Tottenham At West Ham: Preview, Team News, Kick-off….


It was just three months ago that Tottenham made the trip to Upton Park for the final away match of last season. Now they return to face West Ham in the opening game of the 2014-15 season.

In May, West Ham’s win was their third of the season over Spurs and confirmed their mathematical safety from relegation. That afternoon the Hammers were much more up for the game and won with two first half goals. A lethargic Spurs performance lacking commitment was illustrated in the home team’s second goal. Younes Kaboul was sent off for a foul on the edge of the penalty area and at the free-kick the defensive wall opened up like the parting of the waves as Paulinho and Emmanuel Adebayor turned, allowing Downing’s shot through to beat Hugo Lloris. West Ham finished the season in 13th place.

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In his first match in charge, Mauricio Pochettino, will be looking for greater commitment and application from his players.

Date: Saturday, 16th August, 2014
Kick-off Time: 3.00pm (UK time)

Opening Day:

Last season both Tottenham and West Ham started the season against newly promoted sides. Spurs won at Crystal Palace courtesy of a Roberto Soldado penalty while West Ham defeated Cardiff City 2 – 0 at Upton Park.

In August, 1999 Tottenham also started their season at Upton Park. On that occasion George Graham had Chris Perry and Oyvind Leonhardsen making their debuts but his team lost to the only goal of the game scored by Frank Lampard on the stroke of half-time.

West Ham United

It is always difficult to forecast the early games of the season as pre-season is a notoriously unreliable guide.

At West Ham, Sam Allardyce is already under pressure, with expectations of more exciting football at Upton Park this season. Teddy Sheringham has joined as a striker coach but injuries are hitting the team with Andy Carroll and new signings Carl Jenkinson and their World Cup signing from Ecuador, Enner Valencia absent. West Ham’s latest signing Diafra Sakho did not complete the transfer in time for this match while Ravel Morrison is also expected to miss the game.

West Ham’s other new signings, Aaron Cresswell, Mauro Zarate, Cheikhou Kouyate could be in the team.

The Hammers pre-season results have disappointed although they defeated Sampdoria 3 – 2 last weekend, twice coming from behind. Sam Allardyce, however, does know how to beat Tottenham as he has shown on may occasions with both Bolton and West Ham. The home team will again be highly committed and determined to unsettle Spurs.

Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham have gone through their pre-season preparations in a relatively calm and structured way. They have signed players to fill weaknesses within the team/squad and continue to look to strengthen the team before the end of the transfer window.

Mauricio Pochettino has been working with the players through pre-season to instil his footballing philosophy in them. Spurs are looking to their signings from last summer to show improvement and deliver having had a season to become accustomed to football in the Premier League.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference, Pochettino spoke of working every day to improve every player. His comments were reported in the Daily Mail, the Tottenham Head Coach said,

"I don’t demand time, only to work hard every day, to build, to improve every player in the squad."

Team News:

Of greatest interest to Tottenham fans will be the composition of Pochettino’s first team for a competitive match. His options in pre-season have been restricted due to players returning late from the World Cup. Those who have played have bought into the work ethic and application which the new coaching staff have demanded so fans will be keen to see a similar response when everyone is available for selection.

Tottenham are expected to be without Kyle Walker, Michael Dawson and Vlad Chiriches due to injury concerns and will check of the fitness of the three Belgium World Cup players – Jan Vertonghen, Mousa Dembele and Nacer Chadli.

What Can We Expect?

West Ham always ensure they give Tottenham a difficult afternoon at Upton Park and buoyed by last season’s successes, the players and fans will be hoping for a repeat dose to get their season off on a very positive footing. Tottenham will hope that the players will show a greater competitiveness under Pochettino with a more exciting style of football.

The expectation is of a difficult match and Spurs will have to be prepared to match West Ham’s endeavour and commitment from the start. I would hope to see a Tottenham win but it doesn’t always work out as we expect as last season clearly illustrated.