Verdict: Tottenham win
Best Odds: 27/20
Crashing out of the EFL Cup on Thursday night, Tottenham will travel to Selhurst Park on Sunday afternoon for their FA Cup fourth-round tie against Crystal Palace.
Starting with the hosts, despite surprisingly leading at Anfield twice last weekend, Roy Hodgson’s men could only leave Merseyside on the wrong side of a 4-3 loss. However, while they may have left Anfield empty-handed, Crystal Palace do tend to save their best performances for the Premier League’s big boys. Last month, the Eagles picked up a very surprising 3-2 win over Manchester City and became the first side to beat the defending Champions at the Etihad. Although the Eagles will be boosted by their recent showings against the Premier League’s elite, their form at Selhurst Park will be a slight concern for the former England boss. Aside from a close fought 1-0 win over League Two outfit Grimsby earlier in the month, Crystal Palace have not picked up another victory in South London since the 15th of December. More worrying, Sunday’s hosts have now scored just one home goal against Premier League opposition in their last three appearances. If Palace are to pull off a surprise victory on Sunday, Hodgson will be looking for winger Andros Townsend to lead their FA Cup charge. The former Tottenham man has found the net against both Liverpool and Manchester City over the past month.
Crystal Palace’s new keeper Lucas Perri is expected to go into their squad.
Defender Pape Souare will miss out with a dislocated shoulder.
As for the visitors, coming off the back of their penalties defeat to Chelsea and crashing out of the EFL Cup at the semi-final stage, the pressure on Tottenham to win a first piece of silverware under Mauricio Pochettino is starting to intensify. Now winning just one of their last three matches across all competitions, Spurs’ Argentinian boss will be demanding an immediate response. Still unable to call upon some of their biggest stars and their squad depth really stretched, Sunday’s visitors will be boosted by their recent record against the Eagles. Although they do always tend to be incredibly close encounters, Tottenham have won their last five matches against Palace, all by a score of 1-0. While Fernando Llorente might not be as prolific as the injured Harry Kane, the Spaniard has enjoyed his time in the domestic cups. Finding the net at Stamford Bridge in midweek, the 33-year-old has five goals in his last four cup appearances, including a hat-trick against Tranmere in the last round.
Tottenham defender Ben Davies (groin) is out and midfielder Moussa Sissoko (knee) will have his fitness assessed after the pair were injured against Chelsea in the Carabao Cup.
Harry Kane and Dele Alli are injured, while Son Heung-min is unlikely to play – although South Korea were knocked out of the Asian Cup on Friday.
Key Factors to Consider
- The last six matches between Crystal Palace and Spurs in all competitions have all ended 1-0 (five Spurs wins, one Palace win).
- Crystal Palace have won just one of their last four matches at Selhurst Park.
- Fernando Llorente has scored five goals in his last four Cup matches.
- Tottenham have lost two of their last three matches across all competitions.
- Spurs are looking to reach the FA Cup fifth round for a fourth consecutive season for the first time since doing so in five seasons in a row between 1978-79 and 1982-83.
While Tottenham will still be without the likes of Harry Kane and Dele Alli on Sunday, there is no doubt that Mauricio Pochettino will be demanding a response. Given Palace’s recent struggles to find the net at Selhurst Park, coupled with Spurs impressive record against this weekend’s hosts, we’re backing Spurs to book their spot in the fifth-round with a close fought victory.
Verdict: Tottenham win
Best Odds: 27/20
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