Crystal Palace vs Tottenham – 3 key battles to keep an eye out for at Selhurst Park on Saturday

Mounting a second-half comeback to keep their Champions League dreams alive on Tuesday night, Mauricio Pochettino’s side will turn their attention back to the Premier League this weekend.

Up next for Spurs, the Lilywhites will travel 20 miles south when they head to a struggling Selhurst Park.

With Roy Hodgson’s side coming off the back of a 3-1 loss away to Chelsea last weekend, the Eagles have now failed to win any of their last four top-flight appearances.

More worrying for the hosts, they have now lost their last six league matchups with Tottenham.

With the race for a top-four finish the most contested it has been in recent memory, Spurs will be desperate to extend their single point advantage over bitter-rivals Arsenal.

Ahead of this weekend’s London derby, we have taken a look at three key battles that could decide who leaves with the three points.

LONDON, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 28: Alexandre Lacazette of Arsenal (r) battles for the ball with Wilfried Zaha of Crystal Palace during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Arsenal FC at Selhurst Park on October 28, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Wilfried Zaha vs Kieran Trippier

If the hosts are to end their sluggish run of form, they will unsurprisingly be looking for their talisman to lead their charge.

Signing a new contract at Selhurst Park back in August, Wilfried Zaha has scored three of Palace’s eight Premier League goals so far this season.

Since Hodgson’s decision to move to a 4-4-2, the Ivorian has been playing on the left-hand side of the Eagles’ attacking duo.

On Saturday, Zaha is likely to be paired off against right-back Kieran Trippier.

Palace’s leading goalscorer should fancy his chances on Saturday.

With his recent performances receiving some criticism, Pochettino reminded the full-back that he is a defender first and foremost.

“Kieran needs to improve in the defensive situation because in the last few games you have seen that we conceded a few actions. But like him, all the players need to improve in the defensive situation.”

Although his form might not be at the heights that saw him help England reach the semi-final at the World Cup, the former Burnley man will need to be at his best on Saturday.

Over the past two weeks, the 28-year-old has had the space behind him exploited and he can not give Zaha so much room to operate.

Since the start of the 2014/2015 campaign, only Riyad Mahrez and Eden Hazard have completed more dribbles than Zaha.

Lucas Moura

LONDON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 06: Lucas Moura of Tottenham Hotspur breaks away from Jorrit Hendrix of PSV Eindhoven during the Group B match of the UEFA Champions League between Tottenham Hotspur and PSV at Wembley Stadium on November 6, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Aaron Wan-Bissaka vs Lucas Moura

Although he was replaced just after the hour mark on Tuesday, Lucas Moura’s contribution caught the eye of many in Spurs’ 2-1 win over PSV.

Switching with Son and operating off the left-hand side of Tottenham’s attacking trio, the Brazilian proved to be a constant threat.

If Moura is once again to work off of the left, the blossoming Aaron Wan-Bissaka will be given the duty of keeping the 26-year-old quiet.

Since bursting onto the scene after being promoted from Palace’s academy last season, the 20-yeard-old appears to be going from strength to strength.

Reportedly being eyed up by Manchester City, only Everton’s Idrissa Gueye has made more tackles than Wan-Bissaka this season.

Also averaging 2.7 interceptions per game, only four players in the Premier League have completed more.

Signing a new contract back in April, there is no doubt that the England U21 international will have to be at his best if he intends to keep the former PSG man out the picture.

Harry Kane

LONDON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 06: Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates after scoring his team’s first goal during the Group B match of the UEFA Champions League between Tottenham Hotspur and PSV at Wembley Stadium on November 6, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Crystal Palace’s defence vs Harry Kane

While it might seem like a broad battle, it will have to be a team effort if the Eagles intend to nullify Tottenham’s top scorer.

Although Mamadou Sakho is a firm favourite at Selhurst Park, the former Liverpool man does have a tendency to lose concentration.

With Kane constantly on the move and ready to pounce on any mistake, James Tomkins must be in constant communication and take the role of Palace’s senior defensive figure.

Renowned for his ability to finish inside the box, Kane has added a new dimension to his game this season.

The 25-year-old often finds himself dropping deep to hold up the play for Spurs.

When the England skipper does inevitably venture into Palace’s midfield, Luka Milvojevic mustn’t allow Kane the chance to settle.

Although it might be seen to be a darker side of the game, Palace’s captain has a growing reputation for putting a foot in.

With only Brighton’s Glenn Murray conceding more fouls so far this season, the Serbian’s ability to illegally break up the play could be a huge part of disrupting Spurs’ momentum.

Also see:

Mauricio Pochettino reacted to his argument with Tottenham’s fans in the PSV game.

Calls for Tottenham’s Erik Lamela to be banned after his ‘attack’ on PSV’s Pablo Rosario.

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