Returning to league action for the first time since their exhilarating win over Chelsea, Tottenham will be confident of extending their seven-match unbeaten run but know they face a serious test in the form of a Palace side intent on embarking on a hot streak of their own under Alan Pardew. Palace’s chances are not helped by the absence of key duo Mile Jedinak and Yannick Bolasie, both of whom are away on international duty, so Spurs will be expecting 3 points leaving South London.
Where will the match be won?
The midfield battle will be crucial in the outcome. With Chadli and Townsend likely on the wings providing strength, pace and goals, the control of the middle two, likely Dembele & Stambouli, will be important. They’re composure and passing accuracy will be vital in breaking up play and the speed of how we attack going forward relies on those two getting the ball up the pitch as quickly as possible and using the ball effectively.
Who are the key players?
Mousa Dembele: With Ryan Mason out injured and Nabil Bentaleb over with Algeria at the AFCON, the responsibility of running the midfield and utilising the ball well and effectively moving our attacks quickly falls on Dembele. Often frustrating to watch, the Belgian has great technical ability and can be good when he puts his mind to it as we saw against Chelsea. He slotted in and held the ball for us very well and his physical ability to turn away from the opponent and feed the ball forward kept us in control of the game. That is what he will be expected to do against Palace.
Hugo Lloris: Considered by nearly all of our fans as our true Captain and best player, Hugo will be fundamental in helping us win any game this season. His save at 4-2 up from Azpilicueta against Chelsea prevented us from being in a precarious situation and it meant we stayed in control and we didn’t have to start defending to protect our lead, from set-pieces, his commanding presence and leadership means that he gives us every opportunity to win any match. Any attack that Palace have, Lloris will need to be at the top of his game to shut them out and give Spurs the result they need on Saturday.
Wilfred Zaha: With Yannick Bolasie over at the AFCON, the responsibility of creating chances on a quick break for the hosts will be down to Zaha. So it’ll be up to most likely Walker and Davies to stop Zaha from bombing down the wings, something that Bolasie did very successfully at The Lane last month and giving Palace chances to snatch goals.