Nobody likes to play two games in three days, but that’s exactly what the holiday fixture list has done to Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United. Both sides played hard-fought matches on Tuesday in the Premier League — Spurs defeated Swansea 2-0 in Wales in what was essentially monsoon conditions, and West Ham got a miraculous 94th minute goal from Andy Carroll to beat West Brom 2-1. Now, both teams collide for the second time this season at Wembley Stadium.
The first two games against the Hammers have been nervy affairs with identical scorelines. Tottenham took league honors at the London Stadium 3-2, but West Ham made it interesting, going down 3-0 before clawing two goals back. West Ham got revenge in the League Cup as a heavily rotated Spurs side without Harry Kane, Hugo Lloris, and Jan Vertonghen, derped away a 2-0 lead to fall 3-2.
Spurs would seem to have an advantage this time around. While both teams are going to be fielding tired players, Spurs at least have a history of excellent fitness, which may serve them well if they decide not to rotate as heavily. With the weekend match an FA Cup tie against Wimbledon on Sunday, there’s lots of time for Spurs’ established stars to rest over the next week. Then again, the same could be said for West Ham, who travel to Shrewsbury on the weekend.
Carroll, Manuel Lanzini, and Marko Arnautovic all went the distance for West Ham on Tuesday, but the Hammers still have a fresh Chicharito. Even so, West Ham are dinged up — Aaron Cresswell was subbed off with a knock against West Brom, Michail Antonio and Andre Ayew (who torched Spurs for two goals in the League Cup loss) are both doubts, and Diafra Sakho, James Collins, Jose Fonte and Sam Byram are all out for the Hammers.
Spurs will be without Toby Alderweireld, who is still returning from a hamstring injury, and Danny Rose will miss the match after re-injuring his knee. Mousa Dembele is back, as is Victor Wanyama. Tottenham have options if Mauricio Pochettino feels like some of his players can’t go.
Even so, Tottenham vs. West Ham is never exactly a FUN match. The Hammers seem to hate Spurs more than Spurs hate West Ham, but this is a fixture that our friends in east London seem to circle on their calendars every time. Tottenham are the better side, but if the previous two matches are any indication, that doesn’t seem to matter much.
How to Watch
Date/time: Thursday January 4, 2018, 8 pm p.m. (UK), 3 p.m. ET (USA)
Venue: Wembley Stadium, London, UK
Official: Mike Dean
TV: NBC Sports Network (USA), Sky Sports Premier League/Main Event (UK), Sportsnet World (Canada), Optus Sport (Australia), other listings at livesoccertv.com
Streaming: NBC Sports Live Extra (USA)
The big question is what Poch will do with his rotation. I don’t have the foggiest. Harry Kane will start since he was rested against Swansea. I assume Ben Davies will go for the second time in three days with Rose out. Hugo Lloris is a lock. But after that? No idea. Victor Wanyama could start today, or he could not. Moussa Sissoko could get a start today. Or he might not. Poch might opt to revert to a back three with a healthy midfield, or he could stick with the 4-2-3-1 that has worked so well lately. We just don’t know!
So here’s me, throwing a lineup at the wall and hoping it sticks.
Everyone nailed the result vs. Swansea (they are bad), with Matt, Pardeep, Ed, and Alex nailing the exact score. We march on!
Cartilage Free Captain Prediction League Standings 2017-18
|Earl of Shoop||13|
Dustin Menno: It’s a cup final, but I think Spurs can handle a rotated West Ham at home. There will probably be a stupid amount of goals that will make us all nervous. 3-2 Spurs
Matthew Pachniuk: TBD
GN Punk: This match is always wild. I think Spurs pull it out for a perfect holiday stretch. 3-1 Spurs.
Jake Meador: It will be extremely dumb. We will win. 3-1.
Pardeep Cattry: You know what they say: “It’s West Ham, lads.” Tottenham 3-2 West Ham
Earl of Shoop: Guys, I’m already so lazy in 2018. I don’t quite feel like the enormous disappointment this match will be for the Hammers, but still. 2-1 Spurs
Ed F: TBD
Salmon Chase: TBD
Bryan A: TBD
Joe Patrick: My prediction is a 3-0 win for Tottenham and someone will get a red card.
Alex Greenberg: It’s already a fixture that is prone to insanity, and Mike Dean is reffing this one. Literally anything could happen, but Spurs will win 2-1.
Joel Wertheimer: 4-0 Spurs. This is going to be a paddlin’.
Nathan Giannini: I hate this fixture. 2-2 draw