New Rule: Spurs end every festive period with a home fixture against Chelsea. Tottenham’s win wasn’t an impossible result, but it certainly didn’t seem likely. Nine months after The Battle of Bridge, Spurs got their just revenge and defeated Chelsea 2-0 in comprehensive fashion. Spurs were the better side for the majority of the match and earned a decisive and deserved three points. Dele has been on fire of late, and Eriksen has been pretty darn good since late November too, but these two players, especially the former, are guys who haven’t necessarily been at their best this season. When they click, Tottenham Hotspur win and can beat anyone in the Premier League. Its not any more complicated than that.
The win catapults Spurs into third place in the Premier League table, level with Manchester City on points, but ahead by a margin of six in goal differential. Spurs trail Liverpool by two points and league leaders and recently dispatched Chelsea by seven points, with Arsenal and Manchester United occupying fifth and sixth place, one and three points behind Spurs respectively. Twenty matches into the 2016-17 season and its still really crowded at the top.
West Bromwich Albion are having a wonderful season under Tony Pulis. At twenty-nine points they’ve earned sole possession of eighth place, are just one behind a talented Everton side for the seventh spot, and have created breathing room for themselves between them and the middling pack. Say what you want about the perennially unattractive football Tony Pulis employs, but the sides he manages win points and perform. He has the ability to take scantily talented squads and push them for not only top half Premier League finishes, but Europa League places too. For many clubs in England, his dreary approach to football isn’t sinister, but welcome — a respite from the agonizing pressure of a relegation battle.
The Baggies have been clinical in defeating the teams they should, which is impressive in its own-right, but have struggled against everyone else. Their best result of the season might be the 1-1 draw against Spurs in October. Salomon Rondon continues to be a great signing for Albion as he once again leads the team in goals and appearances. Gareth Mcauley, Darren Fletcher, Ben Foster, and Craig Dawson continue to be staples in the spine of the side and offer a real dose of experience and organization.
Yet it is the summer signings of Nacer Chadli and Matt Phillips that might be the difference for the team in the first half. Nacer Chadli has brought that technical quality, finishing ability, and bit of flair to the Baggies attack, while Phillips, a predominantly lower league player until this year, is leading the team in assists. He is pacey, strong, tirelessly committed to the side, and can smack a goal here and there too. Their improved caliber of players going forward, combined with veteran defenders, and Tony Pulis’ stingy style of play make West Brom a difficult opponent to face on Saturday.
Spurs are on a real run here. They have won eight of their last nine fixtures in all competitions, five straight in the Premier League, and their last six matches overall. Albion are far from easy competition, but the team is at home and looking to maintain their high standing in the table before a marquee matchup with City next week. If Spurs put forth the effort, they should be able to break a defensively sound Baggie side and take three points.
How to Watch
Date/time: Saturday, January 14, 12:30 pm (UK), 7:30 am (ET)
Venue: White Hart Lane, North London, UK
Match Official: Anthony Taylor
TV: NBC Sports Network (USA), Sky Sports 1 (UK), TSN5 (Canada), Optus Sport (Australia), other listings at livesoccertv.com
Streaming: NBC Sports Live Extra (USA)
Radio: Audio streamed at tottenhamhotspur.com, also often at BBC Radio London, BBC Radio 5 Live, and TalkSport
Good news on the Erik Lamela front! While the Argentinian remains in Rome, Mauricio Pochettino has indicated that he is scheduled to return to London next week and will be assessed to begin training then.
With a fully fit squad the big question is which formation Poche will choose. Is the 3-4-3 just the option for top sides or is it the preferred lineup to start against every team from now on? Its unquestionable success, combined with the fact that it puts our best eleven players on the field, indicates that this is Tottenham’s formation for the foreseeable future.
The lineup then is quite easy to predict. Hugo will start in net, with Eric Dier, Toby Alderweireld, and Jan Vertonghen forming the backline. Kyle Walker and Danny Rose will start as wing-backs, with Mousa Dembélé and Victor Wanyama playing the in the center of midfield. Christian Eriksen will start out left, Dele Alli out right, and Harry Kane will be run-out as the center striker. Its a confidence inducing starting eleven to say the least.
Tottenham’s performance was a massive win for their standings in the Premier League table, but it was also significant in the Cartilage Free Captain Prediction League standings too. While Spurs didn’t score five like GN Punk predicted, they did win and that puts him in a now three way tie for first place. Alex Greenberg, proving once and for all that karma is a thing, chose not spit in his friends drink, for which the universe granted him a perfect 2-0 scoreline. He and Tobias Fünke might be the two human beings on the planet who have it all figured out it seems. Alex is now in sole possession of second place. Lastly, I picked a Spurs win and sit level with such legends as Dustin Menno, Luke Zimmerman, and Brian Mechanick. BOOMSHACKALACKA.
Cartilage Free Captain Prediction League Standings
|Earl of Shoop||10|
Dustin Menno: This has the makings of a painful, awful match that Spurs will win, but it’ll be like pulling teeth. 1-0 Spurs.
Matthew Pachniuk: The Baggies put up a nice fight against Arsenal a few weeks back and I’m sure Saturday will not be easy for Spurs either. That said, the team is rolling right now and the right players are in top form. We will get one in the first half, which will force West Brom out of their turtle shell in the second half, for which we will snag the second and decisive goal. 2-0 Tottenham Hotspur.
Jake Meador: Tony Pulis is bad and West Brom is bad but we're rested, in form, and at home. 2-0 with goals from Kane and Dele.
Skipjack: 1-1. Silly Spurs fan. How much Pulis do you need to see before you learn?
Alex Greenberg: Love Chadli, hate West Brom. Gotta be a 1-1 draw. Any other scoreline and I'll be preparing my family for the apocalypse.
Pardeep Cattry: It's Spurs v. West Brom. It'll be 1-1, whether we like it or not.
GN Punk: I played this on FIFA today and it ended as a Spurs victory. We'll go with that. 2-1 Spurs
Salmon Chase: I am still alive and I believe in my soul that this is our last season with Dele before we relive the Bale 18 month exit saga. Gosh I'm cheery ain't I? 3-1 Spurs.
Bryan A: Spurs have beaten West Brom only once in their last seven Premier League matches. That trend continues. 0-0 draw.
Earl of Shoop: Sick and tired of our ongoing struggles against the Baggies, our boys hit West Brom hard in a convincing win. Kane scores two, the third's an own goal off of James Morrison's stupid face. Spurs 3-0