Christian Eriksen returns for London Derby
The Premier League finally returns after the October international break with Spurs in action against West Ham at the London Stadium on Saturday.
Spurs have equalled their best ever start to a Premier League season after eight games by picking up 18 points. They have not played at their best so far and a number of injury problems have also hit the squad so Mauricio Pochettino can be very pleased with his team’s start.
In their matches before the international break Spurs recorded some unspectacular wins against Huddersfield, Brighton and Cardiff to see them rise to fifth in the table, just two points off the leaders. The game against West Ham is the start of a hectic schedule for the Lilywhites, with seven matches being played between now and the 10th November in all competitions.
West Ham on the other hand have not had the best of starts to their Premier League campaign. Manuel Pellegrini lost his first four games in charge and from there things looked bleak with some tough upcoming fixtures on the horizon. However wins against Everton and Manchester United, along with a draw against Chelsea, showed that his side could compete with the stronger teams in the league and a surge up the table seemed likely.
However the Hammers disappointed in their most recent Premier League outing against Brighton, going down 1-0 at the Amex Stadium, where Spurs defeated the Seagulls 2-1 earlier in the campaign.
Although many of them were involved in the international break, Pellegrini will want to see a reaction from his players in the derby against Spurs in front of a packed London Stadium.
West Ham v Spurs Team News
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) October 18, 2018
The main team news for Spurs is that Mousa Dembele and Christian Eriksen are back in training and are available for the match against West Ham. Eriksen had an abdominal injury which meant he took no part in the international break after missing a number of games for Spurs. Dembele on the other hand has recovered from a thigh injury.
After both playing in Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers for their countries, Serge Aurier and Victor Wanyama are also expected to be available for Spurs, although their long journeys over the past week may mean they only appear on the bench.
Dele Alli and Danny Rose are still out and are expected to return within the next ten days whereas Jan Vertonghen remains absent for the foreseeable future.
West Ham have a few slight injury worries going into the encounter with Spurs. Marco Arnautovic, Arthur Masuaku, Javier Hernandez and Robert Snodgrass were all doubts but all four are expected to be ready for the weekend.
Jack Wilshere, Andy Carroll and Manuel Lanzini are all still long-term injuries for the Hammers.
West Ham v Spurs: Predicted Line-up
The back four and goalkeeper pick themselves for Spurs because of the injuries in the squad. Kieran Trippier will more than likely get the nod ahead of Serge Aurier but the Ivorian may get his start in the Champions League against PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday.
After both starring against Spain for England on Monday, Harry Winks and Eric Dier should start in the centre of midfield for Spurs. Mousa Dembele may come straight back into the side but, given Spurs’ hectic run of games, Pochettino may hold him back for now.
If fit enough, Eriksen will be involved from the start whereas Pochettino has to pick two out Erik Lamela, Lucas Moura and Heung-min Son to play on either wing. We think he’ll go with Lamela and Lucas as they have both been in impressive form this campaign.
Harry Kane will once again lead the line for Spurs. He showed just how much of a top quality striker he was in the international break despite not scoring. His hold up play and work rate were exceptional and he picked up two assists against Spain as a perfect foil to Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling.
Son, Moura and Lamela may all play a similar role if Kane drops a little deeper for his club, which he has done in the last month or so.
West Ham v Spurs One to Watch: Issa Diop
José Mourinho says Issa Diop was a monster for West Ham today. Congratulated scouts who found him. Diop recommended to West Ham by Mark McKay (also took Dimitri Payet there). Diop should have been on United radar: Toulouse captain at 20 & played in Euro-winning France U19 team
— Kaveh Solhekol (@SkyKaveh) September 29, 2018
Much of the spotlight will be on Marco Arnautovic as West Ham’s main threat, and rightly so, but the emergence of Issa Diop has gone slightly under the radar.
After scoring against AFC Wimbledon in the Carabao Cup the young Frenchman forced himself into the starting XI and has not looked back. Still only 21, the former Toulouse man has pace and athleticism but is also composed with the ball at his feet. Jose Mourinho recently described his as a “monster,” after West Ham defeated his Manchester United side earlier in the season.
Diop has formed a good partnership with fellow new signing Fabian Balbuena in defence for West Ham and both will aim to keep Harry Kane quiet in their first game against Spurs on Saturday.
What the Managers Said
Spurs Manager Mauricio Pochettino
“It will be a tough month of competition for us. There are a lot of games ahead and it’s so important to have nearly all the squad fit to compete and play and to give options to rotate and share the games because it will be tough, the months we have ahead.”
“The approach is like always – to try to go there and win. Of course West Ham are doing so well in the last few weeks. They drew against Chelsea and they beat Manchester United. They improve a lot from the beginning. We’re going to face a team that is in a very good shape, with a fantastic manager.”
“I admire a lot Manuel and I’m sure he’s going to do a fantastic job there. Of course it’s a derby, it’s a special game and that will be emotional for the fans, and that’s why the approach will be trying to win the game and trying to be better than then. West Ham are a very good team with very good players and it will be such a tough game.”
West Ham Manager Manuel Pellegrini
“There’s always an opportunity if you play well and you win. We know it’s important to try and recover points as quickly as we can. We have played eight games and perhaps we don’t have the points we wanted or deserved. Now we have a chance to add more.”
“Tottenham are a good team with a lot of young players. Pochettino has done a very good job and they are one of the division’s top teams. I think we were very unlucky not to take something from Brighton, but if you don’t score the chances you have you normally lose the game. We hope to improve that this weekend.” (football.london)
West Ham v Spurs Match Stats
- Spurs have won their last four London derbies in the Premier League, it’s not since 1961 that they have won five in a row.
- In the last six meetings between the teams, West Ham have won three, Spurs have won two and they have drew once.
- Spurs beat West Ham 3-2 in the same fixture last season, with Harry Kane scoring twice in the first half.
West Ham v Spurs Referee
— Premier League (@premierleague) October 2, 2018
Experienced referee Martin Atkinson will be in charge of the tie on Saturday. He was the man with the whistle in Spurs’ first match of the season against Newcastle and was also referee for West Ham’s away victory at Everton in September.
In the eight Premier League matches he has officiated in so far this season, he has produced 29 yellow cards, 0 red cards and 2 penalties.
West Ham v Spurs Predicted Score
It will undoubtedly be a huge test for Spurs at the weekend as West Ham have the makings of a very good team. They showed against Everton and Manchester United that, on their day, they can be a force to contend with. Their most recent loss to Brighton will also mean that the players will look to put right a disappointing result and performance on Saturday.
Spurs have been getting results without playing well and many fans are excited to see their side take their performances to another level. With the return of Eriksen and Dembele, and players like Winks, Dier and Kane all in form, Spurs should be attempting to go for the jugular against West Ham and get three points.
Our prediction is West Ham 1-2 Spurs.