West Ham will host Tottenham at the London Stadium after a big win over Sheffield but expect a slightly different team to start this match. Here is the breakdown of the predicted XI and bench to face off with Spurs.
Will he play? Won’t he play? What is happening with Michail Antonio? Without him, and any recognized striker, West Ham have seemed a little disjointed. Their win over Sheffield, however, shows that they aren’t toothless.
David Moyes and (randomly, so) David Gold have both confirmed that Michail Antonio is potentially available for this match after training this week. His lingering hamstring injury has kept him out for just one match but will he be risked in this important but not season-defining match?
If he doesn’t play, expect more of the same fluid setup up top for the Hammers as we saw against Sheffield. Three attackers fluidly moving across the front line isn’t necessarily the best, most effective tactic, but it keeps defenders guessing on who to mark and where they’ll be.
Here is West Ham’s predicted team to clash with Spurs:
Coufal – Dawson – Diop – Cresswell – Johnson
Rice – Soucek
Bowen – Lingard – Benrahma
Bench: Martin, Fredericks, Balbuena, Alves, Noble, Lanzini, Fornals, Antonio, Odubeko
A team very close to the one that saw off Sheffield, but with a creative injection with Said Benrahma stepping in for Manuel Lanzini. The Algerian playmaker can create space and goalscoring chances with a little more effectiveness than Lanzini this season, plus we need the jewel off the bench for a late screamer, anyways!
This team does also feature Michail Antonio, just as a sub. His hamstrings shouldn’t be risked as a starter, but should the game need a late punch he could be used as a late-game sub to inject some pace and goalscoring threat into the team; an added spearhead off the bench to this attack.
Five-at-the-back isn’t a negative formation at home, either. Instead, it should be a systematic approach to neutralizing Tottenham’s quick attack. With more wide players at the back, West Ham can avoid a compact midfield while also allowing the front three to get more central with support from the flank.
Can this team beat Spurs? Absolutely. Will they beat Spurs? You never know with West Ham. David Moyes and his coaching team have this squad of players believing in European nights next season and that motivation should be enough to fan the already burning flame of this hated London Derby.