Two attack-minded teams come together at White Hart Lane on Sunday as Tottenham take on away specialists Crystal Palace in what has the look of a highly entertaining affair.
There was much relief around the Spurs camp last time out at Sunderland as they claimed they claimed their first league victory of the season at the fifth time of asking, at a time where there were murmurs of manager Mauricio Pochettino coming under pressure. It was a tight affair on Wearside, but the one real moment of quality decided the game as Ryan Mason neatly finished off a delightful passing move,; a rare glimpse of their attacking fluency.
A number of changes were made for the opening Europa League match on Thursday as they overcame a slow start to see off the challenge of Azeri champions FK Qarabag. Youngster Delle Alli blossomed and left nobody in any doubt as to his considerable potential – not to mention the quality he already possesses. The acquisition from Milton Keynes Dons shone alongside another new signing, Son Heung-min, who grabbed a brace and looks set to make a major impression at the club.
In their last outing, Palace gave leaders Manchester City their biggest test in the Premier League this season but were left to rue goalkeeper Alex McCarthy’s failure to hold on to a late shot as they succumbed to an unfortunate defeat. Though the result was disappointing, it was a performance which emphasised how difficult the proposition the Eagles now are, and they promise to be a constant menace to the home defence here.
There will be many creative players on display, but Yohan Cabaye has slotted in well at Palace and looks a good bet to be the man who will make the most decisive contribution here if given time on the ball. The hosts must also be disciplined and not allow too much space for crosses to come into their penalty area, as the quality of delivery from Alan Pardew’s side is improving all the time. Left-back Pape Souare is proving particularly effective in this regard.
Nabil Bentaleb is the only definite absentee for Tottenham, who hope to have Eric Dier, Christian Eriksen, Mousa Dembele and Mason all available.
For the away side, Damien Delaney should be fit after a problem with his pelvis, but Joel Ward remains unavailable. Connor Wickham may also miss out.
Last Meeting: The big surprise following the meeting of the two clubs in December 2014 was that it ended goalless, as both sides contributed fully to a wonderfully open and enterprising game of football. Palace were particularly threatening, and went closest through Jason Puncheon, who hit the bar. Another presentable chance fell to Joe Ledley, but he fired over the crossbar.
Played for both – Wayne Routledge: The tricky winger made his name at Crystal Palace, where he caught the eye in his debut season in the Premier League, 2004-05, despite failing to prevent his team from slipping back down to the Championship. Such form earned him a summer move to Tottenham, but he suffered there and made only five Premier League appearances before moving on in 2008.