Spurs haven’t had the best start to the season, but they put that to rest with a hard-fought victory away at Sunderland last weekend. Add a mid-week win against Qarabag in the Europa League, and Tottenham could be about to go on a run. Palace haven’t been too shabby either, with an excellent victory against Chelsea and a good defensive show against Manchester City. Alan Pardew is coaxing some great play out of his squad—but can they do it against a resurgent Spurs?
Two missed opportunities against Qarabag were hopefully just target practice, because Alderweireld is unlikely to get anything better against Palace. One of very few regular starters who played on Thursday night, his long passes were accurate and helped Spurs initiate attacks against the underrated Azeris. Despite his obvious defensive ability, Tottenham have struggled to keep clean sheets—managing it just twice so far. Considering he was signed to help in this regard, Pochettino will want to see more from the experienced Belgian.
Bolasie was the subject of much speculation over the summer, linked with a move to various teams—including Spurs. He has been working his way back to match fitness after a personal loss, and was particularly devilish in a substitute appearance against Chelsea. He managed 4 goals and 6 assists last season for Palace, and will be hoping to improve on that tally following some good recruitment by the owners in the transfer window (with the likes of Yohan Cabaye being added). Bolasie is fast and technically gifted, but his finishing hasn’t always been the best. Spurs defence is still leaky, and Pardew will want Bolasie running direct and putting the frighteners on theme right from the off.
A new Tottenham star may have announced himself on Thursday. Son scored two goals against Qarabag, the second a result of good positioning and the wonderful work of Dele Alli. His pace and dribbling were a sight to behold, and he combined well with his team mates right up until he was subbed off. Considering he was playing as a centre forward and not in his favoured position, Palace should be worried—their defence is going to have to keep a keen eye on the young Korean, otherwise they will be punished. Alli has already been quoted as saying that he feels a natural chemistry on the field with Son, something Spurs fans will be delighted to hear with Kane still working to get on the scoresheet for his team.
This week’s honourable mention goes to Jason Puncheon. Since moving to Palace from Southampton, the Englishman has scored 13 and assisted 11. Considering he is mostly remembered for having to visit the loo during a match, these numbers hint at a vastly underrated talent. He appears to have his manager’s confidence too, a boost for any player.