Tottenham V West Ham on Sunday

Andrew Atherley previews Sunday’s televised match at White Hart Lane and sees good reason to back the Hammers despite the loss of injured playmaker Dimitri Payet…
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Tottenham v West Ham
Sunday November 22, 16:00
Live on Sky Sports 1
The rising profile of Mauricio Pochettino’s young squad was evident in Tuesday’s friendly between England and France at Wembley, which featured four Tottenham players in the starting line-ups. Three were in the England side – with two more on the bench – and one of them, Dele Alli, scored the opener in the home side’s 2-0 win.
Harry Kane and Eric Dier also impressed and, with no injury worries over the England players, Tottenham should continue to feel the benefit of their growing confidence and experience.
Pochettino’s side are unbeaten in the Premier League since the opening-day 1-0 loss at Manchester United and lie fifth, one place ahead of West Ham on goal difference.
Mousa Dembele, one of Tottenham’s most impressive performers in recent weeks, missed Belgium’s friendly against Italy last week with a calf injury but could return here. Erik Lamela is suspended, having picked up five yellow cards, while Nacer Chadli is still sidelined with an ankle injury.
West Ham
Slaven Bilic came under early pressure with the Hammers’ exit from the Europa League at the qualifying stage but missing that onerous tournament appears to have benefited his team, who have already beaten Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea in the Premier League this season.
The star of the show has been Dimitri Payet, a revelation since joining from Marseille this summer, but Bilic now faces three months without him after the playmaker was forced off with an ankle injury during the last league game against Everton.
To compound the misfortune, striker Enner Valencia also suffered an ankle injury within 20 minutes of coming on as substitute for Payet in that match and is expected to be out for six weeks.
That gives Bilic a headache in attack, although at least he should be helped by the anticipated return of Diafra Sakho. The choice then will be whether to pair Sakho with Andy Carroll up front or play one of them in a lone role. If Carroll is the choice, Sakho could play on the right and perhaps Manuel Lanzini will step into the playmaker role behind the front line.
In defence, too, Bilic has had to readjust with James Collins also missing as he serves the second leg of a three-match ban for his red card in the 2-0 defeat at Watford on October 31. That is likely to mean another start for Winston Reid alongside James Tomkins.
Match Odds
The big question surrounding this match is how West Ham will cope without Payet, and on the face of it his injury is a big blow to Bilic’s plans. The playmaker has been one of the Premier League’s top performers this season with five goals and three assists, which means he has been involved in 35% of West Ham’s goals, and has created 47 chances – more than anyone in the league apart from Mesut Ozil.
That is a lot to take out of a team, but West Ham’s record is not too bad this season in the matches where they have not had the contribution of a goal or assist from their star man. In those games the Hammers have a record of W2 D1 L2 and they have scored nine goals at a rate of almost two per game. The caveat, of course, is that Payet was on the pitch in those games and, even if he wasn’t directly involved, his link play and presence would still have been important.
So will Bilic opt for a different West Ham in terms of shape, or try to stick to the formula that has enabled his Payet-led side to compile the Premier League’s second-best away record (W4 D1 L1)? We won’t really get an idea of his thinking until we see the line-ups, but a complete change of style seems unlikely given that Bilic has to play for three months without Payet and will surely want to press on.
Tottenham, like West Ham, are better suited to counter-attacking on the road and can become frustrated at home, as shown by goalless draws against Everton and Liverpool this season. They haven’t lost at White Hart Lane in the league this season but a home record of W3 D3 L0 and an overall record of W2 D4 L1 against top-half teams do not inspire great confidence in them at odds of 1.60.
While Tottenham look harder to beat since Toby Alderweireld arrived to bolster and organise the defence, their win rate when conceding is also a worry (three wins out of eight in the league – and two of those were against teams currently in the relegation zone).
The Hammers have scored in 11 of their 12 league games and, although they have to prove they can do it without Payet, the figures indicate they will have a decent chance if they get on the scoresheet here. Their only defeat on the road came when they were shut out by Watford (2-0), although their recent tendency to concede themselves (no clean sheet in seven league games, and none in four on the road) is a negative.
Double Chance
This is the market that appeals most in opposing Tottenham, with West Ham priced at 2.62 to take either a win or a draw.
While Tottenham are clearly hard to beat, their win record is open to question (especially against better-class sides with a goal threat). They have scored two or more goals in five of their 12 games, but only one of those (the standout 4-1 win over Manchester City) was against a current top-half team.
If West Ham score, there is a good chance this bet will pay off.
Over/Under 2.5 Goals/Both Teams To Score
West Ham’s new-found attacking style under Bilic has put them high in the scoring charts – they rank joint-third for games with over 2.5 goals (eight out of 12 overall; four out of six on the road) and joint-second for the goal total average in their matches (3.25).
While that points to a high score, the question once again is whether the absence of Payet will cause those figures to alter.
Tottenham, for all their attacking flair, have tended towards lower scores this season, with seven out of 12 under 2.5 goals. At home three games have had under 2.5 goals (all when Tottenham have kept a clean sheet) and three have gone over (all when the visitors scored), which indicates that West Ham’s ability to score without Payet will be a crucial factor.
Anyone who believes the Hammers will be neutered by Payet’s absence should be looking at under 2.5 goals at 2.24. But there is enough evidence of Bilic’s players making goals without Payet to suggest that they can cause problems for Tottenham.
Over 2.5 goals seems more likely at 1.78 although Both Teams To Score is worth considering at slightly bigger odds of 1.84.
Both teams have scored in seven of West Ham’s eight games with over 2.5 goals this season and in all five of Tottenham’s matches that have gone over 2.5 goals.
Recommended Bet
Back West Ham on Double Chance at 2.62 (1pt)
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