London Derby Showdown: Tottenham vs West Ham United
The Importance of the Derby for West Ham
There is a London derby that closes the midweek Premier League action as West Ham United travel to face rivals Tottenham. It is one of the most important fixtures for Hammers’ supporters as they enjoy getting one over on Spurs. Although it isn’t the fiercest rivalry for the home side, it is one that Ange Postecoglou will want to win for the supporters, especially after not winning in four Premier League matches.
Tottenham’s Drop from Top Four and Squad Morale
Tottenham have dropped out of the top four and that will help to reset expectations. Even the die hard Spurs fans wouldn’t have expected their early good form to continue, but everyone will now be pulling in the same direction. The recent injury crises has been a big reason for the poor form, as they have been missing multiple first team players. However, the late equaliser against Manchester City will have boosted the squad and Cristian Romero will be back to ease the defensive concerns. They will be confident that they can win on Thursday.
West Ham’s Mixed Season and Europa League Focus
West Ham United have had a mixed start to the season, but they are established in the top half and look to be having a less stressful season than last. They are only six points below Tottenham in the league table, which suggests that the Hammers can consider themselves a contender to qualify for Europe through the league. However, their main focus will be on the Europa League as they have been an excellent and reliable side in continental competition under David Moyes. That said, a win on Thursday will reignite their Premier League campaign.
Tottenham have failed to win their last four Premier League matches, despite scoring the first goal in each of them.
West Ham have now dropped 12 points from winning positions in the Premier League. Only Burnley (14) and Bournemouth (13) have a worse record.
Son Heung-Min has emerged as the talisman of this Tottenham team and he is the attacker that they are relying on at the moment. James Maddison is out, while Richarlison is only just returning from injury. Although Dejan Kulusevski and Brennan Johnson are performing well, neither can be relied on for goals consistently. Whereas Son is proven at this level over several years now and looks re-energised under Postecoglou. It isn’t surprising that he has found form under the new manager, as Postecoglou knows a lot about Asian football and has known Son for a very long time. They have a similar background and enjoy playing in the same way. It really has been the perfect coaching hire to get Son back to his best and the increased responsibility following the sale of Harry Kane has also helped. He now has nine goals and two assists in the Premier League, which is an excellent return.
It was a huge boost for West Ham to get Jarrod Bowen back at the weekend, as he is crucial to their attack. He has been a consistent scorer in the Premier League for a few years now and the Hammers are much better when he is available. The 26-year-old has eight goals and one assist in the Premier League this season, which underlines that threat. It could be that he is used as a centre forward often in the coming weeks, due to the injury suffered by Michail Antonio. Moyes doesn’t seem to trust Danny Ings in that role. Tottenham will be aggressive at home, which should lead to West Ham getting chances and Bowen is the one they will be relying on to take them.
Romero is back from his suspension, which is a huge boost, as Tottenham have had to play without a recognised centre back. Pape Sarr is unlikely to be back involved for this one, but Richarlison is now available again. The rest of the injured players aren’t expected back this year.
Kurt Zouma is a doubt for personal reasons, but he could be back to start in this game. Michail Antonio is the only injury absentee.
Tottenham have been performing well, despite the injury absences and they will be delighted to have Romero back. He will help them defensively and in the build up, as he is a good passer from defence. West Ham are a dangerous team on the counter attack, but Tottenham should have the quality to win this game.
Tottenham 3-1 West Ham United