After a long trip midweek to face Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala, Tottenham host West Ham on Sunday afternoon in their second London derby in as many weeks.
Both teams have had contrasting starts to the season which sees them at opposite ends of the table. Tottenham sit 3rd in the league after 4 wins in 6 games conceding only 2 goals, whilst their London rivals West Ham have yet to win since the opening weekend against Cardiff.
West Ham’s strength lies in their defence and Tottenham will have to be patient when facing their rivals on Sunday. The Tottenham side this season is full of creativity from record signing Eric Lamela to in-form player Christian Eriksen; but with West Ham likely to prefer a deeper, conservative approach Tottenham will dominate and dictate play, Spurs have an average possession of 58% compared to West Ham’s 45% this season, and Mousa Dembele will be at the centre of this.
Dembele can sometimes go unnoticed when the more advanced players are taking the plaudits, but the Belgian midfielder plays a key role in the team. With a passing accuracy of 92%, the fourth highest in the Premier League, Dembele is the central link between defence and attack that will be needed when faced with West Ham’s organised defence. Despite not getting any assists in the league so far Dembele has created 11 chances, only Kyle Walker has created more (13). If there aren’t any opportunities available to him Dembele also has the ability to dribble past an opposition player and force the attack to develop – a reason why the midfielder has completed more dribbles than any other Tottenham player (25).
An example of Dembele’s ability to take on an opponent was evident against Chelsea last week
The absence of Andy Carroll has effected West Ham, something I looked at a couple of weeks ago, with an evident lack of presence needed for a lone striker in a Sam Allardyce team. There has been a shining light in Ravel Morrison though, who has overcome his well-documented problems to prove his worth to Sam Allardyce, and will be important for West Ham’s attacking play on Sunday.
Possession has become an important factor in modern football, especially when playing against one of the top teams. Ravel Morrison has an 84% passing accuracy, only Stewart Downing has a higher accuracy for West Ham (86%), and his eye for a pass will be needed to help West Ham advance up the pitch and relieve pressure of the West Ham defence. The former Manchester United player also offers a goal threat from midfield scoring 3 goals in 5 starts in all competitions, alongside an impressive work rate which will be vital for attacking on the counter – a tactic West Ham may have to rely on.
Ravel Morrison’s passing in the middle third of the pitch was effective against Everton, who had 62% possession, before Mark Noble was sent off.
Younes Kaboul is the only new injury concern for Tottenham after suffering a knee injury against Anzhi in the Europa League. Danny Rose, Etienne Capoue, and Aaron Lennon are still sidelined and not ready to return to the squad.
While Andy Carroll and Alou Diarra continue to be ruled out for a considerable time, West Ham will welcome back Jole Cole to the squad after recovering from a hamstring injury.
- After 6 games, West Ham have only had 14 shots on target this season.
- Tottenham have lost once in 16 games at White Hart Lane in the Premier League.
- Tottenham have attempted more shots in open play (69) than any other Premier League side.
- West Ham have been involved in 7 Premier League 0-0 draws since the beginning of last season, more than any other team.
The form table suggests that the result will be an easy Tottenham win, and it would be difficult to see anything else. A toothless West Ham will have to rely on the defensive abilities if they hope get anything on the game. Unfortunately for them, Tottenham’s attack are gelling together and getting better every week. Tottenham 3 West Ham 0
Images from FourFourTwo Stats Zone