Take away the 4-1 pouncing West Ham experienced about a year ago, the Hammers have found success playing at White Hart Lane. With two draws and a win under their belt there are few who have matched that kind of success inside the lillywhite domain. However, this isn’t the same Spurs side we’ve faced before. Mauricio Pochettino, with his rigorous training and shrewd tactical ability, have reshaped this Tottenham side into not only a top four threat, but a title contender.
Tottenham currently sit 5th on the table. Which is curious for a team that has gone unbeaten this season. That is what 5 wins and 6 draws will get you. Spurs have been decimated by the ever unforgiving injury bug this season and we can expect to miss a few regulars in tomorrow’s match. Toby Alderweirald, Erik Lamela, Dele Alli, Ben Davies, Moussa Dembele, Danny Rose, Christian Eriksen, and Vincent Janssen, are all nursing injuries. Our line up guess is Tottenham reverts back to their usual 4-2-3-1 with their fullbacks pacing up and down the wing.
For West Ham I don’t think we’re going to see many changes. Diafra Sakho is rumored to be ready to go but not anticipated to start the match. Expect to see an early substitution bringing Sakho on for Lanzini if things get dicey around the half.
If you recall, and I know you do, Slaven Bilic made his debut here at White Hart Lane in 1996 and came away with three points. West Ham is getting a bit better with each match, but more importantly, they are getting healthier. However, still injured are: Gokhan Tore, Sam Byram, Reece Oxford, Andy Carrol, & Arthur Masuaku. We expect Slaven Bilic to roll out with this:
Over the past few weeks we’ve seen West Ham come out firing early. Bilic’s side presses early and often as the crowd watches with eager anticipation. You get the sense, watching in the first 15 minutes, this Hammers side is moments away from shaking the back of the net.
In the 16th minute when West Ham has nothing to show for it, and the crowd stars quieting down their chants of “Come On You Irons!”, you can sense the dread. Shoulders hunched. Heads down. The feeling of an endless drought plaguing this once fruitful pitch. Time and time again, hope seems to be lost and you start to think, ‘oh no, not again’.
If West Ham United played with the same intensity for 90 minutes as they do in the first 15, they would be sitting in the top 10 on the table. However, they are a Hull City win away from being in the bottom three, and face a grueling fixture ahead with Manchester United, Liverpool, and Arsenal on the docket. You never like to say a match is a must win in November, but it is hard to see the light if West Ham cannot salvage at least a point.
Yes, there is hope! We’re facing a Spurs side that is injury laden. It would be a stretch to say we are facing their “B squad”, but we’re definitely not facing a team operating on full pistons. Tottenham have drew their last four matches and have only scored three. Tough stretch for one of the highest scoring teams in the EPL last year.
If Dimitri Payet, Manuel Lanzini, or Michail Antonio find a moment of brilliance or two, it could be enough to escape with a point, or three. Tottenham are a team built on the high press. Like we’ve seen with Manchester City, who also favor the high press, if West Ham can force turnovers in the midfield it would create some real opportunities for the Hammers.
Spurs also love to play out of the back. They’ve been caught a few times this year with errant passes from their world class keeper, Hugo Lloris. Force that back line to make quick and uncomfortable decisions and we could see an upset.
Where To Watch
Date/time: Sunday, November 19, 2016, 5:30 p.m. (UK), 12:30 p.m. ET (USA)
Venue: White Hart Lane,London, UK
Official: Mike Dean
TV: NBC Sports Network (NBC) & other listings at livesoccertv.com
Streaming: NBC Live Sports Extra
Charlie Walsh: 3-2 Hammers
Tommy Atherton: 2-1 Spurs
Jonathan: 2-1 Spurs