On point. After having to deal with an incredibly busy stretch of matches, Tottenham Hotspur were able to win needed consecutive league and FA Cup matches, beating Sunderland and Leicester in the process. The wins have Tottenham still in the top-4 in the league and into the fourth round of the FA Cup, and there is no rest after what will now be the team's fifth game in 13 days. The key will be if Spurs' attack has actually broken through, as a slow start last week against Sunderland last Saturday turned into a four goal bonanza.
Spurs travel to southeast London to face a Crystal Palace side that sits 8th place in the table. Alan Pardew's men have been in inconsistent form of late, winless in their last five league matches as the team's goal scoring has fell way off. Palace has struggled with injuries, as Yannick Bolasie, Bakary Sako, Dwight Gayle, and Martin Kelly are all likely out again versus Spurs. The Eagles do have threats though, as Yohan Cabaye will marshall from midfield and try to set up the likes of Wilfried Zaha, Jason Puncheon, and Connor Wickham try to score. The defense has been leaky though, so the combo Scott Dann and Damien Delaney will try to slow down a resurgent Spurs attack.
Can Spurs win a needed London derby and push themselves back into the title race? We shall see.
How to Watch
Date/time: Saturday, January 23, 2016, 3:00 p.m. (UK), 10:00 a.m. ET (USA)
Venue: Selhurst Park, London, UK
Official: Martin Atkinson
TV: USA Network (USA), Not Televised (UK), Sportsnet (Canada), Fox Sports 1 (Australia), other listings at livesoccertv.com
Streaming: NBCS Live Extra (USA)
Radio: Audio streamed at tottenhamhotspur.com, also BBC Radio London and TalkSport
Can't stop, won't stop. Thankfully, a win in the midweek FA Cup replay gave value to yet another game being inserted into this dense stretch of matches.
We expect Pochettino will return to one of his favored lineups, as Walker rotates back into the squad, after missing out last week and Rose is back at LB after Ben Davies replaced him in the midweek. It would hardly be a shock to see Son Heung-Min start after his rocket goal in the midweek, perhaps replacing Erik Lamela who has played a lot of minutes of late. And of course, normal rotation may come in, but who knows what Pochettino has in mind.
A lot of writers foresaw Spurs beating Sunderland last week but nobody had the exact 4-1 scoreline, so the table remains largely unchanged. The rules remain the same in the Prediction League -- one point for a correct prediction and a bonus point for getting the score correct. Here are the current standings:
|Earl of Shoop||7|
Dustin Menno: There's a very real chance that we get Pardew'd in this match, so I'm not taking it lightly. I still think we'll win, though. 2-0 Spurs
Michael Caley: TBD
Ben Daniels: Palace haven't scored in five straight games. Should be easy. 3-0 Spurs
55thVin: I'm giving up Biggie lyrics because last week I forgot to give a prediction and we won. We're better than Palace so they'll try to clog the middle. It's not going to work. 2-0 Spurs
Luke Zimmerman: TBD
Earl of Shoop: Listen, I love a good Alan Pardew shenanigan as much as the next guy. But his side aren't so hot these days, and if they keep up this form he'll be headbutting managers in the Championship in a few months. Spurs pluck the Eagles, 2-0.
Matt Pachniuk: The win over Palace in September was huge. They were a high-flying, attacking side who would put our young team through a rigorous test. While that was the start of Spurs ascendency this season, it was about the peak of their form.
Things have gone quite differently for the two teams since and even though that soul-crushing home defeat to Leicester is still ringing in my head, I think we come out on top. 2-0 Spurs.
Jake Meador: Oy vey. There's a lot to dislike in this game:
Quick, tricky wingers can give Poch trouble b/c fullbacks can get caught up the pitch and the wings get in behind them and get into one-on-ones with CBs. Against Bolasie or Zaha that is... no bueno.
Cabaye will also get chances to play long diagonal balls down either wing so that could be trouble too.
Also... Selhurst Park.
That said, I still tend to think my read on this Palace team is right--they're a poor man's version of Redknapp's Spurs. They're weak defensively, goalkeeping has been iffy lately, and midfield is technically good but a bit lightweight. We should win. 2-1 Spurs
GN Punk: Palace have been dreadful since Yannick Bolasie was injured back in December. I'm expecting Spurs to take advantage, even though it's at Selhurst Park. If Bolasie was playing, I'd feel a lot less confident about this one.
Brian Mechanick: This game feels ugly, ugly, ugly to me. But this Palace team is decimated, and I just do not see goals coming out of the team. Look for Kane to nip the winner. 1-0 Spurs
Ed F.: Palace are pretty toothless up front, but also strike me as exactly the kind of team that could hurt us at the moment. I'm regretfully going with a wildcard call of 2-1 Palace
Bryan Ashlock: Palace can't beat us if they don't score, which they can't, so that either means this is a win or a draw. Normally, I'd pick the latter, but I think Spurs come out of the gate hard in this match and put Palace to the sword. 3-0 Spurs.