Tottenham should be major favorites to run over the Crystal Palace
Since a 1-0 win at Everton to end the 2015-16 season, Tottenham Hotspur have seen 27 goals scored in their final match of the season winning two, losing one and drawing one. With a shot at a guaranteed Europa League spot on the line, Spurs need to come up big and beat a down Crystal Palace side.
In recent history, Spurs have owned Palace, winning 10 of the last 11 in all competitions and shutting out Palace in 9 of those 10 wins. Palace last beat Spurs back in January 2019 in the FA Cup, but one has to go back to 2015 to find an Eagles victory in the Premier League. With both teams on a streak, 3-straight wins for Spurs and 7-straight losses for Palace, what can we expect on Sunday?
Palace and a Goal Shortage
Goals have been the problem for Crystal Palace all season long. They have been relatively sound defensively, conceding only 3 more than Spurs on the year at 49. In fact, Palace has only given up more than 2 goals only 5 times ALL SEASON – one of which was Spurs 4-0 victory back in September. At just 1.3 goals against per game, one might think Palace would be doing well, however, with only 30 goals for the Eagles have really struggled.
While Palace hasn’t given up more than 2 many times this season, they have not scored more than 2 goals in a game even once. With injuries to Benteke, Sakho, Van Aanholt, Tompkins, and Cahill, expecting much from Palace on either side of the ball might be asking a lot. Palace has won once since the restart, 2-0 over Bournemouth back in June, putting them at 42 points, which has left them safely above the relegation fray and solidly lower mid-table. Yes, Palace can pass Newcastle for 13th with a win and a Newcastle loss, the reality is Palace is banged up without a lot to play for other than pride.
Tottenham Playing for Something
While Palace has little to nothing at stake in the match, Tottenham Hotspur clearly have major opportunity in front of them.
With Chelsea needing to win to secure Champions League a Spurs victory over Palace and a Chelsea victory over Wolverhampton secures London Europe for two sides.
In addition to sixth place, there is a fourth straight victory and a six-game unbeaten streak to achieve for Tottenham. While neither is a trophy for the cabinet, both are signs of a team moving in the right direction.
Not only is Tottenham Hotspur coming together on the season, but they have also historically owned Palace. Having won nine straight in the Premier League against the Eagles, Spurs have not conceded in 7 League games against the London rival.
The nine straight victories are the most against one opponent for Spurs in the Premier League era and they can tie the club record of 10 straight in the top flight against one team – as they did against Birmingham back from 1960-64.
Of course, none of that matters, as this is the final game of the season, and anything can happen. Since that victory over Everton in 2015, Spurs lost to Newcastle 1-5, beat Hull 1-7, beat Leicester City 5-4, and tied Everton 2-2. All games Spurs should have won, but not games they did. That Newcastle game still stings a bit and hopefully is a reminder not to take a bottom-half team for granted on the last day.
Given everything surrounding the club, I expect a big game from Tottenham Hotspur as they continue to be re-made in the image of Jose Mourinho. That is a team that does not shy away from the moment and instead steps up to the plate and grabs what is theirs to take, just like they did versus Leicester City.
I expect a hat-trick from Harry Kane as well as Lo Celso’s first official goal of the season among the six Spurs put past Palace. Likewise, as the defense continues to progress, I am expecting to see one last shutout to end the season. Anything less than a run-away Spurs victory makes everything else achieved over the last six weeks a bit hollow as this is a team with much to prove, mostly to themselves.