David Moyes tells Sky heâ€™s got a good squad he wants to use, but the XI heâ€™s retained have earned it by doing well. Theyâ€™re trying to manage Antonio so he stays fit â€“ heâ€™s not played as often as heâ€™d like thus far in his career â€“ and he hopes heâ€™s in good shape for this one. He plans to get West Ham in Europe for years and years to come, so theyâ€™ve got to get used to it, and midweek competition has no effect on weekend behaviour.
Nuno, meanwhile, says itâ€™s a big game for the team and the fans, and his team must stick to its task. Heâ€™s glad Harry Kane got a goal last week and thinks things are gelling.
Looking at our teams in the round, my guess is that Spursâ€™ attackers will look to pick holes in the channels between West Hamâ€™s centre-backs and full-backs, and I daresay Reguilon and Son plan to gang up on Ben Johnson â€“ not because they hate Volpone, but because heâ€™s still pretty green. West Ham, meanwhile, will plan to get it wide early, then use overlaps and decoys to fashion crossing opportunities, with Rice or Soucek making third-man runs into the box to help Antonio.
Iâ€™ve been really enjoying Said Benrahma recently. He took a while to get going at West Ham, but heâ€™s a big reason theyâ€™ve continued this season as they finished last; as I said earlier, Moyes may be a safety-first manager, but heâ€™s always made room for at least one creator, and Benrahma has taken over Jesse Lingardâ€™s mantelpiece very nicely.
Graeme Souness is extremely furious for 1.30 on a Sunday dinnertime, and the ladz on the studio are very closely packed. I canâ€™t wait to see him once Paul Pogbaâ€™s failed to score 74 goals in this afternoonâ€™s second game.
On Sky, theyâ€™re banging about on Cristiano Ronaldo. It is so fascinating. Iâ€™ll not ruin it for those of you hoping to watch it later, but I will say that forward lines trying to incorporate two new members can take time to settle.
Dreadful though Spurs were in Arnhem, I liked the look of Bryan Gil and I hope we get a look at him today. I donâ€™t think itâ€™ll be long before he nabs Lucas Mouraâ€™s starting XI spot, because heâ€™s got a lot of ability and isnâ€™t scared. Which isnâ€™t to say Moura is, but we already know what he is, and itâ€™s not quite good enough for what Spurs would like to be.
This game was settled by one of the great penalties from Julian Dicks â€“ donâ€™t miss it.
Spurs also keep last weekendâ€™s XI. Nuno seems to have settled on a midfield of Hojbjerg, Skipp and Ndombele, a trio should be able to compete physically with Soucek and Rice. Thereâ€™s not, though, very much creativity there â€“ if Ndombele is off it, the front three will either have to deal with things themselves or hope the full-backs donâ€™t let them down. That feels like a problem.
After resting players in midweek, David Moyes retains the team that won at Everton last Sunday. Sky reckon that itâ€™s a 4-5-1 not a 4-3-3, with Benrahma in behind Antonio, whichâ€™d make plenty of sense, and however it shakes out, Iâ€™m sure that he, Bowen and Fornals will turn up in all manner of places.
Before we dig into those line-ups, a little thing on football and love.
And our teams!
West Ham United (a nails 4-3-3): Fabianski; Johnson, Zouma, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Soucek, Rice, Fornals; Bowen, Antonio, Benrahma.Subs: Areola, Vlasic, Diop, Masuaku, Yarmolenko, Ashby, Noble, Lanzini, Dawson.
Tottenham Hotspur (a settling 4-3-3): Lloris; Royal, Romero, Dier, Reguilon; Hojbjerg, Skipp, Ndombele; Lucas Moura, Kane, Son. Subs: Gollini, Sanchez, Gil, Lo Celso, Alli, Bergwijn, Tanganga, Davies, Rodon.
If a football match happens and no oneâ€™s there to see it, did it even happen at all? Well the record books say yes but the soul says no, and the reason is fixtures like this one: football without hatred is nothing.
Or something like that. Football is also about love, which is the real reason weâ€™re here. Hate is just a bonus, but be absolutely certain, it will be joining us for this little altercation. Though thereâ€™s not much good to be said for a pandemic, a very minor benefit is reminding football fans what they do and why they do it, so we can be certain that the London Stadium will be absolutely jumping this afternoon.
Adding to the crackle is the league table; both sides are, er, â€œin a good momentâ€ with Spurs sitting fifth and West Ham seventh. Itâ€™s true that the away side were hilariously miserable in midweek, but the likelihood is that none of those debcaclers will start today and Nuno EspÃrito Santo looks to have found the balance in recent weeks, his midfield of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Oliver Skipp and Tanguy Ndombele balancing protection of a dicky defence with provision for an arousing attack.
Imposing that against West Ham, though, is a far from straightforward activity. As solid as youâ€™d expect a David Moyes side to be, they also have the flair youâ€™d expect from a David Moyes side â€“ just because yerman isnâ€™t a cavalier doesnâ€™t mean he has no respect for gamebreakers â€“ and more than anything, their purpose, confidence and belief suffuses every performance. All of which is a long-winded way of saying I donâ€™t know whatâ€™s going to happen here … but I do know itâ€™s going to be a buzz.
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