Having revived their top 4 bid with a home win over Sunderland, West Ham will not be lacking motivation when they host local rivals Tottenham at their Boleyn Ground. Spurs have emerged as serious title contenders after winning six straight Premier League fixtures, but the run will be put to a serious test in midweek.
West Ham have been enjoying one of the most successful seasons in recent years, as the Hammers have flourished under former Croatia boss Slaven Bilic. His brave approach was the main reason why the Boleyn Ground outfit recorded some impressive wins over top 4 sides on the road in the opening exchanges and these served as a great impetus for the remainder of the season. And even though many expected West Ham to fail, their rich vein of form continued and the team now have a unique chance to soar to unimagined heights. And while the Premier League campaign remains the priority, the Hammers are now in the FA Cup quarter-finals and they stand a decent shot at making it to the semi-finals, having been pitted against injury-hit Manchester United. Shifting the focus back to the league championship, West Ham now sit mere four points behind fourth-placed Manchester City and they are brimming with confidence ahead of the clash with high-flying Spurs. And even though the hosts have some selection problems to contend with, we are backing them to put a dent into Tottenham’s title bid.
January recruit Sam Byram starts a two-match ban after accumulating ten yellow cards, meaning that winger Michael Antonio will start at right-back.
Winston Reid faces a fitness test, whereas Enner Valencia, Biafra Sakho, James Tomkins and Joey O’Brien are out injured.
Tottenham bosses have been properly rewarded for sticking with Maurico Pochettino after his debut season didn’t exactly go as planned, with the Argentine manager winning praise for media and fans alike for his exploits with Spurs this season. Thanks to Leicester’s amazing performances, Tottenham were able to fly under the radar for much of the league campaign, and they took great advantage of being away from the spotlight. But, having climbed to within two points of the top of the standings, it is now clear that Spurs are genuine title contenders and it remains to be seen how they are going to cope with increased expectations. The reality is that their performances have dropped of late, as witnessed by under-par showings against Crystal Palace and Swansea City, whereas Tottenham also failed to impress in the double header against Fiorentina, even though the result would suggest otherwise. And with star striker Harry Kane not exactly on top of his game at the moment, Spurs could find it hard to extend the winning run.
Dele Alli is set to start after overcoming a foot injury, meaning Spurs could be unchanged from weekend’s triumph over Swansea.
Nevertheless, the likes of Moussa Dembele, Jan Vertonghen, Clinton N’Jie and Tom Carroll are all in the infirmary.
Key Factors to Consider
- West Ham won three of last six meetings with Spurs (D1 L2)
- Over 2.5 goals were scored in six of last eight meetings
- The Hammers are unbeaten in 13 home games (W8 D5)
- West Ham kept four clean sheets in last six home fixtures
- Spurs won last six Premier League matches
West Ham are brimming with confidence at the moment and having done so well at their Boleyn Ground this season, we expect them to put an end to Tottenham’s winning run. But, considering that Spurs have been on fire of late, draw seems the most likely outcome.
Best Odds: 13/5