Crystal Palace-Tottenham Hotspur Preview

TOM BENNETT (STATS European Football Writer)
The Associated Press

Tottenham Hotspur will be looking to get back to their winning ways as they welcome Crystal Palace to White Hart Lane on Saturday.

Tim Sherwood's Tottenham (11-4-5) were soundly beaten by local rivals Arsenal in the FA Cup last weekend, meaning Sherwood has overseen the club's exits from both domestic competitions in just six games. However, results in the Premier League have been good for the north London club, who find themselves just two points outside of the top four after picking up 10 points from four games over Christmas.

"It's very important to win and to keep winning," said our Romanian centre-back Vlad Chiriches, who has been an impressive addition to the team in the absence of the injured Jan Vertonghen and Younes Kaboul. "That will help us with our confidence. It does help to have a good run of games where you're picking up results. If you're strong mentally it's easier to win games.

"I think it's obviously very important to pick up another win, especially because it's a derby. A positive result will help us to go further up the table, which is obviously where we all want to be."

Crystal Palace (5-2-13) enjoyed a brief resurgence under new manager Tony Pulis, but a tough run of fixtures over the Christmas period saw them slip back into the relegation zone. Many pundits' favourites for the drop, Palace remain very much in with a chance of avoiding relegation, particularly if they strengthen in the January transfer window according to their manager.

"It's a difficult time, but if you bring the right players in and they gel quick enough, then they can certainly help you turn your season round or give you that push that you need to get over the line," said Pulis ahead of the trip to Spurs. "We need players who are going to really, really roll their sleeves up, work hard and make a difference, or add to what we've got already.

"I've got a list of players, the chairman's got that list of players - we need to do it and we need to get deals done if we are going to push on."

Tottenham have a host of injury problems. In addition to Vertonghen (ankle) and Kaboul (hip), Sandro (calf), Andros Townsend (hamstring), Paulinho (ankle), Lewis Holtby (knock), Gylfi Sigurdsson (calf), Erik Lamela (hip), Kyle Naughton (hamstring) and Roberto Soldado (calf) are all doubtful. Jermain Defoe (hamstring) is unlikely to be risked ahead of a reported transfer to the MLS. Palace, meanwhile, have injury doubts over Jerome Thomas (calf), Jack Hunt (ankle) and Glenn Murray (knee).

Palace have managed a league-low 13 goals and have scored multiple goals in only two matches. Spurs have scored nine in their last four games after tallying only 15 in their opening 16.

The Eagles have lost eight away from home - more than any other side - but Spurs have struggled at home, claiming only 15 points in 10 matches at White Hart Lane for the 10th-best home record.

Spurs won 1-0 thanks to a Roberto Soldado penalty when these teams met on the opening day of the season. Palace managed just four attempts in the 90 minutes, compared to Tottenham's 18 in the first meeting between the sides since 2005.

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