Crystal Palace will be the first opposition team to play in Tottenham Hotspur’s amazing stadium on Wednesday night, with Andre Marriner due to referee the game at Spurs’ brand new home.
While the trip across the capital certainly looks to be a daunting one given the occasion, the fact that Mauricio Pochettino’s men have only taken one point from the previous 15 available in the Premier League suggests that they may well be there for the taking right now.
The Eagles are hugely effective on the counter-attack on the road because of the pace and power they possess throughout their side, and they are likely to look to attempt to put that to great use again on Wednesday.
In Marriner they certainly have something of a good luck charm, seeing as they haven’t lost any of the three matches he has officiated in for them in so far this term, including a brilliant 3-2 away win at Manchester City where he also awarded Roy Hodgson’s men a penalty.
In many ways the 48-year-old looks to be the perfect appointment for this big clash, as he is shown that he is one of the referees willing to let certain things slide in order to keep the football flowing – no one has a lower fouls per tackle rating in Premier League matches this term than him.
It isn’t all positive though, as he has handed out an average of 2.33 yellow cards to Palace players over the course of the three fixtures, while only giving out one to their opponents.
On the counter-attack, the likes of Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend may well be looking to win fouls in decent areas for their team, and if Marriner isn’t being too strict this could easily fail to happen.
It’s something that has already occurred with the Eagles during the current campaign in fact, when Zaha lashed out and received a red card in January having been targeted by Southampton players throughout.
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Marriner’s laid-back nature could actually prove to be Palace’s Achilles heel on Wednesday.