The disastrous home defeat by Aston Villa was the worst league performance of the season for Tottenham and there is little time to recoup and recover, making this trip to South London a very tricky outing.
The players were booed off at full time on the weekend and after Manchester United’s win over Bournemouth, Spurs are now five points behind the champions league qualification spot.
The morale and lack of confidence is as bad as team news, which makes this an even tougher contest. The mood was made worse after Antonio Conte conceded that “maybe fifth is the best” his players can achieve this season.
Team news could even be worse than what led to a very weak looking XI that began versus Aston Villa, but much here depends on whether Kulusevski will be risked from the start, benched, or miss out totally once more.
Dealing with the definite absences, key man Bentancur is injured and Bissouma is banned.
Adding to the concerns in attack, Richarlison and Lucas Moura remain out. Despite hinting he ‘probably will play again,’ I would be shocked if Conte starts Bryan Gil against a physical side like Palace.
Skipp comes in and will begin in midfield, with Sessegnon playing ahead of Gil in at least two moves from the Villa defeat.
Eric Dier should be recalled after being left out on New Year’s Day. Conte seemed to suggest he needed a rest after Qatar as opposed to being dropped for the clanger against Brentford.
I anticipate this line up and see it as our best given what is available: Lloris, Doherty, Dier, Romero, Ben Davies or Sanchez, Sessegnon; Skipp, Hojbjerg; Perisic, Kane and Son.
Crystal Palace Summary
An inconsistent Crystal Palace regained confidence and crept closer to the top half of the table on the weekend. After their 3-0 Boxing Day loss at home to Fulham, they bounced back with a 0-2 win over Bournemouth on New Year’s Day.
Palace have a tremendous support when at home and when we consider the Patrick Viera extra motivation factor, this is going to be an extremely tough game to win.
In terms of team news, Crystal Palace are much better off than Spurs. Viera can not to call on Mitchell at left back as the England international is serving a suspension. This is the only notable absence for the host.
Looking at the 1×2 market first where rather flatteringly, we are deemed to be favourites. Tottenham is priced @ 2.25 to get a win. I would not consider this bet personally unless Kulusevski begins. Punters can bet Palace @ 3.30 while the draw is @ 3.40.
Moving onto the Asian handicap market for this contest which gives Crystal Palace a small +0.25 start @ 1.94. Spurs without Kulusevski is a big ask to win, but punters on this market could be more comfortable knowing the draw saves half of the stake. Tottenham are -0.25 @ 1.92.
Looking at The Under/Over market last of all where the line is set at 2.5 goals. I expect an aggressive and ugly match here so would side with the Under 2.5 @ 1.84. Over 2.5 goals is priced @ 1.99. Once more, if Kulusevski starts then the market could change notably and the Over price will likely drop.