There aren’t many Premier League matches this weekend, but the highlight will be on Sunday. Tottenham welcome West Ham United in a match that will be key in the race for Champions League football. A defeat for either side would put a major dent in their top four hopes. They are level on points at the moment, but Spurs do have a game in hand over their London rivals. If the home side manage to pick up three points this weekend, they will move above the Hammers.
It has been a frustrating period for Antonio Conte, as his team win a game, then lose a game. They have struggled to build momentum over the last few weeks, which has halted them in their attempts to move closer to the top four. The aim will remain to qualify for next season’s Champions League, but they will need to be near perfect to meet that objective, with Arsenal in the driving seat. This weekend is a huge test for Conte’s Spurs, as West Ham are a very good team under David Moyes. In the earlier meeting this season, Spurs lost under Nuno Espirito Santo with Michail Antonio scoring the winner. They will hope to be much improved on Sunday.
West Ham have had one of the greatest weeks in their recent history, as they managed to knock Sevilla out of the Europa League. They required extra time, but it was a statement result for the Hammers. Moyes may now switch focus to the European competition, as it could represent a better route to the Champions League. As a lot of energy and emotion was required on Thursday night, there could be a come down for West Ham on Sunday. They usually do well against Tottenham, losing just one of the last four meetings between the two clubs. Moyes will hope that a derby game can get his players up again.
Tottenham have lost five of their seven matches against London clubs this season in the Premier League.
If West Ham score on Sunday, it will be their 500th away goal in the Premier League.
It has taken some time for Harry Kane to start impacting matches on a consistent basis. However, he is now approaching close to his best and he is set to have an explosive end to the season. The England captain has now scored nine goals in his last ten matches across all competitions. After a barren run at the start of the campaign, the confidence is back and supporters will expecting him to score every time he steps on to the pitch. West Ham will be tired on Sunday and that will benefit Kane, as there will be space in the final third for him to exploit. He can threaten from any position within 25 yards of the goal and there will be chances for him to shoot. In addition to his goal-scoring, he has developed into Tottenham’s play maker in recent years. The battle between Kane and Declan Rice will be one of the most fascinating on the pitch at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium. It could be that it defines the match.
The absence of Jarrod Bowen will be felt on Sunday as he has been in excellent form this season. The responsibility will fall to Michail Antonio to provide the attacking threat. Although he has struggled for goals recently, he has been playing a selfless role for the team in attack with plenty of running into the channels. During the week, he provided an excellent assist for Tomas Soucek’s opening goal in the Europa League. He will be hoping that he can get back to scoring ways and his goal in the previous meeting will give him confidence. Antonio hasn’t hit the back of the net since New Year’s Day in the Premier League. That is a long goal draught for a player with his ability. Tottenham’s defence has improved under Conte, but Antonio will believe he can come out on top in a physical battle. If West Ham are to win this weekend, they will need the Jamaican international to carry a goal threat.
Ryan Sessegnon and Oliver Skipp remain on the sidelines. Neither will recover in time to feature on Sunday. Tottenham revealed this week that Japhet Tanganga won’t be back for the rest of the season.
West Ham will be assessing the fitness of every player after the extra time win over Sevilla. It could be that there are a few that are given a rest this weekend if they are fatigued following that. Jarrod Bowen and Vladimir Coufal won’t be available to feature for the visitors, as both continue their recoveries from injury.
It has been an inconsistent period for Spurs. Conte will still believe that there is a lot more to come from his squad in the coming weeks and he will not have given up the hopes of finishing in the top four. West Ham used up so much energy during the week. It will be difficult to re-focus on the league campaign so soon. The fatigue in the West Ham squad means that Spurs should be able to win this weekend. It still won’t be easy, but their energy and pace in attack will prove to be too much for West Ham.
Tottenham 2-0 West Ham United