West Ham prepare to host Tottenham Hotspur at the London Stadium on Saturday, where they will be hoping to claim the Derby Day bragging rights.
The Hammers come into the fixture on the back of some decent form in the Premier League, despite losing out 1-0 to Brighton and Hove Albion in their latest outing. Manuel Pellegrini’s side will no doubt have worked on a few things during the international break and there is no better game to get back on track than Spurs at home.
West Ham team news
The only fresh injury worry for the Irons heading into the game is left-back Arthur Masuaku. The defender picked up a knock on international duty, meaning that his fitness and availability are currently being monitored. Marko Arnautovic is fit and firing ahead of the fixture, after scoring for Austria during the international break.
The Hammers boss revealed that Jack Wilshere has had a further setback with his ankle injury, so he may well be out for longer than initially expected. Meanwhile, Winston Reid, Manuel Lanzini and Carlos Sanchez all remain long-term absentees. In a bit more positive news, though, Andy Carroll is back on the training pitch and could be taking full part in just a couple of weeks.
Pellegrini is unlikely to make too many alterations from the side that has taken seven points from their last four Premier League outings.
The only change that the Chilean is likely to make, would see the more offensive Arthur Masuaku potentially drop out for Aaron Cresswell, depending on his fitness. However, it would be no surprise to see the West Ham boss name an unchanged side.
What has the manager had to say?
Pellegrini felt his side were unlucky to come away from Brighton without anything from the game, having dominated possession and missed a number of chances.
“I think we were very unlucky not to win or at least to draw with Brighton. In football, if you don’t score the chances you have, you normally lose the game,” the West Ham boss said in his pre-match press conference.
“I hope that we can continue to improve in every game that we play and the results will also continue to improve.”
The Chilean talked up the strength of the Spurs side and noted the job Pochettino is doing at the club:
“I think they are a very good team with a lot of young players. Mauricio Pochettino has been there for three or four years and is doing a very good job there. I think they are one of the strongest teams in the Premier League.
“Harry Kane, at the moment, is one of the best players in the Premier League. They have three or four young players that are in the England international squad. They have other international players as well. They have a complete squad.
The Hammers boss stated that he is hoping that his side can continue to build upon their solid recent home record:
“I hope that this year, the result will change from last season. I hope we can continue to be strong at home, as we were against Chelsea, Manchester United and in the cup game with Macclesfield. I hope we can beat Tottenham this time.”
Tottenham team news
Spurs come into the encounter in good form in the Premier League and now find themselves just two points behind the early pace-setters. They have won three league games in a row and have also kept back-to-back clean sheets.
In a huge boost for Mauricio Pochettino’s side and, in what will not come as welcome news for the Hammers, Christian Eriksen and Mousa Dembele have both been declared fit to make the trip across London.
However, Dele Alli and Jan Vertonghen both continue to miss out with hamstring problems, while Danny Rose is also absent with a groin injury for the North Londoners.
Spurs’ key man
This one isn’t exactly hard, is it? Harry Kane is one of the best players in the Premier League and has proven to be a thorn in the West Ham side on a number of occasions. The England captain has scored six goals in his last six outings against the Irons, including two strikes at the London Stadium last season.
Although Kane is yet to completely hit his stride this season, he has still netted six goals in ten matches and should certainly be respected. The striker will lead the line on his own for Spurs, which means that one of the two Hammers centre-backs will have the freedom to man-mark Kane and limit his time on the ball. This could be the only way to stop him.
West Ham’s fortunes against Tottenham have improved dramatically in recent years and they have won three of their last six matches against their London rivals.
In the last meeting between the pair at the Boleyn Ground in March 2016, the Irons secured a 1-0 victory, through an early goal from Michail Antonio. Later on that year, Spurs got their revenge, after they scored two late goals, to secure a 3-2 win over the Hammers. But towards the end of the 16/17 season, West Ham derailed Tottenham’s title hopes with a 1-0 triumph at the London Stadium.
There was a mixed bag of results between the sides last season. Spurs secured a 3-2 away victory in September of last year, before the Irons came from 2-0 down at Wembley in the Carabao Cup, to win 3-2 and progress into the next round. In the latest meeting between the two London clubs, they played out a 1-1 drew, in which Pedro Obiang scored a fantastic long-range effort for the Hammers.
Manuel Pellegrini’s side will be looking to maintain their solid recent form against Spurs and net another London Derby victory on Saturday.