Our football scribe previews the EPL London derby contested between Tottenham and West Ham.
This is setting up to be an absolute blockbuster of a London derby. The Arsenal-Spurs game ended up as something of a damp squib, as Mauricio Pochettino effectively manoeuvred his players to subdue the Gunners threat. This game is somewhat different.
Spurs, still unbeaten in the league, have had four consecutive draws that have seen them drop out of the UEFA Champions League places. There will be a huge amount of pressure on them to finally pick up all three points. And Slaven Bilic needs a result as his underperforming side languish precariously close to the relegation zone. This should necessitate a high-octane affair that should only further ignite the derby atmosphere.
English Premier League | Saturday 19 November | White Hart Lane | 19:30
To Win (90 Mins)
Tottenham 5/10 | Draw 32/10 | West Ham United 5/1
Pochettino has to be admired for his tactical acumen, but the fans are starved for a win at present. The Argentine manager has got some pertinent injury concerns, as Dele Alli and Ben Davies continue to be absent. Added to that is the fact that Toby Alderweireld is still unlikely to feature this week. Erik Lamela is also recovering from a hip injury and will likely start on the bench.
Spurs must be weary of their expansive 4-1-4-1 formation in this game. Manuel Lanzini and Dimitri Payet have the ability to exploit any mistake by Victor Wanyama in that sweeping role. Payet’s ability to shoot from anywhere will put an added onus on the Kenyan defensive midfielder.
Harry Kane should be feeling refreshed and will have drawn some confidence from that penalty he scored against North London rivals Arsenal.
The absence of Alli is notable and they need a big performance from Son Heung-min. He has gone slightly array since winning that player of the month award two months back. Kyle Walker and Danny Rose should be kept quite honest by Michail Antonio and Aaron Cresswell. The return of left-back to the side is a massive boost for West Ham as they attempt to curtail Spurs going forward.
West Ham United
Bilic will be without long-term casualty Andy Carroll as Mark Noble sits out due to a ban. The midfield combination of Pedro Obiang and Edimilson Fernandes will come under serious pressure while Antonio and Cresswell will look to make inroads down the flanks.
Cresswell could prove critical in preventing Walker from marauding too greedily for Spurs. One also shouldn’t underestimate his crossing ability and general threat down the left.
The return of Andre Ayew should be a huge boost for a side that was desperately trying to stitch together a proper striker in the last few months. Payet will remain a threat from dead-balls, which may be more prolific in this game given Tottenham’s shape.
Wanyama’s ‘devil may care’ tackling could present Payet with various opportunities to show his worth. Conversely, Christian Eriksen is none too bad and this could result in a veritable dead-ball dance-off between two of the league’s best exponents of the art.
Verdict: Total Goals – Over 2.5
I think that Spurs may just nick it 2-1, but the dangerous combination of Payet and Lanzini will pose a persistent threat to the Spurs system. Just look at the way Bayern Leverkusen, particularly Kampl, were able to exploit them. So a 2-2 is on the cards. This should be a high-scoring affair as Spurs desperately aim to keep pace with their fellow title contenders. This should suit West Ham who will remain dangerous on the counterattack.
Written by Damien Kayat @Hollywoodbets