Match date & time: Saturday 3rd May 2014. Kick off at 12:45pm.
Competition: Premier League.
Venue: Upton Park.
TV: Live on BT Sport in the UK.
A fierce London derby, a massive encounter between two teams extremely full of hate for each other, lots of passion, adrenaline and ferocity running through the veins of the fans, players and everybody connected with each club. It’s a match that means so much, not so much in terms of League position, but in terms of pride. And for Tottenham, on Saturday at Upton Park, it’s a chance to restore the pride taken off us in the last two encounters. A must win game for Spurs, losing is simply not an option.
Our recent form has been at a high level, we have found some consistency in our results and in our performances. Ever since the 4-0 drubbing at Anfield, our form has picked up and we are playing some great football, with players starting to stand up and be counted. In April, we did not lose a game, and only dropped points in one game against West Brom at the Hawthorns, drawing 3-3. That’s 3 wins out of 4 games, and I’d say I’m very happy with that. Now we need to continue in the same fashion as we did in April, with 2 games left against West Ham and Aston Villa. Winnable games, as were the games in April, so hopefully we show the same resolve and desire we did last month and finish the season on a high! Our recent form against West Ham is non-existent. I try to block the last two results out of my mind, mostly because of how ashamed I am of them. Last time in the League, we lost 3-0 at White Hart Lane, arguably the worst result of the season, and that’s from quite a long list of bad results. We were dreadful, but we have the chance to make things slightly better with a win at Upton Park. We blew the opportunity for some pride in Sherwood’s first game as Head Coach at the Lane in the Capital One Cup, losing 2-1, even after going 1-0 up.
West Ham have had more ups and downs than a roller coaster this season, struggling to put together a good run of results, apart from a brilliant run in February, which has looked to be the month that has kept them up, I think they’ve been rather dreadful. It looks as though West Ham are now safe from relegation, they sit 14th with 37 points, they need another win or a draw to be completely sure of survival, though, and we’re here to try to drag them back into trouble and cause their 5th successive loss in the Premier League.
The team news for West Ham is that striker Marco Borriello has been ruled out through a hamstring injury, but other than that the Hammers have a full squad to pick from. The players that West Ham rely on most are, first of all, Andy Carroll, the big money record signing. Carroll is a target man, who feeds off crosses and long balls in which to get his fellow team mates into the game; he’s incredibly important to West Ham, and when he’s on form he’s a definite handful. Another important player for West Ham is Mo Diame, the big midfielder gets West Ham moving, he’s quick, powerful and can kick start attacks, he can float onto the wing or play as the deep lying powerhouse. Finally, Stewart Downing and Matt Jarvis on the wings are relied upon to provide the ammunition to Andy Carroll and Kevin Nolan, and so stopping them on the wing is the key to stopping West Ham get chances.
Now to the team news for Tottenham Hotspur, the injuries are still there, as they have been all season. This time out, it’s Erik Lamela (back), Kyle Walker (groin), Andros Townsend (ankle) and Mousa Dembele (ankle) who have been ruled out of the trip to Upton Park, with Jan Vertonghen and Etienne Capoue both doubts through match fitness, with the game possibly coming a ‘bit too soon’ for them, even after training for a full week, according to Sherwood.
Michael Dawson was arguably man of the match against Stoke City, he dealt with Peter Crouch’s height and hold up play expertly, and now he’s going to face a very similar proposition in Andy Carroll. Carroll is the sort of striker that Michael Dawson loves to face, competing in the air and not very quick to get in behind him like the Aguero and Suarez type of player. A game against West Ham suits Dawson down to the ground, a game with passion and rivalry, mixed with the ‘route 1’ approach that Michael relishes facing. The partnership with Younes Kaboul against Stoke was exceptional, it seems as though both players have an understanding with each other, and I think Kaboul looks much more comfortable with the experience of Dawson alongside him. Aim of the game on Saturday is to get the ball to Christian Eriksen, get him involved in the game where it matters and try to effect the game in the final third. Aaron Lennon and Christian Eriksen are so important to the team in terms of creating chances and pushing the team forward, so we need them to be on form and getting in the right areas, for Aaron it’s the position to get the ball into Adebayor and Harry Kane, and for Eriksen it’s the position to feed Lennon, Kane and Adebayor with whipped in crosses and intricate passes. In the centre of midfield, I really do hope we see Sandro come into the team to play alongside Paulinho, Sandro has the bite to play in these kind of high intensity derby games, whereas Nacer Chadli, who has started the last few games, is much more technical. The partnership between Paulinho and Sandro could be one that really flourishes.
Match stats and facts provided by Opta:
– 10 of West Ham’s last 16 home games have had at least 3 goals.
– 8 of West Ham’s last 12 home matches against top-half teams have had at least 4 goals.
– Spurs have won 12 of their last 19 trips to bottom-half teams.
– Spurs have drawn the first half in 10 of their last 17 away matches against bottom-half teams.
– Andy Carroll has scored in both previous meetings with Tottenham as a West Ham player, but has ended up on the losing side both times.
– Tottenham have won nine and lost just two of their last 13 Barclays Premier League meetings with the Hammers (D2).
– West Ham have had over 2.5 goals in their last eight home matches against top-six teams.
Big game for so many reasons. A London derby, and one that we can’t afford to drop any points in. You can get in depth updates on the game from my twitter account @AddictedToSpurs, including goal updates, videos, pictures, vines and much more! Get following! COYS!!
My predicted team to face West Ham at Upton Park:
Naughton – Dawson – Kaboul – Rose
Lennon – Paulinho – Sandro – Eriksen
Adebayor – Kane.
Tim Sherwood speaks to the press prior to our game against West Ham: