West Ham vs. Tottenham: 4 Key Battles to Watch

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West Ham vs. Tottenham: 4 Key Battles to Watch
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

The last time these two teams met, it resulted in a resounding success for the hosts. Oh, and also for a certain former Hammer...

Jermain Defoe struck twice in the 3-1 win for Tottenham over West Ham at White Hart Lane, with the only positive point for the visitors being that the overly expensive Andy Carroll scored a rare goal. It was an important victory for Spurs, who ended an unsavory run of three consecutive defeats.

At that moment, just a point separated the London rivals. That gap is now a whopping 18 points.

With Tottenham flying high in the league—just a point behind manager Andre Villas-Boas' former club Chelsea—West Ham have gone back to their more natural way of living in the Premier League; inconsistent, frustrating and certainly in danger of slipping into the relegation zone.

And that's why this weekend's clash at Upton Park is so crucial.

A win for the Irons would lift them comfortably onto 33 points, just seven short of the "40-point mark," widely seen as the amount of points needed to survive relegation, with 12 games to go.

But after their last-gasp equalizer against Lyon, which saw them progress to the Europa League Last-16 draw, confidence in Spurs camp will be at an all-time high. A win, with Chelsea facing a tough clash with Manchester City at the weekend, would be a timely boost in their Champions League conquest.

It promises to be an exciting clash filled with high-octane play and crunching challenges. And the odd squat from Villas-Boas. Let's look at the key battles in the game, shall we?

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