WEST HAM UNITED host Spurs after both sides' contrasting European exploits in midweek. Matthew Kirby (@M_Kirby95) takes a closer look at the London derby, picking out his favourite fancies.
West Ham vs Tottenham | Sunday 24th October, 14:00 | Sky Sports
A London derby starts Super Sunday and a mouth-watering one at that. Both sides were involved in Europe on Thursday with contrasting fortunes.
West Ham swept aside Genk 3-0 to move six points clear at the top of their Europa League group. But Spurs fell to a 1-0 defeat against Vitesse in a drab game that left former Spurs midfielder Glenn Hoddle questioning the attitude of those players.
However, Nuno Espirito Santo did leave several of his key players at home meaning the likes of Harry Kane and Son Heung-min will be well-rested.
And if you’re a Hammers fan, you’ll have noticed that both league defeats this season have come on the Sunday following a European outing. Will it be third time lucky as West Ham look to stop the post-Europa League slump?
Football isn’t played on paper, but if it was, you’d expect this to be a high-scoring encounter where attacks come out on top. And that’s why my first play is both teams to score and over 2.5 goals.
It shows up at even money on Oddschecker, but if you use the Bet365 Bet Builder, you’ll get a more attractive 21/20.
So far in the league, it’s landed in six of eight West Ham games, including four out of four here at the London Stadium, where 15 goals have been scored – an average of 3.75 goals per game.
I’ve struggled to work out Spurs under Nuno, I’ll grant you that. They’ve been quite scratchy despite picking up results, which goes against what the underlying performance metrics suggest.
They’ve got back-to-back wins after losing three on the spin, including a 3-1 battering in the north London derby. The Lilywhites last three league outings have seen this outcome land with 12 goals scored in those games – an average of four per game.
After leaving the likes of Kane and Son at home, then expect wholesale changes from Thursday’s defeat in the Netherlands, so those fresh legs could give the visitors some freshness.
The goals have flowed in recent meetings between the sides as well, with three of the last four seeing BTTS & O2.5 goals, with games finishing 3-2, 3-3 and 2-1, including both clashes last season.
The Hammers rank fourth for shots (131) and third for shots on target (43), so expect them to keep Hugo Lloris busy in the Spurs goal as well. And with those shots come chances with the hosts sitting third in the expected goals table at 15.1xG.
While I’m happy to take the 21/20 on goals, I’ll also take the 11/2 on a Michail Antonio assist with Bet365.
The West Ham talisman has found a spark with Saïd Benrahma and the pair link up so well. They’ve created 17 chances for each other this season, more than any other duo in the competition.
Antonio pops up in some great positions, and his pace could trouble this Spurs backline. If he gets to the byline, he’ll be pulling it back to the likes of Benrahma and Jarrod Bowen, who can be ruthless finishers.
The 31-year-old has three assists from four big chances created this season, so he’s one to look out for threatening this Spurs backline with those runs in behind. Only four men sit ahead of him in the assist charts, and he can add to his tally of three.
This is a London derby, so the hosts are likely to be on the front foot, roared on by their raucous faithful. With the likes of Declan Rice, Tomáš Souček and the front three, this Spurs midfield be kept very busy.
In recent weeks, opposition midfielders have racked up the tackles against West Ham. Here are a few of the numbers to paint that picture.
Everton’s Allan completed three tackles last weekend, Leeds pair Kalvin Phillips and Mateusz Klich both made two, while Man Utd’s Fred made four with Paul Pogba achieving three.
So, I’ve done some scouting for Pierre-Emile Højbjerg and Oliver Skipp in the league this season. Here are their numbers:
Højbjerg tackles: 2, 2, 3, 2, 3, 4, 2 & 9
Skipp tackles: 2, 3, 3, 0, 2, 3, 2 & 4
The Danish midfielder has a 100% record of hitting 2+ tackles, while it’s seven of eight for Skipp. On Ladbrokes, if you put the pair to hit 2+ tackles each, it comes out at 21/20, which looks a solid bet given those numbers.
I asked Sky Bet to price the two up to make 6+ (10/11), 8+ (3/1) and 10+ (11/1) tackles. I felt the 6+ and 8+ lines were short but might have a small personal play on the higher line although I was hoping for something with a bit more juice.
A couple of 21/20 shots have plenty of appeal, as well as the 11/2 Antonio assist in what should be an entertaining encounter.