Premier League: How Tottenham Hotspur Will Line Up Against West Ham United

Thomas CooperFeatured ColumnistMay 1, 2014

Premier League: How Tottenham Hotspur Will Line Up Against West Ham United

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    Aaron Lennon and Danny Rose should both be back on Saturday as Tottenham take on West Ham.
    Aaron Lennon and Danny Rose should both be back on Saturday as Tottenham take on West Ham.Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    Two matches remain for Tottenham Hotspur this season, the first of which sees them take on West Ham United this Saturday.

    Both teams still have enough at stake to ensure this is unlikely to be a damp squib, and the rivalry between the two London clubs would have likely precluded that anyway.

    Tottenham will be aiming to catch Everton in fifth place with a win and stay ahead of Manchester United in seventh in the process.

    West Ham are not yet mathematically safe, needing a point to all but guarantee their Premier League status with their superior goal difference over fellow strugglers Norwich City.

    Given the Canaries are likely to drop points at Chelsea and Arsenal in their remaining two games, it is all but a formality. After a tough year, though, Hammers boss Sam Allardyce will be keen for his side to finish on their own terms.

    For Spurs, a little revenge would not go amiss. West Ham comfortably beat them 3-0 in the league back in October and dumped them out of the Capital One Cup in Tim Sherwood's first game as manager.

    For the task at hand this weekend, Sherwood is likely to stick with a starting line-up similar to the one he fielded throughout April. 

Goalkeeper and Defence

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    Danny Rose had an eventuful afternoon at Stoke last weekend.
    Danny Rose had an eventuful afternoon at Stoke last weekend.Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

    Hugo Lloris should be in goal again on Saturday—it's as close to a certainty as you can get in predicting who will line up for Tottenham in any given week.

    Given Kyle Walker's ongoing injury problems, Kyle Naughton at right-back is not far behind Lloris in terms of predictability right now.

    He has been playing well enough in his recent run to deserve his spot.

    On the opposite flank should be Danny Rose. The left-back will be hoping to replicate his good first-half performance against Stoke City last weekend, which included a goal.

    He was less impressive after the break—contributing to Ryan Shawcross' sending off, barraged with boos by the Britannia Stadium crowd and subsequently withdrawn by his manager as his own temper began to flare.

    Tim Sherwood brought Michael Dawson, who is fit again, back into his team last week. Meanwhile, captain and in-form defender Younes Kaboul more than stood up to the direct demands of the Potters last week, doing fine work to nullify the more intricate play of their opponents as well.

    Having struggled to click in the past, it was one of the duo's better games as a central defensive partnership. They are likely to be back to take on West Ham's Andy Carroll-led attack, even though Sherwood does have the option of calling on Jan Vertonghen again. 

Midfield

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    Paulinho watches on during Spurs' win over Stoke.
    Paulinho watches on during Spurs' win over Stoke.Rui Vieira/Associated Press

    Andros Townsend's season-ending injury will surely mean Aaron Lennon keeps hold of his right-sided midfield spot for Tottenham's last couple of matches.

    Sherwood has stuck with the winger when fit, and it would be a surprise for him to change things now.

    The case is the same with Christian Eriksen. The Dane's role in the Spurs team moving forward is up for discussion, but for now, Sherwood will again ask him to try to influence proceedings from a base position on the left side of midfield.

    Paulinho has worked his way back into his manager's favour with a clutch of tidy displays working back and forth centrally in his general style.

    His partnership with Nacer Chadli, though not short on defensive endeavour, does not quite back it up with solidity—something Stoke had some joy exposing last week.

    Sherwood has stuck with Chadli for a month, but it is clear his skill set is predominantly of the attack-minded variety.

    His manager may well persevere with him for the sake of consistency, but Saturday may see Sandro handed his chance to get back in Sherwood's good graces after their recent public disagreements.

    West Ham showed back in October's defeat of Spurs their ability to punch from midfield. Even without the dangerous Ravel Morrison this time around, Mohamed Diame and Kevin Nolan are also particularly capable of imposing hurt through the middle if left unchecked.

    Sandro's return would be a sensible caution against that, while also perhaps allowing compatriot Paulinho a little more license to attack. 

Attack

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    Young striker Harry Kane should be back for a fifth start in a row.
    Young striker Harry Kane should be back for a fifth start in a row.Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

    Roberto Soldado's recent injury came at a bad time for the Spaniard.

    Harry Kane has taken his chance in the Tottenham attack in his place, and after another bright display from the young striker at Stoke, he is likely to keep his place this week.

    Emmanuel Adebayor's scoring form has tailed off in recent games. His value to the Spurs cause was again on display, though, brilliantly crafting an assist for Rose's winner in the 1-0 victory.

    The season's last two matches will make for an intriguing watch in regards to Adebayor and Kane (and Soldado, if he sees any involvement).

    In firm control of Spurs' forward positions for now, the games present valuable opportunities to reaffirm their suitability to lead the team's attack heading into next season.

    Then again, the same could be said for just about every player in the squad.

     

    Predicted Tottenham line-up vs. West Ham: Lloris; Naughton, Dawson (c), Kaboul, Rose; Lennon, Paulinho, Sandro, Eriksen; Adebayor, Kane.