Former Player Blog - Matthew Etherington

Former West Ham United and Tottenham winger Matthew Etherington looks ahead to the big London derby at the Boleyn Ground

Matthew Etherington made a combined 246 appearances for West Ham and Tottenham during his memorable spells at the Boleyn Ground and White Hart Lane and cannot wait to witness the last ever game between the two clubs at the Boleyn Ground on Wednesday night. With Tottenham hoping to maintain their challenge for the title and the Hammers looking to break back into the top five, there is everything to play for and Etherington is expecting a special atmosphere under the lights.


The atmosphere tonight will be absolutely rocking for the final meeting between the two at the Boleyn Ground and I’m looking forward to being there.

It’s a big game for both teams. Spurs are going for the title while West Ham will still think they have a good chance of pushing up the league on the coat-tails of the top four. It’s all to play for.

There’s no reason why West Ham shouldn’t go into the game confident. It wasn’t the greatest performance against Sunderland but it shows the character in the team the way they still got a result.

I can see the team has good spirit and that they are playing for the manager, who has done brilliantly. West Ham will definitely be going into the game thinking they can win it.

They have had their share of injuries this season, especially up front but Emmanuel Emenike did really well against Blackburn in the FA Cup and was okay against Sunderland.

It’s good to see Diafra Sakho is fit again though because he was brilliant earlier in the season and I am sure they will be looking to bring him back.

It’s great also see the injury situation easing a bit though with Manuel Lanzini back and Winston Reid not far off a return. It’s ideal because it’s a vital time of the season, particularly with the FA Cup game at Manchester United looming as well.

Michail Antonio has been brilliant. He did well at Nottingham Forest, popping up with plenty of goals. He’s been a real handful for the opposition and scored some great goals. People questioned whether he could make the step up and he’s answered them.

He works really hard for the team but obviously, if he does play at right-back against Spurs because Sam Byram is suspended, then we will miss him going forward a bit.

Spurs are only three points off and I’m sure they will be there or thereabouts at the end of the season, especially with Arsenal slipping up over the weekend.

Spurs have a really good, young team and now they have two massive games coming up – West Ham followed by Arsenal next weekend.

They are looking a complete team in many respects. If they have to, they can come back from going a goal down as they did against Swansea last weekend.

Mauricio Pochettino has done an unbelievable job there. It took him a season to get things as he wanted but now they’re looking really good.

The difference between last season and this is the spine of their team. He brought in Toby Alderweireld to play alongside Jan Vertonghen and he has been fantastic.

Eric Dier has come in and done well in midfield and up front they have Dele Alli and Harry Kane so they have a very strong spine. Added to that there is Hugo Lloris in goal who is one of the best in the Premier League.

All exceptional Premier League teams have a good spine and Pochettino has built that at Spurs.

I don’t think many managers would have had enough faith to chuck Dele Alli straight in but Pochettino did that and has been rewarded for his bravery.

It may have been different is someone like Harry Kane had been out injured for any length of time but he has stayed fit and that’s been a huge bonus for them.