This game was settled by one of the great penalties from Julian Dicks – don’t miss it.
Spurs also keep last weekend’s XI. Nuno seems to have settled on a midfield of Hojbjerg, Skipp and Ndombele, a trio should be able to compete physically with Soucek and Rice. There’s not, though, very much creativity there – if Ndombele is off it, the front three will either have to deal with things themselves or hope the full-backs don’t let them down. That feels like a problem.
After resting players in midweek, David Moyes retains the team that won at Everton last Sunday. Sky reckon that it’s a 4-5-1 not a 4-3-3, with Benrahma in behind Antonio, which’d make plenty of sense, and however it shakes out, I’m sure that he, Bowen and Fornals will turn up in all manner of places.
Before we dig into those line-ups, a little thing on football and love.
And our teams!
West Ham United (a nails 4-3-3): Fabianski; Johnson, Zouma, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Soucek, Rice, Fornals; Bowen, Antonio, Benrahma.Subs: Areola, Vlasic, Diop, Masuaku, Yarmolenko, Ashby, Noble, Lanzini, Dawson.
Tottenham Hotspur (a settling 4-3-3): Lloris; Royal, Romero, Dier, Reguilon; Hojbjerg, Skipp, Ndombele; Lucas Moura, Kane, Son. Subs: Gollini, Sanchez, Gil, Lo Celso, Alli, Bergwijn, Tanganga, Davies, Rodon.
If a football match happens and no one’s there to see it, did it even happen at all? Well the record books say yes but the soul says no, and the reason is fixtures like this one: football without hatred is nothing.
Or something like that. Football is also about love, which is the real reason we’re here. Hate is just a bonus, but be absolutely certain, it will be joining us for this little altercation. Though there’s not much good to be said for a pandemic, a very minor benefit is reminding football fans what they do and why they do it, so we can be certain that the London Stadium will be absolutely jumping this afternoon.
Adding to the crackle is the league table; both sides are, er, “in a good moment” with Spurs sitting fifth and West Ham seventh. It’s true that the away side were hilariously miserable in midweek, but the likelihood is that none of those debcaclers will start today and Nuno Espírito Santo looks to have found the balance in recent weeks, his midfield of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Oliver Skipp and Tanguy Ndombele balancing protection of a dicky defence with provision for an arousing attack.
Imposing that against West Ham, though, is a far from straightforward activity. As solid as you’d expect a David Moyes side to be, they also have the flair you’d expect from a David Moyes side – just because yerman isn’t a cavalier doesn’t mean he has no respect for gamebreakers – and more than anything, their purpose, confidence and belief suffuses every performance. All of which is a long-winded way of saying I don’t know what’s going to happen here … but I do know it’s going to be a buzz.