Tottenham v Crystal Palace: Spurs can win again and the goals could flow

Tottenham take on Crystal Palace on Boxing Day and Steve Rawlings fancies their fine run of fine form to continue...

Conte's Spurs building up a head of steam

Tottenham are a very different team now to the one that ended October in disarray.

Having lost to Vitesse in the UEFA Europa Conference League on Oct 21, a 1-0 away win in the League Cup at Burnley was sandwiched between back-to-back Premier League defeats - away at West Ham and at home to Manchester United - and the 3-0 loss to the Red Devils was the straw that broke the camel's back as far as the Spurs board was concerned.

Both the United boss, Ole Gunnar Solskjær, and the Spurs manager, Nuno Espirito Santos, went into that game under immense pressure and it was no surprise to see Nuno shown the door after the defeat. And Solskjær was inevitably sacked three weeks later after United were thumped by Watford.

New Spurs boss, Antonio Conte, has turned things around quite brilliantly, overseeing just one defeat in eight games in all competitions and that loss was the catalyst for vast improvement. Spurs lost the third game of Conte's reign 2-1 to MS Mura in the Europa Conference and Conte didn't hide his feelings after the game.

"After three weeks I am starting to understand the situation. It is not simple. At this moment the level at Tottenham is not so high.

"If someone thinks that a new coach arrives and Conte won in the past and then I am a magician ... but the only magic I can do is to work. To bring work and work to improve, to bring my methods, my ideas of football. But we have to understand that we need time."

He hasn't had much time yet but Conte's hard work is most definitely paying off already and they haven't really looked back since that defeat.

Straightforward victories at home to Brentford and Norwich (2-0 and 3-0) were followed by a 2-2 draw with title challengers Liverpool on Sunday, which could very easily have been a victory, and having reached the final last season, Spurs now have a semi-final to look forward to against Conte's former club, Chelsea, in the League Cup after a hard fought 2-1 win over West Ham on Wednesday night.

Champions League participation next season looked highly unlikely under Nuno but having been matched at a high of 12/1, Spurs are now trading at around 7/2 for a Top 4 Finish and given how well the whole squad is responding to the new gaffer, it's a distinct possibility now.

Viera's Palace facing yet another tough assignment

There's been change at Crystal Palace too, with Roy Hodgson's five-year reign coming to an end in the summer but his replacement, Patrick Viera, is already surpassing most pundit's expectations at Selhurst Park.

Prior to the start of the campaign, Crystal Palace were regarded as genuine relegation candidates, trading at 2.3 for the drop. They were matched at a low of 2.0 to go down but so well has the first half of the season gone that they go into Christmas sitting in 11th place, nine points above the relegation zone and trading at around 22.0 in the Premier League Relegation market.

So good was the eagles start under Viera that they lost just two of their first 12 Premier League fixtures - 3-0 away to both Chelsea and Liverpool.

Palace hit the skids a bit at the end of November, losing three in-a-row but one could very easily argue that the fixture list hasn't been kind and they didn't have the rub of the green either.

Aston Villa are whole new proposition under Steven Gerrard so hosting them after the former Liverpool star had - had a few games to install his philosophies was unlucky, as was visiting Manchester United on the day Ralf Rangnick took the reins at Old Trafford.

Palace were beaten 2-1 by Villa and 1-0 by United and they lost 1-0 at Leeds in-between in a game they arguable should have won. Chances were missed by the Eagles before an injury time Raphinha penalty secured the points for the home side.

A 3-1 home win against Everton and a 2-2 draw with Southampton have followed the United defeat so Palace have arrested the and slide and the Eagles fans will be looking up the table instead of down as they enter the busy Christmas spell but yet again, they're set to meet another team under new management that are building up a head of steam.

Spurs can win again and the goals could flow

Palace are a force to be reckoned with this season and as they showed at the end of October, when they beat the defending champions, Manchester City, 2-0 away, they're capable of upsetting anyone on their day, but that result is starting to look like quite the anomaly.

Palace have lost just one of nine Premier League matches at Selhurst Park this season (2-1 to Villa) but that unlikely victory against City is still their only success on the road. They sit sixth in the Premier League Home table with 14 points but 14th in the Away table with only six and that's a similar looking situation to Spurs'.

Tottenham have been brilliant at home of late with only Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool winning more points at home than Spurs but they've won just one more point than Palace (seven) on their travels. That's not a good omen for the visitors and neither is their woeful record away at Spurs or their respective records on Boxing Day.

Tottenham have lost just one of their 12 Premier League home games against Crystal Palace (W7 D4) and they've won their last six league games at home against the Eagles by an aggregate score of 13-1.

In addition, Spurs are unbeaten in their last 14 league games on Boxing Day (W11 D3) and Palace have won just one of their last six Premier League games on Boxing Day (D3 L2), beating West Ham 2-1 in 2019-20.

Having been matched at a high of 1.87Spurs have now dipped to below 1.8 following the defeat of West Ham but that still looks fair given the stats and their strong form under Conte.

I was tempted to keep things simple and just play the home side and I also liked the look of Over in the Over/Under 2.5 Goals market at around even money.

So far this season, Premier League games featuring Spurs at home have produced at least three goals 67% of the time and 62% of Palace's away games have seen at least three goals scored so at a shade over even money, that looks a decent angle in too.

Both Spurs to win at around 1.8 and Over 2.5 Goals at around evens are tempting so the industry-best with the Sportsbook about a Spurs win and Over 2.5 Goals at 9/5 looks very tasty.

There have been at least three goals scored in six of Spurs' last seven Premier League home games, Tottenham have scored at least twice in each of their last six home games and Palace have won just one of their last ten on the road in the Premier League. All things considered, that 9/5 looks well worth taking.

For anyone looking for a bet in the scorer markets, although he's been slow to get going this season, Harry Kane looks like the man to side with. Kane has scored in all five of his top-flight Boxing Day appearances, the longest such scoring streak in Premier League history, while he also holds the record for best minutes-per-goal on Boxing Day in the competition (once every 54 minutes, minimum four games).

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