Villas-Boas right to expect tough opener at Crystal Palace

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Tottenham start their Premier League campaign at Selhurst Park this afternoon, in what will not be an automatic three points for the visitors.

After a summer dominated by transfer speculation over Gareth Bale’s future, Tottenham will be glad to get their Premier League campaign started today. The north Londoners face cross-town rivals Crystal Palace and can expect a frosty reception at Selhurst Park.

Andre Villas-Boas has stated that the newly promoted side will be no pushovers for his side, and is showing Palace the respect that they deserve.

"It will be a difficult game because of Selhurst Park," Villas-Boas said.

"As a stadium, it's very hard to play in, there will be lots of emotion and intensity and it's always difficult to play against a team that has just come up.

"Palace have a couple of problems – they are trying to put their team together, but we don't know them as well as other teams, and that is always a factor.

"We have to be disciplined in that respect and hopefully with the quality we have, we hope that can make the difference and we can bring back the three points."

New striker Roberto Soldado is likely to lead the line for the visitors, while Brazil international Paulinho will get his Premier League debut also. Spurs have concerns at the back, with Jan Vertonghen sidelined with an ankle injury. Etienne Capoue may well deputise if it is deemed that Younes Kaboul is not ready to return from injury.

Palace will be without their main attacking threat Glenn Murray, while Yannick Bolasie and new signing Jerome Thomas are also unavailable due to injury. Despite this, Spurs can expect an opponent that will be highly motivated to get off to a good start and a hostile atmosphere from the home supporters.

One potential wildcard will be the inclusion of Arsenal loanee Marouane Chamakh in the hosts’ line-up, who is looking to get his career back on track after a dire spell at the Emirates Stadium. The former Bordeaux man will relish the chance to get consistent games at Palace, and has the ability to cause Tottenham problems if they let him have time on the ball.

Spurs fans will look forward to seeing their new signings feature, but the fact that it is a new-look side will mean that it cannot be expected to be seamless from the word go. Spurs certainly have more quality in their side than Palace, but without Gareth Bale and with a host of new foreign players, it will not be a guaranteed three points for the visitors.

image: © firepower23

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