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    Crystal Palace v Tottenham Hotspur: Match Preview

    By Tom Regan

    Tottenham Hotspur take the short journey across the capital to face Crystal Palace on Saturday for what is expected to be a feisty encounter.

    The Eagles have failed to win since their 2-1 victory at Stoke City on December 19th, but most worryingly, they have not scored a goal since that hard fought triumph at the Britannia Stadium. Their ongoing goal draught stands at a staggering 452 minutes.

    Every league match so far in 2016 has ended in defeat for Alan Pardew’s side, and they have picked up a meagre two points from the last 15 on offer.
    There are only three teams to score fewer than Palace's 23 this season, but the most concerning fact is that just one of those goals has come from a recognised striker.

    The Eagles have found the net on just 12 occasions at Selhurst Park this campaign. Only four teams have collected fewer points on their own soil this season, meaning they have one of the worst attacking home records in the division.

    Mauricio Pochettino will be hoping to guide Spurs back into the Champions League this season after a five year absence.

    After a sketchy start to 2016 which saw the club fail to win any of their first three matches, the north Londoners returned to winning ways last week when they demolished Sam Allardyce’s Sunderland side 4-1 at White Hart Lane.
    The Lilywhites are unbeaten in eight away matches in all competition and have not lost away from N17 in the league since their opening-day defeat to Manchester United. Avoiding defeat this weekend would represent 10 away league games unbeaten for the first time since 1995.

    Tottenham boast the strongest defensive record away from home having conceded just nine goals. They also have the best overall defensive record in the league, while only three teams in the division have scored more times than Pochettino’s side this season.

    Team News

    Pardew has to decide whether to keep faith in goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey following some poor performances between the sticks of late.
    Palace will be without the explosive Yannick Bolasie this weekend, with the winger potentially out until mid-February with a hip injury.

    Bakary Sako and Dwight Gayle will also miss the London derby with hamstring injuries, but James McArthur is expected to feature after recovering from a knock.
    Spurs are likely to welcome back a host of players who were rested for the midweek cup tie with Leicester, including Hugo Lloris, Jan Vertonghen, Dele Alli and Harry Kane. Ryan Mason may return to the match day squad if he can shake off an ankle knock.

    Midweek goal scorers Son Heung-min and Nacer Chadli will be hoping to pick up where they left off at the King Power Stadium, which could mean that Erik Lamela is dropped to the bench.
    Head To Head

    - The north Londoners have lost just one of the last five meetings between these two sides, however, the Eagles did taste victory in the corresponding fixture last term, which was Pardew's first Premier League game in charge of the club. 

    - There have been 17 goals between the sides in the last nine league meetings, but bizarrely, not a single one of those goals has come in the first half. The last time this fixture saw a Premier League goal before half time was in 1995. 

    - The reverse fixture at White Hart Lane in September ended in a 1-0 win for the Lilywhites where Son clinched his first league goal for the club.

    Betting Odds (bet365)
    Crystal Palace: 5/2
    Draw: 12/5
    Tottenham: 23/20

    Match Prediction
    Injuries to Yannick Bolasie and Bakary Sako have really taken the sting out of Crystal Palace’s attack. Pardew has tried to implement a counter-attacking game, but that has proved difficult with the absence of some of their most dynamic players.

    The lack of goals has been a real concern for the Eagles, and now they have to face up to the league’s strongest defence.
    Tottenham must be confident of picking up all three points on Saturday. Unlike Palace, Pochettino’s side possess a proper goalscorer in Harry Kane who has 12 Premier League goals to date. Dele Alli has popped up with some important strikes for the club, and the rest of the midfield have shown they can contribute in front of goal too.

    A win for Spurs would really underline their top four credentials. It won’t be an easy task, but I genuinely feel that they will take all three points at Selhurst Park and add further misery to Pardew’s struggling side.

    Crystal Palace 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur (9/1 with bet365)
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    Item Reviewed: Crystal Palace v Tottenham Hotspur: Match Preview Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Tom Regan
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