Tottenham Hotspur vs. West Ham United.
It is probably fair to say that West Ham are punching well above their weight at the moment, whilst Spurs don't seem to be able to punch their way out of a damp paper bag…
Maybe a little harsh on Spurs, who may well have lost five and won only two of their last nine games, but I wonder if we would all have been so down if we had witnessed a victory at The Emirates last weekend, that looked quite likely until Adebayor's moment of madness that saw us play the majority of the game with ten men after looking so dominant with eleven.
Sure we are yet to see consistency of play or great free flowing or even pressing high tempo football, that we hoped for under AVB, but it is clear to me that however much we look to point the finger at our manager, there are far too many players who are simply not performing to anything like their potential, whilst either due to injuries or simply not having the right players, we are struggling to adapt to a new managers demands and a more tactical system, that the fans were also crying out for not so long ago.
As for West Ham, I get the feeling that Big Sam will never be their ideal type of manager. Too long ball for their supposed artistic tastes, but I very much doubt that any manager could or would have done better in turning round a team that was only going one way and though they may not always be pretty, with the likes of Noble, Nolan and Carroll, they certainly seem to be affective and nailed on for at least a mid table place this season, which considering the quality and depth of their squad if one hell of an achievement.
Again Spurs have the disadvantage of not having recovery or preparation time for a game that they really have to get something from. One or two players do look leggy and with several players either still out or struggling, it is easy to see this game as another banana skin that we could slip and land squarely on our backsides.
If we look at current form and results however, are we as guilty of bigging West Ham up as much as we are putting Tottenham down. After all, West Ham have only won three of their last ten games with wins over bottom placed QPR (A), 2nd bottom Southampton (H) and a Europa fatigued Newcastle, though in the latter case, should that make us more aware of our own tired legs?
Spurs will be without a suspended Adebayor, still injured, Parker, BAE and Kaboul, plus Dembele is still not 100% and remains a doubt. In the case of Dembele, I wonder if Tom Carroll has yet convinced AVB that he is deserving of a start alongside Sandro tomorrow or will we be more cautious and stick with Tommy Huddlestone if Mousa isn't deemed fit enough? Similarly in attack, Jermain Defoe is nailed on to start, but does anyone have the slightest confidence in either Dempsey or Sigurdsson to offer either enough quality or support? Is there a logic if looking elsewhere with someone like Ryan Mason or Iago Falque who have both impressed when called upon and looked outstanding for the U-21s this season. Alternatively, if Dembele is fit, could we push him higher and look to partner either Hudd or Carroll with Sandro in the middle?