Spurs travel to the Hawthorns this weekend, looking to build on Monday’s 5-1 thrashing of Sunderland. Unusually for Tottenham of late, the match is a traditional Saturday 3pm kick off. There’s no midweek European distractions, and the TV companies, like the fans, have realised our season’s over.
West Brom are one of the eight Premier League clubs to have changed manager this campaign. Spaniard Pepe Mel replaced Steve Clarke, in one of the more harsh sackings. Clarke impressed last season, steering the habitually relegation threatened club to a creditable eighth position in the league table. Losing the on loan Romelu Lukaku, who contributed 17 league goals, didn’t help; this season’s top score in the league is Amalfitano with a paltry four.
The baggies sit 16th, five points above the relegation zone, but do have a game in hand on many of their nearest rivals. Their recent form hasn’t been too bad, with a perfectly symmetrical two wins, two losses and two draws in their last six, including a vital 1-0 away win at 17th placed Norwich.
Pepe Mel normally prefers a 4-2-3-1 formation, although in the Norwich match he lined his team up in a 4-4-1-1. The midlanders lack options up front after Lukaku’s loss in the summer, Shane Long’s departure in January and Nicolas Anelka’s release. They may go with 20 year old Czech loanee Matěj Vydra, who has started in the last two games. In midfield Brunt, Almalfitano and Sessegnon all pose a threat.
West Brom like to attack down the flanks and get crosses in. They have not scored a counter attacking goal all season. Their main injury doubt is midfielder, James Morrison.
Vertonghen, Dawson, Walker, Capoue and Lamela are all missing for Tottenham. Sandro and Dembele are doubtful, while Soldado has returned to training but will not be ready in time for this game. Tim Sherwood will be looking to end the season on a high, with this, one of five winnable games in Spurs’ run in. There are still the Europa League places to be fought over, plus a rare chance to finish above Manchester United.
I would play a similar team to the one that won so convincingly against Sunderland. With no real chance of Champions League qualification, we should use these games to give some younger members of the squad an opportunity. Harry Kane did enough to justify another start – he grew into the game on Monday, ending up with a goal and an assist.
I would stick with Chiriches in central defence. After his early error, the Romanian did well. He has all the tools to be a classy centre back, including the second highest pass success rate in the entire squad, but needs more game time to adapt to the rigours of the Premier League.
Rose gave another dreadful performance. He is the weak link in our defence, so I would give Fryers a go at left back. I would swap Townsend for Lennon, another who’s recent form has been poor. Obviously, I would play Eriksen centrally. Paulinho did just enough to keep his place but I would like to see Veljkovic, who made his debut as a substitute on Monday, given another cameo later in the game.
Here’s my team:
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