West Ham will be looking to continue their excellent run in the Carabao Cup when they make a short trip to face bitter London rivals Tottenham Hotspur.
Two fierce London foes will lock horns in the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday when Tottenham Hotspur host city rivals West Ham, with both teams vying for a place in the last four of the competition. Having been booted out of the Europa Conference League on Monday with UEFA ruling that Spurs must forfeit their final group game against Stade Rennes, the Carabao Cup represents the best chance for the hosts to end their 14-year trophy drought.
Tottenham have enjoyed a resurgence under new manager Antonio Conte, having lost only once in all competitions since the arrival of the Italian. They are coming on the back of earning a well-deserved point against Liverpool on Sunday in a thrilling 2-2 draw. Although it was a good point, there would be mixed feelings in the camp, as Conte’s side probably should have sealed all three points on the balance of play.
Meanwhile, West Ham also have a trophy drought of their own. The last time they won a major trophy was back in 1980 when they lifted the FA Cup. But their bright start to the season, both domestically and in Europe, have boosted their hopes that silverware could soon return to east London.
However, West Ham’s promising start has dwindled somewhat in recent weeks, putting breaks to their push for a top-four spot, with a 2-0 loss to Arsenal last week following a dull 0-0 draw against Burnley. The Irons have already defeated Tottenham in the Premier League, winning 1-0 in October earlier this season. Ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both teams.
Team News & Tactics
🎙 "I trust in my players. I trust in my squad."
Watch Antonio's pre-West Ham press conference! ⤵️
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) December 21, 2021
With Son Heung-min, Lucas Moura, and Oliver Skipp all involved for Tottenham against Liverpool, the list of players unavailable due to Covid-19 seems to be narrowing down, allowing Tottenham manager Antonio Conte with a greater pool of players to pick his starting lineup from.
Danish midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg was the only absentee among the regular starters, and he is again a doubt for this game along with Pierluigi Gollini, Bryan Gil and Dane Scarlett. Cristian Romero remains sidelined with a thigh injury, but apart from that, the Lilywhites’ have no injury concerns, which is in stark contrast compared to their upcoming opponents.
Conte could opt for his preferred 3-4-3 formation with several personnel changes; Japhet Tanganga is set to replace Emerson Royal at right wing-back, while Joe Rodon and Lucas Moura could also return to starting XI. Hugo Lloris is a certain starter between the sticks after making some vital saves in the last outing. Guarding the Frenchman will be a three-man defensive unit of Rodon, Eric Dier and Ben Davies.
Sergio Reguilon should come in for Ryan Sessegnon on the left flank. Tanganga will provide a more defensive presence on the right while Reguilon is an attacking wing-back and will be given license to surge forwards at every given opportunity. Harry Winks could keep his spot in midfield alongside Oliver Skipp after impressing against Liverpool.
Finally, in attack, Heung-min Son will operate as a left-winger while Lucas Moura looks to catch the eye with his trickery as the right-sided wide player. Harry Kane will get the responsibility to lead the line for Spurs up top. The Englishman got a morale-boosting goal against Liverpool and will hope that it will be a turning point in his fairly mediocre season so far in front of goal.
Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Lloris; Rodon, Dier, Davies; Tanganga, Skipp, Winks, Reguilon; Moura, Kane, Son
West Ham United
Unlike his counterpart in Tottenham dugout, West Ham boss David Moyes has to field a severely weakened backline with their defensive department decimated by injuries. West Ham will have to make do without the services of the reliable central defensive pairing of Kurt Zouma and Angelo Ogbonna; both sidelined with respective injuries.
The defensive dilemma is not just confined to centre-back positions either, with left-back Aaron Cresswell out of contention while Vladimir Coufal will miss out following his contentious red card against Arsenal. With cover right-backs Ryan Fredericks and Ben Johnson also sidelined through injury, there is an acute shortage of options at full-back for Moyes.
— West Ham United (@WestHam) December 20, 2021
The Scottish manager could set West Ham up in a 4-2-3-1 system and will be forced into making a whole raft of changes to his starting XI. Second-choice goalkeeper Alphonse Areola could start, replacing No. 1 Lukasz Fabianski. The experienced Craig Dawson will take his place alongside Issa Diop at the heart of back-four, while youngster Harrison Ashby and Arthur Masuaku will take up the right-back and left-back positions, respectively.
Declan Rice should ideally be rested after starting so many games this season, but Moyes cannot afford to bench his best midfielder for this crucial encounter. The England international would help his side control the midfield alongside Mark Noble – making his 538th club appearance – in a double midfield pivot.
Nikola Vlasic could come into the attacking third and look to impress following an underwhelming start to his West Ham career. The Croatian will form an attacking trio alongside energetic Pablo Fornals and Manuel Lanzini.
The Hammers’ primary striking outlet Michail Antonio has recently struggled for confidence in front of goal, failing to score in his last eight league games. This rut in front of goal has impacted the entire team’s goalscoring dynamic, as they have gone three games without scoring across all competitions. The 31-year-old English marksman will be hoping to rediscover his scoring boots against Tottenham.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Areola; Ashby, Dawson, Diop, Masuaku; Noble, Rice; Vlasic, Fornals, Lanzini; Antonio
- West Ham have managed only one win in their last six games in all competitions.
- Tottenham have an excellent home record and have lost only twice since May. These two defeats came against Manchester United and Chelsea.
- Tottenham have scored two or more goals in six of their last eight clashes at home, while the visitors have scored only five goals in six league encounters.
- The Hammers have already won against Tottenham to make it consecutive victories in this fixture, and another one this midweek would put them on a three-match winning streak for the first time since May 2014.
- Heung-min Son boasts an excellent track record against West Ham, producing 5 goals and 7 assists in 11 starts against the Irons.
Player to Watch
Although Son grabbed the equalizer to earn his side a point against Liverpool, he would be fairly disappointed that he could not add a couple more to his tally despite having several golden opportunities. The South Korean forward is in a rich vein of goalscoring form at the moment, bagging 3 goals and an assist in his last three outings. In total, he has produced 8 goals and 3 assists across all competitions this season.
While he has always been a fan favourite with his work rate, flair, and commitment, he has truly grown into the main man up front this season. The lethal combo of Kane and Son seems to be reigniting in recent games, which would be welcome news to Tottenham faithful. Son will again be looking to produce the goods in the final third against West Ham.
Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 West Ham United
West Ham are suffering somewhat of a slump of late and are winless in their last three games. But they will head into this game having had a week off, whilst Tottenham had played Liverpool in a tense and demanding game just three days prior to this encounter.
Having knocked out both Manchester giants previously in this competition, the Hammers would be optimistic of their chances to go all the way. They have a solid record against Spurs in the past, but given their defensive absences and combining it with Tottenham’s great home record under Conte, this might be the game where they fall short.
The game may last longer than 90 minutes in North London, and it would not be a surprise if Tottenham, buoyed by their 2-2 draw against Liverpool, emerge as victors in this one. The Hard Tackle predicts a tight and intense clash at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, with the Lilywhites edging the outcome with a 2-1 scoreline.