Crystal Palace vs Tottenham Hotspur – Selhurst Park – February 25, 2018 – 12:00 hrs – EPL Preview
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Amidst rumors flying around of an impending Wilfred Zaha move to Tottenham Hotspurs, Crystal Palace get ready to host Mauricio Pochettino's men at Selhurst park on Sunday noon. The Spurs are just back from Rome after a scintillating display of fighting football in 2-2 draw against Italian giants Juventus in a Round of 16 UEFA Championship League clash.
On the domestic front, they are close to breaking into the Top 4, being just a point behind 4th-placed Chelsea. The weekend's game against Palace provides them with an opportunity to achieve just that.
Tottenham are on a run of 13 unbeaten games. The forward combo of Harry Kane, Del Alli and Christian Eriksen have never looked sharper. They will give the Palace back-line much to think about.
The Eagles' remarkable recovery from the bottom of the table to as elevated as a 12th spot on the table courtesy of a managerial shift to Roy Hodgson seems to be fading quickly after four latest winless games.
Big defeats to Arsenal and Everton have pushed Palace three notches down on the points table. The threat of relegation is looming large again.
Hodgson's 4-4-2 formation that worked so well earlier is not paying him any dividends of late. The defense letting him down repeatedly.
The Eagles have conceded as many as 9 goals from their previous 4 outings. However the only silver lining is that they scored in each save one of their last 11 games.
Luka Milivojevic, Wilfred Zaha and Christian Benteke have all been getting goals since Hodgson's advent. However it's the men in the defense like Timothy Fosu-Mensah, James Tomkins, Mamadou Sakho and Patrick van Aanholt who need to get their act together. The deterioration at the back could be attributed to the absence of the very experienced and dependable Scott Dann. He's been out since December-end owing to a knee injury. This was incurred doing phenomenal defensive work in a 0-0 draw against League leaders Manchester City.
Pochettino will probably stick to his usual 4-2-3-1 for the Palace clash. It's a formation that has brought him such success in all forms of competition of late. The defensive line of Ben Davies, Jan Vertonghen, Davinson Sanchez and Serge Aurier have been superb. So has Hugo Lloris been superlative between the posts. The Spurs' seven clean-sheets in their last 13 outings is a testimony to that.
The Eagles have won in only two encounters with Tottenham since they gained re-entry to the Premier League in 2013 and lost in as many as seven. This makes the visitors to Selhurst Park the clear favorites to emerge winners on February 25. But Roy Hodgson's men may just pull something off just to extricate themselves from the dire straits they have been of late.
A 3-1 win for Spurs with Kane getting at least a goal seems very much on the cards.