Tottenham Hotspur vs. West Ham United, Sunday 16:00
Spurs suffered a heavy North London derby defeat in their last Premier League outing, with Emmanuel Adebayor and Gareth Bale both on target in a 5-2 defeat. Despite the result, Andre Villas Boas remained positive about his side’s attacking mentality even after losing Emmanuel Adebayor to a red card.
Adebayor’s goal was his first in the league this season, and amazingly the striker had previously had just five opportunities at goal in 256 minutes of play. In contrast, strike partner Jermain Defoe has had 45 efforts at goal including 26 on target.
Gareth Bale was this week included on FIFA’s shortlist for defender of the year, a move that raised eye brows as Bale has been playing predominantly as a winger this season. Bale has four goals to his name now this season, from 38 efforts at goal with 68.4% on target
Bale has also won 10 out of 14 tackles, and contributed 11 dribbles (10th in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index) and 37 crosses (enough to rank him 3rd)
Despite conceding five last weekend William Gallas remains the 12th ranked defender in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. Gallas has made 19 clearances and 42 interceptions. New signing Jan Verthonghen also has impressive defensive stats, having made 20 clearances and 26 interceptions and having attempted 39 tackles, winning 26 of them.
West Ham secured a point against Stoke in their last game thanks to a second half strike from Joey O’Brien.
O’Brien’s goal was his first in the Premiership, as the defender has focused more on his duties in preventing opposition goals rather than attacking. O’Brien has contributed 10 clearances and 14 interceptions and 4 blocks, while winning 50% of 18 attempted tackles, a good return for 615 minutes on the pitch this season
Sam Allardyce has spoken of Andy Carroll’s frustrations as he finds goals as hard to come by at West Ham as he did at Liverpool
Carroll has now played 670 minutes for West Ham without a goal, and had 17 efforts at goal including 71% on target, and impressive level of accuracy and one which suggests it won’t be long before he breaks his duck. In fact, Carroll’s 12 shots on target without scoring is the highest in the league.
Carroll’s frustration is clearly showing as he fights to get the ball back and create opportunities for himself, but the striker should be wary of diving in, having won just 2 of 19 tackles attempted this season
That suggests that West Ham’s impressive start to the season may become even more so given a change in Carroll’s fortunes in front of goal. Another West Ham player who has scope to impress even more this season is Mark Noble. Noble has delivered 25 crosses but is yet to be credited an assist, the highest in the league. The stats suggest that Carroll and Noble’s fortunes may be linked, and that if Carroll can start converting Noble’s crosses both may see healthier numbers in their goals and assists columns.