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Tottenham Hotspur vs. West Ham United Preview: A nauseating back-and-forth that never ends

The form teeter totter has gone WWLLWWWLL.

West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

All of the momentum from beating Manchester City has quickly evaporated for Tottenham Hotspur after a dreadful outing last weekend and a missed opportunity to take charge in the Champions League in an all-around lackluster affair in Milan. Reality has once again sunk in and the only question is how long this latest poor stretch will last.

The way this season has played out, there will be more bright spots ahead, but history suggests this weekend might not be one of them. West Ham United United famously does not quite care for Tottenham, and the sides ended level after an uninspiring 90 minutes at the London Stadium in August.

Spurs could really use a good performance to get back on track with Chelsea next weekend and the FA Cup soon after, but the Hammers will be just as motivated in their cup final with relegation looking like a real threat. Anything but a win will only increase the groans in North London, though, especially against this opponent.

Tottenham Hotspur (5th, 39pts) vs. West Ham United (16th, 20pts)

Date: Sunday, February 19
Time: 11:30 am ET, 4:30 pm UK
Location: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London, England
TV: USA Network (USA), Sky Sports Main Event (UK)

West Ham has earned its spot near the bottom of the table with just one win in the six matches leading up to the World Cup and one win in the seven since the break. However, a win over Everton and draws against Newcastle and Chelsea have the Hammers believing they can stay up in the top flight.

The challenge for Tottenham will be breaking down West Ham’s defense, which sits in the top-five in both goals allowed and xGA this season. The opposing attack should not be too threatening (provided Spurs stop making bad defensive mistakes), but expect the visitors to play for the draw again.

Recent results:

  • Aug 2022: 1-1 draw, away (OG)

Though the reverse fixture was near the beginning of the season, there were warning signs even back then. Subpar play from across the starting XI cost Spurs points against their pesky neighbors, and as has often been the case, there was too little Richarlison too late to rescue a 0.6 xG effort.

The lone Tottenham goal came from a rare sight this season: a Harry Kane—Heung-Min Son—Dejan Kulusevski counter. While those strikes have been largely absent this season, the club still has an overreliance on them as a steady source of scoring, which has obviously contributed to many of team’s frustrations.

It certainly feels like the only solution is to seek out changes, but with somewhat limited options and a stubborn manager, that might be a tough ask. However, Antonio Conte is still recovering, so perhaps this is where Richarlison comes in for Son and Pedro Porro can show why he was brought in this January. It is well past the point of expecting things to magically turn around on their own.