Tottenham Hotspur will be aiming to secure Europa League football for next season, when they play Crystal Palace in their final game of the 2019/20 Premier League.

Tottenham Hotspur will make the short trip to Selhurst Park as they gear up to take on Crystal Palace in their final game of the 2019/20 Premier League season.

Crystal Palace have been on a steep decline since the season resumed last month. The Eagles have lost all of their last seven fixtures, since defeating Bournemouth in their first game after resumption. As a result, Roy Hodgson’s side have slipped down to the 14th place, following the 2-0 defeat to Wolves earlier this week.

Tottenham, on the other hand, seem to be finally getting into their groove under Jose Mourinho. Following the hammering at the hands of Sheffield United, the Lilywhites are unbeaten in their subsequent five matches, winning four of those, including a 3-0 win against Leicester City last time out.

Currently seventh in the table, Tottenham are a point shy of Wolves in sixth and will need a win to stand any chance of securing Europa League football for the next season. The reverse fixture, played in September 2019, saw Spurs romp home to a 4-0 win. And ahead of their latest meeting on Sunday, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both the teams.

Team News & Tactics

Crystal Palace

Luka Milivojevic is a doubt for Crystal Palace against Tottenham (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

Luka Milivojevic is a doubt for Crystal Palace against Tottenham (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

Crystal Palace have a spate of roster issues to deal with heading into their final game of the season. Manager Roy Hodgson will be without the services of defenders James Tomkins, Gary Cahill, Patrick van Aanholt and Mamadou Sakho all of whom are out injured.

Christian Benteke is also unavailable due to suspension, although he wouldn’t have been involved on Sunday even if he was not suspended due to a foot injury. Midfield mainstay Luka Milivojevic will undergo a late fitness test to determine his availability for the contest.

Palace are expected to line up in a 4-4-2 formation with Vicente Guaita in goal. Joel Ward and Tyrick Mitchell should slot in as the full-backs on the right and left respectively. Scott Dann is a certainty at the heart of the Eagles’ defence. While Martin Kelly can play alongside him, Hodgson opted to use Cheikhou Kouyate last time out and could go in with him once again.

Andros Townsend and Jeffrey Schlupp should occupy the flanks in the four-man midfield, while James McCarthy and James McArthur feature in the double pivot, although the versatile Jairo Riedewald is also an option at the manager’s disposal.

Jordan Ayew, who is the Eagles’ leading goalscorer this season, is a guaranteed starter in the frontline. He will be partnered by Wilfried Zaha, who will pose a serious threat to a vulnerable Tottenham backline.

Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Guaita; Ward, Dann, Kouyate, Mitchell; Townsend, McArthur, McCarthy, Schlupp; Ayew, Zaha

Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham, on the other hand, have been handed a double-boost ahead of their trip to Selhurst Park. Dele Alli has recovered from a hamstring problem and is available for selection, while Eric Dier is also back after serving his four-match ban. Juan Foyth has also returned to training, but Tanguy Ndombele remains unavailable for Mourinho.

Dele Alli is back from injury. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Dele Alli is back from injury. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Given the recent run of results, the Portuguese tactician is unlikely to tinker much with his formation and personnel for Sunday’s game. Captain Hugo Lloris has been brilliant since the campaign resumed last month and should obviously continue between the sticks.

Serge Aurier remains the only natural right-back at Jose’s disposal and should start again, while Ben Davies should continue on the left. Toby Alderweireld and Davinson Sanchez should feature at the heart of the defence again, despite Dier’s return. Jan Vertonghen is likely to get some minutes late on, in what could be his final game for Tottenham.

Harry Winks has looked impressive in the holding midfield role and ought to continue, with Moussa Sissoko and Giovani Lo Celso arching him. The former will be the workhorse in the centre, while the latter will be responsible for injecting creativity into the team’s game-play.

Lucas Moura has been preferred over Steven Bergwijn on the right and that is unlikely to change, while Son Heung-min is a certainty on the left flank. Harry Kane is back to his best, bagging a brace in each of Tottenham’s last two matches. He will, undoubtedly, lead the Spurs’ attack on Sunday.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Lloris; Aurier, Sanchez, Alderweireld, Davies; Sissoko, Winks, Lo Celso; Moura, Kane, Son

Key Stats

  • Tottenham Hotspur have won their last nine Premier League contests against Crystal Palace. Only against Birmingham City (10 between 1960-1964) have the Lilywhites won more games in a row in their top-flight history.
  • Crystal Palace have lost just one of their last five London derbies in the Premier League at Selhurst Park (W2 D2). Tottenham, on the other hand, have won 13 points from their London derbies in the league this term, with only Chelsea managing more (16).
  • Tottenham’s previous four matches on the final day of the Premier League have produced 27 goals (15 scored, 12 conceded). Spurs have won two of  those four games, while losing and drawing one each.
  • Only bottom feeders Norwich City (0) have won fewer Premier League points since the restart of the season last month, than Crystal Palace 3).
  • Tottenham have won four of their last five Premier League matches (D1), as many as they had won in their previous 13 outings. They are looking to register four league wins on the bounce for the first time since February 2019.

Player to Watch

Wilfried Zaha

Zaha could be playing his last game for Crystal Palace (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

Zaha could be playing his last game for Crystal Palace (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

The 27-year-old might not have scored or assisted a bucket load of goals (4 goals, 5 assists), but he remains Crystal Palace’s biggest threat going forward. Zaha has completed the second-most take-ons in the Premier League this season (162), only behind Wolves’ Adama Traore.

He may have not been the most prolific, but every time the Ivorian is on the ball, things happen. According to WhoScored, Zaha is the second-most fouled player in the Premier League (119), behind Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish. With Roy Hodgson admitting that Zaha could leave the club this summer, he would want to sign things off on a high.

Prediction

Crystal Palace 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur

Crystal Palace are on a wretched run of form, having not won any of their last seven matches and have been hit with a spate of injuries, especially in the defensive department. Tottenham, on the other hand, have shown signs of improvement and finally seem to be clicking under Jose Mourinho.

Given the form that both the teams have been in, Tottenham should be able to bag a straightforward win, with Harry Kane likely to be among the goals, and then hope Wolves drop points in order to seal their qualification to the Europa League.

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