Tottenham face a quick turnaround this weekend given the fact that they are fighting for silverware on three fronts, with Spurs playing host to fellow Premier League outfit Crystal Palace in the fifth round of the FA Cup this afternoon at White Hart Lane.
As well as being firmly in the race for the 2015-16 English top-flight title come May; Mauricio Pochettino’s men have just got back from Italy after battling Serie A side Fiorentina to an encouraging 1-1 draw in the UEFA Europa League’s knockout stages.
However Tottenham; who sit just two points behind surprise league leaders Leicester City in the Premier League, now turn their attention to the FA Cup as they look to make the cut into the competition’s quarter-finals.
Their tremendous 2-1 league win over title rivals Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium last Sunday demonstrated just how far Spurs have grown, developed and improved this term, although manager Pochettino will be hoping Thursday’s trip to Florence hasn’t impact his players’ fatigue and fitness levels too heavily.
The Eagles; on the other hand, have failed to taste success in the Premier League since December 19, 2015 – harking back to their splendid 2-1 away victory at Stoke City.
However Alan Pardew’s side have fared much better in cup competitions since, fending off top-flight rivals Southampton and Stoke, once more, during the FA Cup’s third and fourth rounds respectively.
Palace have in fact lost six of their last nine league outings, a run that included five defeats on the bounce against Chelsea, Aston Villa, Manchester City, Tottenham and Bournemouth.
Last weekend’s slender 2-1 loss to the hands of newly promoted Watford has hopefully given the visitors the wake-up call they need before sliding further down the standings and into a surprise relegation dogfight during their final 12 league games.
Interestingly; these two teams have played each other five times in the FA Cup, but the away team has never scored. But overall; both Spurs and Palace have won two encounters each, with the other one ending in a stalemate.
Having reached the fifth round; Tottenham will complete a rare feat if they defeat the Eagles this afternoon as the home side haven’t won three FA Cup fixtures on the trot since 2007 (Excluding penalty shootouts).
Despite perhaps being tipped not to score at White Hart Lane, Pardew’s Palace have rather encouragingly won four of their last five FA Cup trips away from home.
But in contrast; Pochettino’s hosts have tasted victory ten times in their last 14 FA Cup matches at White Hart Lane, losing just the once.
Winger Nacer Chadli is a particular fan of this season’s competition, with the Belgium international scoring four goals in four starts for Tottenham.
Tottenham manager Pochettino will likely make wholesale changes once again to his starting eleven following their midweek UEFA Europa League encounter. The Argentine made six changes in their visit to Fiorentina, with the likes of Harry Kane and Eric Dier dropping to the bench.
Captain and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris (Shoulder) remains ruled out, so Michel Vorm will once again deputise between the sticks.
Knee injuries to both defender Jan Vertonghen and forward Clinton Njie see this game come too soon for them as well.
Palace boss Pardew is hopeful of welcoming back winger Yannick Bolasie to his first-team fold after missing the last nine weeks with a hip problem.
Midfielder Joe Ledley (Thigh) and striker Dwight Gayle (Hamstring) are rated as doubtful for this afternoon’s trip to White Hart Lane, meanwhile ex-Spurs forward Emmanuel Adebayor could face his former club for the first time since his release back in September.
League Position: Tottenham – 2nd (51 pts); Crystal Palace – 13th (32 pts)
Previous Meeting: Crystal Palace 1-3 Tottenham – January 23, 2016
Form: Tottenham – WWWWWD; Crystal Palace – LLWLDL
Key Men: Tottenham – Christian Eriksen; Crystal Palace – Wilfried Zaha
Shoot Says: Tottenham 2-0 Crystal Palace