Emmanuel Adebayor has led the way for Tottenham Hotspur in their last two games. He is likely to be in Tim Sherwood's first match in charge as permanent Spurs manager too.
"We have a great squad and we owe them a Head Coach who will bring out the best in them and allow them to flourish and enjoy a strong, exciting finish to the season," Spurs chairman Daniel Levy said in a statement on Tottenham Hotspur's official page, announcing Sherwood's appointment.
"We believe Tim has both the knowledge and the drive to take the squad forward."
That belief will be further tested in four games coming up in a hectic festive fortnight.
In the Premier League at least, Sherwood's Spurs started how they will hope to go on with a quietly encouraging 3-2 win over Southampton this past Sunday.
Managerless West Brom sit seven places below the Saints, and are without a win since beating Crystal Palace 2-0 at the start of November. Despite Spurs enjoying some much-needed Christmas cheer these last few days, the Baggies will be well aware of their difficulties at home this season.
Now that we know Sherwood is here to stay, we will increasingly get an idea of what measures he plans to take to improve those areas where the North London club have fallen short this season.
The return of Emmanuel Adebayor as part of a front two—as opposed to the lone striker primarily preferred under Andre Villas-Boas—has been the most notable alteration so far. In addition to improving the team's productivity in the final third, Sherwood will be looking to take three points at home for the first time since Hull City were beaten 1-0 in October.
Roberto Soldado was the scorer on that occasion, and stands a good chance of being in the Spurs starting XI for his first Christmas in England.
A couple of missed chances he visibly knew he should have scored versus Southampton will have left the Spaniard feeling like a bit of cotton-headed ninny-muggins. Nonetheless, him getting the chances in the first place, as well as his precisely-hit assist for Adebayor's first goal, should have earned Soldado another chance.
With Adebayor fresh off scoring three goals in two games, he especially is (fitness permitting) a certainty to start versus West Brom. In fact, bar in one or two positions, there is a good chance Sherwood will opt for a similar 4-4-2 line-up to that he selected in his first game.
Hugo Lloris' reckless charge from goal played a big part in Southampton's second goal. Considering his judgement coming off his line was otherwise largely and typically spot-on (though that may depend on your opinion about his penchant for punching), it would be churlish to overly criticise a goalkeeper who has been so important to Spurs in this area. That is likely to remain the case under his new manager, even if the emphasis on his duty as a sweeper subsides.
Defence is a position where no such certainty exists in the long-term. Against West Brom, though, the back-four should be unchanged from that which played last time out.
Vlad Chiriches and Michael Dawson renewed their balanced partnership at centre-back, largely stifling Southampton, save for the ebullient Adam Lallana.
Either side of them, Kyle Walker and Danny Rose are no-brainers for the full-back positions. The latter took an important step in his return to fitness with 90 minutes versus the Saints.
Sherwood's old position of midfield is of most interest heading into Thursday's game.
Christian Eriksen did enough in his return to the team to have earned another run out in central midfield. Paulinho is still suspended, but at the time of writing there was no confirmation of the injury statuses of Mousa Dembele, Aaron Lennon and Sandro.
Dembele hobbled off on the weekend, replaced by 19-year-old Nabil Bentaleb. Sandro has not played since the Liverpool loss, while Etienne Capoue and Lewis Holtby were in action in a training ground friendly with Brighton & Hove Albion on Monday—the former pictured here, via Spurs' official Twitter page:
Honestly, the second central midfielder is a tricky one to predict for this game, with so many options and little knowledge yet of Sherwood's preferences. Knowing he is fit and was only used for a half in the Brighton friendly, we will go with Capoue coming in to hold the fort alongside Eriksen. It could possibly, though, be any one of them.
Lennon missed out altogether versus Southampton. Though he could be back, Nacer Chadli's lively and impressive second half cameo might just have earned him the right midfield berth.
Gylfi Sigurdsson's own energetic outing—one enhanced by the support of Rose on his outside—should see him continue on the opposite flank, completing the Spurs midfield.
Tottenham will be hoping for plenty of festive cheer over the coming week, starting with a win over West Brom.
On that note, I would like to wish regular readers, as well as those who have just happened to stumble upon this article, a Merry Christmas, happy holidays and good will in general as 2013 draws to a close.
Predicted Tottenham line-up versus West Brom: Hugo Lloris; Kyle Walker, Michael Dawson (c), Vlad Chiriches, Danny Rose; Nacer Chadli, Christian Eriksen, Etienne Capoue, Gylfi Sigurdsson; Emmanuel Adebayor, Roberto Soldado.