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Lost and Won: Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United

Tottenham Hotspur take on West Ham United this weekend aware that a victory will place them in the driving seat to finish in the top four this season.

The club are currently four points clear of fifth-placed Arsenal and, with three games of the season remaining, could take a massive step towards qualification with a victory over the Irons.

Manuel Pellegrini’s side, meanwhile, are mathematically safe from relegation but are unlikely to overhaul Wolves and finish seventh.

The carrot of becoming the first team to beat Spurs at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, however, should be motivation enough for the Irons.

Football FanCast takes a look at where the game will be won and lost this weekend.

The Key Battle – Son Heung-Min vs West Ham’s full-backs

Son is almost certain to start against the Hammers.

A Champions League semi-final against Ajax looms for Spurs but Son is suspended for the first leg next week.

The South Korea international, then, will surely play this weekend and his form this season should worry the Irons; he has scored 20 goals and laid on 10 assists in 44 appearances in all competitions.

With Aaron Cresswell struggling with an injury – he has only just returned to training – Arthur Masuaku a decent attacker but a poor defender at left-back, and Pablo Zabaleta ageing at right-back, Son will have his pick of players to target throughout the encounter.

He is truly two-footed and could drift from the left flank to the right, terrorising each full-back in turn.

Pellegrini, then, would do well to instruct his wingers to track back routinely and offer protection to their defenders; stopping Son is integral to the Irons’ chances of victory.

The Key Dynamic – Rotation vs Consistency

Pochettino at new WHL test event

Mauricio Pochettino is likey to rotate his squad with the Champions League semi-final clash with Ajax looming.

The two sides will play their first leg in north London on Tuesday, perhaps the biggest game in Spurs’ history.

Pochettino made a number of changes to his XI for the encounter with Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium in the Premier League, having seen his side knock Pep Guardiola’s men out of the Champions League at the quarter-final stage.

The likes of Juan Foyth, Kyle Walker-Peters, Oliver Skipp and Vincent Janssen could all potentially play, with key first-team stars kept fresh for the encounter with the Dutch giants.

The opposite is true of the Hammers, with this perhaps the biggest game of their season.

Pellegrini, then, is likely to go for broke and pick his strongest XI. West Ham may well be confident, then, that they can potentially hand Spurs their first defeat in their new stadium.

The Deciding Factor – Goals, goals, goals

Harry Kane is injured, of course, and Fernando Llorente is becoming something of a burden to the team. His performance against Brighton & Hove Albion earlier this week was roundly terrible.

The pressure, then, is on Son to again find the net without Kane in the side, or else they will be hoping for a repeat of Christian Eriksen’s late heroics against the Seagulls.

West Ham, meanwhile, can select from the likes of Marko Arnautovic, Lucas Perez and Javier Hernandez. It is essentially out-and-out strikers versus versatile forwards.

Son is good enough to win that battle but so too is Arnautovic; it remains to be seen who will come out on top this weekend.

The Impact Subs – Vincent Janssen vs Manuel Lanzini

Vincent Janssen made his astonishing return to action on Tuesday night, coming on as a substitute for his first appearance for the club since 2017 as Spurs attempted to break Brighton down.

He has endured a difficult time in north London, scoring just six goals in total, but has been needed as back up to Llorente with Kane injured.

He could again be called upon this weekend if Spurs are on the back foot and he will be chomping at the bit to prove his worth.

For the Hammers, meanwhile, Manuel Lanzini has a small chance of playing in the game, per ClaretandHugh.

He has been sidelined with a groin injury and, while he is more likely to play against Southampton, the club have not ruled out the possibility of him featuring versus Spurs.

A brilliant attacking midfielder with the ability to carve defences apart, Lanzini could have a major impact if introduced as a substitute, particularly if the scores are level in the second half.

Indeed, he is far more likely to positively influence the game than his Dutch counterpart, injured or not.

Article title: Lost and Won: Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United

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