Match preview: Spurs visit high flying Hammers

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Spurs will tonight enter the dragons den in the first of two fixtures that could well prove definitive as to whether Spurs can end the season as Premier League champions.

The critical nature of tonight’s victory cannot be underestimated. Whilst Spurs have had an emphatic season thus far, nobody can deny the exceptional leaps that West Ham have made following the appointment of Slaven Bilic as manager, whose side currently sit an impressive sixth in the league.

Bilic’s men will come into the match off the back of a somewhat uninspired 1-0 victory over Sam Allardyce’s Sunderland, but there can be few doubts that his men will be intending on raising their game for a London derby of colossal magnitude.

Team News

Tom Carroll is likely to return to the squad tonight following an injury to his achilles tendon; a touch of fortune considering that Dembele and Alli both look set to miss out with respective groin and foot injuries.

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Dele Alli looks set to miss today’s clash

Sam Bryam is suspended for West Ham, whilst Winston Reid, Joey O’Brien, James Tomkins and Enner Valencia are still injured. Diafra Sakho could be set to make his return, however.

What the managers say

Both Mauricio Pochettino and Slaven Bilic addressed the excitement towards tonight’s fixture but it could also be said that Slaven was trying to play mind games with Mauricio by saying that Spurs are the best team in the league, in an attempt to unnerve him before the game.

In his press conference , Slaven Bilic hailed the progress of Mauricio Pochettino and his Tottenham side and went on to say that “they [Tottenham] have played some big teams as of late and are doing really well… they are currently the best team in the premier league”.

But in typical Pochettino fashion, Mauricio pushed aside any talks of Tottenham being the best or being title contenders , saying:“It is important to keep our level, our fitness, our mentality and we’ll see what happens. It’s too soon to speak about the end of the season.”

RSC Anderlecht v Tottenham Hotspur FC - UEFA Europa League
Pochettino’s men are unbeaten in 12 away fixtures

Can Bilic take another scalp?

Despite taking a 4-1 hammering (pun genuinely not intended) to Spurs in this season’s reverse fixture, Bilic has managed to cause some significant upsets in his debut season as a double over Liverpool has been matched by equally impressive victories over Manchester City and Arsenal. No doubt the Croatian former defender would love to plot another twist in this season’s title race.

Slaven-Bilic-Besiktas-Manager

West Ham are undefeated in 13 league and cup matches at home

Final words

With the Hammers completing their move to the Olympic Stadium at the end of the 2015/16 season, Spurs will undoubtedly be hoping to say a final farewell to Upton Park with a win against a fierce rival. Not only would a win here make history for Spurs, but it would give them a huge confidence boost as they prepare for a season-deciding North London Derby this Saturday. As West Ham are looking to capture a place in Europe, Pochettino and his men will by no means underestimate the Hammers and will undoubtedly be expecting a tough match-up right from the outset.

Get ready for a big one.

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Written by Matt Boon and Joe Thomas

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