Tottenham Hotspur’s win over Watford on Monday was a drab, dull, and sometimes reckless affair. This isn’t the football that Spurs’ fans have become accustomed to, but a win is a win and pre Poch Tottenham certainly drops points in that encounter. Yet those three points really make the outlook of Spurs’ final standing in the table significantly more rosy. Even if Spurs lost, they’d still be in the drivers seat for Champions League spots, but this makes the last three matches that much more comfortable for player and supporter alike.
Liverpool drew last weekend so they are just one point ahead of Spurs with a game in hand. The win maintains a five point gap between Tottenham and Chelsea too. With Chelsea and Liverpool playing each other this weekend, Spurs are in a great to spot capitalize and secure a Champions League place with a win. (A Chelsea loss or draw secures it, a Liverpool loss or tie unofficially stamps it...save a historic collapse in the the last two matches). United are six points ahead of Spurs in second place.
From January 31st to March 31st West Bromwich Albion didn’t win a single point in any competition. In fact, up until April the Baggies only won one game, a 2-0 victory over Brighton, since August. These are dismal streaks and its why the Albion are in twentieth place and in danger of dropping out of the Premier League for the first time this decade. Yet there is some hope. West Brom are undefeated in April and have won eight points in four matches including a shock triumph over City and a draw against Liverpool. If there was ever a bad time to play the Baggies this year, it might be right now.
Nacer Chadli has only made three appearances for the club and while other pundits will point to an aging roster past their prime or Tony Pulis not having Charlie Adam to terrorize the opposition, this is the clear reason for WBA’s form this year. Salomon Rondon has eleven goals for the club and Jay Rodriguez has added ten — with an impressive forty-two appearances — to lead the attack. Daniel Sturridge has only played seventy-seven minutes for the Baggies this season which is shocking and sad for both the player and the club.
West Brom’s strength lies in their defense and they have some experienced stalwarts in the back. Jake Livermore and Johnny Evans form a nice partnership in the center of defense, while Ben Foster and Kieran Gibbs are veterans who won’t light the world on fire, but can provide a reliable shift. Its a defense who recently shut out Manchester City and will be playing for their Premier League lives. Saturday will be no walk in the park for Tottenham Hotspur.
How to Watch
Date/time: Saturday May 5th, 2018, 3:00 p.m. (UK), 10:00 a.m. ET (USA)
Venue: The Hawthorns, West Bromwich, UK
Official: Mike Jones
TV: CNBC (USA), Sportsnet World Now, Sportsnet Pacific, Sportsnet East, Sportsnet West, Sportsnet Ontario (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
Harry Winks is still unavailable, while Moussa Dembélé is in doubt. Poch didn’t rotate anybody from the FA Cup semifinal to Watford and I have a feeling that he’ll keep with this eleven again, save Moose. The fullbacks could and really should be rotated, but Poch might have his starting eleven for the remainder of the year.
Hugo will be in net, with Trippier, Sanchez, Vertonghen, and Davies across the back four. The Moose Dier pivot, who were awful against Watford, will be broken up. The odds are that Its either Victor or Moussa to replace him. I feel like Poch should play Christian there and get Lamela or Lucas in the attacking band, but I don’t think he will. The Dier-Wanyama pivot is just dreadful, so I think Moussa Sissoko will cameo for Dembélé. Sonny, Dele, and Christian will form the attacking band, with Harry Kane up top.
Dustin Menno nailed a 2-0 result and the coffin on the rest of the masthead on Saturday. With a commanding three point lead with three matches to play a collapse here would be epic and pitiful and would maybe even go viral if anybody actually read this column. No pressure whatsoever, Dustin.
Cartilage Free Captain Prediction League Standings 2017-18
|Earl of Shoop||20|
Dustin Menno: I want to believe. Spurs 2-0.
Matthew Pachniuk: This is the worst stretch of football the team has played all year and Harry Kane still looks injured. This though my friends, is not your father’s Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. Spurs slug it out with WBA to a laborious 2-0 win.
GN Punk: Spurs need a few points to lock something down and are facing a relegation side. I’ve seen this movie before....
Nah. WBA are god awful. Spurs 3-0.
Pardeep Cattry: Spurs pay tribute to West Brom matches past before they go down. West Brom 1-1 Tottenham.
Jake Meador: We are bad again but still manage to win. 2-0.
Skipjack: WBA’s stock is rising but I expect a sudden downturn as is usual. 1-0 Spurs.
Ed F: WBA are suddenly playing like they give a damn about going down despite being basically already there, and we’ve been a bit pap of late. Still anticipate a 1-0 win for Spurs but it won’t be much fun.
Earl of Shoop:
Salmon Chase: OK I’ve got some things to say about werewolves. !. Ya’ll killed that list, as a group you usually have several horrendous takes like bread and Butter Pickles are good or something. not that time. F—king nailed it. 2. Way to resist the urge to pivot to something that probably happened on Trueblood after you got through the first three references. That temptation had to be there, and you resisted. way to go. 3. Also has this blog actually been mostly about Soccer the entire time? If so I ignored that with every thing I wrote. 3-0 Spurs. [Editor’s note: this prediction is reprinted verbatim. Miss u, Salmon.]
Alex Greenberg: Time to relegate some Baggies. 3-0 Spurs.
Nathan Giannini: Spurs win 3-1 to finally rid the Premier League of the blight that is West Brom.
Joel Wertheimer: 4-0 win. I want to root for chaos in Liverpool-Chelsea.
Joe Patrick: If Kane was fully healthy and trying to score 5 goals per game to win the golden boot, I’d feel one way. But it’s the other way. We still win a close one though 2-1.
Bryan A: TBD™