Match preview: Spurs v Crystal Palace (another must-win game)
Sunday 7th at 7.15 pm. Stadium: Tottenham
After three good wins in a row; Fulham (1-0), Burnley (4-0) and Wolfsberger AC (4-0), we now face Palace. And like all games, if we want to get into the top four, it is a game we must win. I think Mourinho knows now what team he wants, and if we can keep the consistency and mentality, then I am confident that we can overcome and beat Palace.
But before all that, how about a bit of nostalgia (which I know many readers said they enjoyed reading). The 1992–93 season saw Peter Shreeves sacked as head coach and replaced by Doug Livermore and Ray Clemence as joint head coaches. We had become founder members of the new Premier League, created by the Football Association as a replacement for the Football League First Division as the highest English football division. To coincide with those massive changes, the club made several significant signings. We (that is the club and not me) paid a club-record £2.1million for Nottingham Forest striker Teddy Sheringham, £750,000 for Southampton defender Neil Ruddock and £1.75million for Portsmouth’s highly rated Darren Anderton. In the first-ever Premier League season, we finished eighth, with Teddy Sheringham being the division’s top scorer with 22 goals, 21 for Tottenham Hotspur and 1 for Nottingham Forest and we also reached the FA Cup semi-final, losing 1-0 to Arsenal. But the game before that FA Cup game was our game against Manchester City in the same competition. We beat them 4-2 on the 7th March, which was a Sunday then, and at Maine Road. Nayim was our inspiration. He netted a hat-trick on that day, with Steve Sedgley scoring the other. What I remember about that match was that the City fans invading their own pitch in the hope that the game was called off. No such luck; order was eventually restored by the Police, and the game continued. Mike Sheron got City’s first, and a late goal by Terry Phelan helped to make it 4-2 to us. If I remember rightly, I was given a lift to City’s old ground by a friend. In the first season of the Premiership (as it was then called), we finished 8th, above City, Arsenal and Chelsea. Man United won the league, in second place was Villa, followed by Norwich City, Blackburn Rover, QPR, Liverpool, Sheffield Wednesday and then our selves. I remember thinking about what glory’s could we eventually win in this new era? As it turned out, just two fucking trophies. While Liverpool, United, City, Chelsea, the Arsewipes and even Blackburn Rovers and Leicester Titty went on to reach great heights. In all that time, we’ve had Alan Sugar and Daniel Levy/ Enic guiding us. Back to the hear and now!
Jose Mourinho has said he will make changes to his side given our busy run of fixtures (you don’t say!).
Lo Celso is not yet fit enough to return from a hamstring injury.
They are bolstered by Wilfried Zaha after five games out because of a hamstring problem. James McCarthy has another groin injury and joins Nathaniel Clyne, James McArthur, Mamadou Sakho, and James Tomkins who won’t play a part in this game.
My thoughts and prediction
We have near enough a fully-fit squad to choose from for this game. As you know, Mourinho handed Alli a first league start since the opening weekend in Thursday’s win at Fulham, while back-in-form Gareth Bale also started for the second game running in all competitions. Both players will be eager to keep their place, with the likes of Lucas Moura, Erik Lamela and Steven Bergwijn ready to be call upon, if need be. Son seems sure to start out on the left-hand side while looking to add to his five goals and one assist.
My possible starting eleven:
Lloris; Aurier, Sanchez, Alderweireld, Reguilon; Hojbjerg, Ndombele; Bale, Lucas, Son; Kane
Crystal Palace have gone three games unbeaten, and the five points they have picked up in that time have been essential. Mathematically they aren’t safe, of course, but you look at them and know they are not going to get relegated.
As for us; some times, it is hard to know what to expect these days, but I believe that we’ve risen above our bad patch and starting to string some good results together. If we play like we can do, and let our attacking players off the chain like we did when we beat our last three opponents, then we should beat Palace.
The best part of our team are our three forwards – Harry Kane, Son and Gareth Bale.
I can’t see this as a high scoring game; therefore, I shall go for either 2-1 or 3-2.
Prediction: 2-1 or 3-2
Hodgson’s win ratio of 5.6% is the worst among all teams he’s faced at least five times in the division. His sole win was in November 2008 when he was in charge of Fulham
We are unbeaten in 11 league games against Crystal Palace, our longest ongoing run against any current top-flight side (W9, D2).
The Eagles have won just six of their 43 league fixtures against us.
Palace are without a win in eight away league games on our ground dating back to 1997, failing to score on their past seven visits.
After a run of five defeats in six league games, we have earned consecutive top-flight wins for the first time since November.
We have kept a clean sheet in three successive matches in all competitions, following a run of just one in their previous 11.
We have dropped points in seven of our13 home league matches this season, matching our tally for the whole of the 2019-20 campaign.
All but nine of our 42 league goals this season have been scored or set up by either Harry Kane or Son.
Son and Kane have combined for only one goal in our last 14 Premier League matches, having done so for 12 goals in the opening 12 league fixtures this campaign.
Palace’s tally of 34 points is their highest after 27 matches of a top-flight season since 1991-92. The Eagles require 15 points from their final 11 fixtures to equal their highest Premier League points total, set in 1992-93 and 2018-19.
They have had successive goalless draws in the top flight for the first time since December 2017.
The Eagles had eight shots against Manchester United on Wednesday, two more than they managed in their previous two games versus Brighton and Fulham combined.
Since winning 5-1 at West Brom in December, the Eagles have scored just five goals in their subsequent seven Premier League away matches.
So that is my prediction, thoughts, all wrapped up in a match review.
Tottenham Hotspur Premier League form:
Tottenham Hotspur form (all competitions):
Crystal Palace Premier League form:
Take care and Up the Spurs, Glenn