When it comes to London derbies, West Ham United against Tottenham Hotspur tends to be quite the memorable ties. Aggressive and exciting in equal measure, these games often go along with the cliché of form going out the window. In fact, the last five games have seen a pair of wins each and a draw. The Hammers impressed last season with an away draw in early January, having lost valiantly at home in the September Premier League fixture.
The Hammers have picked up a decent run of form at the moment; can they back that up post-international break with a good result at home against a hated rival?
Spurs, meanwhile, have recovered from an early season blip. Following a 3-0 win at Old Trafford against Manchester United, they fell into an alarming dip of form. Now coming out the other side in better condition, they’ll be looking to get a good result in East London against an Irons side on the up.
West Ham News
West Ham fans will be happy to see talismanic forward Marko Arnautovic bagging some goals for Austria. With four already in the league, expect him to continue to play a leading role in the way that West Ham come forward. His bustling, burly style helps to add some character to a side that, in the start of the season, looked pretty lifeless.
After a sluggish start to their campaign, West Ham are making use of the pace on the counter from the likes of Felipe Anderson. Good at running into space, too, it’ll be expected that they look to lure Spurs out before playing passes in behind. Given their own weaknesses in behind and defending on the flanks, they’ll want to try and keep Spurs at bay without coming too high.
The pre-season chat revolved around West Ham being a higher pressing side. That hasn’t come to fruition, with some of their new signings missing out for a more combative, counter-based approach. Given weaknesses at defending set pieces – and their opponents’ strength in the matter – they’ll need to be more proactive when defending such scenarios.
If they sit in too deep, that could lead to some pretty significant issues. Giving away too many fouls against a team that’s proficient from dead balls will only lead to problems. The likes of Arthur Masuaku will need to be ready for a barrage on the flanks.
If West Ham are likely to get any kind of progress in this match, they’ll need to be reliant on Spurs leaving them the space to play into. The Irons have been poor at defending leads, though, so this is a precarious acid test for a team that’s recovered well from a nightmare start.
Tottenham Hotspur News
Spurs, meanwhile, come into this one with an impressive three wins on the spin – culminating half of their seasons points tally already. They have seen a recovery come from ways that West Ham might worry about: strength on the flanks and prowess from dead ball situations. They are good when it comes to the ball going into the box, working well from dead balls and scoring from direct free-kicks, too.
For that reason, expect their dribblers to try get at a deeper lying West Ham defence, forcing them back and winning fouls. They’ll often try to keep the ball as West Ham will cede the ground, so expect Spurs to keep the ball circulating from side-to-side, looking to find that gap in the opposition defence.
They are strongest on the right, arguably, so it’ll be interesting to see how they get on down that side. The impressive form of Lucas Moura means he’ll be up against the equally impressive Masuaku for West Ham; how that duel turns out might be crucial to the end result of this tie.
We can expect to see Spurs come back from a tough period of form with more spring in their step. Add in the fact that Harry Kane looked back to his best for England, and there’s no reason why Spurs need to worry too much about getting goals.
The main challenge will come from ensuring they aren’t sloppy on the ball. West Ham are good on the break, as we mentioned, and they’ll no doubt look to use that as their main attacking outlet. If Spurs can look to make the use of the space that they have on the flanks, and can be patient with their passing, opportunities should be likely to open up.
West Ham United vs Tottenham Hotspur Match Verdict
We can see this being an aggressive, well-fought an energetic tie. Both sides looked to be likely candidates to underperform this season, so the speed of their turnaround has been pretty impressive. Add in the fact that they appear to be making regular improvements in terms of team collective after a tough start and it’s hard to say if one side or the other truly has the upper hand.
One thing that might matter, however, is the respective schedules. Tottenham have some UEFA Champions League action to take on; West Ham do not. With less West Ham players away on international duty, too, they are much more likely to have some freshness and zest in the squad to begin with.
For that reason, we can see this being a pretty enterprising game overall. Both teams have a decent match-up for one another: it just depends if the other is willing, and able, to counter their opponent.
With Spurs being weak to counter attacks, and West Ham being weak in wide areas, both team know how to hurt the other with relative ease. That’s going to create a fine attacking game, with sides likely to really make the other struggle.
A score draw feels the most likely option for us, and at 12/1 for a 2-2 draw, we’d feel comfortable backing that. While both teams are on a decent enough run, there’s the opportunity for enough failings to shine through to see enough goals for both sides; a clear winner, though, is hard to call.