Tottenham are enjoying a strong start to the campaign. Spurs sit third in the Premier League table and cruised to a midweek Europa League victory over Anzhi Makhachkala. Now, they are set for a league clash with West Ham United.
The departure of Gareth Bale over the summer led to tempered expectations at White Hart Lane. Andre Villas-Boas deserves credit for mixing and matching the additions to help offset the loss of Bale, allowing Tottenham to thrive early on.
West Ham are down near the relegation zone after six matches. The back line has played well, giving up just five goals, but the attack has struggled mightily. Finding a way to produce more chances is critical to avoiding a season-long relegation battle.
Here's a look at all the key information for the match, followed by a breakdown of the top storyline and a prediction.
Where: White Hart Lane in London, England
When: Sunday, Oct. 6 at 11 a.m. ET (4 p.m. BST)
Watch: Premier League Extra Time
Live Stream: NBC Sports Live Extra
Match Forecast (via Bloomberg Sports)
Tottenham: 57.2 percent
West Ham: 18.6 percent
Draw: 24.2 percent
Top Storyline: Can Tottenham avoid a letdown ahead of the international break?
After facing West Ham, Tottenham don't play again for two weeks as the players head off for international duty. Maintaining focus in the final match before the break is always a tough task, especially when it's a match the side should win.
That's the case for Spurs. They are at home and playing a club that can't match their overall talent level. Anything less than three points would be a disappointment, but it also sets up as a trap game, and Villas-Boas has to ensure his players understand that.
West Ham know escaping from White Hart Lane with a draw would be a great result. So expect them to lean even more heavily on their defenders early with hopes of frustrating Spurs and catching them in the pre-break trap.
The game plan will put a lot of pressure on centre-backs Winston Reid and James Collins. But if the back line can survive that initial barrage by Tottenham, the chances of earning at least a point would increase dramatically.
So it's crucial for Tottenham to get off to a solid start, like they did against Anzhi, and head into halftime with the edge. Otherwise, they will likely fall right into the trap.
If Tottenham maintain their early season form for 90 minutes, they should have no problem taking care of business against West Ham. Much like the Anzhi clash, Spurs would take control from the outset and cruise to three points.
The surrounding circumstances and West Ham's steady defense makes things tricky, though. Roberto Soldado and Gylfi Sigurdsson need to push forward aggressively in the early going to set the tone. It likely won't be easy, but Spurs should do just enough to get the win.
Tottenham 2, West Ham 1