Tactically speaking - Tottenham Hotspur

Tactically speaking

West Ham United complete their slate of 2013/14 Barclays Premier League home fixtures with the visit of London rivals Tottenham Hotspur to the Boleyn Ground.

The Hammers will be seeking to end a challenging campaign with a seventh home win in 19 matches, while Spurs will be desperate to avoid completing a first-ever hat-trick of defeats by the men from the Boleyn Ground.

The Official Website and WhoScored.com have teamed up to take an in-depth tactical look at Saturday's lunch-time kick-off.

West Ham United

Matt Jarvis

Ahead of West Ham's home game with Tottenham Hotspur at the weekend, football statistics website WhoScored.com have previewed the Barclays Premier League encounter.

The Hammers will be out to make it three successive wins against their London rivals in Saturday's early kick-off, having secured 3-0 and 2-1 wins over Spurs at White Hart Lane already this season. The latter victory was Tim Sherwood's first home game in charge of the north London side and the former midfielder will be expecting his players to avenge the loss that saw them knocked out of the Capital One Cup at the quarter-final stage.

Spurs' uncertainty at full-back will likely be Sam Allardyce's point of attack as he aims to secure three points. Matt Jarvis could be the man trusted exploiting this area and he will be keen to add to his three assists so far this season - and the goal he scored at White Hart Lane in the Capital One Cup fifth round in December.

With the majority of his league starts coming on the left-wing, Jarvis will have the opportunity to come up against compatriot Kyle Naughton. The versatile full-back has been deployed at right-back of late due to injury to Kyle Walker.

Naughton has attained an average WhoScored.com rating this season of 6.63, a figure that is higher than only Ezekiel Fryers (6.51) of every Spurs defender. With this in mind, Jarvis has the chance to make the most of his primary asset.

The West Ham winger has developed a WhoScored.com strength of 'crossing' and should he be able to beat his man to the byline, Jarvis can deliver a ball into the 18-yard box that can be capitalised upon by the Hammers' attackers.

Andy Carroll in particular should thrive if Jarvis is able to find the space to put the ball into the danger zone. The striker has gained a statistically calculated strength of 'aerial duels' and this facet of his game will undoubtedly trouble a Spurs defence that has conceded more goals (49) than any other team in the top seven.

If West Ham are to secure the win, Jarvis will need to be on top of his game to provide for his team-mates. Should the 27-year-old be granted the space to run at Naughton, it's questionable whether the full-back can contain the winger at the Boleyn Ground in what promises to be a highly-competitive London derby.

However, only top of the table Liverpool (33) have secured more points away from home this season than Tottenham (32) so it promises to be a close encounter.

*WhoScored.com is a website and one of the fastest growing in the sports industry, specialising in the in-depth analysis of detailed football data. Follow @WhoScored on Twitter.

Tottenham Hotspur

Possible starting XI


Naughton  Kaboul  Vertonghen  Rose

Lennon  Paulinho  Chadli  Eriksen

Adebayor  Kane

Tottenham Hotspur have changed their formation, personnel and tactical approach under Tim Sherwood.

Unlike many Barclays Premier League managers, Sherwood has made no secret of his preference for playing two central strikers whenever possible.

Where predecessor Andre Villas Boas was criticised for being too defensive, Sherwood has attracted plenty of comment for his more positive approach to his football.

Spurs like to get the ball and keep it using their quick, attack-minded full-backs and skilful wide midfielders to create chances. In central midfield, Paulinho and Moussa Dembele - if fi t - work hard to win possession from the opposition, while centre-backs Younes Kaboul and Jan Vertonghen are both strong and uncompromising when the need arises.

The statistics suggest Tottenham do not do anything exceptionally well, but they are in the Barclays Premier League's top eight in possession, pass completion percentage, shots on target and interceptions made.

However, one result of Tottenham's attacking philosophy under Sherwood has been goals galore - both for and against.
In 15 league games under Villas Boas, just 36 goals were scored in total. In 21 games since, 65 have flown in. Of those 65, 37 have been scored by Spurs, including ten from a rejuvenated Emmanuel Adebayor and seven from the outstanding Christian Eriksen.

Tactically, Eriksen has played on the left of a four-man midfield in recent weeks, using his ability to deliver devilish passes and shots from both open play and set pieces.

Two-footed, the Dane prefers to cut inside and either shoot or set up his team-mates, as evidenced by the eight assists he has chalked up under Sherwood.

Further forward, Adebayor has used both his strength and close control to hold up play and finishing ability to score to good effect.

While you might expect the Togolese to have been partnered by the smaller, more mobile Roberto Soldado, that has not been the case during Tottenham's recent upturn in results.

Homegrown forward Harry Kane has been given a run of games and has taken full advantage, scoring in three consecutive matches against Sunderland, West Bromwich Albion and Fulham.

Tall, strong and blessed with decent technique and heading ability, Kane makes up for his relative lack of pace by being in the right place at the right time to convert his chances.

Pace is not something Spurs lack in wide areas. At full-back Kyle Naughton and Danny Rose are both speedy and direct, while winger Aaron Lennon likes to run at his man.

Right-sided Lennon has enjoyed a renaissance in recent weeks, chalking up two of his three assists this season against West Brom and Fulham.

On the flip side, left-sided England international Townsend has been ruled out of the FIFA World Cup with a serious ankle injury.
At the back, Sherwood's 'We'll score more than you' philosophy has loosened a defence that kept things tight - in the main - under Villas Boas.

It has perhaps been the tactical approach and calamitous errors, rather than the ability of individuals that has cost Tottenham goals on a regular basis.

France international Hugo Lloris is an outstanding, agile and confi dent goalkeeper who is never afraid to spring off his line to thwart opposition attacks.

Perhaps the most-impressive statistic about Spurs' season is the 17 points they have gained from losing positions. Five times, Tottenham have come from behind to win.

Almost as impressive is the fact Tottenham also lead the Barclays Premier League in points lost from winning positions, with six.

So, whether opponents go in front or go behind against goal-happy Spurs, they are in grave danger of losing out to Sherwood's merry men.