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2007/08 was an interesting season for the rivalry between West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur. It was the last time that Spurs won a trophy, but it was also the most recent occasion that the Hammers finished above them in the league table.
13 years on, there’s a realistic chance that history could repeat itself, with The Hammers holding a six-point advantage while the north London side are through to the League Cup final. And this match marks a minor staging post in Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham tenure. His era began in the corresponding fixture last season – which Spurs won 3-2 – and this match is his 50th in the Premier League.
Since he took charge, only Liverpool and the Manchester clubs have taken more points. Tick for Jose. But, since football went behind closed doors, West Ham have earned the same number of points as Tottenham (albeit from one extra match) and the battle between the two looks to be an intriguing one for the remainder of 2020/21.
Sunday 12:00 – West Ham v Tottenham
Sky Sports Main Event / Sky Sports Premier League
David Moyes deserves a lot of credit for the job he has done at West Ham. They had the fifth worst home record in the division last season, but go into the weekend with the fourth best this time around. But then if any ground is suited to the sterile, lifeless atmosphere of football without fans, than an athletics stadium might well be it.
The issue is whether they can topple one of the big boys on their patch though. Chelsea were sent packing across London having lost 3-2 at the tail end of last season, but Manchester United and Liverpool both won 3-1 this term – while Manchester City picked up a point when they were still struggling early in the campaign.
However, Tottenham’s record against the stronger teams in the league has been poor this season, and that’s despite winning 6-1 at Old Trafford in October. In a mini-league of the top nine teams in the division, Mourinho’s mob have the worst points-per-game average. Their only other victory occurred against Manchester City, when they were out-shot to the tune of 22 to four.
Of course, they should have beaten the Hammers in the reverse fixture, but contrived to throw away two points from a match in which they lead 3-0 at the 81st minute, Classic Jose! He’s all about the banter at all times.
West Ham have been the better side in the league since that day – maybe Manuel Lanzini’s golazo sent the football world spinning off its axis – and Spurs had a trip to Hungary on Thursday (I hear it’s lovely at this time of year), so the home side will win here.
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Neither side has been involved in a league match which featured at least six goals since that crazy match in north London in October, but they are frequent participants in high scoring games.
Since the beginning of the 2018/19 season, the ever-present teams in the Premier League have all played 50 matches at home, and none of them have seen more that featured at least four goals than West Ham have. Indeed, three of their last four home encounters with Spurs in all competitions tick that box too.
Only Chelsea have paid out on over 2.5 goals more times than Tottenham have away from home in the last three seasons, and the underlying expected goal statistics predict that it should be on the cards here too. Over 2.5 Goals looks like a value bet for this match too.
If you’re a looking for a team who Michail Antonio has scored more goals against than Tottenham, there aren’t many. Three, in fact – Liverpool, Norwich City and Watford.
And in terms of recent form, he’s due a goal more than any other player in the Premier League. Did you see the Hammers’ 3-2 win at Crystal Palace? Good lord. Antonio hit the woodwork twice and squandered a further two clear-cut chances, and he also missed another great opportunity in the 3-1 victory at Villa Park.
There’s a question mark over his fitness (though he’s reportedly set to return here), but if he’s okay to play then Antonio can get on the scoresheet against the Spurs.
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