Tottenham will be looking for a win against West Ham United at Upton Park to move into third position in the Premier League. Chelsea’s defeat at Manchester City provides Spurs with the opportunity to move ahead of their west London rivals at the start of a hectic and challenging two months for Andre Villas-Boas’ team.
A visit to Upton Park is never an easy match for Tottenham. West Ham are always up for this London derby and will again want to burst the Tottenham ‘bubble’ of optimism as they have on previous occasions. The most memorable occasion was on the last day of 2004-05 season when Spurs needed a win to secure their place in the Champions League for the first time. The Tottenham players were struck down with sickness and West Ham showed no mercy, winning 2 – 1 to ensure Arsenal snatched 4th place from Tottenham’s grasp.
Tottenham’s Last Match at Upton Park
Spurs’ last match at West Ham also displayed Tottenham’s generosity to the ailing Hammers. In late September, 2010 West ham won 1 – 0, their first win of the season in which they were relegated with only 7 wins all season. West Ham also took a point from White Hart Lane in a scoreless draw so Tottenham provided them with over 12% of their season’s points in 2010-11.
Tottenham’s Last Win at West Ham
Only a late goal from Aaron Lennon prevented West Ham from spoiling Spurs’ perfect start to the season in 2009. Spurs had won their opening two games in August, but West Ham took the lead early in the second half. Jermain Defoe was presented with a gift equaliser from a misplaced pass five minutes later and with ten minutes to play Lennon scored the winner.
Tottenham’s League Record at West Ham (inc. PL)
P 59 W 18 D 15 L 26 For 80 Ag 88
Premier League Record at Upton Park
P 16 W 6 D 3 L 7 For 22 Ag 22
The most memorable match in recent times was Tottenham’s late, late win in March, 2007. West Ham were again battling against relegation and with five minutes remaining had regained the lead. Spurs were two down at the interval but a Jermain Defoe penalty and a goal by Teemu Tainio had brought them level only for Carlos Tevez to restore West Ham’s lead. In the 89th minute, Spurs were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the penalty area. Dimitar Berbatov lifted the ball over the wall for an exquisite Spurs’ equaliser and then in a breakaway, Paul Stalteri scored an injury time winner.
West Ham are currently in 13th place in the League with 30 points. They have won six home matches and drawn 4, losing only three. Their last home match was a 1 – 0 win over Swansea and since the beginning of January they have drawn with QPR and defeated Norwich at Upton Park. In the FA Cup they held Manchester United to a 2 – 2 draw with van Persie scoring a 90th minute equaliser. Their last home defeat was to Everton in mid-December and they have also lost to Liverpool and Arsenal. They defeated Chelsea (3 – 1) and held Manchester City to a scoreless draw. West Ham’s away form has created greater problems this season.
Sam Allardyce will have West Ham well-drilled and organised for this match and Spurs can expect a very competitive and totally committed performance from them. They will look to use Andy Carroll’s height and strength to unsettle the Spurs defence and put them under constant pressure, especially at free-kicks and corners. Michael Dawson is likely to return in central defence in place of Wiliam Gallas.
For 44 minutes at White Hart Lane West Ham’s strategy worked well until a special strike from Defoe broke the deadlock. Defoe who scored two that day, will again be missing so Emmanuel Adebayor will continue in the lone striker role.
Tributes to Bobby Moore
At tonight’s match, tributes will be paid to mark the 20th anniversary of the death of Bobby Moore, the former West Ham and England captain. Tottenham and their supporters will want to show respect and dignity through those tributes but come the final whistle Tottenham will want to have collected the three points to move above Chelsea and into 3rd place with the north London derby next weekend and a difficult sequence of matches in the next two months.