Tottenham Hotspur supporters will be anxiously awaiting Thursday night’s clash against West Ham United, with Ange Postecoglou’s side without a win in four Premier League matches.
That being said, a three-match losing run was ended on Sunday, with a thrilling 3-3 draw against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium reaffirming Spurs’ credentials as top-four contenders, merely blighted recently by horrendous luck on the injury front.
The hosts are no doubt buoyed by the return of Cristian Romero from suspension, while Richarlison and Pape Sarr could also be in line for starts after returning from respective injuries.
Tottenham remain in a good position – two points off top-four – after the recent blip and could strengthen their claim for Champions League qualification considerably with three points tomorrow, but a few alterations may well be needed.
As such, Postecoglou could enforce three changes on Thursday evening, setting his side up for a return to winning ways in the Premier League.
GK – Guglielmo Vicario
Guglielmo Vicario has now conceded 11 goals across his past four appearances, but the Italian shot-stopper remains one of Tottenham’s most important acquisitions in many years after joining from Empoli for an initial £17m in the summer.
Despite his outfit’s recent blip, Vicario still boasts the fifth-best save percentage in the Premier League this season (72.1%), and will be hoping to claim his fifth clean sheet of the campaign against the Hammers.
RB – Pedro Porro
Pedro Porro’s talent was clear after arriving on an initial loan last January, but since the summer he has been a different beast and is comfortably one of Tottenham’s most important players.
Across 13 appearances this term, Porro has racked up three assists, completed 81% of his passes, and averaged 1.4 key passes, 3.2 tackles, 5.2 ball recoveries and 2.2 clearances per outing, as per Sofascore.
The multiplexity of his skill set is perfect for Postecoglou’s fluid system, and he will be expected to star once again against West Ham.
CB – Cristian Romero
Cristian Romero has been missed. The last graced the grass, the 2022 World Cup winner was headed toward the dressing room after facing the violent glare of the red card against Chelsea in October.
But rashness aside, the Argentina international is tough and tenacious and has been immense in defence this season, with Spurs correspondent Alasdair Gold gushing over his “incredible” displays – his return, it must not be understated, is a rather big bonus.
CB – Ben Davies
Micky van de Ven remains sidelined until after the new year, and while the void left by the dynamic Dutchman has merely been patched over since Ben Davies’ deployment in central defence, the Welshman hasn’t done a half-bad job.
Aged 30, long-time servant Davies has started the past three Premier League matches – with his left-footedness making him the ideal replacement given the circumstances – and he has kept it tidy, notably completing 94% of his passes and winning 73% of his ground duels.
LB – Destiny Udogie
Destiny Udogie was sent off against Chelsea to compound Spurs’ woes after Romero’s earlier dismissal, but the young Italian’s succession of yellow cards meant that he was only sidelined for one match.
Aside from that, Udogie has been brilliant this season, with journalist Carlo Garganese remarking that he has been “taking the best league in the world by storm“.
As per FBref, he ranks among the top 9% of full-backs across Europe’s top five leagues over the past year for progressive carries and the top 10% for successful take-ons per 90, with his penetrative presence needed to stifle the Hammers.
DM – Yves Bissouma
Yves Bissouma fell by the wayside last season after signing from Brighton & Hove Albion for £35m in 2022, but Postecoglou has nurtured him back to his apex and the Malian star is now earning acclaim in the centre of the park.
Yves Bissouma: Style of Play
*Sourced via WhoScored
Completing 92% of his passes, averaging 3.1 tackles and 5.3 ball recoveries and winning 60% of his ground duels, his influence is staggering in the centre and he will be crucial in assuming control in the midfield against Moyes’ men.
CM – Giovani Lo Celso
Some Spurs supporters probably thought that Giovani Lo Celso would never play for the club again at the start of the summer, having spent the past 18 months on loan with Villarreal, but he has stepped up in Maddison’s absence of late.
Scoring across both of his past two Premier League appearances, the Argentinian star will be hoping to sustain his rich run of form.
CM – Pape Matar Sarr
Pape Matar Sarr, aged 21, only started twice in the league last year, but he has been immense this season and played across all 12 of Tottenham’s opening fixtures in the Premier League before picking up an injury that has ruled him out of the past two matches.
He’s back now, though, and will be eager to continue his rise against West Ham, providing the hosts with some energy and exuberance in the middle.
RW – Dejan Kulusevski
Dejan Kulusevski scored and assisted against Manchester City and is easily one of the Lilywhites’ most important members, having posted four goals and an assist in the league so far, starting every match.
Impressed after the Etihad clash, Sky Sports reporter Jamie Weir said: “Dejan Kulusevski really is a special special player. Works so hard, covers every blade of grass. Hell of an engine on him, and just so much heart.”
LW – Richarlison
Having returned to action off the bench against Manchester City after recovering from groin surgery, Richarlison will be hoping for a starting berth against West Ham, rejuvenated and ready to impress.
Postecoglou showed faith in the Brazilian over the opening months of the campaign, starting him across seven of the first ten Premier League match-weeks of the campaign.
Only scoring one goal, the 26-year-old at least supplied three assists, and he must return to the left wing in place of £21m man Bryan Gil, who has been branded “utterly pointless” since making the move to Tottenham by Spurs expert John Wenham
CF – Heung-min Son
Nine goals and two assists from 11 outings in the Premier League this season since shifting to centre-forward is not bad going for Heung-min Son, who has assumed Harry Kane’s former role as talisman with aplomb.
Appointed captain in the summer, the 31-year-old will be hungry for more after featuring at the heart of Spurs’ recent draw against the Treble winners and having plundered 15 direct contributions from 17 matches against the Irons, he will be eager to be the one to fire his side back into form.
Tottenham XI in full: (GK) Guglielmo Vicario; (RB) Pedro Porro, (CB) Cristian Romero, (CB) Ben Davies, (LB) Destiny Udogie; (CM) Giovani Lo Celso, (DM) Yves Bissouma, (CM) Pape Matar Sarr; (RW) Dejan Kulusevski, (LW) Richarlison, (CF) Heung-min Son.