Tottenham are aiming for consecutive wins to tighten their grip on third place and at least maintain the gap to nearest rival Chelsea in the top-four race.
Tottenham enter a season-defining period of their current campaign, as they host West Ham United at their new stadium and hope to keep the winning run on the ground going. Mauricio Pochettino will be hoping for consecutive league victories, which would help them cement their position at third in the Premier League table, and keep at least a three-point gap over nearest rival Chelsea.
Spurs left it really late against Brighton on Monday, with a Christian Eriksen goal on 88th minute enough to seal all three points for his team. Elsewhere, all of Tottenham’s top-four rivals dropped points, especially Manchester United and Arsenal, both of whom lost back to back games on Sunday and Wednesday, thus ensuring Spurs have clear daylight between themselves and the others.
Considering the remaining three fixtures, including the game against the Hammers, Tottenham carry their top-four destiny in their own hands. After West Ham, Spurs will be left to play Bournemouth and an in-form Everton side.
In a season that offered so much promise, West Ham have gone off the radar as they now stare at a bottom-half finish to their season. At one point, the Hammers were very much in the race to finish seventh and ensure a Europa League qualification place.
But their recent form, which has seen Manuel Pellegrini’s side collect 4 points of a possible 18, means they have slipped into 11th place on the table and 8 points adrift of wolves who sit in seventh place.
Pellegrini’s side lost to Cardiff City, Everton, Chelsea and Manchester United, while their most recent league outing ended in a 2-2 draw against Leicester City. Their last win came over relegated Huddersfield Town, where three goals in the last 15 minutes helped them win a seven-goal thriller. The Hammers could yet derail Spurs’ bid for a top-four finish and move up the table with a win.
Team News & Tactics
Pochettino will have to tinker through his squad, with a semi-final clash with Ajax on the horizon after the Hammers’ game. The manager could rest a few of his players while a rotation of sorts could be well on the cards. The likes of Danny Rose and Victor Wanyama could be the players in line for a breather, although the latter’s choice depends on the fitness of Eric Dier.
There are a few injury concerns ahead of the game for Tottenham. Key stars, Moussa Sissoko, Serge Aurier and talismanic striker, Harry Kane all remain out of contention. Additionally, there are significant doubts over the fitness of Erik Lamela and Harry Winks for the game. As with replacements, Ben Davies could come into the team in place of Rose.
Son Heung-min is suspended for the first leg semifinal clash against Ajax, meaning there could be no doubt with his involvement as Pochettino will start the South Korean in attack. Christian Eriksen on the other hand, is far too vital to be rested and he also will start, while Lucas Moura, Dele Alli and Fernando Llorente could all start alongside Son in the attack.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Lloris; Trippier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies; Eriksen, Dier, Alli; Son, Llorente, Moura
West Ham United
Manuel Pellegrini will have to set his squad up for the challenge against Tottenham bearing in mind the number of players injured or doubtful ahead of this clash. Andriy Yarmolenko, Andy Carroll and Winston Reid are all absent with significant injuries.
Key trio, Aaron Cresswell, Javier Hernandez and l, Manuel Lanzini are back in first-team training and could be involved in some capacity. Samir Nasri still remains sidelined though.
Jack Wilshere returned to the team last weekend, and he could be in the lineup to face Spurs. On the attacking front, Lucas Perez did make the most of a rare start last weekend with a goal, although its still unsure he has convinced Pellegrini to play him again. However, Hernandez’s absence yet again could let the Spaniard get more minutes.
A set of players sure to start are Mark Noble and Felipe Anderson, both of whom remain the only West Ham players to have scored away from home for the team in 2019.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Fabianski; Zabaleta, Balbuena, Diop, Masuaku; Rice, Noble; Anderson, Antonio, Arnautovic; Perez
- Tottenham are looking to complete their first league double over West Ham since the 2012-13 campaign.
- West Ham have only won one of their last 16 away league games against Spurs (D6 L9).
- Following a run of five consecutive home league clean sheets against West Ham, Spurs have conceded in each of their last six at home against the Hammers in the Premier League.
- This will be the 12th different campaign in which Tottenham and West Ham have met at least three times in all competitions.
- Only Chelsea (22) have earned more points in Premier League London derbies than Spurs this season (19), with Mauricio Pochettino’s side winning three of their four at home (D1).
Player to Watch
In the last matchday when Tottenham took on Brighton, Eriksen delivered when it mattered with the winning goal. Once again the Danish superstar will be the man in focus as Spurs aim to keep the third place on the table for themselves and ward off other rivals who might threaten them in the last three games.
Eriksen’s performances have been brilliant, and that has rendered him indispensable, especially for the next few key games. The attacker will have a lot riding on his shoulders as he looks to help Spurs with the task of ensuring they maintain their third place as well as challenge in the upcoming Champions League fixture.
From now till the end of the season, Eriksen will be vital for Spurs’ chances on either front, and he is undoubtedly the player to be watched closely.
Tottenham 2-0 West Ham United
After a seemingly tricky period during the season where Tottenham got dragged into an unwanted top-four race than actually challenging for the title, the team have indeed bounced back. Pochettino’s side have won four of their last five in the league while also fighting in the Champions League. Expect Tottenham to keep their winning run, and secure consecutive league wins at home.
As for West Ham, their form will not support their bid to secure victory against Spurs who are unbeaten so far in their new stadium. Injuries, a lack of cutting edge form and with virtually nothing to play for this season anymore, West Ham are expected to lose their game against Tottenham, with the hosts keeping hold of the third spot in the Premier League.