Premier League | Upton Park | Sat 3 May | 12:45pm
The straw heavy enough to break a camel’s back
The 'race' for the Europa League comes down to the last two games of the season and, if Tottenham really want it, they can probably have it.
WEST HAM FORM
- WBA 1-0 West Ham (Prem)
- West Ham 0-1 Palace (Prem)
- Arsenal 3-1 West Ham (Prem)
- West Ham 1-2 Liverpool (Prem)
- S'land 1-2 West Ham (Prem)
- Stoke 0-1 Tottenham (Prem)
- Tottenham 3-1 Fulham (Prem)
- WBA 3-3 Tottenham (Prem)
- Tottenham 5-1 S'land (Prem)
- Liverpool 4-0 Tottenham (Prem)
Their run starts on Saturday with a West Ham side, who have apparently already said goodbye for the summer holidays, and closes with a home clash against the increasingly hapless Aston Villa.
The other main contender for sixth are Everton, who host a title-chasing Manchester City followed by a tricky away tie at Hull. Thing is, do Spurs really want a spot in Europe’s secondary club competition again?
Tim Sherwood continues his gillet-encrusted sideline act of almost permanent anger and disgruntlement at everyone and everything. Speculation about his replacement this week prompted the club’s official site to publish a bizarre one-line news story denying they were talking to any other managers.
The fact Spurs are on course to set a club Premier League points record has been brandished by Sherwood as evidence of his success (12 wins in 20 is a decent record since he took over) but Spurs fans yearn for better: better tactics, better players, a better stadium, a better level for European competition and a better manager.
In similar fashion, Sam Allardyce has used West Ham’s clean sheet tally this season as some kind of rebuttal to fans who are growing more than weary of him.
While results are going your way that approach just about stacks up, but two wins and seven losses in the last nine matches has cranked the pressure right up.
An abject display against one of the Irons’ most hated rivals and Messrs Sullivan and Gold will feel the full force of the Upton Park crowd’s bile.
As is traditional at this time of year prior to a major championship, England players start dropping like flies. Andros Townsend has followed Kyle Walker into the treatment room, although the latter has an outside chance of making it to Brazil. West Ham have one player potentially travelling to the World Cup right now: Colombia's Pablo Armero. Time’s up for Andy Carroll, it seems.
Player to watch: Harry Kane (Tottenham)
As silver linings go, Kane has put a few smiles on Spurs faces since breaking into the team under Sherwood. Aside from having a proper footballer’s name, his sparky, fearless performances have caused problems for opposition defences and were rewarded with three goals in three games in April. He will be looking forward to facing a West Ham defence who looked all over the shop against West Brom.
These screens show Kane’s performances in his last two away games. He moved further up the pitch as April wore on and then understandably saw less of the ball. His link-up play, particularly with Danny Rose down the left, is bearing fruit for Spurs and is something to be nurtured in these last two games.
LAST FIVE MEETINGS
- Spurs 1-2 W Ham (LC, Dec 13)
- Spurs 0-3 W Ham (Prem, Oct 12)
- W Ham 2-3 Spurs (Prem, Feb 12)
- Spurs 3-1 W Ham (Prem, Nov 12)
- Spurs 0-0 W Ham (Prem, Mar 11)
Two English managers going head-to-head, both looking unlikely to survive until next season – the death throes of disappointing seasons for both clubs. It will be interesting to see how they behave in the dugout, with both men not shy about making their feelings felt from the technical area. Allardyce will expect a far better defensive display from his team than he got at The Hawthorns, but Sherwood’s team have more going forward than the Baggies, particularly in terms of creative play from the likes of Christian Eriksen.
Facts and figures
- 10 of West Ham’s last 16 home games have had at least 3 goals.
- 8 of West Ham’s last 12 home matches against top-half teams have had at least 4 goals.
- Spurs have won 12 of their last 19 trips to bottom-half teams.
- Spurs have drawn the first half in 10 of their last 17 away matches against bottom-half teams.
Best Bet: HT/FT Draw/Tottenham Hotspur @ 5.25
More FFT Stats Zone facts • Find the best odds with Bet Butler
Spurs to push for that Europa League spot with a 2-0 win.