Spurs are back in Premier League action this Sunday as West Ham visit White Hart Lane. The corresponding fixture last season seems a very long time ago – I was there to see the 3-0 defeat, the first sign that AVB’s time at Tottenham was nearing its end.
The Hammers were also the opposition in our first game of the year as Harry Kane gave an early indication of his promise with the assist for Eric Dier to score one of the sweetest goals of the season.
Sam Allardyce’s team have had a good campaign so far and sit 8th, two places and five points below Spurs. However, they are on a poor run of form with only one win in eight games in the league and were embarrassed by West Brom last week in a 4-0 cup exit.
West Ham’s tactics
Allardyce has experimented with formations this term. He often opts for a 4-4-2 midfield diamond or a 4-2-3-1, however last Premier League game he went with a 4-3-3.
Plan A – Andy Carroll – is out long term with knee ligament damage but you could argue West Ham were better earlier in the season before the big striker came back into the team. Valencia and Sakho have added a more varied goal threat.
With 5 goals and 7 assists, Stewart Downing is a key creator. He is fifth in the league for key passes and clear by some distance for the most crosses.
West Ham have played a brand of football that’s slightly easier on the eye this season but the statistics suggest they still rely on their old strengths. They are fourth in the aerial duels table and have attempted the most crosses in the division (averaging 26 per game).
Their defence has been shaky, allowing the fourth most shots in the league, while they don’t normally have much possession (45.4%). Arguably it is a surprise they have featured so high up the table this year and their current run could be just a reversion to the mean.
Spurs are fairly strong favourites at 1.84, the draw is 3.95, while a West Ham win is out at 4.8.
Pochettino has a fully fit squad to choose from – is this just luck or is it a testament to his training methods and rotation?
As mentioned, Andy Carroll is out with knee ligament damage, while James Collins, Winston Reid and Matt Jarvis should be back from injuries in time for the game.
Let’s hope the exertions of Thursday’s Europa League draw against Fiorentina won’t effect Pochettino’s young side. Several first team players were in action but it’s not just tiredness that makes the following league games so tough. Pochettino will have precious little time to prepare for this match.
Spurs counter pressing has been very good of late but there is a definite problem if the opposition manage to get round the initial line of defence. This was very evident at Anfield as Liverpool’s fast passing and quick forwards created a lot of opportunities. Something our midfield needs to work on.
Chadli has a strong claim to return but I would still be tempted to stick with the team that beat Arsenal.
Prediction: Spurs 2 – West Ham 0
Are you confident Spurs will beat West Ham? Would you make a change to the team? Let me know your opinions in the comments below.