Analysis

FLIP’s Picks In-Play: Spurs vs West Ham

Written by Sam Hopkinson

Like a student on their first night out at uni, there’s a swagger to this Tottenham side. For 75 minutes Arsenal had no answer to the suffocating press Pochettino’s team maintained at the Emirates. Can these young players maintain this level of energy all season though? Spurs are still a touch lightweight up front, and it is worrying that Heung-Min Son’s plantar fasciitis could be a recurring injury. The Hammers arrive at White Hart Lane having earned a creditable draw against Everton, but three draws in the last six games isn’t going to cushion the blow of shock results like the loss to Watford. West Ham won a brilliant 0-3 victory at Tottenham not so long ago—how Slaven Bilic would love a repeat of that result this Sunday.

DEFENDER

Winston Reid

After all the speculation surrounding Reid near the beginning of the year you might have thought he’d be a dead cert to move over the summer—Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool were all linked with offers. Instead the Kiwi signed a new contract and has been a consistent performer at the heart of West Ham’s defence. Reid makes an impressive 7.6 clearances and 2.7 interceptions per game, an indicator of his skill at reading a situation and getting into the right positions. Tottenham’s forwards like to thread passes to Harry Kane and Reid will need to make sure he’s there to block the way.

MIDFIELDER

Manuel Lanzini

It’s only November but West Ham have already issued a ‘hands-off’ warning concerning their on-loan creator Manuel Lanzini. According to David Sullivan the club have an iron-clad agreement with Lanzini’s parent club Al Jazira in the UAE. It might seem a bit premature to be talking about transfers, but such has been Lanzini’s impact that he is now one of the best players at Upton Park. The Argentinian has 3 league goals and an assist to his name in nine appearances. If he continues in this vein, Sullivan may see his star poached by one of the big boys, regardless of any ‘agreement’.

STRIKER

Harry Kane

The latest of Kane’s six league goals was this fine finish against Arsenal at the Emirates, and although he didn’t score for England he played his part in the victory over France—mostly by pressing defenders and battling for the ball. Several times he was able to draw the foul high up the pitch. For Tottenham, more and more players are trying to create chances for him. Whereas last season Spurs relied too heavily on Kane and Eriksen, in the last few league games Lamela, Alli and Dembele have all looked to share the load.

HONOURABLE MENTION

Dele Alli

Spurs fans have known it for a while now, and MK Dons fans even longer—the fact that Dele Alli is the real deal. Against France on Tuesday night Alli let the whole of Europe know with a rocket Hugo Lloris had no chance of stopping.

About the author

Sam Hopkinson

Sam has attended matches everywhere from Cambodia to Canada, and is a persistent Spurs fan. If he didn’t have football, he’d probably turn to a life of crime just to get that exhilarating fix. Superstitious enough to believe that picking a player for his fantasy team spells doom for the poor sod.