Tottenham vs. West Ham
Venue: Tottenham Stadium
Kick Off: 5:30PM
A key battle in the Premier League’s top-four race takes place in North London this afternoon as Tottenham Hotspur host local rivals West Ham United for a London derby.
The Lilywhites ran out 2-0 winners over Brighton & Hove Albion in midweek, while David Moyes oversaw one of the most famous European nights in the Hammers’ history.
Refusing to let his head drop after fluffing his lines early doors, Tottenham talisman Harry Kane wrote himself into another chapter of the history books with a record-breaking 95th Premier League away goal at the Amex Stadium on Wednesday night.
After Dejan Kulusevski’s deflected effort off Cristian Romero opened the scoring on the South coast, Kane latched onto a long pass from Rodrigo Bentancur to coolly slot home past Robert Sanchez and become the most prolific away marksman in Premier League history – surpassing Wayne Rooney in the process.
One would expect the England captain to break that 100-mark pretty soon, but a return to home comforts now awaits Tottenham, whose midweek win saw them leapfrog Wolverhampton Wanderers into seventh place.
The Gunners’ defeat to Liverpool on the same night has given Spurs that slight bit of hope in their Champions League pursuit, but Antonio Conte’s inconsistent side have made a habit of winning one then losing one in recent weeks, which does not bode all that well for today.
However, the Lilywhites have suddenly discovered a hot goalscoring streak under Conte – striking 13 times across their last four Premier League matches – and as memorable as West Ham’s Thursday evening was, fatigue could certainly work in the hosts’ favour here.
Fairytales do exist, and they are written at the London Stadium.
After going down 1-0 to Sevilla in the first leg of their Europa League last-16 battle away from home, a sell-out crowd witnessed a magical European night in the English capital on Thursday.
While they also had the efforts of Alphonse Areola to thank, West Ham forced extra time on the night through Tomas Soucek’s header, and a few days on from his emotional goal against Aston Villa, Ukraine’s Andriy Yarmolenko was in the right place at the right time to send the Hammers into the quarter-finals in the 112th minute.
The full-time whistle sparked pandemonium at the London Stadium as they prepare for a glamour tie with French giants Lyon in the quarter-finals and David Moyes’s troops have little time to recover before a crucial battle in the top flight.
Before today’s fixtures kick off, West Ham sit one place better off than Tottenham in sixth but are only above their North London rivals courtesy of a better goal difference, and each of the Hammers’ last three games away from home in all tournaments has ended in defeat.
West Ham have come up trumps in the last two Premier League meetings with Spurs – both of which were in front of their own fans – but they lost 2-1 in North London in the EFL Cup quarter-finals back in December and will certainly not be at peak fitness after two hours of gruelling Thursday night action.
Tottenham Possible XI: Lloris, Romero, Dier, Davies, Doherty, Bentancur, Hojbjerg, Reguilon, Kulusevski, Kane, Son.
West Ham United possible XI: Fabianski, Fredericks, Dawson, Zouma, Masuaku, Rice, Soucek, Yarmolenko, Vlasic, Benrahma, Antonio.