Welcome readers, to my weekly Tottenham Hotspur match preview. This week we see the visit of Crystal Palace to “White Hart Lane”. A Palace team likely to be buoyed be their 2 recent victories in the Premier League. Roy will look at what recent teams have done to Spurs at home, with both Villa and Newcastle being resolute and stubborn to break down.
As you can see Palace have the form coming in to the game, they will to grab another scalp on the road against Tottenham. If this match had been played last weekend, I would have backed Palace 100% to take a point. Given the two week “break” hopefully Spurs would have had the Poch treatment and been whipped into shape.
I would probably go for this currently. A standard 4-2-3-1. We do have some returning players, but we do have a Champions league tie on Wednesday away in Greece vs Olympiakos. A Balancing game for Poch in the two most important competitions for Spurs.
I would go for our Belgian duo again at the heart of the defence. Rose at left back for the recovery pace and his ability to get on the front foot. This could either force Zaha backwards or expose him when he comes in from the wing. On the other side I would be tempted to use Aurier here in this game, again for pace. Up against the two left backs on that flank, matching them for pace will be key. Positionally he is a worry but if KWP is not fully fit I would not risk him, especially with that Wednesday game.
As important as the battle on the wings will be, overcoming and breaking down the 3 in the centre will also be a challenge. Winks and Sissoko should have the skills to work around the 3. Sissoko if played there should be breaking the play up and trying to get us up the pitch. Playing the simple balls to the on rushing full backs or to the more advanced players. Winks should be able to recycle the ball and get us on the offence, as well as shielding that back 4.
Behind Kane I would have Eriksen playing central. In his best position, the number 10. Linking the midfield to attack. With his clever movement and awareness, he will be key to penetrating that back line. Able to drop a little deeper to seek out the ball if needed.
On the right I would have Lamela, purely for his pressing ability. This will be needed initially more than Lucas and his pace and more forward-thinking ways. He can help push PVA back and get us play higher up the pitch. In turn this could limit Schlupp advancing and causing a 2v1 for our right back. He will need to show more rigidity and resist the temptation to come inside as often if this is to succeed.
On the left, it has got to be Son. He was such a spark vs Arsenal and had the on the back foot every time he ran at them. His inclusion, as well as Eriksen’s should also stop Kane dropping too deep. Son should have quite a lot of space in behind Zaha and hopefully Son and Rose can link up and create overloads that we can profit from. He will have the beating of ward for pace and for skill, once Son gets his tail up, he takes some stopping. That right back area could be as much as a mess as ours in the NLD.
The lone forward again. The forward people just love to hate, for no apparent reason other than he is very good as his job. Which is scoring goals. He has, as Tottenham have, played within themselves in the first 4 games. Yes, that’s right 4 games. But he still has 3 goals in those games.
The knives are out already; has he bulked up to much? does he drop deep too much? he doesn’t suit the system, the system doesn’t suit him etc. Tottenham and Kane will come good, we generally start seasons slow and get back into it. We will start pressing more and more when everybody is up with Poch and his training sessions. Come the end of October we will be playing more games, including Champions league. Players will be integrated in and we will have more competition. All this will help the team and in turn help Kane.
His movement and back to goal play will be key here, bringing those behind him into the picture. Dragging defenders away and creating space for others as well. Those factors and the huge bonus he can shoot from anywhere. I read somewhere pre-season that Kane’s shot numbers had reduced over the past few years. This could be just because he has honed his shot selection and chooses the right shot in the right situation. Come May we shall see if this is correct.
I expect Palace to line up as they have done in there previous two games. With an alternation between a 4-5-1 and a 4-3-3 during the game.
Maybe a change in the defence with Sakho potentially fit again. Ward is not known as the most adventurous right back and I think he will have to be on the top of his game to deal with Son.
On the other side they should have PVA and Schlupp. They will be working in tandem, constantly overlapping and switching positions. A threat for most sides, especially now with the right side of the Spurs defence looking quite vulnerable.
The midfield should consist of the three central midfielders, more industrious then anything. Kouyate and McArthur breaking up play and trying to move the ball onto the dangerous wingers. Mili will have the licence to bring the ball out. Constantly having more touches then his central midfield team mates.
The danger man and a player I have longed to see in the lilywhite of Tottenham is obviously Zaha. Still shocked he is at Palace, no disrespect to them. But he is a player who deserves to be playing with better team mates and at a higher stage. He could just always be that big player at a smaller club, it’s why he might perform as he does. They will look to get that ball to Wilf, so he can run at our defence. He is equally at home being a traditional winger, tormenting and drawing defenders in. Or coming inside to force things if he cannot get any joy on the flank.
Up front the seemingly rejuvenated Jordan Ayew should start. 2 goals in his last 2 premier league games. He has never been a prolific finisher and does have a little pace but I cannot see him giving our centre backs too many problems. We tend to struggle with players that can hold the ball up and bring others in like Wesley and Joelinton so far.
If we set up with Son wide and Eriksen in the number 10 I can only see this going one way. A home win for Spurs. We should have enough to keep both wide midfielders pushed back and limit the amount of the ball that Zaha sees. This will be key, but we cannot just be drawn to him as other players can still do the damage. The right back area is of most concern and even a switch to 5 at the back could be of use, providing more cover for our flanks in a defensive sense and provide a little more going forward. We shall see on Saturday in our first 3pm game of the season.
Hope you enjoy the new Preview. All feedback is welcome.