Tottenham-Palace preview: Eagles have steered out of a nosedive

The forecast was bleak for Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace at the end of Gameweek 2. One point, one goal conceded but zero scored looked like the calling card of a vintage Hodgson side; industrious and solid at the back, desperately short up front. Who in that side is scoring goals, we all wondered.

Wilfried Zaha might be one of the most dangerous and creative wingers in the league, it doesn’t count for much if the conclusion of a purposeful run into the box is Christian Benteke bazooka-ing the ball into the roof of the Whitehorse Lane Stand. Michy Batshuayi: gone back to Chelsea. Connor Wickham: can’t stay fit. Jordan Ayew: do me a favour. 

Even Palace’s most noteworthy wide forwards, Zaha and Townsend, don’t exactly bless the South London clubs with goals. They managed 16 in the league between them last season. 

With golden egg, Aaron Wan-Bissaka leaving in the summer, it was easy to see why many pundits and ausportsbetting had them pegged for a drop into the second tier. They made a packet on the young England full-back but, crucially, just didn’t invest it.

Resurgent Palace

But how quickly things can change. A week is a long time in football; two weeks you could practically squeeze in a Bronze Age. Two games and two wins, including a famous victory at Old Trafford. Zaha is at his hyper-dangerous best and Jordan Ayew appears to have morphed into a real striker. Summer signing Gary Cahill, a Hodgson recruit if ever I saw one, has put an extra bar of steel in an already firm backline. It’s all looking pretty good for Palace.

For Tottenham, Pochettino will have to do his customary body count after the international break. There’s every chance that none of Spurs’ summer signings will feature at the weekend. After visiting both Ryan Sessegnon and Tangay Ndombele have ‘14th September’ pencilled in as their potential return dates, which is a bummer. While Giovani Lo Celso’s groin injury has him at a hardly reassuring 50-50. Although, if anyone saw the horror tackle he was subjected to against Chile at the weekend, will be thankful he still has a leg. Every cloud.

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