By Amir Mir
Paul Merson has backed Tottenham to beat Crystal Palace 3-1 in their Premier League clash on Wednesday night at Selhurst Park.
Spurs go into that game having suffered a demoralising 4-2 FA Cup semi-final defeat at the hands of their title rivals, Chelsea.
Despite a brilliant performance from Mauricio Pochettino’s side, they suffered yet another defeat at Wembley, with Eden Hazard guiding his team to the final.
They now have to turn their attention to league matters and their clash against Palace, who recently beat Champions League hopefuls Liverpool 2-1 on Sunday afternoon.
Former Arsenal midfielder Merson offered his thoughts ahead of what is a big game for Spurs, who could be seven points behind their rivals by the time they kick off on Wednesday.
“Tottenham are in a funny situation at the moment,” Merson told Sky Sports. “They couldn’t have played any better in the semi-final but let in four goals to lose 4-2 to Chelsea.
“I watched them play at Stamford Bridge as well and for nearly all of the first half they played some of the best football I’ve seen from a Spurs side – but went into the break at 1-1.
“They went on to get beat 2-1 that day and they now must be sitting there thinking: “We’re close but how closer actually are we?” If I get my prediction for Chelsea’s game right then this really is a must-win game for Mauricio Pochettino’s men.”
Chelsea will host Claude Puel’s Southampton on Tuesday, knowing three points will put the pressure on their London counterparts.
With six games of the season remaining, defeat at Palace and a win for Chelsea could signal the end of Tottenham’s title dream.
They missed out on winning the English crown last term when surprise winners Leicester City pipped them to the post.
Despite playing some of the best football, both offensively and defensively, during the past few seasons, Tottenham could once again miss out on silverware.
They will move to England’s national Stadium next term as they await the completion of their new stadium which they will begin to use during the 2018/19 season.
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