Tottenham Hotspur-West Ham United Preview
LONDON (SE) - A London derby will bring the curtain down on the latest round of Premier League fixtures, when West Ham United welcome Tottenham Hotspur to Upton Park on Monday evening.
Sam Allardyce's West Ham (8-6-12) have enjoyed a successful return to the Premier League, but a run of just two wins in their last ten games has seen them slip into the bottom half of the table and only seven points clear of the relegation zone with 12 matches remaining. However, the Hammers will hope that their impressive home form of six wins and four draws in 13 games will be enough to keep them out of trouble.
"Our home form has been excellent all season and so we're going to hopefully make sure Tottenham worry about us for a long period of time on Monday night, rather than us worry about them too much," said Allardyce ahead of Monday's game, which will see the club commemorate the 20th anniversary of the death of club legend and England World Cup winning captain, Bobby Moore. "Hopefully we can win the game and that would be the best thing that could happen to celebrate Bobby Moore. He was a magnificent influence in the world of football - not only at West Ham."
Visitors Spurs (14-6-6) have been on a terrific run in the league, going unbeaten in ten matches since a 2-1 defeat to Everton in early December. The north London side further boosted their confidence with a last minute Mousa Dembele goal against Lyon on Thursday evening to send them through to the last 16 of the Europa League, and manager Andre Villas-Boas is hoping to use his team's European success to his advantage.
"We have been having some great results recently, and hopefully this can serve as an inspiration," said Villas-Boas after the 1-1 draw in France. "We have tended to do well in Premier League games that have come after European matches, and we have an extra day to recover now before playing West Ham.
"We will be in the right condition for that game. I don't think this competition is a distraction for us, I think it can be an inspiration."
West Ham have doubts over Joey O'Brien (hip), Daniel Potts (concussion), James Collins (hamstring) and George McCartney (knee). Spurs have doubts over Tom Huddlestone (knee) and Jermain Defoe (ankle), but Sandro remains out with a long-term knee injury. Centre-back Younes Kaboul is back in training following a lengthy absence with his own knee injury.
Spurs have conceded just five goals in their ten-match unbeaten run (including five clean sheets), and have allowed fewer shots on their goal (230) than any other team in the top flight this season. The Lilywhites have the third best away record in the league - behind just Chelsea and Manchester United - and need just one more win on the road to set a club Premier League record of eight in a season.
Welsh attacker Gareth Bale has scored five match-winning goals this season (a joint league high with Robin van Persie) and has scored in each of Tottenham's last three league games. He has never scored in four consecutive league games in his career.
The Hammers have managed just a single win in their last 11 meetings with Tottenham, losing seven of those games. Two goals from former West Ham striker Jermain Defoe helped Tottenham to a 3-1 win when these teams met at White Hart Lane in November. Bale and Andy Carroll scored the other goals in a game in which Spurs dominated possession and racked up 27 attempts on goal.