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Wednesday, 23 January, 2019

Palace could leave title-chasing Spurs frustrated

Selhurst Park stalemate likely with Eagles also flying

Palace celebrate at Anfield
1 of 1

Premier League
Sky Sports 1, 8pm Wednesday

Crystal Palace put a bump in Chelsea's road to the Premier League title by winning at Stamford Bridge earlier this month and they can have their say again in the battle for top spot by frustrating second-placed Tottenham at Selhurst Park.

Spurs still have tricky home matches against Arsenal and Manchester United left to play but the trip to Palace may prove to be every bit as tricky.

Losing 4-2 to Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-final was a massive blow and it is far from ideal that Spurs face a crucial Premier League fixture just four days later.

Mauricio Pochettino is one of the finest managers in the division but he got his tactics wrong at the weekend by deploying Kieran Trippier and Heung-Min Son as wing-backs.

Despite dominating possession with 63 per cent, Spurs never looked secure down the flanks and Son clearly struggled, giving away a penalty just before half-time.

Playing Son out of position also negated the South Korean's threat going forward.

Son had scored eight goals in his previous six games prior to the semi-final, yet is at risk of being dropped to the bench at Selhurst Park if Pochettino sticks with the 3-4-2-1 formation used at Wembley.

Ben Davies and Kyle Walker look likely to come back into the side as Pochettino seeks to address the defensive shortcomings of the Chelsea performance, as Spurs shipped four goals for the first time this season.

Tottenham have the best defensive record in the Premier League - conceding just 22 league goals - and will need to be disciplined in the full-back positions to counter the significant threats of Palace wingers Andros Townsend and Wilfried Zaha.

Palace return to action just three days after their impressive 2-1 victory at Liverpool but any feelings of fatigue are likely to be lessened by the impressive run of results they are on.

They have taken 19 points from 24 in the last eight games, a record that is second only to Spurs who have 21 from 24, and nine of those points have come from victories over Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool.

Christian Benteke starred in the victory at Anfield with two goals - taking his league tally to 14 - and poses an obvious threat with his power in the air.

Palace are up to 38 points and look almost assured of survival so that may lead to a dip in motivation and intensity may be a concern for punters thinking of backing them to register another shock victory.

However, if they play with the same spirit, pace and power shown on Merseyside, they will give Spurs a massive test.

Tottenham are capable of winning if they are mentally recovered from the weekend but backing them at odds-on looks a risky business.

A repeat of last season's collapse (Spurs took two points from their last four games) looks unlikely but they face a tough encounter against one of the hottest teams in the league and may have to settle for a point.

1pt 10-3 bet365, Betway, Sky Bet

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Team news
Crystal Palace
Mamadou Sakho should come back into the side after being ineligible to face parent club Liverpool on Sunday. Connor Wickham, Pape Souare are out long-term and Scott Dann (knee) is sidelined.

Erik Lamela (hip) and Harry Winks (ankle) are out for the season and Danny Rose (knee) is short of match fitness.

Key stat
Crystal Palace have lost just one of their last eight matches.

They have taken 19 points from 24 in the last eight games, a record that is second only to Spurs who have 21 from 24
E.W. Terms
Sky bet