West Ham vs Tottenham: Premier League match preview, likely line-ups and score prediction
Tottenham will have the chance to close the gap on leaders Chelsea to just one point when they take the short trip across London to face West Ham at the London Stadium on Friday night.
Victory over Arsenal in the North London derby brought them back within four points of the Blues, and with the advantage of playing first this weekend they can really put the pressure on Chelsea.
West Ham, on the other hand, are still not mathematically safe and sit seven points clear of the relegation spots with three games left to play – but know a win will be enough to secure survival.
Four successive games without a loss has steadied the ship somewhat for the Hammers after a poor run of no win in seven games, and it’s looking like they’ll just about limp over the line this season.
Consecutive 0-0 draws against Everton and Stoke City have done little to raise spirits after a disappointing first season at the London Stadium, but their early season form looks to have done enough to secure top-flight football for another year.
Just the four wins in their last 17 Premier League matches – coming against relegation battlers Crystal Palace and Swansea – could leave Slaven Bilic’s job in jeopardy heading into the summer though.
Tottenham, by contrast, are arguably the in-form side in the league after winning nine straight games since the 2-0 loss to Liverpool back in early February.
Wins over Everton and most recently fierce rivals Arsenal have seen them keep the pressure up on Chelsea as the season heads to a close and there’s a real sense of momentum amongst the side.
Yet it’s their away form that’s tripped them up this season, only picking up 21 out of a possible 48 points on the road, and they’ll need to rectify that on Friday if they want to stay in the title race.
For the hosts, West Ham manager Slaven Bilic will be left sweating on the fitness of Andy Carroll ahead of the visit of Tottenham but Mark Noble should make a return in the centre of midfield.
Arthur Masuaku should also be fit to start after picking up a knock against Stoke City, whilst it’s expected that Bilic retains his system of three central defenders after successive clean sheets in recent weeks.
The main dilemma for Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino will be whether to start Kieran Tripper or Kyle Walker at right-back; Trippier was given the nod for the visit of Arsenal last week, but since then there have been reports of a big fall-out between Walker and Pochettino, with the defender’s future in doubt.
Belgian midfielder Mousa Dembele should have overcome the ankle problem that saw him left out of the starting eleven last weekend, with Heung-Ming Son the likeliest candidate to make way.
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Match Prediction: West Ham 1-2 Tottenham
Whilst Tottenham have been scintillating at White Hart Lane this season, their away form has been far from the best and they only just scraped past relegation battlers Crystal Palace last time out.
With West Ham needing points to secure survival – and the added bite that’s always added to a derby match – Mauricio Pochettino’s side will need to come out firing to see off this West Ham side.
Yet with spirits high after a convincing win over the Gunners and the chance to make the first move in the chess match that is the Premier League title race, it’s an opportunity that Spurs can’t afford to miss.
With Dele Alli and Harry Kane enjoying the season of their lives, and West Ham’s season spiralling towards a disappointing end, the visitors should pose too much of a threat for their London rivals.