive midfield, which is not meant to be a slight to the likes of Harry Winks and Moussa Sissoko but a statement on how good the rest of the team is around them.
Wilfried Zaha and the other Palace wingers may also be able to find some success against the Spurs fullbacks, who don’t lack pace but could be got at with the skill and trickery that Zaha has at a level like few others. There will also be great pressure on Luka Milivojević and his fellow midfielders not only to limit the attacking players in white but to potentially kickstart the attack. Milivojević will surely be ready for the job though as he is coming off his first international call-up since the conclusion of the 2018 World Cup.
This will not be an easy match for the Eagles but recent matches have proven that the Red and Blue can challenge anyone on their day, and that Tottenham can be gotten at. If Palace can continue to be resolute defensively and to thrive on the counter-attack they have a real chance of getting something from this game.