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Crystal Palace-Tottenham Hotspur Preview

Jose Mourinho believes it is vital that Tottenham maintain their winning start to March - a month he suggested is Spurs' toughest yet.

Ahead of a much-maligned international break later in the month, Spurs have another five games coming up across all competitions.

Mourinho's men, who beat Fulham on Thursday, face Crystal Palace on Sunday, before a derby clash with Arsenal is sandwiched between a two-legged Europa League tie with Dinamo Zagreb, with a trip to Aston Villa rounding off the month.

Spurs are five points off the top four and Sunday's meeting with Crystal Palace is their only home league match this month.

"I think we need the points more than them [Palace]," Mourinho said. "If their objective is to be quiet and stable in the middle of the Premier League, they're going to have that anyway. If we want to go up the table, we need points.

"Of course, March is going to be so hard for us: only one match at home, Palace, and then everything after that is away, plus two Europa League matches, plus national team with all the controversy and the problems we may face with that.

"March is going to be very, very hard. If we can add three points to our table, that would be great."

Making Spurs' task more difficult on Sunday could be Wilfried Zaha, who has returned to training ahead of schedule following a spell out with a hamstring injury.

"He has come back quicker than perhaps the medical staff thought was possible," Roy Hodgson told a news conference. He trained well this week so no reason why I can't consider him for a place in the team."

Tottenham - Gareth Bale

Having starred against Burnley, Bale was handed another start against Fulham. Three starts in the space of a week may well be beyond the Welshman, though in the form he is in, he could make for an ideal substitute.

Crystal Palace - Wilfried Zaha

Palace managed to take five points from their last three matches, though their attack has struggled without Zaha, who is their leading scorer with nine goals, and will be a hugely welcome addition should he be fit to feature.

•Tottenham's Son Heung-Min has been directly involved in six goals in seven Premier League starts against Crystal Palace, scoring five times and assisting once. He only has more Premier League goals against Southampton (eight) than he does against Palace (five).

•Palace manager Hodgson has won just one of his 18 Premier League matches against Spurs, with his win ratio of 5.6 per cent the worst among all teams he's faced at least five times in the competition. His sole win was in November 2008 with Fulham at Craven Cottage.

•Harry Kane has scored more Sunday goals than any other Premier League player this season, netting 12 in 16 games. Only six players have scored more Sunday goals in a single Premier League campaign, with Wayne Rooney holding the record (17 in 2011-12).

•Kane has scored five goals in 13 Premier League appearances against Crystal Palace, with all of these goals coming at Selhurst Park. Only Jamie Vardy and Michael Owen (both six vs West Bromwich Albion) have scored more Premier League goals against an opponent with all of them coming in away games.

•Palace are winless in their last five Premier League London derbies, though four of these have ended level. The Eagles last had a longer run without a victory in league London derbies in the 2017-18 campaign (seven).

Updated March 5, 2021

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