A composed performance against Fulham on Monday kept Tottenham Hotspur atop the table at the end of another matchweek, this time with a multi-point lead. Four days later, Spurs play again, now with a chance to lead off the latest round of fixtures and another clear opportunity for three points.
Perhaps paying attention to table position is foolish in October, but with the vibes are positive as they are, there is no reason to noy enjoy how the club has been playing. There is still room for too clean things up, as the final 30 minutes against Fulham showed, but really the squad is in a great spot to keep rolling.
Friday brings about a trip to Selhurst Park to take on a Crystal Palace side that has promptly assumed its spot right in the middle of the table. Spurs took all six points last season, including a 0-4 away win after New Year’s. The Eagles have beaten United but lost to Arsenal and Newcastle this season, with a 3-3-3 record overall.
Tottenham will have nearly a week and a half before the next fixture, which is a big derby against Chelsea, regardless of where the clubs sit in the table. There is plenty of time to worry about that, so Spurs just need to focus on the job at hand and enjoy watching the rest of the league fight it out this weekend, hopefully from a slightly bigger cushion above.
Crystal Palace (t-10th, 12pts) vs. Tottenham Hotspur (1st, 23pts)
Date: Friday, October 27
Time: 3:00 pm ET, 8:00 pm UK
Location: Selhurst Park, London
TV: USA Network (USA), Sky Sports Main Event (UK)
Fulham is tied for fourth in the league with 23 total goals scored in its matches, but Palace sees even less activity in its fixtures with a league-low 18, four fewer than second-place Chelsea. Prior to Saturday’s 4-0 drubbing by Newcastle the previous three Palace contests featured one total goal: a Joachim Andersen winner over United.
Roy Hodgson has the defense structured well, though Spurs should see much of the possession. This will again be a match that comes down to whether or not Tottenham can finish its chances, though Monday showed that the press can help create some prime opportunities, and all it really takes is a clean strike to put the visitors in the driver’s seat.
Lilywhite Spotlight: Always alert
How about a little love for Guglielmo Vicario? It seems hard to remember, but there were certainly some concerns about how the goalkeeping efforts would look this season with a new man in net for the first time in a decade; even though Hugo Lloris had fallen off a bit, it was reasonable to expect some early clunkiness, regardless of who was brought in.
So far, that has yet to be the case for Spurs. Vicario has been about as good as one could have hoped, and even with his determination to play out the back he has not made substantial errors. Palace is unlikely to challenge him frequently, but Tottenham is prone to cede a counterattack or two each match. It can be tricky for keepers who are all alone for the majority of the 90 minutes, but Vicario will need to continue to be ready when that moment inevitably comes.