MX23RW : Thursday, June 24 17:50:49| >> :60:235:235:
Jan 23, 2016 at 3pm UK at Selhurst Park
Crystal Palace
1-3
SpursTottenham Hotspur
Vertonghen (30' og.)
FT(HT: 1-0)
Kane (63'), Alli (84'), Chadli (95')

Preview: Crystal Palace vs. Tottenham Hotspur

Sports Mole previews Saturday's London derby between Crystal Palace and Tottenham Hotspur at Selhurst Park.

Crystal Palace welcome Tottenham Hotspur to Selhurst Park for a Premier League London derby this weekend.

The hosts will be looking to get their European push back on track, while Spurs could have their sights on even loftier goals with only five points separating them from the top of the table.


Crystal Palace

Alan Pardew manager of Crystal Palace gives instructions as Mauricio Pochettino manager of Tottenham Hotspur looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Crystal Palace at White Hart Lane on September 20, 2015© Getty Images

The Christmas hangover has already lasted a lot longer than Alan Pardew would have liked for his Crystal Palace side.

The Eagles are yet to win or even score a goal in the Premier League since their 2-1 triumph at Stoke City on December 19, picking up just two points from the last 15 on offer.

It is already Pardew's longest winless streak in charge of the club, and another loss this weekend would see them match his worst spell of four consecutive defeats as Palace boss too.

Every league match so far in 2016 has ended in defeat for the Eagles, and all of them would have been particularly disappointing for different reasons. Both Chelsea and Manchester City ran out comfortable victors over Pardew's side, while sandwiched in between those two losses was the 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa, who had not won since the opening day of the season going into the match.

Pardew insisted that the 4-0 reverse at the hands of Man City last weekend was harsh on his side, but there was little doubt that they were second best at the Etihad.

They were not helped by a second consecutive Wayne Hennessey error, however, and the Welsh number one now faces a fight to keep hold of his place in the team after he was challenged to bounce back by his manager.

Problems at that end of the field are the last thing that Palace need right now considering their ongoing goal drought, which currently stands at 452 minutes in the Premier League.

Indeed, only three teams have scored fewer than Palace's 23 this season, and just one of those goals has come from a recognised striker. The Eagles have been forced to rely on goals throughout the team without one main source spearheading the attack.

Just 12 of those goals have come at Selhurst Park, giving them one of the worst attacking home records in the division, while only four teams have amassed fewer points in front of their own fans this season. In contrast, only four teams have picked up more away from home.

Recent form: WDDLLL
Recent form (all competitions): DDLWLL


Tottenham

Mauricio Pochettino the manager of Spurs looks on during the UEFA Europa League Group J match between Tottenham Hotspur and AS Monaco at White Hart Lane on December 10, 2015© Getty Images

It wasn't too long ago that Palace found themselves closing in on the fourth spot that is currently occupied by Tottenham.

Returning to the Champions League must remain Mauricio Pochettino's main priority this season, but he and the fans would be forgiven for eyeing up even bigger targets the way the campaign is going.

No side has yet been able to take control of the title race and, with only a five-point gap to leaders Arsenal, Tottenham's name is certainly still in the mix when it comes to discussing possible champions.

A good points haul from upcoming matches against Palace, Norwich City and Watford, all of whom are struggling for form at the moment, would set up a very interesting clash with Manchester City in mid-February.

They have returned to winning ways in the past week too, having failed to emerge victorious from any of their first three matches of 2016. Last weekend saw them given a scare when they fell behind to Sunderland, but that lead lasted less than two minutes as Spurs went on to claim a comfortable 4-1 victory.

That win was backed up with a 2-0 win over Leicester City in an FA Cup replay on Wednesday, and confidence will be high that they can continue their progress in the competition next weekend having drawn Colchester United in the fourth round.

Spurs are now unbeaten in eight away matches in all competitions and have not lost a Premier League game on the road since their opening-day defeat to Manchester United. A win or draw this weekend would see them go 10 away league games unbeaten for the first time since 1995.

They also boast the best defensive record on their travels having conceded just nine goals. Indeed, overall their defensive record is the best in the league, while only three teams in the division have scored more goals than Spurs this season.

Pochettino has managed to create a very good balance among youthful players in the team, with Spurs having allowed a league-low 69 shots on target this season while also managing to fire a league-high 142 on target themselves.

It suggests at a bright future for the club, and a victory this weekend would see them move a step closer to the prospect of taking that to Europe's premier competition.

Recent form: WWWDLW
Recent form (all competitions): WDDLWW


Team News

Crystal Palace's French-born Congolese midfielder Yannick Bolasie runs with the ball during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Crystal Palace at White Hart Lane in north London on September 20, 2015© Getty Images

Pardew will still be without Yannick Bolasie for this weekend's match, with the winger not expected to return from his hip problem until mid-February.

Bakary Sako and Dwight Gayle are also sidelined through hamstring injuries, but James McArthur is expected to have fully recovered from a knock to feature.

Hennessey's place in the team has come into question following his recent mistakes, but he may be given one more chance by Pardew ahead of Julian Speroni.

Pochettino is likely to welcome back a number of players who were rested for the midweek cup tie with Leicester, including returns for Harry Kane and Dele Alli.

Son Heung-min and Nacer Chadli will be hopeful of keeping their places having scored against the Foxes, which could mean that Erik Lamela is dropped to the bench.

Hugo Lloris, Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld were among the other players to sit out on Wednesday, and they are all expected to be brought back into the fold this weekend.

Crystal Palace possible starting lineup:
Hennessey; Ward, Dann, Delaney, Souare; Ledley, Cabaye, McArthur; Puncheon, Wickham, Zaha

Tottenham possible starting lineup:
Lloris; Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies; Dier, Bentaleb, Son, Eriksen, Alli; Kane


Head To Head

Palace have won just one of the last five meetings between these two sides, although that victory did come in the corresponding fixture last term, which was Pardew's first league game in charge of the club.

There have been 17 goals in the last nine league meetings, but not a single one of them has come in the first half. The last time this fixture saw a Premier League goal before half time was in 1995.

The reverse fixture at White Hart Lane in September ended in a 1-0 victory for Spurs courtesy of Son's first league goal for the club.


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We say: Crystal Palace 1-2 Tottenham

Palace are in dire form at the moment and struggled to pick up points at home even when they were performing well. By contrast, Spurs have been good on the road all season and will fancy their chances of coming away with all three points from this one. We see Palace ending their goal drought, but Tottenham picking up the win.



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Mauricio Pochettino, manager of Tottenham Hotspur looks on prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United at White Hart Lane on December 13, 2015 in London, England.
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