Tottenham face Crystal Palace in the English Premier League on Saturday. The visitors are safe from the drop and are scoring freely since Roy Hodgson returned. Spurs have been struggling of late with their top four hopes dead and buried. Their second-half performances in the last two fixtures have shown that there is still a good team there.
Spurs have won just four of their last 15 matches across the league and cup competitions. Since March, they’ve been knocked out of the FA Cup by Sheffield United and the UEFA Champions League by AC Milan. Their top four hopes are also gone to shreds after just six points from their last seven fixtures. A 3-1 lead at Southampton turned into a 3-3 draw before a 90th-minute goal conceded in a 1-1 home draw with Everton.
Their only win in the last seven was a fortunate 2-1 home win over Brighton. A 3-2 home loss to Bournemouth saw them concede with the last kick of the match. They were 5-0 down after 21 minutes at Newcastle in a 6-1 humiliation. There were some signs of life as they came from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 with Man Utd at home. On Sunday, they trailed Liverpool 3-0 after 15 minutes at Anfield. A 93rd-minute goal saw them draw level at 3-3 but a howler meant they leaked a goal a minute later to lose 4-3.
Spurs Team News
Caretaker coach Ryan Mason is without Rodrigo Bentancur and Yves Bissouma due to injury and Oliver Skipp is a doubt with a head injury. Pape Matar Sarr could start in midfield. Hugo Lloris remains a doubt in goal with Fraser Forster to keep deputising.
The rest of the XI is set to be unchanged with Ben Davies preferred to Clement Lenglet at left centre-back. Richarlison scored versus Liverpool and will hope to start ahead of Dejan Kulusevski.
A top-four place is gone for Spurs and the best they can hope for is the fifth spot. A defeat here and they could sit eighth, with no European football at all.
They’ve looked motivated in the second half of their last three matches having leaked 10 goals in the first half of those clashes.
Crystal Palace Form
With 13 points from six matches in charge, Roy Hodgson has saved Palace from their relegation fears. Patrick Vieira was sacked after an 11-match winless run which included six losses and five draws. Hodgson arrived after a caretaker coach oversaw a 4-1 loss at Arsenal. His side beat Leicester 2-1 and then blew Leeds away, 5-1 at Elland Road.
After a 2-0 win at Southampton, the tension lifted around the club and a 0-0 home draw with Everton was a decent result to stop a relegation rival from winning. After a 2-0 loss at Wolves, the Eagles took three points last weekend to hit the magical 40-point mark. They beat West Ham 4-3 at home after a spell of three points in 16 minutes in the first half.
Crystal Palace Team News
Roy Hodgson has a few concerns about this match but mostly about fringe players. James Tomkins is out and so is James McArthur. Naouirou Ahamada is a doubt but Nathaniel Clyne is training again to boost right-back options.
Wilf Zaha took a knock to his knee against West Ham but should be fit to start. Sam Johnstone should keep his place in goal over Vicente Guita. It’ll probably be an unchanged XI from the West Ham win with Eberechi Eze in the midfield three and Jordan Ayew playing up front.
Crystal Palace Motivation
Since Hodgson took over, Palace have been attacking very effectively and with a lot of freedom. They’ve hit the 40-point mark and can play this match to win.
At no point are they expected to settle for a point or look to take any damage limitation measures. This is a free hit.
Tottenham have lost 5 of their last 12 home league matches
Spurs have scored 2+ goals in each of their last 6 home matches (EPL)
Spurs’ Harry Kane has 25 league goals this season
Crystal Palace have won 4 of their 6 matches under Roy Hodgson
Palace have scored 13 goals in their last 6 matches, more than in the previous 20 PL fixtures
This should be an open and exciting match. Neither side have anything to gain from parking the bus or playing defensively. We should see plenty of goals and perhaps Spurs can get back to winning ways at home.