It's a London derby at White Hart Lane this weekend with plenty to take into consideration before you get involved in the betting. William Hill's Lee Phelps is here to help you through the odds, with his free picks.
We’re getting to the time of the season in the Premier League when we start to see the consistent top six finishers overtake the clubs who have showed potential.
Tottenham versus West Ham is one of the games that pits both of those together, with the Hammers’ form drifting as their squad’s size and fitness is tested to the limit. However Spurs are also under pressure, with Europa League football back on the menu giving Mauricio Pochettino an added headache.
The European Thursday nights have been successful so far this season for Tottenham, but they have struggled to cope with their Premier League commitments following the midweek distraction by and large. They have lost four games at White Hart Lane all season in the league and all four followed a Europa League match. They hadn’t had to travel miles before those matches either.
They lost 3-0 to Liverpool after a home Europa tie and 2-1 to Newcastle after playing at the Lane on the Thursday. The difference between then and now is Harry Kane. He finished the group stages as the European second tier tournament’s third leading scorer and has since taken that form into the Premier League, he has five goals in his last three games scoring against Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea.
Will he be able to cope with the increase in football though? If I was a footballer, I’d gladly play Thursday and Sunday, but we are talking about maintaining standards at the highest level here and it would be a shame to see fatigue hamper his scoring record, just as he gets a call up to the England squad.
Sam Allardyce blamed tiredness and injuries for his team’s lacklustre FA Cup display at the Hawthorns, when West Brom ran out comfortable winners. It’s a worry given there are still 13 games left in the Premier League. All that promise could go up in smoke, if they don’t rediscover that form that had everyone raving.
This week the owners and manager have come under renewed flak. It was interested to read the West Ham forums this week: “So, a season that had promised so much now looks in danger of spiralling towards mediocrity, or worse, implosion.
We have argued for weeks against the media mantra, fuelled by the Allardyce spin-machine, that West Ham are ‘enjoying their best ever start to a premier league season and playing some decent stuff’. No, we were, we did, back in November maybe. Since then? A lot of route one, a lot of emphasis on Carroll and the ageing Nolan, Downing and Valencia forced out wide again and Sakho, our previous talisman, losing form and losing the service that gave him the form in the first place.
Song, our midfield nugget suddenly looks ordinary. Misplaced passes, losing the ball, negative body language. His mojo, like that of the team generally, seems lost back in the mists of 2014. Even Noble has failed to do in the last few games what Noble has done for so long.”
I sense two teams who will be suffering some aches and pains here, with both flagging towards the end of the match, hence why I’m looking at a draw 3.9 (29/10) and the first half to be highest scoring. Both will come out of the traps quickly, but will tire as the match progresses. Tottenham have scored 11 goals in their return games from Europe, with only three of those netted after half time.
The first half to be Tottenham’s highest scoring is 3.25 (9/4)
Free soccer pick: Tottenham’s highest scoring half: first 3.25 (9/4)