Tottenham on Sunday in the lofty and surprising position of seventh in the English Premier League.
Sam Allardyce’s men are a spot above Andre Villas-Boas’ Spurs after an excellent start to the season and would really stamp their credentials with a result at Tottenham.
West Ham have shown perhaps the most valuable asset upon promotion, the ability to grind out results. Two wins and a draw on the road and three wins at home reveal a true resolve among Allardyce’s squad.
Tottenham have shown glimpses under Villas-Boas but the figures do not deceive with only one win against top-10 opposition. Spurs were in Europa League action on Thursday but managed to rest a host of first-team regulars for the most part. Hugo Lloris almost single-handedly kept Lazio at bay in the goalless draw in Rome and perhaps, too, his main rival for the number one jersey – Brad Friedel. Belgian Moussa Dembele made a cameo appearance also, his first action for a month. Jermain Defoe and Aaron Lennon both came off the bench but will likely figure more prominently on Sunday.
You get the feeling Tottenham fans are not yet sold on Villas-Boas and not over ex-manager Harry Redknapp, and rightly so. A win is a must at home for Tottenham, who have lost their past three league games to Manchester City, Arsenal and Wigan and can ill-afford another if they are to keep in touch with the top six.
Left-back Benoit Assou-Ekotto (knee) remains sidelined for Spurs as does England international Scott Parker (Achilles).
For West Ham, midfielders Matt Jarvis and Yossi Benayoun are close to their return dates from injury but Jack Collison and striker Ricardo Vaz Te are a while away.
Allardyce’s men continue to trouble their opponents but could find it tough against a desperate Tottenham side.
Predictions: Tottenham 2 – 1 West Ham