Saturday’s evening kick-off brings us a feisty London derby as Tottenham Hotspur host West Ham United in the Premier League.
Spurs have hit something of a rough patch in their season and are without a win since the start of October, when they defeated Manchester City 2-0.
— NinetyMinutesOnline (@90MinsOnline) November 18, 2016
With a crucial Champions League away tie at Monaco coming up in midweek, Mauricio Pochettino is treading a tightrope when it comes to his selection for the weekend’s grudge match.
Dele Alli has been struggling with a knee injury and missed England’s recent matches against Scotland and Spain; he may well be omitted here with Tuesday in mind.
Erik Lamela, Ben Davies and Toby Alderweireld are all ruled out and are not expected to feature again this month, but Harry Kane is available after dropping out of the England squad earlier this week.
Tottenham played three at the back away at Arsenal last time out and Pochettino may stick to that here, pushing Kyle Walker and Danny Rose further forward to provide width.
The White Hart Lane side are currently fifth and remain undefeated in the Premier League this term, although they have drawn over half of their matches thus far.
Meanwhile, the Hammers are languishing down in 17th position after a difficult opening few months of the campaign and will be looking for all three points from this one to begin their ascent up the table.
They will have to do so without captain Mark Noble, who picked up his fifth yellow card of the season in the 1-1 draw with Stoke City before the international break; Havard Nordtveit may deputise as the anchor in midfield.
Injuries have been a major factor the Irons’ sluggish start and they are still without Andy Carroll, Arthur Masuaku, Gokhan Tore, Reece Oxford and Sam Byram for the short trip to North London.
In better news, Winston Reid is set to return from a hamstring strain, whilst James Collins and Diafra Sakho have also been passed fit.
Moving Michail Antonio into a more advanced role an hour into the Stoke match paid dividends for manager Slaven Bilic and the Englishman may find himself starting as part of the front three at Tottenham.
These two teams have produced some classic matches in recent memory but with both lacking in confidence ahead of Saturday’s clash, there is a feeling that they would each take a scrappy 1-0 win to kick-start their season.
Possible Tottenham starting XI (3-4-3): Lloris; Dier, Wimmer, Vertonghen; Walker, Wanyama, Dembele, Rose; Eriksen, Son, Kane
Possible West Ham starting XI (3-4-3): Adrian; Kouyate, Reid, Ogbonna; Fernandes, Obiang, Nordtveit, Cresswell; Antonio, Payet, Ayew