Tottenham will be traveling to face winless West Brom on Saturday, with expectation that they will deliver an attacking masterclass. Jose Mourinho has taken a step away from the dogged football that he has become known for throughout his career, with his Spurs team playing a much more front-foot style. This is likely to do with the strengths of the squad, with an attack consisting of Harry Kane, Son Heung-min and Gareth Bale. They have yet to start a match as a trio, but that could happen at the Hawthorns. They will be facing a team low on confidence, without a Premier League win. The pressure is building on Slaven Bilic and a loss this weekend could decide his fate.
The issue for the Baggies has been their lack of defensive solidity. No team has conceded more goals than West Brom this season with 16. This is an area of concern and there will be growing doubts about Bilic’s ability to turn this tide. Throughout his managerial career, he hasn’t been known for being a coach able to set up a well organised team. West Brom need this structure, therefore it is looking increasingly likely that his time is limited. That said, there is no pressure on the team this weekend and that could benefit them. They came close to shocking Chelsea earlier this season and they will want a similar display on Sunday.
Despite some poor results, Tottenham have managed to climb to third position and they are just two points behind Liverpool. Due to the difficult matches that Liverpool and Everton have this weekend, it is possible that Spurs will go into the international break as league leaders. Supporters will know that their fixture list stiffens up following the break, but that shouldn’t stop the enthusiasm growing about the campaign. Mourinho has slowly improved performances on the pitch and he is looking back to his best.
This is the first time that West Brom have failed to win any of their first seven league matches since the 2004-5 season.
During the week, Harry Kane scored his 200th goal for Tottenham, in his 300th appearance. He is now just 66 away from all-time leading scorer Jimmy Greaves.
Conor Gallagher has had an encouraging start to his loan spell at West Brom, with the midfielder looking able to compete at Premier League level. It was considered a positive move by the club during the summer, due to the consistency that he displayed for two Championship clubs last season. The 20-year-old looked ready for a bigger challenge and early indications are that he will be important for Bilic over the coming months. He will be determined to give a good performance on Sunday against one of the top six. Gallagher will have ambitions of following in the footsteps of Reece James, Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham at Chelsea. If he is to get an opportunity at Stamford Bridge, it is crucial that his first Premier League loan is a success. Matches against the top six provide a chance for him to show his quality against the very best. Last weekend, he won nine of his 13 tackles against Fulham. Despite the loss, the midfielder came out with some credit. His work rate and ball-winning ability will be key this weekend, as Tottenham are expected to dominate the ball.
The South Korean is having his best ever season and he won’t want his performance level to drop ahead of the Christmas period. Son has now failed to score in his last three appearances across all competitions. That said, his current record of eight goals and two assists in the Premier League is incredible and underlines the explosiveness that he has. He seems to be a lot more effective away from home, with seven of his Premier League goals coming on the road. This weekend should benefit the 28-year-old, especially against the worst defence in the league. It would take a brave man to back against him getting on the scoresheet. He is currently averaging 2.1 shots per game, which isn’t too high, but the quality of his chances seem to be high. Although Harry Kane will continue to be the key player for Spurs, Son is starting to step up to a new level and he could be the one to steal the headlines again in an away fixture.
Dara O’Shea could be back to feature for the home side. However, Hal Robson-Kanu and Sam Field are a few weeks from a return to action. Callum Robinson could be pushing for a recall after a substitute role on Monday night.
Sergio Reguilon and Serge Aurier are doubts for this weekend, which could mean Matt Doherty and Ben Davies start at full-back. Japhet Tanganga and Erik Lamela won’t be available, but both should be back after the international break. Gareth Bale could be set for a starting berth following his winner last weekend.
Based on the positions of these two clubs in the early Premier League table, there should only be one winner this weekend. West Brom could be boosted by Tottenham’s participation in the Europa League. Harry Kane and Son Heung-min both featured, which some Spurs fans questioned. That said, the visitors should enough firepower to get a comfortable win. The two aforementioned players are at the peak of their powers and they will be desperate to improve their personal records against the worst defence in the division. There should be a few goals and some entertainment for the neutral on Sunday.
West Brom 1-3 Tottenham