Crystal Palace-Tottenham Hotspur Preview
Tottenham head coach Antonio Conte has been delighted with his side's progress but remains concerned ahead of a busy festive schedule, with Crystal Palace next at home.
Spurs are unbeaten in Conte's opening five Premier League games, moving six points away from the Champions League spots while boasting three games in hand on fourth-placed Arsenal.
Unsurprisingly, Conte – who saw his side earn a valiant 2-2 draw against Liverpool last time out – has been pleased with Spurs' improvements, though he is aware a tough period awaits.
"I always said to improve the level of the Tottenham team, I have to improve the level of every single player," Conte said. "The only way I know is to work, to work with my players and to improve my players. We are working, we are working very well and working every day in a hard way to try to improve every single play because this is the only way to improve the level of Tottenham.
"It is not easy for us, it is not easy for all the teams to play after only one day is not simple. Don't forget we had half our squad with Covid and you have to live with this situation for two to three weeks after you finished with Covid."
Palace had their Watford clash postponed due to coronavirus after a 2-2 draw with Southampton left them 11th and Eagles manager Patrick Vieira appreciates the challenging nature of the league.
"It's a really competitive league. I learn every day about my players," Vieira said. "When you're in a tough situation and how you respond, the player's concentration to bounce back.
"In every situation, I learn more about the players' ability to face difficulties and this is what I believe I have learned in the last few months."
Tottenham – Harry Kane
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).
Crystal Palace – Conor Gallagher
Loanee Gallagher has been Vieira's main man in midfield, scoring six times in 16 top-flight appearances. The midfielder also managed a team-high two key passes in his last game against the Saints.
- Tottenham are unbeaten in their last 14 league games on Boxing Day (W11 D3) since a 2-0 loss at Portsmouth in 2003-04. It's the longest ongoing unbeaten run on this day by any side within the top four tiers of English football.
- Crystal 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.
- Tottenham have lost five of their last six Premier League London derby matches (W1), and have won fewer points in such fixtures this season than any other side (3).
- Crystal Palace have scored seven goals in their last three Premier League London derbies, as many as in their previous 10 such games combined. The Eagles are unbeaten in their last four Premier League meetings with London sides (W1 D3), last having a longer such run without defeat in the top-flight between April-November 1990 (7 games).
- Tottenham have scored nine goals in their last four Premier League games, as many as they had in their first 11 in the competition this season.
Updated December 24, 2021