I’m The Boss: Pragmatism and Directness

Tottenham come to the London Stadium in mixed form, their struggles at Wembley continue but performances against Everton and Dortmund highlight their undoubted class.

West Ham will need to be at their very best to stay with Spurs in this fixture, a win here would really kick-start the season and could help make our home really feel like home. Bilic has set the team up with 3 at the back and I would keep Declan Rice in there alongside Fonte and Reid, I still firmly believe in his ability and backing him in such a big fixture can only be a benefit for him and the club.

Zabaleta and Cresswell will have their hands full with the Spurs wide players but it will be trying to deny Dele Ali space and time will be key to preventing Spurs playing. West Ham need to maintain a high tempo throughout to match the Spurs commitment to the high tempo press and so Obiang and Kouyate will get the nod ahead of Noble mainly because West Ham won’t have the lion’s share of the ball in this game. Carroll is key in this game, while Arnoutovic and Antonio can filter back to make a robust 5-4-1 where necessary. West Ham need to have pragmatism here, this is one game where the result is everything, we are playing against a fundamentally better team so we need to be humble enough to recognise our chance of winning involves inhibiting Tottenham’s strong points and capitalising on our strong point which is our strength in the air (Carroll) and our speed and directness (Antonio, Kouyate). Hopefully, we will have Lanzini and Hernandez on the bench should we need a game changer, but if West
Ham are committed to the game plan there is no reason why they can’t replicate the result of last May.

Longer term I would love West Ham to try and emulate the away side’s style of play but we aren’t there yet, our strengths lie elsewhere and there is no shame in utilising them. Carroll will play a huge part on Saturday if West Ham are to get a positive result

GK Hart

RWB Zabaleta

CB Fonte

CB Reid

CB Rice

LWB Cresswell

CM Kouyate

CM Obiang

LSF Arnautovic

STK – Carroll

RSF – Antonio