Tottenham vs Crystal Palace : Crystal Palace came up short against Wolverhampton on Monday, falling 2-0. Meanwhile, Spurs got themselves on the board against Leicester City on Sunday, but Leicester never followed suit. Tottenham took down Leicester 3-0.
Tottenham vs Crystal Palace
Tottenham Hotspur’s victory lifted them to 16-11-10 (seventh place with 58 points) while Crystal Palace’s loss dropped them down to 11-17-9 (14th place with 42 points). We’ll see if Tottenham can repeat their recent success or if Crystal Palace bounces back and reverse their fortune.
How To Watch
Who: Crystal Palace vs. Tottenham Hotspur
When: Sunday at 11 a.m. ET
Where: Selhurst Park
Online streaming: Catch select Premier League matches on fuboTV (Try for free. Regional restrictions may apply.)
Follow: CBS Sports App
Match Preview: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Crystal Palace
Andres E Ramirez
Spurs find themselves in a good run of form going into the last game of the season. Although Mourinho has received plenty of flak for playing “boring football” , one would be hard pressed to argue against Tottenham’s results over the last couple of weeks. A good win against Arsenal and a dominant performance from Kane to secure three points against Leicester have been the highlights of Spurs’ return to action so far.
If Spurs have benefitted from the break in football, Crystal Palace have suffered from it. After beating Bournemouth in their first game back, they’ve lost the following seven games, being outscored 17-2 along the way (they scored those two goals in a single match). 3 points from 32 is genuine relegation form and, although they have faced tough opposition in the restart and been hard done by with VAR decisions, Hodgson must be extremely grateful for their not-so-disastrous form prior to the break (and, frankly, the fact that there are a few teams that have simply gotten worse results).
Spurs can’t come in feeling like the match will be an easy one – Palace will surely be desperate to break their losing streak and end their season on somewhat of a high note. The final matchday is an excellent opportunity for Spurs to potentially claim a spot in the Europa League and salvage a forgettable season.
Crystal Palace – A Season to Forget
Much like Mourinho at Tottenham, Hodgson trusts his starting XI completely and has been very reluctant to make any changes to his starting lineup. Although he’ll stick to the 4-4-2 defensive formation that Crystal Palace typically line up with, injuries will force his hand to change personnel. Van Annholt was injured against Manchester United, forcing Hodgson to hand Tyrick Mitchell his first start in Premier League against Wolves – something that Adama Traore relished.
Wolves’ attacking areas focused on the right side as they looked for their star man, Traore, to take on youngster Mitchell.
Due to Sakho’s injury in their most recent game, it does seem like Palace will have to push Kouyate back from midfield into their defensive lineup – a position he’s only started at once this season. That means that in midfield, one of McCarthy or McArthur will slot in next to Milivojevic with Schlupp and ex Spurs Townsend on the flanks. Zaha and Ayew will play up top, both interchanging depending on the position of the ball to shift to a 4-4-1-1.
At first glance, this would look like a tricky match for Mourinho’s Spurs. They’ve struggled with defensively compact sides in the past – specially those that look to sit within a low to medium block and crowd out the center area of the defensive third.
All of that starts with Palace’s first wave of pressure, i.e. how Zaha/Ayew press the backline, and how their midfield supports the press.
As much as they try to nullify teams building from the back, Palace’s front line is not particularly good at doing so.
Against Wolves, Palace consistently shifted into a 4-4-1-1. Here, Zaha drops to block a pass towards a Wolves midfielder, but by doing so he opens up a space for Moutinho to run into. Ayew, on the other hand, is playing a position that a strike would in a 4-4-2. Zaha should be pressuring the ball carrier and utilizing his cover shadow, but he doesn’t so Wolves are able to progress the ball with ease.
Much has been said about Hodgson’s defensive demands of Zaha. Although Palace’s star is more free to express himself taking the position of a striker, both his and Ayew’s defensive positioning can be lacking.