The busy festive period is coming to an end and after Tuesday’s game, Spurs can look forward to an eight day break from Premier League action. Before that welcome respite, Spurs face West Bromwich Albion, the Premier League’s 13th placed team. Despite their poor league position, West Brom provided one of Spurs’ toughest tests this season. The 3-1 win for Spurs was far tighter than the scoreline suggests and could easily have gone the other way. Spurs also drew both matches against West Brom last season, so they know the quality of Roy Hodgson’s men. The Baggies had been in fine form; two wins and an excellent draw with Man City, before their defeat to Everton on Sunday night. They are a side that relies on organisation to pick up points. The busy festive schedule may be taking its toll. The Baggies failed to make a shot on target against Everton and looked uninspired as they laboured through a poor match. Playing only two days later will really test Hodgson’s men.
West Brom have just 52 shots on target this season (Spurs have 89) and despite 200 goalscoring chances, they have scored just 19 times in 19 games (Spurs have 35 in 18). Evidently a failure to exploit chances and convert opportunities has cost West Brom. Their 11% conversion rate is second only to Liverpool and 3% worse than their opposition on Tuesday. West Brom create a scoring chance every nine minutes, Spurs every six. Spurs average a goal in every half, West Brom average just one per game. Their top scorer, Shane Long, has just five goals. He and Chris Brunt are key to this West Bromwich Albion side. Both are likely to be missing so Hodgson will need to shuffle his side around.
In Odemwingie, the Baggies have an excellent replacement but the loss of captain Chris Brunt will be more keenly felt. Brunt has made 28 chances and five assists this season, scoring once. He has also won 26 tackles, picked up possession 102 times and made 30 interceptions. Odemwingie has four goals this season from only six shots on target. If he is given chances, he will threaten the Tottenham goal. The Baggies also have problems at the other end of the pitch. Keeper Ben Foster has been far more active than his opposite number Brad Friedel. Where the American veteran has only come for crosses 11 times and punched just five, Foster has made 26 and 11 respectively. Foster though, has two less errors than Friedel. It was Friedel’s miss-step that led to the Swansea equaliser on New Year’s Eve.
Spurs will likely miss Scott Parker through injury and his absence threatens to weaken them. Tottenham improved hugely with his arrival and his overall contribution cannot be overstated. He has been player of the month in each month since he signed. Redknapp will likely replace Parker with an attacking player; potentially Jermain Defoe, though he may choose the stability of youngster Jake Livermore. Spurs have struggled for fluidity in the absence of Aaron Lennon and the return of the winger to the squad is welcome news.
Lennon had been near his best form before injuring his hamstring against Sunderland. The diminutive winger has two assists, 21 chances created and two goals in just ten starts. Ledley King is also in line for a return, likely at the expense of Gallas. The combination of Kaboul and King has been excellent this season; they have conceded just six goals together in over 900 Premier League minutes. Gareth Bale was well below his best against Swansea and failed to complete a dribble for the first time this season. His manager will be looking for a response against West Brom.
Spurs only gained a point against Swansea in their last match, the disappointment of that result was tempered by defeats to the other three teams in the top four. If Spurs fail to collect all three points on Tuesday it is unlikely to go unpunished by their rivals.
We’ll leave you with some passing stats from last years game at White Hart Lane (below) taken from our Stats Centre, powered by Opta. This years stats will be available directly after the game so if you’re interested in accessing stats and writing articles you can subscribe here.