We’ve Met Before!
Tottenham face West Ham at White Hart Lane in their second successive home derby and their fourth game of the season against London opposition.
Last season Spurs won 3 – 1 in the game at White Hart Lane in late November – Jermain Defoe getting two, to make it 6 goals against his former club, and Gareth Bale scoring to register his first home Premier League goal since the previous January.
West Ham took a point in their previous visit to the Lane in a scoreless draw in March, 2011 but at the end of the season they were relegated but spent only one season in the Championship.
The last time West Ham took all three points was in 1998-99 . They scored a goal in each half with David Ginola replying for Spurs.
West Ham are currently 18th in the Premier League with 5 points from 6 games. They won their opening game at home to newly promoted Cardiff City but have lost both of their other home games to Stoke and Everton. Against the Mreseysiders they conceded two late goals in two minutes in their 3 – 2 loss. Away from home West Ham have had two goalless draws at Southampton and Newcastle but lost last weekend at Hull conceding an early penalty.
West Ham’s problem this season has been a difficulty in scoring goals, having so far failed to find the net in their three away games. They have scored 4 goals, only two less than Spurs, but they came in two games. They lost Andy Carroll who signed in a permanent deal from Liverpool during the summer and his absence through injury has hit them badly. Their leading scorer is Ravel Morrison whom they signed from Manchester United in January, 2012. This is his first opportunity in the League and he has 3 goals (1 PL and 2 LC). Ricardo Vaz Te has scored 2, both in the Cup.
While having difficulty scoring goals, West Ham have a good record defensively. They have conceded only the one goal, a penalty, away from home. Jääskeläinen has been in good form and as always Sam Allardyce’s team will be well organised and disciplined in their determination to deny Spurs any opportunity to strike at goal. They will also provide a threat from set-pieces so Spurs will have to be alert to the danger from corners and free-kicks.
West Ham are an experienced team with players like James Collins, Joey O’Brien and Winston Reid in defence in front of Jääskeläinen while Kevin Nolan and Matt Jarvis will provide a threat going forward. Joe Cole could return after injury and George McCartney may start his first league game of the season. West Ham will endeavour to make it very difficult for Spurs and look to threaten on the counter-attack and at every set-piece.
Andre Villas-Boas will revert to his first choice team with Roberto Soldado likely to keep Jermain Defoe on the bench but if the Spaniard doesn’t start to score soon the manager may have to reconsider that decision as Defoe has done all that has been asked of him in the Europa League and Cup games. None of Spurs injured players are expected to make a return although some should be available after the international break.
For Spurs this match is the first in a run of games that they will feel they should be taking maximum points but as always in such circumstances it’s necessary to compete and claim the right to play your football rather than just expect it to happen. So far the players have shown a willingness to do that and hopefully they will do so again to take the three points and go into the enforced break for internationals in good heart.
Andre Villas-Boas acknowledges the intensity of the derby and knows the importance of a win before the break for the internationals. On the Tottenham club website, he said,
The motivation for the fixture is there, the ambition from the players is there and it’s about us trying to get this result before we stop for the international break again.