Crystal Palace vs Tottenham| Sunday 13th December 2020, 14:15 | Sky Sports
It’s been a good week for Jose Mourinho and his table-topping Tottenham. After dispatching of north London rivals Arsenal last Sunday to return to the summit of the Premier League, they defeated Antwerp to top their Europa League group.
Since their defeat to Everton on the opening weekend, Spurs have gone from strength to strength, winning seven and drawing three of their 10 games. That includes picking up seven points from their last three against top-four rivals Man City, Chelsea and Arsenal.
So, things do get slightly easier for Spurs, and if you believe in head-to-head results, then they can continue their impressive run, having won nine of their last 10 (D1) against Palace.
Roy Hodgson’s men returned to winning ways at West Brom last weekend with a thumping 5-1 victory, aided by Matheus Pereira’s first-half dismissal. The return of Wilf Zaha helps, and now with the added presence of the exciting Eberechi Eze should give Palace a bit more firepower and quality in the final third.
Selhurst Park didn’t see many first-half goals scored last season, but so far this, nine of the 13 netted have come before half-time, including six for the Eagles, so you could say they have become fast starters in games, so Spurs will have to switch on from the first blow of Kevin Friend’s whistle.
The Kane & Son Partnership
No, this isn’t a north London building firm or private detective agency. Just two players that link up so well it’s hard to ignore some of the prices available on them cutting through this Palace defence.
They’ve netted 18 of Spurs’ 23 goals, so they are fairly reliant on the pair hitting the right notes. In the north London derby, it didn’t take long for that to happen with Kane just rolling the ball to Son, who did all the leg work before curling his shot into the top bin.
Son returned the favour for Kane just before half time taking their combination to 11 Premier League goals where they’ve assisted each other. And, Kane teeing up Son has happened on eight occasions already, five more times than any other combinations.
It’s 13/2 on Sky Bet to Son to score a goal assisted by Harry Kane and that just looks far too enticing given how well these two link-up.
Something else that’s worth highlighting is the number of shot-creating and goal-creating actions that Kane has. He’s got 42 shot-creating actions and a league-high 14 goal-creating actions – three clear of Kevin de Bruyne heading into this weekend of matches
That shows there are plenty of opportunities for his Spurs’ team-mates to feed off, with Son being one of the more advanced players to profit from that.
Spurs’ defensive shape has been well documented in recent weeks. The two defensive midfielders dropping in to make it more of a back six at times, which will make it harder for the likes of Zaha and Eze to find the pockets of space.
Looking through some of the figures then Zaha ranks highly for being dispossessed, while Ayew, Schlupp and Eze are all high on that list. And, when you consider how Zaha likes to run with the ball brings Spurs tackles into the equation for a punt.
This season only teams facing Man City (139) have won more tackles than they have against Palace (136). That’s highlighted by the fact that four of the five visiting teams have racked up 20+ tackles against Palace – only Brighton (15) didn’t.
Just to put it into context, those visiting teams generally go well over 20+ tackles as well. Here are the numbers: Southampton 29, Everton 20, Brighton 15, Leeds 25 & Newcastle 24.
So, given the defensive shape and block Spurs will employ to keep the Eagles at arm’s length, then Tottenham 20+ tackles at 6/5 (Sky Bet) looks very appealing.
I was looking towards Serge Aurier and Sergio Reguilón tackles but their lines are quite high. Full-backs do rack up the tackles given who they are coming up against. Sadly, there were no combinations on Sky Bet using those two or James McArthur – but that’s something to consider.
There’s one more odds-against price that I’m going to have a play on. It’s Spurs to win and under 4.5 goals in the game. Firstly, the head-to-head record shows Spurs’ dominance in this contest.
This season, the visitors’ defence has been Scrooge-like, conceding just nine times – the fewest in the league. And, they’ve conceded just one goal in their last six league games, keeping clean sheets against Man City, Chelsea and Arsenal in their last three.
Palace have failed to score in three of their last five as well, although they’ve scored nine goals in the two they did to make up for that. The Eagles’ on average give away better chances than they create looking at the Expected Goals metrics (13.8xGF v 17.5xGA).
On top of that, Palace’s home record against sides starting the day in the top four is pretty abysmal. From the last 22 games, their record reads W1, D3, L18. Not great, even for Selhurst Park and the returning faithful.
With Palace struggling against the bigger sides at home, the Spurs form, as well as their strong defensive record, then a low-scoring away win looks probable at 11/10.
Crystal Palace v Tottenham: Tottenham to win and Under 4.5 Goals (11/10 Paddy Power)
Crystal Palace v Tottenham: Son to score a goal assisted by Harry Kane (13/2 SkyBet)
Crystal Palace v Tottenham: Tottenham 20+ tackles (6/5 SkyBet)