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Football News: Premier League Match Preview Thursday 4th January 2018

Premier League Match Preview Thursday 4th January 2018
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Thursday 4th January 2018


Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United 8pm kick off


Dembele (hip injury) late fitness test
Rose (knee injury) out
Alderweireld (hamstring injury expected return 10th February) out

This has been a good week for Spurs so far, even without playing they have moved above bitter rivals Arsenal and now they have a chance to put a 4 point gap between them. Having won 3 on the trot over the Christmas period, this is a chance to become the only team to have a perfect record in what is a difficult time for clubs to maintain form. They did get lucky with the match postponement meaning they had an extra few days break, with the FA Cup up next, when there will no doubt be a lot of rotation. First things first, they have to win this game against the Hammers to keep the pressure on the top 4, anything less sees a gap appear.
Most important player: Victor Wanyama. His return from injury will be a huge boost to Mauricio Pochettino, who relies heavily on him to break up play in midfield.


Oxford (ankle injury) late fitness test
Sakho (knee injury) out
Collins (muscular injury) doubt
Antonio (groin strain) late fitness test
Fernandes (ankle injury) out
Byram (thigh strain expected return 13th January) out
Fonte (ankle injury expected return 20th January) out
Cresswell (back injury) slight doubt

Despite the defeat to Newcastle, West Ham have made steady progress up the table under new manager David Moyes to sit just above the drop zone even before this game in hand is played. The Hammers' away record is still extremely poor, with just 1 win on the road this season in 11 matches. That does need to improve over the course of the second half of the season, but today's match is pretty much a free hit. A point would be a great result and keep the upward trend continuing, so it is very likely we will not see the kind of end-to-end excitement witnessed in last night's humdinger of a clash between Arsenal and Chelsea. Moyes will want to look to snatch something on the break, rather than go out to take the game to Spurs.
Most important player: Marko Arnautovic. The Austrian has been transformed under Moyes into a player who actually looks like he gives a monkey's about the team. The sulky face and saunters around the pitch while doing as little as possible have also vanished. But how long can Moyes continue to get effort, workrate and backtracking from a player known for laziness?


Defining Battle: the onus will be all on the home team to break down the Hammers. Moyes has tightened things up a lot defensively, getting more work out of the players and bringing an 'in-your-face' attitude to the play. We know Spurs have a tendency to lose their discipline when teams rattle into them and give them a hard time physically, which is exactly what West Ham will set out to do. Spurs will have to work hard to open up gaps and not respond to the opposition's physical approach. If they can steer clear of a physical battle and move the ball quickly, then West Ham will be in real danger. There is not the pace or nous in the Hammers' team to deal with it. However, if Tottenham allow themselves to be drawn into a battle then they will struggle, as that is the kind of game that would suit West Ham far more.


Editors' Predictions:
Ed002 - 5-0
Ed003 - 2-1
Ed004 - 3-1
Ed007 - 3-1
Ed018 - 2-0
Ed025 - 2-2
Ed033 - 1-0


Editor's Predictions Table
1. Ed002 - 137 points
2= Ed033 - 136 points
2= Ed025 - 136 points
4= Ed003 - 135 points
4= Ed004 - 135 points
6. Ed018 - 133 points
7. Ed007 - 121 points


*1 point is awarded for the correct result, 3 points for the correct score.
**updated 4th January 2018 (not including results for that day)

Written by Tris Burke January 04 2018 05:45:18