Date: 3rd January 2018 at 1:49pm
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Next up is West Ham at our temporary home and our recent return to form must continue.

After our last meeting, when for a good long while we looked like we would cruise to an easy win – before it being too close for my liking – chances are this return will be a real blood and guts affair with only a sprinkling of quality – from either side.

We like West Ham face the ridiculous situation of playing two games in two days, but I expect us to have the drop on them in terms of fitness and that could prove a big difference.

We need a win to close the gap on Liverpool to just one point, dropping any points at home would be a disaster – it would take on even worse connotation if it was against the likes of West Ham, whose directors and fans seemed obsessed by our progress and the lack of theirs.

If there is one thing that Levy was absolutely dead right about is that they should have razed the Olympic stadium to the ground and started again and there isn’t a sensible West Ham fan who wouldn’t now agree. Ask any of their fans and the squirming begins, they squirm even more when you remind them of our home record against them – they’ve only won one of their last 15 league visits to our place (D5 L9), the last being back in October 2013.

Mind you, it’s been awhile since we’ve done the double over them, the last time being the 12/13 season. As we chase down a top four finish, this is a must achieve this season. Despite how much difficulty they will give us, we have the quality to get the win and bank another 3 points – but expect some scares along the way.

West Ham always raise their game against us. We’ve become their cup final match in the absence of achieving nothing much more than them avoiding relegation, which is the battle they face yet again.

The bad news for us is that Andy Carroll – who has an injury record to beat even the combined record of Arsenals Wilshere and Liverpool’s Sturridge – appears to have found some form after having a goal drought that looked like it would never end.

His brace against West Brom captured West Ham an undeserved 3 pts. Having now watched the game there is little doubt that you can see the difference that Moyes has now instilled in them; they have a formation, they hold their shape, they are all working hard for each other, forwards now chase back and close down and when they break, they now break in numbers and at speed. Sadly, their last win pulled them out of the bottom three and what it also did is underline their new ‘never give in’ attitude and I suspect give them renewed confidence.

Don’t assume this game is a guaranteed three points, because they won’t be. The best compliment I can give Moyes is that he’s making them very hard to beat.

I expect we’ll dominate possession and that they will start Carroll who will be a real test for Sanchez and Vert, especially if they start getting their crosses in.

They’ll probably line up with a 3-5-1-1 and be tough to penetrate getting past them on the outside channels will be essential, Davies will have to up his game, and I’m pretty sure (and hope) Trippier will return to the bench.

Depending on how he came through the Swansea game, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Victor start this one along side Sissoko, not because Poch will go safety first, but more because against their big units we will have to slog it out toe to toe and at times double up on Carroll. So Poch’s game management will come to the fore here and when the conditions are right will bring on Dembele, Son, Winks or Lamela later on in the game when the gaps start appearing and we’ve made them run around like headless chickens for 60 mins or so.

Harry’s return to (I hope) full fitness must mean that he starts. I expect Lamela to drop back to the bench.

So this is how I think we will line up;
Dier, Sanchez, Vert
Aurier Victor Sissoko Davies
Eriksen, Alli, Kane

I expect us to win by at least a two goal margin – in which case we’ll mash them – or only one if Harry isn’t yet fully recovered , but in any event there will be only one set of fans doing a knees up at the final whistle.

p.s. one to watch on their side is Lanzini – the one real quality player they have, the small Argentinian has yet to reach the heights of some of their previous South American imports, but he looks to me to be getting better and better – which is probably why we keep getting linked with taking yet another player off of our nursery club sometime in the future….


145 Replies to “Pie, Mash and Knees Up.”

  • Judging by recent formations I would assume we will play a back 4 until Alderweireld is fit, so I reckon Son gets the nod over Sissoko and Dier plays alongside Wanyama. This game is never easy on paper but I reckon tomorrow will be different: 5-1 to Tottenham including a late screamer from Lamela

  • Playing twice in three days means the form book goes out the window. Its about who has more left in the tank and which manager can rotate better. One thing in Lamela’s favour if he’s now fully fit is he’s always seemed to be able to run forever.

  • We were lucky to beat Swansea so West Ham is a 50:50 match, albeit at home. Pep Guardiola is reported to hate his team back passing so maybe Pochettino can give him a call to learn how he does it! Tripper one of the culprits, must have set a Premier league record for back and side ways passes. Maybe someone can count them!. This just runs the clock down and lets the opposition retain there shape. A long ball to LLorente and a challenge for the second ball, as a variation of play, would at least on occasion allow us to gain ground and pressurise the defence. The pattern was set in the first 5 mins. a repeat against West Ham may not produce a similar lucky result!

  • I definitely don’t want to see Wanyama paired with Dier – that was a turgid combination when tried early last season. I would like to see Winks start with Wanyama in central midfield, but in a slightly more advanced role than he has been playing this season.

    I agree with Jod that rotation is key here. I thought we would be able to make 5 changes from the team that started last night, but it looks as though Rose scuppers that. I’m not sure that Lamela is up to 2 games in 3 days, so I’m omitting him from my team which would be:

    Aurier, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Davies
    Wanyama, Winks
    Eriksen, Dele, Son

  • Gary …. That team looks pretty good and does give us the option of Dier and Lamela from the bench if we need some speed up front or to change the back around.

  • Gary Onedaysoon – As I said if Lamela is fully fit I’d back him to last the two matches better than Ali or Eriksen. It does depend on his fitness however. You occasionally get these road runners who never seem to run out of energy, Jenas was one, Lamela is another. For most players trying to go again with only a days rest is incredibly difficult, luckily for them as well as us.

  • I think Sissoko will come in and so will Aurier. I think we will go with a robust midfield to try and win that battle. Kane will play unless something happens with his health. I expect Dele and Eriksen to start even though Eriksen could do with a rest, he will get one at the weekend. It wouldn’t suprose me if Dier starts in midifeld with Wanyama on the bench, he isn’t going to be rushed back, but expect him to come on in second half like last night and may be start at weekend if there is no reaction to his knee.

    Lloris, Aurier, Sanchez, Verts and Davies. Sissoko and Dier and Winks, Eriksen and Dele and kane. Expect Wanyama in 2nd half for Dier, Son may come on in second half for Eriksen or Dele and may be KWP for Davies for last half hour if all is going well.

  • it’sME Agree with your thoughts- but I have yet to see KWP cross a ball with his left foot. Maybe does not practice that at the training ground.

  • camper – I am not sure what has happened with KWP he played one game, was talked about at beginning of the season has breaking into the first team and then nothing. Strange one, has he got above himself or has Poch changed his mind!.

    I just think with Rose out and Verts playing every game we may have to call upon KWP even if its for last half hour for Davies to rest. Unless davies plays all 90 and Poch uses KWp in the FA cup. Rose injury and Toby’s is making life difficult and its times like this I would expect Poch to trust a youngster like KWP if he is in his plans. I would expect Foyth to get another chance in the FA cup but even then we just haven’t got cover at the back. I still say our transfer policy was niave regarding defence letting Vickers go out on loan and sellling wimmer yet going to a back 3. Surely if you play 3 at the back you need 2 CB to cover and a youngster. Also who is covering Verts? left sided CB, at a push Dier or Toby can but its not their natural position. I would say we need another CB probably a left sided one but also what is the point of having KWP in the squad if he can’t be trusted to play when we are struggling with injuries and have so many games in concession!.

    I would love Sess from Fulham but not sure we will get him yet or at all, he is improving and other clubs are now going for him.

    I heard Shaw was fast I wonder whether he is worth coming in because quite frankly, Rose injuries are piling up just like Dembele, even if Rose stays may be we need another FB until Rose gets over his injury woes, that is if he is injured and its not a transfer stunt.

  • Jod, Dele looks the most natural athlete of the lot to me and always seems to have something extra in his engine – even at the end of matches. Not many players would have had enough stamina to make the run that he did for his goal last night. I’m sure he’ll be fine tomorrow. Eriksen consistently covers more ground than any of our players although whether he can do it in two matches in such close proximity is another matter. But I’m sure both of those will start tomorrow. If Lamela is fit enough I’d include him and rest Son.

    Having picked my team in an earlier post, and included Wanyama, I do agree with It’sMe – I think Poch will leave him on the bench. I think he’ll start with Dier and Dembele in central midfield.

  • 2 games in 2 days poor guys the money they earn, I really feel if they can’t do that then there not fit enough. Just look at a gaa match hurling and that a none stop game for whole game, u get hit u get back up, in football u get a little shoulder u stay down, and the gaa players are amateurs and they have a 9 to 5 job and train after that.

  • That Arsenal Chlsea result was best result for us. If we win tomorrow we go 1 point behind Liverpool, 3 behind Chlsea and only 4 behind 2nd place Utd. Could we go on a run and take 2nd place lol.

    I really hope we take our opportunity tomorrow and don’t blow it.

    I still think its going to be hard for top four but a win tomorrow gives us the momentum and makes things look very juicy. COYS

  • 123spurs, re U23. That’s beginning to worry me too. I thought Poch’s philosophy and input was at ALL levels of the playing side. Hardly surprising there’s no one mooted to be the next gem from our production line. Pundits and media were all heaping praise on Poch was developing from within…. Bring back Sherwood I say, he’ll find the next Harry Kane! :0)

  • After the FA cup Liverpool play City so if City win that one and we beat Everton we can go above Liverpool. It’s getting exciting

  • I don’t think that Winks will cope in midfield against the Spammers. He’s a crab in terms of his play, I want the lad to do well, but he doesn’t seem to have faith in his forward ability. I reckon Poch will start with Dier and Wanyama in CM. That isn’t ideal, but I just think this game is too big for Winks. Its not like we’re playing Real 🙂

  • Critical – I actually think media and pundits over rate our youngsters. When I have seen Chelsea’s youngster for example they seem much better than ours. Isn’t U23 Edwards and Sterling etc think there has been some poor results with youngster recently, I wonder whether we need a re organsiation and may be someone who can be more integrated with Poch and his coaches to pass on what he does because bottom of the league is very concerning. Who is our U23 coach!

  • Just looked at the U23 development squad yes its Edwards,Roles, Tanganga, Sterling, Tracey, Georgiou, Bennets, Amos all lads that were showing promise so what is happening to them. This squad should be knocking on the first team squad door, but its not looking like any of them are anywhere near making the grade especially when you think Poch philosophy is about team work and not individuals.

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