Tottenham Hotspur can be expected to end a productive festive period by taking all three points when they host a struggling West Ham side in the English Premier League at Wembley on Thursday (3pm ET).
Mauricio Pochettino’s side have recorded three straight victories to keep pace with the other competitors for a top-four finish. After a poor series of results from mid-November through to early December, they have now won five of their last six in the league.
Their latest victory was a 2-0 triumph in the swirling rain away at Swansea on Tuesday. It was a strange match, in which Spurs dominated possession, took a first-half lead through Fernando Llorente and looked very comfortable for the first hour, only to then have a couple of scares before Dele Alli sealed the points with a late second on the counter-attack.
Harry Kane was rested from the start after falling ill in the days before the match, but came off the bench to assist Alli’s goal and should be ready to start against West Ham. With hat-tricks in each of his last two starts, and 10 goals in his last eight, the England striker is in excellent form and will be confident of extending his one-goal lead at the top of the Premier League’s top-goalscorer rankings with another goal or two on Thursday.
Kane will be particularly keen to get on the pitch as he has an excellent record against the Hammers. He has scored doubles at home to West Ham in each of the last two seasons and added a couple more in Tottenham’s 3-2 win away at the London Stadium in September.
The battle for a top-four finish is a fierce one, but if Kane can keep producing in front of goal, with able support from Alli and Heung-Min Son, and an already solid defence can tighten up a tad more once Toby Alderweireld returns from injury, Spurs are still very much in the race. They seem to have found their form in seeing off lesser teams. Now they just need to improve their results against their direct competitors.
At the other end of the table, after a couple of disappointing results against other relegation candidates, West Ham secured a key victory by coming back from a goal down to win 2-1 at home to fellow strugglers West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday. Andy Carroll was their saviour, equalising just before the hour mark before converting Marko Arnautovic’s low delivery into the area for the injury time winner.
It was a goal that provided not just a vital three points but also an important morale boost for the Hammers ahead of a run of matches that could have a significant impact on their likelihood of avoiding relegation.
This season is likely to bear witness to one of the tightest relegation battles the Premier League has ever seen. There are as many as nine or 10 viable candidates for the drop, and aside from Spurs, West Ham are in the midst of a run of matches against teams who would be considered part of that field. After their visit to Wembley, they have four more fixtures against sides who are currently positioned inside the bottom half of the table.
The target for Thursday’s match will be to remain competitive, try and snatch a result and if not, avoid losing by a heavy margin. David Moyes was able to garner some credit with the West Ham supporter base by overseeing a trio of determined performances in defeat to Manchester City, victory over Chelsea and a draw away at Arsenal in some of his early matches in charge, and will most likely set his side up in a similar manner against Spurs.
It will be up to Spurs to break West Ham down. They have had a few frustrating afternoons at Wembley this season, including draws against Burnley, Swansea and West Bromwich Albion, but after knocking in 12 goals in their last three home fixtures, they will be confident of avoiding a comparable fate against the Hammers. It might be hard going at first, but Spurs can be fancied to eventually come away with a relatively comfortable victory.
Our Preview’s Spurs vs. West Ham Betting Tips Verdict
So, looking at the odds from the United States’ sports betting sites, this preview’s Spurs vs West Ham predictions and pick is: