A trip to the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is up next for the Eagles in the Sunday evening kick off, so TEB had a chat with the guys at Last Word On Spurs on their season so far, thoughts ahead of the game and much more.
Q. What did you make of the game between the two sides at Selhurst Park earlier in the season?
It is safe to say we thought it was very much two points dropped, and whilst Palace pushed on in the second half, it was the classic Mourinho low block game. We created chances until we scored, we then sat back passively until you equalised, we them immediately stepped up and Guaita made some great saves. Our Premier League record at Selhurst is good, so there was no reason to show that fear or respect to change our game plan to negate your strengths. We should play to our own.
Q. How has this campaign been for Spurs so far?
Hugely frustrating within the Premier League, we should be but don’t deserve to be higher than we are. Our quality of football deteriorated during the season into the football so many (including myself), accuse Jose of. The drop in the quality of football also saw a huge drop in results. Pragmatism may be needed against City, but Tottenham at home should never be trying to hold on to a 1-0 lead against any side, least of all, relegation or bottom half teams.
Q. Is time running out for Jose Mourinho?
A tough question! Daniel Levy hired Jose to take us where Poch didn’t i.e. top four AND a trophy. The top four is desperately needed for revenue ruined by Covid and the new stadium is built for those nights. We will be underdogs but not impossible to beat City, but finish 8th, often playing turgid football, and win a trophy, I still doubt would keep him in the job.
Q. What do you make of the Dele Alli situation, particularly after it was rumoured that PSG were showing interest in him?
I’m a big Dele fan so this season has been a huge waste of talent, but, Jose traditionally prefers 4-3-3 and Dele’s main successes have come when he’s allowed to be almost a second striker which leaves no room for him as Jose doesn’t use it! Recent games have seen us go to a 4-2-3-1, that’s the system Dele can and has thrived in. Dele does need to improve his all round game though to adapt to Jose’s system. I hope he does. He’s just had a very good European game, albeit against weak opponents, but as the ’10’ in a 4-2-3-1, but Jose still prefers 4-3-3 in the big games so Dele may still struggle to produce his best form for Mourinho.
Q. How was your business in the January transfer window and do you have needs that have not been addressed?
We would have liked a top-class central defender last summer, we’d have I’m sure wanted one in January but perhaps he’s at a club still in Europe or chasing places/titles so unavailable, but, it’s an area that costs us almost every week with no central defender reliable at the moment. The amount of basic individual errors we make is horrendous.
Q. Who has been the stand out player for Spurs so far this season?
Kane. Goalscorer, main creator, best defender, talisman, and without him Mourinho standard tactics simply don’t work. He seems to be able to wind up opposition fans for actually no reason other than jealousy he doesn’t play for their club. He is hated for doing what every player has done at every aerial challenge since the game began, i.e. backing in! He goes down in the box looking for penalties, just as Zaha does, just as 3-4 players at least in every single club does.
Q. What do you make of Palace this season?
The same as always, win a few, lose a few, never really looking to do anything other than survive. There will always be a few notable wins, but also some ridiculous losses, such as 3-0 to Burnley. Confidence should be high though after the win at Brighton having been under the cosh all game but scoring two brilliant goals.
Q. It has been a tough time for everyone but football fans and clubs have certainly played their part during the pandemic and pulled together which has been particularly pleasing, right?
Finally we have a date for crowds to return to games, it’s been a tough 12 months for everyone and I’m amazed no clubs have gone under. Football clubs all do huge community work, players as well that goes unseen and yet is so often the target of so many due to the money in the game. The salaries of players held up against nurses pay, and yet, nobody will use TV stars, musicians, or other sports stars salaries in the same way. The demands of footballers to donate more at the start of the pandemic, without any consideration of what players may do privately was disgusting.
Q. Name one player from each team that you believe will be a threat to the opposition in this match.
It’s easy to say Zaha and Kane, I presume though that Zaha will be missing. Eze has been an eye-catcher in some games for you, but assuming Roy will play similarly as he did at Brighton, then the old war horse Cahill will be the player we have to get past. Sonny has had plenty of success against your side in the home fixture for us although his form has dipped but finally we are seeing signs of Bale reproducing his best form. He got the start we all wanted against Burnley, and delivered. He could still have a huge influence on our season.
Q. …and finally, your all important prediction
We always win the home Premier League fixture, it’s always with a clean sheet against, and we absolutely need to repeat that but with the mistakes we make, if Palace are brave, they can give us problems. I’ll go for a 2-0 Spurs win, assuming Roy follows Jose’s standard game plan!