Premier League: How Tottenham Will Line Up Against West Ham
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Right now, West Ham—on a five-match run without a league win—have more in common with struggling Palace than the title-chasing Gunners and Blues.
The need for a win coupled with the inspiration of getting one over on a rival makes the Hammers a dangerous opponent.
As aware of this as Tottenham will be, this will have minimal influence on manager Andre Villas-Boas' team selection. For now, there is little reason to change the look of his starting lineup.
So long as he has returned healthy from Thursday's Europa League meeting with Anzhi Makhachkala, Hugo Lloris' selection in goal is a given.
Same applies for Kyle Walker at right-back. Prior to the Anzhi game Villas-Boas was described on TottenhamHotspur.com as "hopeful" that Danny Rose will be in contention to start on Sunday too.
Deputising left-back Kyle Naughton improved between the Cardiff City and Chelsea games, but the return of the naturally left-sided Rose will be welcome as Spurs look to combat West Ham's wing threats in Matt Jarvis and Stewart Downing (the latter having returned from injury versus Hull City last week).
Having been rested for Europe in midweek, Jan Vertonghen will return to the Spurs defense, likely alongside Michael Dawson.
They have been Villas-Boas' first-choice pair so far this season. Younes Kaboul's battle for fitness makes him unlikely to displace either anytime soon, but the continued progress of Vlad Chiriches in cup games will be worth keeping an eye on.
Despite playing 90 minutes in Russia, Mousa Dembele should resume his midfield partnership with Paulinho.
The two have combined impressively in recent weeks, with their burgeoning understanding a captivating watch as we wait to see how it might evolve. The likes of Ravel Morrison and Kevin Nolan are capable of giving them a tough afternoon should they concede the initiative at any time.
Out wide, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Andros Townsend's bright displays versus Chelsea will not have gone unnoticed. The Iceland international is becoming a legitimate goal threat for Spurs in off the left flank, while Townsend's energy and resourcefulness has rightfully seen him keep his place ahead of record signing Erik Lamela.
Between those two, Christian Eriksen should get the nod in attacking midfield. He has impressed enough pulling the strings in the final third that he deserves to retain his starting place.
The Dane will though be aware of Lewis Holtby's own good form in the same role in cup games. A decisive display from Eriksen versus West Ham would strengthen his claim on the position that much more.
The same applies to Roberto Soldado up front as he looks to fend off Jermain Defoe and prove he remains the man to lead Spurs' front line.
Soldado has not performed badly (though Chelsea was one of his quieter outings) but could do with a goal to really prove his worth.
Tottenham will want to head into the international break off the back of a win. When they return, we will be past the halfway mark in October, and the season will really begin to take shape.
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