Tottenham Hotspur seek their first double over West Ham United
One game back from a ~100-day break and the fortunes of neither London club – West Ham United or Tottenham Hotspur have changed that much. Tottenham had a potential six-point match with Manchester United turn into a draw and West Ham saw a good hour wasted behind a strong Wolves bench in there 0-2 loss. So now what for Spurs and Hammers?
The fact remains Tottenham is mid-table hoping to move up to places that matter and West Ham United is smack in the middle of a relegation battle with little wiggle room now. Nevertheless, Spurs could be first and West Ham 20th, this is still a London Derby in those instances records sort of go out the window anyway. So, what can we look forward too in this midweek London Derby?
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In the big scheme of things, only one of these two teams is truly desperate, but both need this game to have the chance to achieve anything with this season. For Tottenham Hotspur, the idea of not making Champions League after four straight seasons is kind of tough to swallow. Then thinking about missing out on Europe altogether, it makes one down-right sad.
However, missing out on Europe versus the idea of missing out on the Premier League – which West Ham is seriously facing – are two completely different stories.
Sure, if Spurs miss out on any kind of Europe, they could lose a player or two, but money will likely be tight regardless this summer. However, you get relegated and you just never know where that might lead, right Leeds, Sheffield Wednesday?
Bottom line, both teams need to play with desperation, one to try and stay in the topflight, the other to stay relevant in the top four discussions. Regardless, neither fan base will accept anything less than the best possible effort which desperation usually reflects.
Poor Form Pair
Not surprisingly given the position in the standings, both West Ham and Tottenham are on a poor run of form. The Hammers have lost 7 of their last 10 and only won one of those 10 matches. Unfortunately for Spurs fans that one win was more recently than Tottenham’s last victory. West Ham last won on Saturday, February 29, beating Southampton 3-1 at the Olympic Stadium, whereas Spurs’ last victory was nearly a fortnight earlier on Sunday, February 16 at Villa Park.
Both teams had good displays for about an hour in their first games back and then lost their footing to superior benches. Manchester United out substituted Spurs to even the game, and Wolves were able to bury the Hammers late with an assist and hockey assist coming off the bench from Adama Traore. Do not think Jose Mourinho missed that footage and we should expect to see a similar role for Steven Bergwijn for Spurs on Tuesday evening.
Bad Defense or Good Attack?
The real Achilles heel for both teams has been the defending. Hammers have conceded a whopping 52 goals in 30 games and Spurs are not that much better at 41 goals. Hugo Lloris has only 2 clean sheets on the season and given his form that just seems unfair to the World Cup winner.
For West Ham, the defense was not that bad to start – outside the 5 conceded to City – with three shutouts before December, holding Villa, Manchester United, and Chelsea all scoreless. On the flip side, the Hammers have conceded 3 or more 9 times this season including the 5 to City in week 1 and an inexcusable 4 goals in a 4-0 loss to Oxford United in the League Cup third round.
Tottenham has seen two shutouts in 2020, holding Watford and City both scoreless. However, prior to those two matches, you must go back to December to find a third. Bottom line is both teams’ ship goals, often off mental mistakes, and free kicks.
From the attack perspective, these two teams look relatively similar in some respects and it almost looks like West Ham is a bit unlucky.
On the season Tottenham has 133 shots on target, whereas West Ham has 130.
Despite only three more shots on target, Spurs have 13 more goals on the season than the Hammers with 48 to West Ham’s 35.
So, are the Hammers unlucky or is something else going on here? Regardless, Spurs have a far superior goal differential with a +7 compared to West Ham with a -17.
History and Hope?
History tells us not to get our hopes up, it has been almost a decade since we have done the double against West Ham, back in 2012-13. Then again, we did lose at home last year to West Ham it 1966 was the last time we lost consecutive matches at home to West Ham. 54 is longer than 8 so we cannot lose, right?
Then again, the last home win for either side was May 5, 2017, in the first match between the two sides at Olympic Stadium. Then do you remember that loss at home last year 0-1? That was Spurs’ first loss at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The way I figure it we owe the Hammer’s a little something. Throw history out the window because the derby is coming to town. Let us hope Spurs are ready because we know the Hammers will be desperate.