Tottenham Hotspur put in a performance for the ages against Arsenal in their last visit to White Hart Lane. The 2-0 victory was a fantastic result, but it really masked what could have been an even more decisive scoreline. Spurs were the better side throughout and their confidence was palpable — they could have blown the Gunners out if not for the stellar goalkeeping of Petr Cech. Arsenal were dangerous for maybe ten minutes in the first half, and neither side was wonderful in the first fifteen, but Spurs just always looked in control. In North London derbies that are typically manic and bombastic, Tottenham seemed above the pettiness of the fray. It was the perfect send-off for our historic side in a historic season.
Spurs are firmly entrenched in second place and unless a lot of wacky things happen in the next four games to Spurs, United, City, and Liverpool, then Tottenham have seemingly secured the second spot in the Premier League. Just four points off Chelsea, Spurs will look to pounce at any dropped points that the Blues may incur, however easy of a run-in the East London club have in their last four matches.
Tottenham’s opponent this week is West Ham United. Spurs bitter rival to the East haven’t had the greatest of campaigns. After a massively successful 2015-16 that saw them earn European football, the Hammers have failed to not only keep pace with last year’s team, but do nothing to remotely resemble the side that won seventh place and sixty-two points last season. They currently sit fifteenth in the Premier League table with a negative fifteen goal differential and fifty-nine goals conceded. Wowzers.
Andy Carroll looks to be fit and will likely feature. The oft-injured forward, when on his game, is lethal in the air and can be a brute up front. Andre Ayew has had a disappointing campaign after his big money summer transfer from Swansea and will either partner with Carroll up top or out wide in the Hammers attack. Manuel Lanzini, the club’s best (and maybe only) playmaker will play in the number ten role, while the ageless Mark Noble will partner him, with great mediocrity, in central midfield. West Ham’s defense is serviceable: Winston Reid and Jose Fonte most notably aren’t terrible, but they also aren’t special defenders and will struggle against Spurs’ high-flying attack.
As decidedly not good West Ham have been all year, they are playing at home, against their greatest rival, with a chance to extinguish any hope of a Tottenham Hotspur title bid. If the Hammers personnel have any fight left in them, this should be sufficient motivation. Its hard to imagine though that Spurs will lose focus now. They are primed to continue their form, take three points, and keep the heat on Chelsea at the top of the table.
How to Watch
Date/time: Friday, 8:00 p.m. (UK), 3:00 p.m. ET (USA)
Venue: London Stadium, London, UK
Official: Anthony Taylor
TV: NBCSN (USA), Sky Sports 1/HD UK, BBC Radio, Sky Go UK (UK), Sportsnet World, (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
The big news on the injury front is that Danny Rose is set to return to full training with the first team next week. Rose has been “close” for awhile now, but its nice to hear something concrete from the club.
Spurs trotted out a 4-2-3-1 against Arsenal, but that was with Mousa Dembélé starting on the bench. The other lineup surprise was Kyle Walker’s continued stay on the bench. Rumors are swirling about Walker’s future with the club, but Friday’s West Ham encounter will either quell or proliferate them greatly. Its all hearsay, but the notion that Walker and Pochettino had a falling out isn’t good. Walker is a wonderful player and somebody who I thought would be at the club throughout his prime, but a fracture with Pochettino is a death knell for any player. If Walker doesn’t start, the notion that the two had a blow-out argument is probably true.
I think Moose starts and Walker remains on the bench. With Moose starting, we revert back to a 3-4-3. Dier, Alderweireld, and Vertonghen will start in the three center-back spots, with Kieran Trippier and Ben Davies playing in place of the PFA team of the year outside backs. Victor Wanyama and Mousa Dembélé will start in the center of the park, while Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli, and Harry Kane will play in the attack.
Everybody in the Masthead picked Spurs to win —- there would be rats among us if this wasn’t the case in the final North London Derby at White Hart Lane. Alex Greenberg nailed on the exact score and separates himself from Tyrannical Overlord and all around terrible human being Dustin Menno in the standings. Power to the People.
Cartilage Free Captain Prediction League Standings
|Earl of Shoop
Dustin Menno: Tottenham Hotspur will crush West Ham. And then make t-shirts. Possibly a DVD. 4-0 Spurs.
Matthew Pachniuk: West Ham don’t want to play this game. Lets set the tone for the weekend. 3-0 Spurs.
Alex Greenberg: I'm already having bad flashbacks to this fixture last year. I think it's tight, but Dele gets one to the great dismay of the London Stadium. 1-0 Spurs.
Jake Meador: I'm with Alex. Game is annoying and bad but Dele to the rescue. 1-0 Spurs.
GN Punk: We all struggle to watch this match because the cameras are seven miles away from the pitch, but in the end, Spurs coast. 3-0 Spurs.
Earl of Shoop: In what is probably one of his last appearances for Spurs (*sobbing sounds*), Kyle Walker recreates his beautiful 2015/2016 outside of the foot goal against the same garbage opponents. Also we score a few other goals because that's what we do this season. Spurs 4-0.
Pardeep Cattry: This'll probably be easier than the last time Spurs played West Ham. 2-0 Tottenham.