Match Preview, Tottenham vs West Ham.

Match date & time: Sunday 22nd February 2015. 12pm GMT Kick off.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

TV: Live on BT Sport 1. Worldwide TV listings can be found HERE.

It’s big game after big game at the moment, cup final after cup final. After losing to Liverpool in frustrating fashion, then a difficult draw to Fiorentina in the Europa League, we now need to get back on track with a good win in an important London derby with West Ham. The Cup final should be put to the back of our mind, and our only focus must be on the next game, and making this season a success with the attitude that our only challenge is to win the next match, not to finish ahead of Arsenal, not to finish in the top four, only to win our next match. Our defeat to Liverpool was difficult to take, we weren’t amazing, but probably deserved a point, which would have been considered a good result, but now we have to respond with a win in a massive game in terms of the League standing, and for the fans who after a 3-0 and 2-1 defeat to West Ham last season at the Lane, need to take revenge, for sure. We sit 6th in the Premier League table, and need to keep winning games to put pressure on the teams ahead of us, and this is a good opportunity at home to get another three points on the board. At home, we’re confident, and hopefully we can return to winning ways in great fashion in a big London derby.

West Ham have had a good season so far, and sit in a respectable 8th position in the Premier League, just behind Liverpool and Tottenham, and hold the title of ‘best of the rest’ that aren’t battling it out for European places, although I am sure West Ham would like to think they have a chance of gaining a European spot, as it isn’t fully beyond them yet. Their recent form has not been fantastic, with only 3 wins in 12 games, and in their last fixture, in the FA Cup away to West Brom they fell to a 4-0 thumping, so they will be looking to make amends, but on the flip side we will be looking to take advantage of what could be seen as a slump in form. Their last three games, against Liverpool, Manchester United and Southampton saw the Hammers amass only 2 points, with draws to the Saints and the Red Devils, which could be seen as a good two points, but after only beating Bristol 1-0 in the FA Cup, along with dispatching struggling Hull and winning on penalties to Everton, it is only 2 wins in 10 Premier League matches, with 5 draws and 3 losses. Their form is dropping and they’ll need to improve rapidly to have a chance of keeping up with the teams ahead of them who are all hitting a good run of form.

Andy Carroll (knee) is the only definite absentee for the Hammers, while Chiekhou Kouyate (arm) and Diafra Sakho (back) are slight doubts, but along with Matt Jarvis, Winston Reid and James Collins are expected to be in the squad that travels to White Hart Lane, and as key players for West Ham, would be likely to be involved from the start. New signing Nene is also set to be absent due to a lack of match fitness. West Ham have quite a few good players, and up top Diafra Sakho is the Hammers’ top scorer, with 10 goals in all competitions, and his strength and finishing prowess have been very impressive in his first season in English football. He will be the main threat for the Irons, and they will be looking to get the service that he needs to be effective. The player that will be looking to provide that service will be Stewart Downing, who has 5 goals in the Premier League, but also has a notable 7 assists, cementing himself as a very effective player to West Ham this season, which has earned him an England call up this season, so we will be looking to contain his threat from either the wings or from his more central position. In midfield, the man that has made the Irons tick has been former Arsenal player and now on loan from Barcelona, Alex Song, who has proven himself a valuable and experienced man in the midfield for West Ham, earning a lot of plaudits from fans and journalists. Along with Song, Sakho and Downing, Enner Valencia has the pace and energy to cause problems, he has 4 goals this season, and will no doubt be looking to add to his tally.Screen Shot 2015-02-21 at 15.34.26
The team news for Tottenham is that we have a clean bill of health, with no suspensions either, and it’s so pleasing that this has been the case for quite a while. Only DeAndre Yedlin is the definite absentee having been with the USMNT. There will definitely be rotation from the side that drew with Fiorentina at the Lane, Harry Kane replacing goalscorer Roberto Soldado, with Mousa Dembele and Ryan Mason expected to return as well, hopefully fresh and ready to make a big impact on the game with West Ham. Obviously you would expect Eric Dier and Danny Rose also to come back in to replace Ben Davies and Federico Fazio.

There is no doubt that Harry Kane will once again have the eyes of the public on him, to see if he can continue his remarkable form, with 23 goals in 36 games, in another really big game against another London rival. He has come into this big patch of games in stunning form and we need him to continue that coming into the last part of the season, including our humungous Capital One Cup final at Wembley on March 1st; hopefully the January player of the month can continue his February performances. Harry Kane has been joined in his good form by Mousa Dembele, who as well as hitting the net away at Liverpool in our 3-2 loss, was arguably our best player with Harry Kane; on the ball Mousa is phenomenal and he has improved drastically recently in the position just behind the striker, it enables the big Belgian to be more involved in the match and increase his effectiveness in the game, which can only be positive for Tottenham because of his ability to hold onto the ball and bring his team mates into the action. Mousa’s Belgian team mate Jan Vertonghen has been fantastic so far this season, and is showing his class at the back alongside either Fazio or Dier, showing his leadership qualities but also his ability in defence to keep opponents quiet. His tackling talent is second to none in our side, but also his composure to pick a pass and start attacks from the back. I have been extremely impressed with his performances this season after being poor last term, he has rediscovered his best form, and credit goes to Jan for working hard, but also Mauricio Pochettino for re-motivating the Belgian defender after looking disillusioned at Spurs last season. In midfield, we rely on Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentaleb to provide the energy and tenacity in midfield, and they have delivered magnificently recently. Hopefully though, both players can tighten up their passing after a sloppy display against Liverpool, but to be fair that applies to the whole team who were slightly sloppy. Christian Eriksen has been fantastic this season, but in recent games he has been slightly ineffective and had a poor game against Fiorentina, so we need him to pick up his performance levels, because he is so important to Tottenham playing well; hopefully he can find his passing range again and maybe find the net again, as he has a little bit of a dip in form, but there’s no doubting he’ll come back into form very soon.

Match stats provided by Opta:

– Harry Kane has scored 11 goals in his last 10 Premier League matches for Tottenham.

– There have been three red cards in the last two Premier League meetings between West Ham and Spurs.

– Prior to West Ham’s win at White Hart Lane last season, Tottenham had won seven and lost none of the previous 11 home games against the Hammers.

– Tottenham have conceded 497 goals in Premier League history at White Hart Lane.

– Eight of Spurs’ last 10 Premier League victories have been by a 2-1 scoreline.

– Tottenham Hotspur have conceded more penalties than any other Premier League side this season (7).

– Spurs have recovered the joint-most points from losing positions of any team in the Premier League (15 along with Palace).

– West Ham have scored more headed goals (14) than any other Premier League team this season, also accounting for a divisional high 39% of total scored.

– The Hammers have won just one of their last eight Premier League matches (W1 D4 L3).

– Injured striker Andy Carroll has scored in two of his three Barclays Premier League games for West Ham against Tottenham.

Another big game, bringing us back into Premier League action with a bang in another London derby against a definite rival where revenge is definitely on the cards after our previous losses to the Hammers. The game is live on BT Sport, but I will be sure to provide updates for goals, photos and videos from my twitter account, follow me there: @AddictedToSpurs. Let’s get back to winning ways in another big game! COYS!!

My predicted/preferred side to face West Ham at the Lane:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Walker – Dier – Vertonghen – Rose
Mason – Bentaleb
Lamela – Dembele – Eriksen
Kane.

Mauricio Pochettino previews the West Ham match:

Match Preview, West Ham vs Tottenham.

Match date & time: Saturday 16th August 2014. Kick off at 3pm GMT.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: Upton Park.

TV: Not televised in the UK.

The Premier League season is upon us. A new manager for a new season and it feels as if a new era is coming to White Hart Lane, hopefully, full of success. The summer has been very exciting. A brilliant World Cup, loads of transfer rumours and deals being completed. It’s made the wait for the Premier League to return much quicker. That’s for sure. Last season, we were left disappointed and frustrated by a 6th place finish with a lot of change; managerially and with the players. Now it’s a bit more settled, we’ve made a few additions and had a few players go out, but we’ve a balanced and healthy squad. Now, we have to push on and be much more successful not just with League position and trophies, but with the way we play. We need to show flair, excitement and play the old fashioned ‘Tottenham way’. Mauricio Pochettino can bring us what we have been yearning for since Harry Redknapp left us, as well as success in the League. This all starts at Upton Park.

Our recent history against West Ham is not something I like to recall too often; normally it’s just shoved down my throat and I’m forced with the realisation that we actually lost three times to them. Farcical. A 3-0 loss under Andre Villas-Boas, and then a 2-1 and 2-0 loss under Tim Sherwood. Now, we hope for a different fate under Mauricio Pochettino. A difficult first game for him but one we can win. It’s important we ‘shake the curse’ of West Ham before it actually becomes a curse. West Ham have bought some good players this summer, and I think are stronger than last season with squad depth, but we are going to have to wait and see how their new signings adapt to the Premier League, and they’ll be thrown in the deep end with a massive London derby that means a hell of a lot to both club’s fans. Kouyate, Zarate and Enner Valencia are good players that add a bit of core strength to the squad.

The team news for West Ham coming into the game is that Andy Carroll (ankle), Carl Jenkinson (hamstring) and Ravel Morrison (match fitness) won’t feature for West Ham, with late decisions on how ready new arrival Enner Valencia and after coming back from injury, Guy Demel. Another new signing Aaron Cresswell is a slight doubt after being replaced through injury in a pre-season game against Sampdoria, but is expected to be fine. I think the problem West Ham have is upfront, with Andy Carroll injured long term, and Enner Valencia a doubt to start the game at least, they’d be left with Carlton Cole and Mauro Zarate, and that’s not exactly frightening if we’re defensively solid. Although now I’ve said that, expect them to score three hat-tricks each. One player who I think could be really important for West Ham is Kouyate, strong in the middle of the park and fairly comfortable on the ball, he’s a good player who will add solidity to their team and squad. Offensively, I believe if Valencia is passed fit to play, he’s a real threat in front of goal, as we saw in the World Cup, so we’d need to be ready for that.

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The team news for Tottenham is that our World Cup players are in contention to play at Upton Park. Hugo Lloris and Nabil Bentaleb are available to the squad, while Jan Vertonghen, Paulinho, Mousa Dembele and Nacer Chadli are doubts but could still make the squad. Other doubts include Vlad Chiriches (back), Michael Dawson (ankle) and Kyle Walker (pelvis). Michel Vorm (match fitness) won’t feature after Pochettino revealed he’s on a ‘special plan’ after arriving late to the squad. Quite a few concerns there, but if we can get 3 of 4 of the doubts fit then we will go to Upton Park with a really strong squad.

Erik Lamela. An injury blighted first season. A fantastic pre-season. Now it’s time for him to push on and show his worth. He has undoubted talent, his ability on the ball, to find the final pass and to score the crucial goal. He’s got that in him and I’m predicting him to show it against West Ham, it’s very important that he does. Another player who will be very important against West Ham is Christian Eriksen; he had an incredible first season but now he can push on even further, with a, fingers crossed, injury free season with the experience of having a Premier League season under his belt. Eriksen is phenomenal, there’s no two ways about it. A big decision for Pochettino is who to start up-front; with three good options, Emmanuel Adebayor, Harry Kane and Roberto Soldado, there are arguments for all three to start, but only one can, and I’d make it Emmanuel Adebayor. The most experienced of the three and our top scorer last season, for me it’s his position to lose and if he does fall off he’ll have Kane and Soldado scrapping for his place, which is good competition. In defence, assuming Jan Vertonghen doesn’t make the game, I’d stick with Younes Kaboul and give a debut to Eric Dier, who was so impressive in the game against Schalke, both centre backs played well together and if they can build that understanding more in training and in a game scenario, it can be very good for the team.

Match stats and facts provided by Opta:

– West Ham United won both clashes with Tottenham Hotspur last season in the Barclays Premier League.

– Spurs have won just four of their last 16 opening weekend fixtures in the Premier League (D4 L8).

– In fact, the Hammers beat Spurs three times in all competitions last seasons, winning the Capital One Cup Quarter Final.

– These two sides faced each other on the opening day of the 1999/2000 season. Harry Redknapp’s West Ham won 1-0 at Upton Park.

– This game will be Sam Allardyce’s 400th as a Premier League manager.

– West Ham posted the worst shooting accuracy in the 2013-14 Premier League, hitting the target with just 37% of their attempts on goal.

– West Ham signing Enner Valencia scored three goals from five shots on target at the 2014 World Cup.

– Tottenham won 10 Premier League away games in 2013-14, only one team (Arsenal, 11) had recorded more (four other teams won 10).

– West Ham’s last three Premier League goals have come against London sides.

– Tottenham scored only nine goals in 10 Premier League London derbies in 2013-14.

It’s a massive game. A difficult one and a testing one for Mauricio Pochettino. We have to play a positive game, find holes in the West Ham team and just all-in-all play our football. I’m really looking forward to it all kicking off. The game isn’t televised, but I’ll be sure to provide a stream, as well as goal updates, videos and photos all on my twitter account @AddictedToSpurs, so follow me there! I’ll be doing all the previews and reviews this season. Let’s have a fantastic one. Starting at Upton Park. COYS!!

My predicted team to face West Ham at Upton Park:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Naughton – Kaboul – Dier – Rose
Capoue – Holtby
Lennon – Lamela – Eriksen (free roles)
Adebayor.

Mauricio Pochettino’s pre West Ham press conference: