Crystal Palace vs. Tottenham: Breaking Down Their London Rivalry
Located at opposite ends of the English capital, Crystal Palace and Tottenham don’t share the most heated of London rivalries but are nevertheless eager to upstage each other in the pursuit of local dominance.
This weekend will see the London clubs meet for the first time in a competitive fixture since 2005 when the Eagles were last featured in top flight action.
Whereas Spurs have been one of the most consistent teams in England—featuring in all 20 Premier League seasons thus far—Palace have been slightly less so, fluctuating between the top two divisions for the past two decades.
However, Ian Holloway’s side welcome their London rivals to Selhurst Park on Sunday with the intention of sealing an underdog win on their return to the first tier.
History Of The Fixture
Having not fallen out of the top two divisions of English football since the turn of the century, it was always a case of Tottenham waiting for Crystal Palace, a younger club by some 35 years, to come up.
In 1969, the two clubs began their league relationship, then in the old Division One, a meeting which the South London outfit were only able to remain a part of for four seasons before seeing the drop.
That’s largely how the story would remain, too, as the four-year period between 1969 and 1973 remains the Eagles’ longest reign in England’s first tier.
Both clubs were a part of the inaugural 22 to have featured in the first Premier League season, although Palace were relegated after just one campaign.
On the other hand, Tottenham managed to achieve a finish of eighth place, setting themselves up for further success in the division, as has become apparent since then.
As a result, it’s of little surprise that Spurs boast a far superior winning average than Crystal Palace, the latter struggling to mount any consistent form of threat against their North London opponents.
Over the last 79 years, Tottenham and Crystal Palace have met on 35 occasions across all competitions, five of those coming in the FA Cup and another two times in the clubs’ League Cup meetings.
Of the remaining 28 league encounters, the Selhurst Park side have managed to win just five games, drawing another 10 of those fixtures.
Who will come out on top of this weekend's encounter?
So, with almost 50 percent of the league matches between the pair running in Spurs’ favour, it would seem fairly conclusive as to just who the stronger party is on paper.
That being said, Holloway’s men are unbeaten in their last two meetings against Andre Villas-Boas’ side, although neither of the two managers were involved for either.
The last time the two teams met came back in 2005 when Palace in fact ran out as 3-0 victors at Selhurst Park. Mikele Leigertwood, Danny Granville and Andy Johnson pitched in with the goals.
That was one of just seven wins that the South Londoners could muster in an ultimately unsuccessful campaign, but a particular result the club will nonetheless strive to replicate this weekend.
Eagles Soar In FA Cup Triumph
The 1969-70 season was Crystal Palace’s first back in the old Division One for 50 years, adding just that extra touch of significance to their attempts in re-establishing themselves.
That term saw the Eagles meet Tottenham four times, twice in the league and twice in the FA Cup.
In their first cup clash, the two sides saw out a bore draw, but Palace were more than happy to take a replay back to Selhurst Park having already lost to Spurs twice that term, conceding two goals on each occasion.
In the end, Bert Head’s side edged out a 1-0 win over their London rivals to book a spot in the fifth round of the competition, but could only savour the result for a short while before being knocked out by Chelsea in the next stage.
New Year Celebrations, Cause For Hope
As aforementioned, the 2004-05 season saw Crystal Palace earn just seven victories across the entire league campaign, four of which came in the first two months of the term.
At Christmas time, the club was well and truly embroiled in a scrap against relegation.
However, out of the blue, Iain Dowie’s side pulled together two wins out of their four January results, one of which was a 3-0 triumph over Spurs.
The Eagles’ joy was short-lived, as only two more victories came from their remaining 2005 Premier League games, and the club would ultimately drop back down to the Championship.
For a period, though, the top flight strugglers could boast of their impressive result against top-half opposition, temporarily keeping their hopes of survival alive.
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