West Ham coach Slaven Bilic is under pressure following a disappointing start to the season and could really do with all three points when his side host Tottenham Hotspur at the London Stadium on Saturday (12:30 BST, live on Sky Sports).
The Hammers laid out a fair amount of money in fees and wages to bring in four experienced performers this summer but that investment is yet to produce the desired results. They are currently marginally outside the bottom three with just four points from five matches.
Frank de Boer beat Bilic to first place in the Premier League sack race, but the West Ham boss now heads the running to be the second coach to depart. He needs to get some more points on the board prior to next month’s international break if he wants to secure his position at the club.
Bilic has at least been able to stem the flow of goals that his side conceded across their first three matches of the campaign. West Ham let in 10 goals in defeats to Manchester United, Southampton and Newcastle before securing consecutive clean sheets in a win over Huddersfield Town and a 0-0 draw away to West Bromwich Albion. Additional positivity was provided by a 3-0 win over Bolton Wanderers in the League Cup on Tuesday
There is, though, still plenty of work to do. They are a relatively old team by modern standards and it too often looks like those experienced heads are trying to hold together a team that otherwise lacks a clear form or approach. Bilic is now in his third season in charge and after dropping down from seventh to 11th last season, needs to show that he is capable of steering the Hammers back into the top 10 this time around.
Talk of a Wembley curse is quickly becoming tired
Saturday’s visitors have loftier ambitions. Tottenham have finished in the top four in each of the last two campaigns and despite strong competition, will again hope to do so this season. They have made a solid start and sit just outside the top four with eight points from two wins, two draws and one defeat.
Spurs did most of their business towards the end of the summer, bringing in central defenders Davinson Sanchez and Juan Foyth, right-back Serge Aurier and striker Fernando Llorente during the final week of the transfer window. Sanchez has slotted straight in, Aurier showed well on his debut against Borussia Dortmund and the squad now looks stronger than the one with which Spurs ended last season.
It is the club’s home form that will be troubling coach Mauricio Pochettino. Spurs have won both of their away league matches but have picked up just two points from three at their temporary home of Wembley. Talk of a Wembley curse is quickly becoming tired, especially as draws against the likes of Burnley and Swansea were the sort of results they sometimes stumbled to at White Hart Lane a couple of seasons back, but it certainly needs addressing.
Pochettino may, therefore, look kindly on the run of three consecutive away matches that now greets his side. Saturday’s visit to the London Stadium is followed by a Champions League engagement away to APOEL and then a trip to Huddersfield in the league. With a strong defensive base and potent attack, his side are well set up for taking points on the road.
Spurs have, however, fallen to 0-1 defeats away to West Ham in each of the last two seasons, despite racking up seven goals (including four for Harry Kane) in two victories over them on home soil during the same period. It is a strange pattern given the gulf between the two sides, in terms of both league position and in setup and organisation, and one that is unlikely to continue this weekend.
Tottenham are due a victory away to West Ham and should be expected to fairly comfortably secure it on Saturday.
Our Preview’s West Ham vs. Tottenham Hotspur Betting Tips Verdict
The betting tips selections for this preview, mindful of the odds available from the big betting firms, are:
- Back Tottenham Hotspur -1 on the Asian Handicap @ best odds of 26/25 with Bet365. This bet pays out if Spurs win by more than one goal and your stake is returned if they win by a single goal.
- Bet on Harry Kane to score at anytime @ best odds of 7/8 with Unibet Bookmaker.
Compare Bookies’ West Ham v Spurs Match Winner Betting Odds