Tottenham Hotspur will make the short trip to Crystal Palace on Sunday as they look to hold on to their place atop the Premier League standings.
Matchday 12 of the 2020/21 Premier League campaign is underway and leaders Tottenham Hotspur will be in action on Sunday afternoon in a London derby as they travel to Selhurst Park to take on Crystal Palace.
The mood around Tottenham is extremely positive after a brilliant start to the season that has seen them rise to the top of the league standings, win their group in the UEFA Europa League and qualify for the Carabao Cup quarter-finals.
Jose Mourinho’s men will be brimming with confidence after beating Arsenal last week, which was followed by a 2-0 win over Royal Antwerp in Europe. While they enter the matchday as league leaders, Tottenham could be displaced by Chelsea, who will be in action on Saturday and will, thus, be needing a win at Selhurst Park to remain on top.
However, Crystal Palace will not make things easy for their cross-town rivals. The Eagles ended their two-game losing run in the league with a thumping 5-1 victory over West Bromwich Albion last time out which saw them move to 11th place in the standings, with just four points separating them from West Ham United in fifth.
The corresponding fixture last season ended in a 1-1 draw as Jeffrey Schlupp cancelled out an early goal from Harry Kane. And ahead of their latest meeting at Selhurst Park on Sunday afternoon, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both the teams.
Team News & Tactics
There are no fresh injury concerns for Roy Hodgson heading into the London derby. Crystal Palace will once again be without the injured quartet of Nathan Ferguson, Wayne Hennessey, Martin Kelly and Connor Wickham. However, they will be sweating over the availability of Tyrick Mitchell, who had to be sent home from training with a slight cold.
Hodgson will set his team up in a 4-4-2 formation with two banks of four sitting deep and protecting Vicente Guaita in goal while trying to hit the opponents on the break. Former Liverpool man Nathaniel Clyne should start at right-back, while Patrick van Aanholt is a certainty on the left, with Gary Cahill and Cheikhou Kouyate at the heart of the Palace defence.
Jeffrey Schlupp started on the right flank against West Bromwich Albion and could be retained in the side. Eberechi Eze, who has been mighty impressive in his debut Premier League season, is a guaranteed starter on the left. Luka Milivojevic and James McArthur will hold the fort in the middle, with the former tasked with keeping a lid on Ndombele’s creative output.
Wilfried Zaha made his return from injury in scintillating fashion last week against West Brom, bagging two goals. He should continue at the top of the attack, alongside Christian Benteke, who also scored a brace in the previous game.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Guaita; Clyne, Kouyate, Cahill, van Aanholt; Schlupp, Milivojevic, McArthur, Eze; Benteke, Zaha
Jose Mourinho will once again be without the services of Erik Lamela, who is easing his way back into training. Serge Aurier missed Thursday’s game against Royal Antwerp with an injury and might not be risked here with an important game against Liverpool coming up on Wednesday.
Given how his team has performed, Mourinho will not want to tinker with what has been working so well so far. Captain Hugo Lloris, who made way for understudy Joe Hart in midweek, should reclaim his place in the Tottenham Hotspur goal.
Matt Doherty should slot in at right-back, while Sergio Reguilon, who is being eyed by Real Madrid, should get the nod on the left, after playing just 45 minutes in midweek. Toby Alderweireld and Eric Dier should be the two centre-backs for Spurs after being rested against Antwerp.
Another player who ought to return to the side after a well-deserved rest is Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, who was in sublime form against Arsenal. The ex-Southampton man should have Moussa Sissoko as his partner in Tottenham’s midfield double pivot, with the Frenchman tasked with dropping into the backline during the defensive phases.
Giovani Lo Celso starred in midweek but given his recent injury history, Mourinho might look to give him a breather after three consecutive starts, meaning Tanguy Ndombele reprising the No. 10 role, flanked by the dynamic duo of Steven Bergwijn and Son Heung-min, although Gareth Bale could start in place of the former. Harry Kane will lead the Tottenham attack.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Lloris; Doherty, Alderweireld, Dier, Reguilon; Sissoko, Hojbjerg; Bergwijn, Ndombele, Son; Kane
1. Tottenham to win @ 1.72
1. Wilfried Zaha to score anytime @ 3.75
- Tottenham have kept a clean sheet in 12 of their last 22 Premier League meetings with Crystal Palace (including 8 in the last 10). Of all teams they have faced more than 10 times in the competition, they have conceded in the highest percentage of games against the Eagles (55%).
- Crystal Palace are winless in their last 10 Premier League meetings with Tottenham. The 1-1 draw at Selhurst Park last season ended a run of nine straight league defeats against the Lilywhites.
- Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho has won 40 of his 63 Premier League London derbies (64%) – the highest ratio of any manager to manage at least 20 in the competition. However, he is winless in his last two derbies against Crystal Palace (D1 L1).
- Crystal Palace have lost 18 of their last 22 home Premier League games against teams starting the day in the top-four (W1 D3).
- Tottenham duo Son Heung-min and Harry Kane have combined or 11 Premier League goals this season, with only Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton (13 in 1994/95) and Ryan Fraser and Callum Wilson (12 in 2018/19) combining for more in a single campaign.
Player to Watch
It has been a season of resurgence for the 23-year-old, who struggled to make an impact in his debut campaign after his club-record transfer last year. However, Ndombele has turned things around at Tottenham, establishing himself as a regular starter in Mourinho’s side.
To date, the Frenchman has two goals and assists each in 17 games in all competitions this season. Having missed the North London derby last weekend due to an injury, Ndombele made a return in midweek with a cameo off the bench and is in line to start against Crystal Palace on Sunday.
With the Eagles likely to set up with a deep defensive block, the Frenchman’s ability to drive at the opponents with the ball and play piercing passes could be key for Tottenham to unlocking the hosts’ rearguard this weekend.
Crystal Palace 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur
Crystal Palace put in a fine performance last weekend against West Bromwich Albion but will find it difficult to repeat those heroics against a Tottenham Hotspur side that boasts the best defensive record in the Premier League this season, having conceded just nine goals in eleven games.
However, Jose Mourinho’s side have found it difficult to break down teams that defend deep this season, as was seen in their narrow 1-0 wins against Burnley and West Bromwich Albion.
It might be a similar case this time out as well, with Spurs likely to dominate possession but struggle to create chances. The quality of Harry Kane, Son Heung-min and Tanguy Ndombele, though, should see them through at Selhurst Park.