West Ham United continue their 2020/21 Premier League campaign with a London derby at home to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday at 12noon.
The Hammers welcome their near-neighbours to London Stadium seeking to consolidate their place in the top five following Monday's 3-0 home win over Sheffield United..
The Irons have lost just one of their previous ten top-flight matches heading into this fixture, and have won six of their last eight to climb into the race for European qualification.
Tottenham, meanwhile, have dropped from the top of the standings in November to their current position of ninth ahead of the weekend, having lost four of their last five Premier League games. However, a 4-1 UEFA Europa League Round of 32 first leg win over Wolfsberger of Austria in Budapest on Thursday evening will have given Jose Mourinho's squad a boost.
The reverse fixture at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium back on 18 October was an unforgettable one, as Spurs raced into a 3-0 lead inside 16 minutes, then conceded three times in the last eight minutes of the second half to draw 3-3, climaxing in Manuel Lanzini's inch-perfect last-minute equaliser.
With England now back under a national lockdown due to the ongoing pandemic, this means the game will be played without supporters present. However, the match will be shown live in the UK by Sky Sports, meaning our fans will be able to follow the action, safely, from home.
You can read your free 116-page digital issue of the Official Programme for Sunday's game online ahead of the game. Alternatively, order your print copy here!
West Ham United manager David Moyes will definitely be without Angelo Ogbonna (high ankle sprain) and long-term absentee Arthur Masuaku (knee).
However, Michail Antonio (fatigue) and Andriy Yarmolenko (knee) could be available, while Fabián Balbuena (calf strain) faces a race to be fit to face the Spurs side he scored against in October.
Speculation is rising that Jose Mourinho may hand Gareth Bale a Premier League start on Sunday after he impressed against Wolfsberger on Thursday evening with a goal and an assist.
Harry Kane missed that tie as a precaution after recently returning from an ankle injury but should be fit to play at London Stadium.
Full-backs Sergio Reguilon and Serge Aurier could return from injury, but attacking midfielder Giovani Lo Celso (thigh) is unlikely to feature.
The opposition – Tottenham Hotspur
On 13 December, Tottenham Hotspur drew 1-1 at Crystal Palace to go top of the Premier League.
With 25 points from 12 matches and a league-best +14 goal difference, it appeared Spurs were on course to mount a sustained challenge for their first title in 60 years – and just the third in their 139-year history.
In the two months and eleven matches since then, however, that title challenge has not so much slowed, but derailed, with Spurs achieving just three wins and suffering six defeats to slip to ninth in the table.
An Emirates FA Cup fifth-round defeat at Everton means that, rather than the four trophies Tottenham were in the hunt for as 2021 dawned, just the Carabao Cup, where they face Manchester City in the final in April, and UEFA Europa League, where they have reached the Round of 32, remain.
So, what has gone wrong for José Mourinho’s squad? There are a number of factors that could be at play.
First, Tottenham may simply be physically and mentally tired. After long, draining 2018/19 and 2019/21 seasons and the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Spurs have played 39 matches since kicking-off their 2020/21 campaign with a 1-0 home Premier League defeat by Everton on 13 September – an average of a relatively gruelling eight matches per month.
Tottenham have also lost key players to injuries at various points of the season, including centre-back Toby Alderweireld, attacking midfielder Giovani Lo Celso and centre-forward Harry Kane.
Former hero and one-time West Ham nemesis Gareth Bale has not yet discovered his top form since returning on loan from Real Madrid, while England international Dele Alli and full-backs Serge Aurier and Danny Rose have fallen out of favour.
It may all come back together as quickly as it did before Christmas, when Spurs won 5-2 at Southampton and 6-1 at Manchester United, then beat Manchester City and Arsenal to go top.
Tottenham are still in two cup competitions and, of course, the year ends in one...
How will they play?
On paper, Spurs’ attack is a balanced once, with exactly 36% of their raids coming down each flank, but they spend more time in their own third of the pitch than the attacking third – 30% to 24%.
That is because José Mourinho has employed a counter-attacking style that cedes possession and territory to the opposition and relies on the pace of the likes of Heung-min Son and the clinical finishing of Harry Kane to get the job done.
That approach worked earlier this season, despite Tottenham creating just 10.8 shots per game – 13th highest – but the thinner margin of error means less goals and more defensive mistakes have led to a marked downturn in results.
West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur have met 49 times in the Premier League, with Spurs winning 24 to the Hammers' 15, with ten draws.
Today, Spurs become the Hammers’ second opponent to reach 50 Premier League meetings after Liverpool, who visited London Stadium at the end of January.
The Irons did become the first visiting team to win at Tottenham's new stadium when Michail Antonio (pictured) netted the only goal of the game in April 2019. Antonio has scored four goals in nine appearances for West Ham against Spurs.
West Ham have twice beaten Tottenham by a three-goal margin in the Premier League – a 4-1 victory in April 1994 and a 3-0 win in October 2013 – with both victories coming away from home in north London.
The Irons have twice beaten Spurs 2-0 in home Premier League meetings, in March 2003 and May 2014.
David Moyes has faced Tottenham on no fewer than 30 occasions as a manager, winning seven, drawing ten and losing 13.
By the numbers
9 West Ham United’s leading scorer in competitive fixtures against Tottenham Hotspur is Johnny Byrne. ‘Budgie’ netted nine times in just nine Division One appearances against Spurs, despite not finding the net in any of his first three! After firing three blanks, Byrne hit one in a 4-0 home win in February 1964, then a hat-trick in a 3-2 victory at the Boleyn Ground in September of the same year. After finding the net in a 3-2 defeat at White Hart Lane in January 1965, he was on target in a 4-1 away win and got both in a 2-0 home success in April 1966. And in November 1966, Byrne made it six games in a row with at least one goal against Tottenham with one in a 4-3 win in north London.
4 Byrne is one of five players to have scored senior hat-tricks against Tottenham, with the others being Arthur Winterhalder in a 4-2 home Southern League Division One win in December 1906, Vic Watson in an FA Cup third round win at the Boleyn Ground in January 1927, John Dick in a 3-3 FA Cup sixth round draw at White Hart Lane in March 1956 and David Cross, who got all four in a 4-0 First Division away win on 2 September 1981.
1 Amazingly, just one player – Tony Cottee (pictured) – has scored on his West Ham United debut against Tottenham Hotspur. Cottee was just 17 when he headed in during a 3-0 Division One win at the Boleyn Ground on New Year’s Day 1983. Cottee went on to score five goals against Spurs for the Hammers.
2011 Ryan Fredericks made his Tottenham Hotspur debut alongside Harry Kane in a UEFA Europa League draw with Scottish side Heart of Midlothian at White Hart Lane on 25 August 2011. Fredericks, who played on the right wing that night, went on to make four first-team appearances for Spurs before moving to Bristol City in 2015.
1 Just one man managed both clubs on a permanent basis. Plaistow-born Harry Redknapp played for West Ham as a winger during the late 1960s and early 1970s before embarking on a successful management career. He arrived at Tottenham in 2008 and led Spurs into the UEFA Champions League, while willing Premier League Manager of the Year honours in 2010. He departed in 2012. West Ham player Jack Tresadern, who was capped by England, started the 1923 FA Cup final and helped the Hammers gain election to the Football League in 1919, went on to manage Spurs between 1935-38 before leaving for Plymouth Argyle.
47 The following 47 players have been on the books of both West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur: Clive Allen, Paul Allen, Leslie Bennett, David Bentley, Mark Bowen, Christopher Carrick, Michael Carrick, Calum Davenport, Jermain Defoe, Ilie Dumitrescu, Dave Dunmore, Matthew Etherington, Les Ferdinand, George Foreman, Ryan Fredericks, Jimmy Greaves, Frederick Griffiths, Almer Hall, Joe Hart, Chris Hughton, Bill Joyce, Willian Kaine, Frederick Kanoute, Robbie Keane, Paul Konchesky, Percy Mapley, Frederick Massey, Kenny McKay, Mido, Frederick Milnes, John Moncur, Jimmy Neighbour, Scott Parker, Tony Parks, Martin Peters, Sergei Rebrov, Mark Robson, Neil Ruddock, Peter Shearing, Teddy Sheringham, John Smith, Mauricio Taricco, Mitchell Thomas, Jimmy Walker, Simon Webster, Steve Walford and Bobby Zamora.
Ambition, Aspire, Achieve
At Sunday's game, we will be highlighting the work of our Official Charity Partner, Ambition, Aspire, Achieve (AAA).
AAA are based just a stone’s throw from the London Stadium, in Hermit Recreation Ground E16 4JT, where West Ham United played their first ever matches as Thames Ironworks FC.
AAA’s work focuses on supporting children and young people who are experiencing disadvantage and poverty, to overcome their multiple difficulties and follow positive pathways forward to achieving their full potential.
They are making a difference and changing the lives of over 800 children every year and we are pleased to be dedicating the Tottenham Hotspur fixture to helping them raise awareness.
If you would like to learn more about Ambition, Aspire, Achieve and how you can help them to continue to make a difference, head to their website at www.theaaazone.com or contact AAA’s Founder (and Season Ticket Holder) Kevin Jenkins OBE at [email protected].
Referee: Craig Pawson
Assistant Referees: Harry Lennard and Richard West
Fourth Official: Graham Scott
VAR: Darren England
Assistant VAR: Andrew Halliday
Craig Pawson takes charge of a West Ham United fixture for the first time in the 2020/21 season, and the first time at London Stadium since the 8-0 EFL Cup win over Macclesfield Town in August 2018.
The 41-year-old was born in Sheffield and is affiliated to the Sheffield & Hallamshire County Football Association.
After starting his career as a 14-year-old in his native South Yorkshire, Pawson kicked-off his Football League career as an assistant referee before being promoted to the Football League referee’s list on a permanent basis in 2008.
He took charge of the 2012 League Two Play-Off final between Crewe Alexandra and Cheltenham Town before being appointed to the Select Group of Premier League officials the following year.
In 2015, he was added to the FIFA International Referees List and he has since refereed a host of UEFA Champions League and Europa League matches.
Pawson has refereed West Ham United on 16 occasions, the first of which was a 1-1 Championship draw at Bristol City in April 2012.
He also took charge of the Hammers’ 2-0 Premier League defeat at today’s opponents Tottenham Hotspur in north London in June last year.