Wednesday, April 25, 2018

West Ham v Tottenham: Rose looking forward to character-testing run-in

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 29 Feb 2016


Danny Rose believes Tottenham’s Premier League title challenge is revealing the character of the squad, which will likely be tested again when they visit West Ham on Wednesday.

Tottenham needed to come from behind to see off relegation-threatened Swansea City 2-1 on Sunday, with Rose grabbing the winner 13 minutes from time.

Just two points behind league leaders Leicester City, Tottenham now face a key week in the title race with games against sixth-placed West Ham and north London rivals Arsenal. 

It is an unfamiliar position for Rose, who has been at White Hart Lane since 2007, but he is relishing a week that could prove pivotal in deciding whether Spurs will win a first league title in 55 years.

“This is the business end of the season. I’ve been here a long time and I don’t think I’ve been in this position,” the full-back told Tottenham’s website. 

“It’s testing times at the minute and you find out how many characters you have in the squad. Since I’ve been here, I don’t think there has been a week like we’re about to have now with West Ham and the derby on Saturday.

“This sets us up nicely for West Ham and I’m thoroughly looking forward to it.”

Tottenham are unbeaten in their last 12 Premier League away games but will face a tough task to extend that streak against West Ham, who have exceeded expectations this campaign.

West Ham are sixth in the table on 43 points, just four points outside the Champions League places, but manager Slaven Bilic says the pressure is still very much on his team.

“We try and win every game, no matter who we play. There’s a long way to go this season. Okay, for now, 43 points we are in a good position,” Bilic told West Ham’s website.

“The only focus is to finish as high as possible. We don’t have any other goal than that, no specific target.

“We need to continue to fight every game because every game is tough, and there are a lot of teams near us.

“In some ways we are already a victim of our own success. The only way we can stop the expectations rising is to lose games, which of course we don’t want. The pressure is always on.”

West Ham defender Sam Byram is suspended, while Joey O’Brien (hamstring) and James Tomkins (calf) are out. Winston Reid (hamstring) could return as could Diafra Sakho (thigh), but it remains to be seen if Enner Valencia will be fit to come back from an ankle issue. 

Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli’s fitness will be assessed after he appeared to injure his foot in the warm-up before the Swansea game, although he did complete 90 minutes on Sunday. Mousa Dembele (groin), Tom Carroll (Achilles), Jan Vertonghen and Clinton N’Jie (both knee) are on the sidelines.

Key Opta Stats:
– The Hammers have won only three of the last 17 Premier League games against Spurs (W3 D3 L11).
– There have been three red cards shown in the last two meetings between the two sides at Upton Park.
– Michail Antonio has scored in four and assisted in the other of his last five Premier League appearances at the Upton Park.
– Tottenham have now won 17 points from losing positions in the Premier League this season; more than any other side.


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