What a weird six weeks its been. A thrashing of Manchester City and a hard earned draw at the Emirates are bookends to a slew of disappointing results throughout October. Tottenham Hotspur aren't in disaster mode yet, but the degree of optimism about the side has decreased by a magnitude. Spurs are desperate for three points on Saturday.
Still unbeaten in the Premier League, Tottenham sit fifth in table, three points clear of sixth placed Manchester United, three points behind third placed Manchester City, and just five points off the top spot. While things have been undoubtedly gloomy in North London, there are blue skies to be had if these damn storm clouds will ever disperse.
Yet if Spurs supporters are feeling down, their negativity doesn't hold a candle to anyone rooting for West Ham United. The Hammers currently sit seventeenth in the Premier League with eleven points, just one point clear of the relegation spots. Their one standout performance this year was a 2-1 victory over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, but other than that, they've had a pretty dismal campaign.
What is insane is that Slaven Bilic's roster is nearly unchanged from last year's successful side. Dimitri Payet is still wonderful at football and its certainly not his form that is ruining the Hammers. There are two reasons why Tottenham should be wary of West Ham on Saturday — the first is the importance that the East London side puts on the rivalry and the second is clearly Payet. The French international and attacking midfielder can create goals from nothing and if he is in the game, West Ham have a chance to nick points from any match. That said, as banged up as Tottenham are, West Ham might be worse. The ancient, yet reliable Mark Noble will be banned for the match and defenders Winston Reid and James Collins are fitness concerns. Andy Carroll remains sidelined with a long term knee injury too.
Its a London derby and a match that matters to both fanbases. If Spurs are worried about form, this might be a good match to get them back on track. These fixtures are always spirited and sometimes these visceral encounters can jumpstart a floundering side. Lets hope this is the case for Tottenham Hotspurs on Saturday.
How to Watch
Date/time: Sunday, November 19, 2016, 5:30 p.m. (UK), 12:30 p.m. ET (USA)
Venue: White Hart Lane,London, UK
Official: Mike Dean
TV: NBC (USA), NBC Universo / Telemundo (USA - Spanish), BT Sport 1 (UK), TSN 1 (Canada), Optus Sport (Australia), other listings at livesoccertv.com
Streaming: NBC Live Sports Extra
Radio: Audio streamed at tottenhamhotspur.com, also often at BBC Radio London, BBC Radio 5 Live, and TalkSport
Three players will be missing on Saturday and they are Toby Alderweireld, Ben Davies, and Erik Lamela. Toby's absence continues to be a strain for Spurs. It seems he has been rumored as being "close" for weeks now, but he is still unavailable selection against West Ham. For this reason, Eric Dier will slot in next to Jan Vertonghen, with Danny Rose and Kyle starting at left and right back respectively.
The double pivot looks to be a pretty straight forward selection for Pochettino too. Dele Alli hasn't been ruled out of contention for Saturday, which is fantastic news, but its likely he'll be saved for Tuesday's Champions League draw against Monaco. Moose looks to be healthy and will partner will Victor Wanayama in the center of the park.
The attacking four received some good news on the injury front with Christian Eriksen and Son Heung-Min fit and ready to play. Both of them will start with Sonny playing out left and Eriksen being given a free reign in the middle. Georges-Kevin Nkoudou could potentially get the start over the so far underwhelming Moussa Sissoko, but I think Poche will give the former Newcastle man another chance. Either way, expect GNK to get minutes with Son and Eriksen likely not at peak fitness. Harry Kane, the legend, will start on Saturday up top.
Jake Meador and GN Punk nailed the 1-1 scoreline and move two points up in the standings. Brian Mechanick was the only other writer to get the prediction correct. Meador emphatically vaults into sole possession of first place, while GN Punk moves into third place distancing himself from the rabble.
|Earl of Shoop||4|
Dustin Menno: Dimiti Payet is good, but West Ham are bad. We should not have difficulties with this side, but on current form I still expect a stupidly close match. 2-1 Spurs and all our fingernails are bitten to the quick.
Matthew Pachniuk: If I keep predicting wins they'll happen right? Spurs will triumph because Harry Edward Kane is back in the lineup. He'll get one and so will Sonny. Spurs 2-1.
Pardeep Cattry: Spurs have a host of injuries, but with the freshness that comes the week after an international break and a fit Harry Kane, Spurs will play their best game in weeks. Tottenham 2-1.
Salmon Chase: Look West Ham are terrible, that said I am currently living in a new America, so there are no laws. I mean like laws of matter, the Issac Newton ones. So anything can happen. Maybe Tom Carroll actually contributes something OH! 2-2 Spurs are sad.
Luke Zimmerman: Life is fleeting and futile. 0-0.
Jake Meador: 1-1; Payet for them, Kane for us.
GN Punk: West Ham are awful. Dimitri Payet should be kicking down the door of their owner's office demanding to be sold to the Icelandic Third Division to escape their mess. While we have injuries and problems of our own, we are not as bad as West Ham. 2-0 Spurs.
Skipjack: 1-1 as heat death begins its inevitable approach because nothing matters
Brian Meyers: West Ham aren't good but our injuries will probably prevent us from getting the three points. 1-1
Ben Daniels: All we do is draw draw draw no matter what. Spurs are in 5th place. And we'll stay there. And we'll stay there. And we'll stay there. 1-1.
Brian Mechanick: Things have to get better. Give me a 1-0 Spurs win.
Alex Greenberg: Harry Kane loves a London derby, and I really don't think West Ham's defense can handle him. 3-1 Spurs.
Bryan A: Harry Kane is back, We're playing at White Hart Lane, and West Ham are an absolute dumpster fire. They'll score a goal, but only because they're not playing at the London Stadium or whatever it is we're supposed to call their new home. 4-1 Spurs.
Earl of Shoop: West Ham surprise everyone with a dominating win over Spurs. Why? Because nothing in this world is good and just. Bad guys 2-0.