Tottenham v West Ham – White Hart Lane at 16:00 live on Sky Sports 1
A big London Derby lined up for Premier League fans on Sunday afternoon as 5th place Tottenham, host 6th place West Ham and with the two sides separated by just goal difference, this should be a close and keenly contested match.
With Chelsea seemingly all but out of the race for the top four finish already, both these teams will be gunning for the chance to reach the Champions League next season and Spurs in particular looked very well equipped to take one of those four precious qualifying spots.
Mauricio Pochettino has steadily built his squad with a mix of talented academy products and a few key experienced leaders. In particular their solid defensive platform of Hugo Lloris, Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld, has impressed and they allow the creative players in the team to push forward, press and attack their opponents at every opportunity.
Spurs record at home so far this season is reads P6 W3 D3 L0 and they have a goal difference of +6 over those games, but interestingly it is against teams that I would categorise as being similar to West Ham, that they have struggled.
Everton, Liverpool and Stoke have all earned draws at White Hart Lane, but they all came before Harry Kane rediscovered his goal scoring touch. Spurs drew five of their first nine Premier League games and that was largely down to their inability to score goals.
However, Harry Kane has now notched five times in his last three games and if he can sustain the form he showed last season, the Lillywhites should go very close to claiming one of those top four places in May.
West Ham have surprised everyone this season, especially with their huge upset victories at Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City and at home over Chelsea. But, on the flipside to that, they have suffered unexpected defeats when fancied against Leicester City, Bournemouth and Watford.
Unfortunately, for the Hammers their star man Dimitri Payet is a long term injury victim and despite their side containing a number of other quality attacking players, it remains to be seen how well they will cope with his extended absence.
With him in the side they have chalked up an impressive record this season, especially away from home against the bigger clubs. They have picked up 13 points from just 6 road trips already this season, which is a tally that only Arsenal have bettered.
However, the Slaven Bilic has been able to welcome Andy Carroll into the team of late and the big striker is showing signs of why he has played for England at a major tournament again. I think his aerial threat is something that the Spurs defence will not be used to or capable of handling.
The Asian handicap line for this match is set at +/- 1 and although that is a tempting line with which to keep the away team onside with, I think Spurs will show their class and win this game. When you add in the uncertainty of how the Hammers cope without Payet, backing West Ham +1 can only really be a push at best in my opinion.
There is more value to be had in the total goals market where Under 2.5 Goals can be backed at 2.20 which, looks too good to be true when you consider the Spurs defence and West Ham missing their best attacking player.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Under 2.5 Goals at 2.20
Prices correct a time of writing.
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