Premier League Picks for Tottenham vs. West Bromwich Albion

Lee Phelps

Thursday, September 18, 2014 10:07 PM GMT

Mauricio Pochettino must be thanking his lucky stars it’s West Brom coming to White Hart Lane this Sunday after a trip to Belgrade on a Thursday night. It can’t be easy juggling these midweek excursions with crucial Premier League matches, so you can only hope you get one of the weaker teams on your return.

Back from Europa
So far Tottenham have had mixed fortunes following on from a game in Europe this season. Their away game in Athens was followed by a 4-0 win against a poor QPR, while the home leg of that tie came before the 3-0 Liverpool defeat. Obviously Pochettino wasn’t in charge last season, but many of the same players were at the club and their record was okay.

They won five of the 11 league games after a Europa League match, interestingly four of the five finished 1-0 and three of the five were before the end of October whilst the players were still fresh. Those wins were against Hull, Cardiff and Swansea. I put West Brom in that bracket. Pochettino made 10 changes from the team that drew at Sunderland, so enough of the squad will be rested enough to go again versus the Baggies.

Just before we get on to Alan Irvine’s side, I’ll put up a soccer pick from a Tottenham perspective. I really like Christian Eriksen to score (23/10). He is the kind of player who finds space against the weaker sides and has scored three goals in his last two games against Brom.

 

Bye Bye Baggies?
The Media scoffed at Alan Irvine getting the manager’s job at the Hawthorns, although when you talk to coaches in the game, he is universally respected and well liked. But I’m starting to wonder if he’s a bit too nice.

There are two key problems so far for the Midlands’ side. They don’t score enough and more importantly they’re conceding ridiculously early in games.

They have conceded in the opening five minutes in three of their four Premier League games so far, and speaking to the Media this week, Irvine knows the problem is becoming serious.

“Disappointingly, we conceded an early goal again on Saturday,” he said. “I’m not quite sure why that’s happening because the preparation is good. It’s what the players have been used to doing. We haven’t changed anything as far as that is concerned, but we’ve ended up conceding goals early on through either errors or a bit of bad luck.

“You give yourself a mountain to climb if you concede early goals, especially with the nature of the goals we’ve conceded so early in the games so far this season. It’s very difficult to win games in the Premier League. It’s even more difficult when you concede goals as early as we have been.”

The key part of that statement is the ‘I’m not quite sure why that’s happening’ bit. He’s been going on all week about how disappointed they were with the 2-0 home defeat to Everton, when actually they were lucky to concede just two. Players will pick up on his negativity, even if he is trying to cast a positive spin on it. To say openly he doesn’t know why they are conceding early is plain daft. It is because his players are concentrating enough. Simple.

In Tottenham’s two ‘easiest’ games this season they have also scored early. Nacer Chadli grabbed the opener after 12 minutes in the win over QPR and after two minutes at Sunderland. Soccer odds at 8/1 to score first here.

 

Soccer Picks – Goals
I don’t see West Brom winning their first game of the season here (they even drew with Oxford in the Cup!) even if Tottenham are a bit out of sorts having played in midweek. I see the Londoners getting the job done, but maybe only by a single goal. I see a fast start from the home team and another first half goal conceded by Brom – after all if the manager doesn’t know why it’s happening, he won’t have fixed it.

I’m going for Spurs to score over 1.5 first half goals at 17.5. They may have to endure some pressure in the second half and may even concede, but I see them winning this.

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