10.49am EDT 10:49 Spurs make two changes from their 6-1 Old Trafford squeak: Eric Dier has a minor hamstring, so Toby Alderwe...
Spurs make two changes from their 6-1 Old Trafford squeak: Eric Dier has a minor hamstring, so Toby Alderweireld comes in, and Erik Lamela is
injured (I think), so Steven Bergwijn comes in. It’s funny really, given Giovani Lo Celso and Dele Alli are also missing, out of nowhere Spurs look like they’ve got a good squad. Oh and Gary Bale is on the bench.
suspended after his red card against Man United
Let’s have some teams…
Tottenham Hotspur (a reanimated 4-3-3): Lloris; Aurier, Alderweireld, Sanchez, Reguilon; Ndombele, Sissoko, Hojbjerg; Bergwijn, Kane, Son. Subs: Hart, Doherty, Davies, Winks, Moura, Vinicius, Bale.
West Ham United (a sophisticate’s 5-4-1): Fabianski; Coufal, Ogbonna, Balbuena, Cresswell, Masuaku; Bowen, Rice, Soucek, Fornals; Antonio. Subs: Randolph, Fredericks, Diop, Noble, Snodgrass, Lanzini, Yarmolenko.
VAR’s straight man: Paul Tierney (Belfast)
Football is extremely weird – at the best of times but even more so now. Yet even in such circumstances, Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United stand out from the mess, the kid in the playground who turns up for school in an overcoat thinking it makes them classy, and the kid in the playground who turns up in a pink fur thinking it makes them different. Or something like that.
Not that long ago, Spurs looked to be hurtling through the phases of Mourinho at record speed – footage of their performance at Lokomotiv Plovdiv has been censored in some countries – but they muddled through and have been much better since, defensive uncertainty offset by devastating speed in attack. And seduced by the sadism of it all, Jo looks an entirely different manager; the smug is back, and football is all the richer for it.
Similarly, West Ham looked a total state … and then the season started. Their last three league games have seen them lose narrowly to Mikel Arteta’s genius before handing absolute tousings to Wolves and Leicester, feats beyond the majority of teams in the world, never mind the country. With Tomas Soucek and Declan Rice sitting in front of three centre-backs, penetrating them is a miserable task, Michail Antonio is a one-man forward line, and David Moyes looks to have found a real one in Jarrod Bowen. If they can refrain from early collapse, they have more than enough to do something in this one.
All of which is to say that we should be in for an exciting and high-scoring game … or with both teams set up to minimise risk while scoring on the counter, the ball spends 90 minutes on the centre-spot. Definitely one of the two.
Kick-off: 4.30pm BST