Venue: Selhurst Park
Kick off: 5:30PM
A back-in-form Tottenham Hotspur make the 20 mile trip south to Crystal Palace this evening with the aim of keeping pace at the top end of the Premier League.
Despite all the recent negativity, Spurs head into this weekend’s London derby sitting fourth in the table and five points adrift of leaders Manchester City.
Roy Hodgson claimed after Palace’s 3-1 loss to Chelsea last week that his side are performing well enough in matches to suggest that they will easily beat the drop this season.
The former England boss was correct in one sense, as his side were only undone by a couple of goals from the title-chasing Blues in the final 25 minutes at Stamford Bridge, a week after holding Arsenal to a 2-2 draw, but the Eagles have now ultimately taken just five points from their past 10 league matches.
That run of form is simply not good enough, leaving the South London outfit 14th in the table and just two points above the dropzone, and an EFL Cup exit at the hands of second-tier side Middlesbrough last Wednesday did not help matters.
Palace’s biggest problem has been on home soil, where the surprise draw against in-form Arsenal saw them pick up only a second point of the season from a possible 15 – the worst-such return of any side in the top flight.
Five matches without a win at Selhurst Park is the Eagles’ longest run at the start of a season since 1997-98, when going 15 games without picking up three points, and things do not get any easier this weekend with the visit of fourth-placed Tottenham.
Either side of the creditable draw with Arsenal, Palace have lost to Bournemouth, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Everton and Chelsea in the Premier League, as well as going down to Middlesbrough in the EFL Cup. From 14 games overall this season, meanwhile, they have won just four.
Hodgson knows that a lack of goals, and an over-reliance on star man Wilfried Zaha, has all too often cost his side this term, with a tally of eight eight goals scored – Zaha responsible for three of those – the fifth-worst record in the division.
With Tottenham and Manchester United up next for Palace, on top of meetings with Man City and Chelsea in December, Hodgson needs his side to turn their so-called promising displays into all three points if they are to avoid dropping below the dotted line.
Crystal Palace possible XI: Hennessey, Wan-Bissaka, Tomkins, Sakho, Van Aanholt, McArthur, Kouyate, Milivojevic, Meyer, Zaha, Townsend.
Tottenham possible XI: Lloris, Trippier, Alderweireld, Sanchez, Davies, Winks, Eriksen, Lamela, Lucas, Son, Kane.