Eye on the Opposition: Tottenham vs Crystal Palace (19/8/2016)

Written by Jack Pierce

Second game of the season sees Palace travel to White Hart Lane where they won of course in the FA Cup last season. Can they repeat that? Here's Jack Pierce's preview...

 

So, how's your week been?

...

Yup, mine too.

Bolasie confirmed, Jedinak confirmed and funnily enough Liverpool didn't want a signed photo of Alan Pardew as a fee for Christian Benteke.
Anyway, at least we got off to a decent start on the pitch last weekend.

...

Oh.

Spurs away this weekend and a chance to return to the scene of one of the best results of last season; the 1-0 Fifth Round cup win that really got us thinking that our name might be on the cup...

Not doing the whole cheering people up thing very well, am I?
Either way, Martin Kelly's only goal in a Palace shirt was a highlight in what, at times, was a desperate second half of the season.

Spurs, it could be argued, had bigger fish to fry at that time as they were really hitting form and starting to mount a title challenge. That title challenge fell away in the last four games of the season and losing 5-1 to an already relegated, ten men Newcastle on the final day was testament to the fact that Mauricio Pochettino's squad wasn't quite there in terms of winning the title.

A summer has passed and Spurs are fancied to be in and amongst it this season. With so much change in terms of managers at the supposed 'big clubs', Pochettino has an advantage in knowing the English game and Premier Legue. Having come so close to Spurs' first league title in more than 50 years, expectation is higher than it has been for a generation.

Harry Kane, fresh from proving he wasn't a one season wonder but also a very disappointing Euros with England, will lead the line and now has to prove he's not a two season wonder. The striker was hung out to dry during the summer by the press but nobody performed that well and if your manager asks you to corners, you take the corners. I have no doubt he'll be back again this season and his goals will be vital if Spurs are to challenge for the title again.

Summer recruits of note have so far been limited to Victor Wanyama, he fond of the red card and Vincent Janssen, a Dutch striker not shy of banging them in for AZ Alkmaar last season. Wanyama started last week's draw at Goodison Park and Jansen was called upon at half time after Spurs had trailed at the break and not created too much.

With Spurs benefitting from the one up top approach last season, it’s difficult to imagine both Jansen and Kane starting too many games together this season but there is certainly logic behind the signing. Kane has been very fortunate with injuries and with Champions League football on the horizon, Kane cannot be expected to feature as regularly as he has done in the past two seasons. Jansen provides added potency and a different option from the bench but also a wonderful back up should Kane be sidelined.

Pochettino, a no nonsense centre half in his playing days, clearly made forming a solid central defensive pairing his priority last summer and the Belgian pair of Tobias Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen were, for me at least, the best defensive partnership in the league last season. Vertonghen’s worth to his national side was outlined when, without him due to injury, Wales carved through the Belgian defence in their 3-1 win. Vertonghen, not the most likeable player in the league is certainly one of the most effective defenders in the league and will be vital for his side again this campaign.

With another fortnight of the window left, Spurs may do some business but that may well depend on how results go between now and the end of the window. Two wins and everything will seem ok; a few stuttering draws or even losses and further additions to the squad might be sought.

We won’t visit White Hart Lane too many more times and it would be brilliant to nick a win there before they redevelop the site and build a new stadium. I dare say Andros Townsend might fancy it on Saturday and having left Spurs in January in fairly acrimonious circumstances having fell out with coaching staff, having a positive impact in front of his former manager and crowd would really get his season started.

In a week when off field issues, mainly transfer based, have dominated the agenda, it seems odd to concentrate on an actual football match but here we are. A win or draw and everything seems a lot better; a loss and the match against Bournemouth a week later already starts to look fairly must-win.
NB. Deals have been agreed for Christian Benteke and allegedly Loic Remy and the negative intro to my piece seems a little misplaced. Pardew Out!

What do you think the score will be? Comment below...


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