West Brom v Tottenham
Venue: Britannia Stadium
Kick off: The Hawthorns
Mousa Dembele believes West Brom’s recent results serve as a warning to Tottenham not to underestimate the Midlands club ahead of Saturday’s (today) Premier League encounter.
Tottenham visit The Hawthorns unbeaten in 13 league games, their longest such run in the Premier League, and are just four points behind leaders Manchester City following last Sunday’s 0-0 draw with Chelsea.
However, Mauricio Pochettino’s men expect to be sternly tested by a West Brom team that have lost just two of their last six matches and followed up a 2-1 victory over Arsenal by coming from behind to draw 1-1 at West Ham last weekend.
Midfielder Dembele said: “There’s a positive vibe in the group and the next game against West Brom, it’s very important to continue that good vibe.
“The focus for those kind of games [versus teams in the bottom half] are maybe more difficult than this one [against Chelsea]. Nobody has to have a speech for these kind of games [against the top teams].
“But I think that’s a thing we’ve learned this year – the ‘small’ teams, they’re all difficult and everybody knows anyone can win against anyone. We have a lot of respect for everyone but we know we have to win these games if we want to be high up in the league.
“It’s [West Brom’s win over Arsenal] like a warning for us. I hope we’re not going to underestimate them but I have confidence that everybody’s going to be sharp.”
Tottenham will be without Ryan Mason, Nacer Chadli, Nabil Bentaleb and Alex Pritchard (all ankle), but Dele Alli is back from suspension.
West Brom have no new injury worries, but Claudio Yacob is banned after picking up his fifth booking of the campaign at Upton Park last time out.
Tony Pulis’ men have won just two home league games this season and, while captain Darren Fletcher has been pleased with West Brom’s ability to overturn deficits to earn results against Arsenal and West Ham, he is keen for results at The Hawthorns to improve.
“It has been a stop-start season,” Fletcher said. “We got a win against Arsenal, we now have Tottenham at home next, which will be a very difficult game.
“But if we can improve our home form, we have shown we can pick up points away from home. We believe we can get results at any match.
“We have got a great bunch of lads with a great spirit and I think it was epitomised in the last two games, going a goal down and coming back to get four points from the two of them. That shows a lot of character.
“Hopefully we can carry that on now and get a good performance for 90 minutes. If we do, I would fancy us against any side.”