Premier League Preview; Tottenham vs West Ham United
This weekend, Tottenham look to return to winning ways as they welcome rivals West Ham in a London Derby.
It’s been a week to forget for Spurs fans, with a disastrous 4-1 defeat to a struggling Leicester side last Saturday followed by an underwhelming return to Champions League football.
Facing AC Milan at the San Siro, Spurs conceded a sloppy opening goal, gifting the hosts an early lead. Although our midfield pairing of Oliver Skipp and Pape Matar Sarr put in a respectable performance, we sorely missed the drive and creativity of Rodrigo Bentancur and Pierre-Emile Hojbjberg.
However, in truth, Antonio Conte will likely have left Italy the happier of the two coaches, as Milan really should have added to their advantage by missing several big chances late on, and at 1-0 with the second leg in London, Spurs still have every chance of progressing.
But now, our focus must shift back to domestic football.
Besides last weekend, Tottenham enters this one in decent domestic form, boasting back-to-back wins over Fulham and Manchester City on either side of an FA Cup victory away at Preston North End.
This leaves Conte’s side fifth heading into this one, just two points off fourth-placed Newcastle as the race for Champions League and European football intensifies.
For the visitors, it’s no secret that after last season’s successes, West Ham is having a torrid 2022/23, sitting 16th, just two points outside the relegation zone.
However, the Hammers do appear to have turned a corner, earning credible draws against Newcastle and Chelsea and beating fellow relegation-strugglers Everton in their last three league games whilst also easing past Derby in the FA Cup.
Moreover, Spurs remain a depleted side, with injuries limiting Conte’s options for Sunday’s game; Forster will retain his place owing to Lloris’ injury, and midfielders Bentancur and Bissouma remain absent with long-term injuries.
The return of Cristian Romero following his suspension will certainly bolster our defence, whilst Hoijbjerg will also be welcomed back in midfield, partnering Skipp.
Considering a front three of Kane, Son, and Kulusevski once again failed to create anything of note on Tuesday, fans will be waiting in anticipation to see if Conte sticks with his trusted trio or perhaps calls on one of Richarlison or Danjuma to change the dynamic of our currently stagnant attack.
Given Son’s form this season, the most likely change would see the Korean drop out for Richarlison, as although the Brazilian is still waiting for his first league goal of the season, his impact and work rate off the ball is profound.
The visitors also arrive nursing injuries, with Alphonse Arelola, Kurt Zouma, Maxwell Cornet, and Gianluca Scammacca all on the treatment table, whilst Lucas Paqueta and Nayef Aguerd’s forced substitutions last weekend leaves them doubtful for Sunday.
This looks like a must-win game for both sides, as given their relative positions in the league, both Tottenham and West Ham are desperate for points at the moment, but with home advantage, we’re certainly the favourites to take all three points.
With tough league fixtures, including hosting Chelsea and a trip to Wolves on the horizon, it’s imperative Spurs pick up as many points as possible in so-called “winnable” games, so hopefully, Conte and co can make this Sunday a London derby to remember and end what has been a disappointing week with a win.