THE Saturday teatime kick off sees Willie Duncan (@Willie_Duncan) try to make sense of Tottenham v West Ham for us.
Tottenham v West Ham | Saturday 17:30 | BT Sport 1
If you look around White Hart Lane, there are signs everywhere proudly proclaiming the words “To Dare is To Do” – Tottenham Hotspur’s club motto.
When Mauricio Pochettino’s men swept Manchester City aside with a superb, swashbuckling display in north London a couple of months ago, I’m sure that a few Spurs fans dared to dream.
Since then, though, there has been precious little evidence that Pochettino and his players are capable of making those dreams come true, for Tottenham have now gone seven matches without a win in all competitions, while more than 540 minutes have passed since Spurs last scored a goal from open play.
Despite their troubles, Tottenham remain as the last team standing in the Premier League yet to taste defeat so far this season and Pochettino’s charges boast the best defensive record in the top-flight, having conceded just six goals from their opening 11 Premier League fixtures.
More misery for West Ham
West Ham have not had their troubles to seek so far this season – on and off the pitch – and an uninspiring 1-1 home draw with Stoke City before the international break offered little to suggest that happy times are just around the corner for the Hammers.
In fact, Bilic’s team have won just one of their seven games away from home this season and I am expecting another miserable away-day for those of a West Ham persuasion when they travel to north London on Saturday night.
The Hammers could take heart from the fact that they’ve been beaten on just one of their last four visits to White Hart Lane – a 4-1 thumping last season – but the east Londoners have come out on top in just one of their last 14 tussles with Tottenham in north London.
Goals at a premium
Spurs’ struggle for goals is their primary concern and given that there is still doubt about the fitness of Harry Kane, who has scored three goals in two league home games against the Hammers, it would be foolish to expect the goals to flow freely on Saturday night.
Indeed, the Hammers have hit more than one goal in just one of their last eight competitive fixtures away from home, while there has been fewer than three goals scored in eight of Spurs’ last nine matches.
West Ham punctured Tottenham’s title aspirations with a 1-0 win at Upton Park when these sides last met in March and both managers would dearly love to see their teams recapture the kind of form that they were in at that time.
A tight tussle, however, seems the most likely outcome from Saturday’s crunch clash and, as such, it is the 23/20 quote from Bet Stars for fewer than three goals to be scored that carries most appeal here.
Tottenham v West Ham – Under 2.5 Goals (23/20 Bet Stars)