This weekend sees the return of the Premier League after close to a two-week international break. One team hoping that the international break will have done them some good is Tottenham. This season they seem to have been suffering from a hangover of reaching last season’s Champions League final. Prior to the international break, the team from north London picked up just five points from their opening four matches.
This weekend Tottenham host high-flying Crystal Palace at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, in a game that they need to win to kick-start their season.
Two creditable away results
Last time out in the Premier League, Mauricio Pochettino’s team drew 2-2 with Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium in the north London derby. Spurs missed a golden opportunity to pick up a rare away derby victory against the Gunners.
Although a point at Arsenal is not a terrible result in a derby game, they blew a two-goal lead and allowed Unai Emery’s team back into the contest. Arsenal even had a late Sokratis goal disallowed, so it could have finished in defeat.
A 2-2 draw at Manchester City was also not a result to be sniffed at, especially as the Citizens saw a stoppage-time goal by Gabriel Jesus disallowed by VAR. In some ways, Spurs have been fortunate this season.
The most disappointing result of the campaign was a 1-0 home defeat against a Newcastle team who had lost their opening two games of the campaign.
Big players need to step up
Tottenham’s best players the likes of Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen need to step up for their team. The uncertainty surrounding the latter’s future has not helped the team’s mood.
Dele Alli and Heung Min-Son have endured difficult starts to the season through injury and suspension. The pair now appear to be back fully-fit and available. The pair can also be key players if the team from north London are to rediscover the sort of form that took them to a Champions League final last season.
It is not just the forward players who need to improve their performances, though, the Tottenham defence has failed to keep a clean sheet.
At one point during Pochettino’s reign as Tottenham boss, they had one of the most solid defences in the Premier League. The defensive partnership of Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen were a formidable defensive force.
However, both are out of contract next summer and Pochettino also decided to drop Vertonghen towards the beginning of the campaign. Whether the contract uncertainty is affecting the squad is uncertain, but something seems to have changed in that Spurs dressing room since last season.
Palace is Tottenham’s latest test
The visit of Crystal Palace to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium should offer no danger to the home side. However, as Spurs have a history of losing games in the most surprising circumstances, it could be a banana skin for the home side.
Tottenham head into the clash at odds of 4/11 to record a victory, which illustrates their favourites status heading into the match. Granted Palace are currently fourth place in the Premier League table and will be stubborn opponents.
However, the best teams in the league usually find a way of beating limited teams like Palace, which is why they are the best teams in the league. We all know that Liverpool and Manchester City are way ahead of the rest.
Tottenham was supposed to be the team most likely to threaten last seasons top two. On the evidence of the season so far, that scenario looks highly unlikely. The slip-up against Newcastle was just one of those things.
However, due to how Spurs have started the season, they need a big performance against Palace to send out a message that they are capable of challenging at the top of the Premier League table.
Will Tottenham beat Crystal Palace on Saturday afternoon?
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