Tottenham Hotspur Host West Ham United in Premier League

Tottenham (Photo by CARL RECINE/AFP via Getty Images)
Tottenham (Photo by CARL RECINE/AFP via Getty Images) /
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Olympic Stadium West Ham
Jul 21, 2019; London, United Kingdom Olympic Park. West Ham Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

West Ham wants the Lead

If you include the League Cup, West Ham has four wins on the season, and they all have something in common, early goals and multiple goals for the Hammers. Against Wolves, Jarrod Bowen scored within the first 20 minutes and then again within the first 15 minutes of the second half just before the hour mark.

Against Leicester City in their last match, Antonio scored in under 15 minutes and Pablo Fornals made the lead two before the half. Hammers went on to win 3 nil with Bowen scoring the third late on as Leicester City pushed. Against Wolves, a Raul Jimenez own goal and a late injury time score by Haller flattered the score line, but the point was clear.

In the two losses both Everton and Arsenal scored first making it more difficult for West Ham to implement their low block counter strategy. While West Ham did come back to tie both matches, they again fell behind and were unable to come back twice against either Arsenal – in league – or Everton – in the League Cup. Regardless the lesson here should be clear, do not fall behind West Ham, as that plays right into their hands.

Hammers in a Line and Counter Formation

What makes West Ham so hard to come back against is what really makes them a poor come from behind team, their low block formation. David Moyes has been playing West Ham with five in the back and then four in the midfield in front of them. Most times this would leave a lonely striker on an island, but Antonio is not your everyday striker with his movement and pace.

Angelo Ogbonna is not quite your 1980s style sweeper in the middle of the back five, but he is close, with Aaron Creswell and Fabian Balbuena flanking him. There are typically two outside fullbacks then wide of Creswell and Balbuena. What makes the defense even more difficult to penetrate is tackle read Tomas Soucek and England International Declan Rice playing the two central midfielders in front of the back line.

The point is West Ham is sound defensively and if they can maintain their integrity, they will be hard to break down and defeat. As Spurs push further and further into the attacking half, it opens things up more and more for Antonio or Bowen to strike on the counter. The Hammers hit nearly 60 long balls per game, so the runners get their chances, and the defense must stay alert.