Premier League table-toppers Tottenham Hotspur will seek a fourth win from as many matches in Saturday’s London derby with Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s side prevailed 1-0 against Watford before the international break, while Palace rescued a point in a 2-2 draw with West Ham United.
Facing a third London derby in as many weeks, Crystal Palace were only able to boast one point from their first two clashes with Chelsea and Brentford before making the journey to take on a rampant West Ham side just before the break.
Twice Palace fell behind to strikes from Pablo Fornals and Michail Antonio, but twice they clawed their way back into the game thanks to a second-half brace from Chelsea loanee Conor Gallagher in a pulsating encounter at the London Stadium.
Still waiting for their first win of the season, the signs were positive for Patrick Vieira’s new-look Palace side in the capital, although the 14th-placed outfit must now face Spurs, Liverpool, Arsenal and Leicester City all in the space of five weeks.
An early EFL Cup exit to Watford did dampen Palace’s spirits somewhat, but having opened their account for the Premier League season at the third attempt, the Eagles will seek to end a poor run of league form which has seen them claim just two wins from their last 12 matches.
The Eagles will make history this week as the first Premier League side ever to open a season with four London derbies on the trot, but they can only boast five shots on target from their opening three encounters before they somehow attempt to break Tottenham’s defensive resolve.
There was certainly an element of fortune about Spurs’ gameweek three win over Watford – with Son Heung-min’s free kick evading everyone before nestling into the back of the net – but a third consecutive 1-0 triumph in the league is only a positive thing for Santo.
Having conducted their summer business with aplomb – all while convincing Harry Kane to put his Manchester City dream on hold – Spurs are reaping the rewards of their summer of change and are the only side in the division to have claimed maximum points from their opening three matches.
Spurs’ perfect record sees them sitting pretty at the top of the pile – two points clear of the five sides currently sitting on seven points – and the Lilywhites have also secured a safe passage into the Europa Conference League group stages despite an early scare against Pacos de Ferreira.
French powerhouses Rennes await Spurs in their inaugural group-stage clash on Thursday night before the visit of Chelsea on September 19, so the trip to Palace may not rank all that high on Nuno’s priority list, but the visitors will not want to pass up the opportunity to steer further clear of their rivals.
Tottenham travel to Selhurst Park on a 12-game unbeaten streak against Palace in the Premier League – winning 10 of them – although the last two encounters at Selhurst Park have seen the two clubs shake hands on a 1-1 draw.
Crystal Palace Premier League form:
Crystal Palace form (all competitions):
Tottenham Hotspur Premier League form:
Tottenham Hotspur form (all competitions):
Crystal Palace boss Vieira is confident that Luka Milivojevic will be ready to return in time for Saturday, while there is also optimism that Michael Olise could make his debut for the club this weekend.
The Eagles’ transfer business went right to the wire as they struck late deals for Odsonne Edouard and Will Hughes, both of whom should be in contention to feature here.
However, Christian Benteke will aim to hold his place up top for now, while Wilfried Zaha will finally aim to break his goalscoring duck against Tottenham at the 13th attempt.
Meanwhile, Tottenham trio Davinson Sanchez, Cristian Romero and Giovani Lo Celso can all reportedly expect fines for linking up with their South American teams during the international break and will not feature here due to quarantine.
The visitors have also been handed a scare over Son Heung-min, who withdrew from the South Korea squad with a tight calf, while Steven Bergwijn, Oliver Skipp and Ryan Sessegnon are also fresh injury concerns.
With Japhet Tanganga potentially deputising in defence for Sanchez, Emerson Royal could make his debut for the club at right-back, while Bryan Gil could benefit from the possible absences of Son and Bergwijn.
Crystal Palace possible starting lineup:
Guaita; Ward, Andersen, Guehi, Mitchell; McArthur, Kouyate, Gallagher; Ayew, Benteke, Zaha
Tottenham Hotspur possible starting lineup:
Lloris; Emerson, Tanganga, Dier, Reguilon; Hojbjerg, Winks; Lucas, Alli, Gil; Kane
We say: Crystal Palace 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur
A wave of fresh injury and quarantine-related absences is hardly a recipe for success for Tottenham this weekend, while the farcical situation surrounding Lo Celso and Romero’s Argentina-Brazil chaos is another matter entirely.
Spurs still have plenty of talent in their ranks capable of troubling a leaky Palace backline, but Vieira’s new signings may now be starting to gel, and we can envisage a third consecutive 1-1 draw between the two sides at Selhurst Park as Spurs’ perfect start comes to an end.
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