I wrote last week about the importance of winning the little games. And indeed, the big result on the last weekend was not the draw in the big London but rather either Manchester City's loss at Aston Villa or Manchester United's loss home to West Bromwich Albion. Arsenal's win at Swansea City falls somewhere in between big and little, but the big mover in the projections this week was of course Arsenal. Spurs and Chelsea both stayed in place but saw their projections improve because of the struggles of the teams around them in the table.
Folks have been joking about the rather dire slate of games this weekend—any hipster will tell you the match to watch is Southampton-Swansea—and outside of the clash of the mid-table giants there really isn't that much. City-Everton should be a good test of the streaking Toffees, and Everton has been climbing up my projections table apace. But overall there's not that much this weekend. "Not that much" weekends, I think, are quite often the ones that determine the shape of the table at the end of the season. Spurs have been holding serve in home games like this weekend's London Derby, and we need to, you know, keep doing that.
It might not be terribly easy, despite the very good numbers below. In a season of dour football, no one has played less exciting football than the Hammers, at least by the numbers. West Ham have produced just eight SiBoT in six games and only two big chances. Both those numbers are worst in the league. West Ham's 11 SiBoT and 5 BC allowed are very good numbers, roughly equal to the Spurs and Chelsea defensive numbers.
The only West Ham match I've watched this season were the final twenty minutes of their loss to Everton, when they were playing down a man and generally being overrun by a better side. The numbers suggest that in the other 520 minutes of league football the Hammers have played, they have been a big claret and blue bus parked in front of Jussi Jääskeläinen's goal. We'll see what kind of approach they take tomorrow, but I'd expect them to try very hard to let the air out of the ball.
Projections for Spurs-West Ham
A bump up to 77% from 73% this last week would be a very minor improvement. The projections already expect Spurs to win this game, so it doesn't give us much reward for hanging in there.
As with last week, my game projection numbers are tracking the bookies quite well. Here the differences are mere rounding error. I'm kind of proud of that.