Another week, another London derby. Although it’s not the North London derby, Sunday’s game is a very important one in Spurs’ bid to turn around a bad run of results.
Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United
Date: Sunday, 25 November 2012
Kick-off: 16:00 GMT
Stadium: White Hart Lane, London
Referee: Andre Marriner
Spurs’ current run of form is a painful read. The North London outfit has won just 1 of its last 5 Premier League games, losing the last 3 games on the bounce. Spurs haven’t lost 4 consecutive league games since the 2004-05 season, when they went on a six-match losing streak.
Spurs head coach André Villas-Boas will be desperate to turn around his team’s home form as he is still struggling to win over the naysayers at White Hart Lane. The club’s home form (W2 D2 L2), which used to be its main strength in recent seasons, has been very indifferent and leaves a lot to be desired.
Luckily there’s finally some good news from the physio room that will hopefully inspire Spurs to get back to more dominating performances at White Hart Lane. After a string of uninspired performances Spurs are desperate for a creative player to dictate play in the middle of the park. Moussa Dembélé is likely to make his first appearance at White Hart Lane since Spurs beat Aston Villa 2-0 back in October.
West Ham’s return to the Premier League has been a success story so far. Sam Allardyce’s men have picked up 19 points thus far, of which 7 came away from home. This equals their best start to a Premier League season, dating back to season 2005-06.
West Ham’s resilience has been the key to their successful start. They have only conceded 12 goals in 12 games. Only Manchester City (10) and Stoke City (11) have conceded fewer goals this season.
Moussa Dembélé could be involved on Sunday since he has recovered from his hip injury. He has been back in training this week and made a brief cameo appearance in Spurs’ Europa League game in Rome on Thursday.
Long-term absentees Scott Parker, Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Younes Kaboul are all still recovering from injuries. Scott Parker returned to light training this week but there’s no estimation on when he will be back to full fitness.
Spurs will also be without Emmanuel Adebayor who is serving a 3-match ban after his red card in last week’s clash with Arsenal.
Matt Jarvis and Yossi Benayoun are both unlikely to feature in Sunday’s clash. West Ham will also be without French international Alou Diarra (thigh muscle strain), Ricardo Vaz-Te (dislocated shoulder) and Jack Collison (knee injury).
- The last Premier League encounter with West Ham at White Hart Lane was in back March 2011.
- That game ended in a 0-0 draw.
- Spurs have won 7, drawn 2 and lost 1 of their last 10 Premier League clashes with the Hammers.
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- Spurs have won 55% of their last 20 home games.
- West Ham have won 50% of their last 20 away games.
- West Ham have failed to score in 2 of their 5 away games so far this season.
- Spurs have scored only 1 goal in 9 of their last 20 home games, only winning on 2 of those occasions.
- Spurs have failed to score more than 2 goals in their last 10 home games.
- West Ham have scored just 1 goal in 40% of their last 20 away games.
- Spurs have only held 1 clean sheet at home this season.
- In the last 20 home games 50% of goals conceded by Spurs have come from set-pieces.
- West Ham have scored in 85% of their last 20 away games.
- West Ham have conceded 1.2 goals per away game on average this season.
- Gareth Bale is the only player available for Sunday’s match who has opened the score on more than 2 occasions in Spurs’ last 20 home games.
- Jermain Defoe has scored 4 times in his last 10 games against his former club West Ham.
- Kevin Nolan has opened the scoring in 3 of the Hammers’ last 20 away games, although he has never scored against Spurs since joining West Ham.
Total Tottenham prediction
This will be another tough home game. West Ham will probably sit back and wait for Spurs to make defensive errors to be able to launch a counter-attack. The Hammers’ defensive record has been impressive so far and it will be a tough task to unlock their defence and beat in-form Jussi Jaaskelainen.
Spurs will need to shape up their defence. They have conceded 13 goals in their last 5 Premier League games. This might sound worse than it is, given 9 of these came in 2 games. Still, it’s time for Spurs to be more resilient and especially more focused when defending since a lot of the conceded goals have come just before half-time or full-time.
It’s hard to see how we will be able to score from set-plays. West Ham’s defence have dealt very well with set-pieces so far this season. Because we don’t have a target man available up front a lot will depend on Spurs’ wingers to find space behind West Ham’s full-backs.
Tom Carroll made two encouraging appearances against Arsenal and Lazio and he could be key to unlocking West Ham’s defence by feeding through-balls to Jermain Defoe. West Ham’s midfield is not known for its speed or movement so playing both Dembélé and Carroll could see us dominating midfield through intelligent movement and a tight short-passing game. Add Sandro for balance and I could definitely see us dominate the centre of the park.
Final score: 2-1
This won’t be a walk-over by any means. Spurs to open the score through a poacher’s goal by Defoe. Andy Carroll to equalise for West Ham from a set-piece. Spurs will probably nick it late on through a clinical counter-attack in the last 10 minutes.