3 min: Cleared comfortably by Palace but Spurs remain locked in possession and, understandably, with a lack of obvious creativity through the middle are getting the ball wide.
2 min: For Georges-Kévin N’Koudou fans, he’s playing as a left-sided forward with Lucas to the right of Llorente. Meanwhile, Walker-Peters motors forward and wins a corner with Trippier over the ball.
Spurs get us underway, knocking it about in defence and, indeed, are in a back three with Walker-Peters as a left-wing back.
ICYMI Palace fans, you have re-signed Bakary Sako until the end of the season. That and the rest of the January deals can be found below. The teams are out on the field. It looks damp and windy.
It’s around five degrees in south London and Fernando Llorente clearly doesn’t like having cold ears
Jonny Sharples (@JonnyGabriel)
Fernando Llorente can’t even get his snood on target. pic.twitter.com/hKk3bzcC1I
Roy Hodgson has spelled it out in terms of why he’s made six changes to his starting XI …
We’ve made changes, that’s because of the importance of the forthcoming Premier League fixtures. That’s the way its become. The Premier League has to make their fixtures work for them so these FA Cup games are often squeezed in. Unfortunately we cant deny the fact, staying in the Premier League, winning the Premier League or competing for Europe is more important.
This looks fun …
Richard Kingdon (@soberich)
Captain Sensible. Glad all Over ❤️💙🦅 pic.twitter.com/lUW6VW9mh7
Steve Percy loves his club …
Mauricio Pochettino has been speaking about his team selection and confirmed Christian Eriksen is rested. With Kane and Alli injured until potentially early March, running the risk of losing the third element of his first-choice attacking trio would be a little careless. At the same time, that’s an admission of how ‘important’ he views this cup tie.
We need to rotate for injuries and because some players are tired but always with a hope to compete in the best way and try to win. He (Eriksen) is rested because is so tired, he played a lot in the last few months and today is a massive risk to play with him.
And more Premier League FA Cup embarrassment from the New Den
Millwall knock Everton out.
Given the team selections this seems a reasonable forecast …
6 – The last six matches between Crystal Palace and Spurs in all competitions have all ended 1-0 (five Spurs wins, one Palace win). Fine.
The two clubs will also be united in hilarity over West Ham’s exit last night at the hands of AFC Wimbledon. For those that missed it, here’s Ed Aaron’s match report …
AFC Wimbledon embarrass West Ham.
One aspect of this match that both clubs sadly share is a lack of a quality striker (yes, Fernando Llorente was once good but he’s sadly not anymore, still … those eyes). Four of Tottenham’s five leading scorers this season (Kane, Son Alli and Eriksen) aren’t involved today while Palace’s leading marksman is Luka Milivojevic (pen) and the Serbian midfielder is on the bench. And while that sets up nicely for an Andros Townsend 25-yard ripper it also provides a canny link into this piece on Chelsea’s strange habit of signing duff strikers.
As we build up to kick-off, here is Sachin Nakrani’s preview with Jan Vertonghen talking trophies … or a lack of.
Roy Hodgson makes six changes, switching three of the back four who lost 4-3 at Liverpool, and handing Connor Wickham a first start since November 2016.
Crystal Palace (4-4-2): Speroni; Ward, Kelly, Dann, Van Aanholt; Townsend, Meyer, Kouyate, Schlupp; Zaha, Wickham. Subs: Tupper, Wan-Bissaka, Sakho, Riedeweld, Milivojevic, Benteke, Ayew
Pochettino goes one better than Hodgson with seven changes to his starting XI from the 2-1 win over Fulham. Dele Alli is, of course, injured while Christian Eriksen sits out the tie altogether. There’s also a place for the lesser-spotted Georges-Kévin N’Koudou, his first start since December 2017.
Tottenham (3-4-3, I think): Gazzaniga; Sanchez, Foyth, Vertonghen (C); Trippier, Dier, Skipp, Walker-Peters; Nkoudou, Llorente, Lucas. Subs: Lloris, Aurier, Rose, Wanyama, Winks, Lamela, Sterling
Good afternoon everyone. Reputations in sport can be a tough thing to shake. Once the quintessential ‘cup’ side – Ardiles, Villa, Gascoigne, Samways, Chas & Dave, Des Walker’s own goal – the 2000s witnessed Spurs morph into football’s equivalent of Jean van de Velde, a characterisation Mauricio Pochettino has been unable to fully ditch. And on the weekend of what would have been the 100th birthday of the club’s greatest-ever manager, Pochettino’s Tottenham, at least from the outside, continue to be defined more by what they haven’t done, than what they have.
Never mind transforming the club from Sir Alex Ferguson’s punchlines into a consistent top four and Champions League force who are even, when people get bored, thrown into Premier League title conversations. And all this against the backdrop of relatively minimal investment in his squad. No, with so little credible criticism apparent, the only thing left to throw at Pochettino and his players is a lack of silverware and how it apparently conforms to the concept of their nickname suffixed with a y.
Of course, Thursday’s Carabao Cup semi-final defeat at Chelsea didn’t help matters – the club’s seventh exit in the last four of a domestic cup this century – and, in truth, the reality lies somewhere in between; Tottenham are a really good team, but one you’re never truly, fully, honestly, gun-to-the-head, “quickly Kevin, will he score?” confident can get over the line. With the Champions League a nice surprise rather than a genuine expectation and although Manchester City and Liverpool aren’t quite off into the sunset in the Premier League, the FA Cup still represents Tottenham’s most realistic chance of silverware this season. Which matters more than reputations and memes, it matters because winning stuff is fun.
Palace fans will be quick to remind their north London counterparts they have actually come closer to winning a trophy this decade having played their part in Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United swansong at the 2016 final; a game also notable for Alan Pardew gift to great British comedy. Current Eagles boss Roy Hodgson, who once turned down Strictly Come Dancing (and you know Pardew would be all over that), has been “leaping” to Pochettino’s defence this week (something, in the literal sense, which seems a touch farfetched) but also playing down the significance of this tie in the overall context of Palace’s season. Ho hum. Andros Townsend will be up for it, anyway – it’s three years to the day since Spurs flogged him to Newcastle.
Kick-off is at 4pm. Come join me.