Match Preview: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Crystal Palace

The first London derby for Spurs this season is the visit of Crystal Palace, who they managed to do the double over last season. They will be hoping to continue this trend and open their home league campaign with a win. This is only the 15th game between these two sides in the Premier League, Spurs having only tasted defeat on just three occasions. Spurs welcome back one of their own in Andros Townsend, moving to Palace during the summer having spent only six months at relegated Newcastle. The Eagles will hope they can significantly improve on last season’s 15th position, their high point being finalists in the FA Cup. Last season’s games saw Son score the winner with his first Premier League goal and in the away fixture, the unforgettable strike by Dele Alli, who was the young PFA player of the year.

Palace like to line up in 4-2-3-1 formation, they are a compacted team, who like to use attacking wide players and a target man up front. Last season they struggled for goals having only scored 39, and fail to hit the back of the net in 14 of their 38 games. Spurs will line up in a 4-2-3-1 formation and will have most of the possession, they will need to break down Palace who will look to sit in, soak up the pressure and try to create something on the break. Spurs averaged over 490 passes per match to Palace’s 362 and scored 30 more goals than the South Londoners last season. Spurs' back four will be put under a lot of aerial pressure and have to be able to defend crosses and set pieces, a staggering 48% of their goals stemmed from the latter. Spurs will need to move the ball quickly in the final third, using late runs to disrupt Palace’s deep defending. Walker and Rose could prove pivotal keeping Palace’s wingers pushed back and providing width for Spurs. Depending on how the game is progressing Pochettino can bring on a second striker in Janssen, which he did to great effect in the Everton game. This could be the answer to breaking down stubborn defences, which sometimes caused a problem last season. 

Spurs will hope to start the game with more purpose than at Goodison Park, conceding in the first five minutes of the match. The lacklustre performance continued throughout the first half, and were lucky to go into half time only 1-0 down. The second half was much improved and Erik Lamela continued his pre-season form and headed in a deserved equaliser. Spurs pushed hard for a winner but were unable to convert any more chances, mainly due to the heroics of Maarten Stekelenburg. A worry for Spurs is the hamstring injury of Hugo Lloris, reported to be out for up to four weeks. His replacement Michel Vorm will find himself in the starting eleven of a Premier League game for the first time since the opening game of the 2015/16 season. The visitors season started in disappointment with a 1-0 home defeat to West Bromwich Albion. Their inability to score goals has carried on from last season and Alan Pardew will be hoping to add a striker before the transfer window shuts.      

How the two teams might line up:

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