Saturday's big match preview
ONE OF Gianfranco Zola s aims when he arrived at Upton Park was to improve on last season s position under Alan Curbishley. Remarkably, he seems to have achieved that in the Premier League, so perhaps a much easier task will be to improve on the West Ham
ONE OF Gianfranco Zola's aims when he arrived at Upton Park was to improve on last season's position under Alan Curbishley.
Remarkably, he seems to have achieved that in the Premier League, so perhaps a much easier task will be to improve on the West Ham performance at Tottenham last term.
That game ended in a 4-0 drubbing for the Hammers with Dimitar Berbatov scoring two of the goals, and even at their lowest ebb this season, Zola's Hammers have never been that bad.
Mind you, it won't be easy for West Ham on Saturday. Harry Redknapp is slowly turning Spurs into a force once more and Saturday's surprising and amusing defeat at Blackburn was their first in eight games.
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Redknapp spent big in January, bringing in Jermain Defoe for �15million and Wilson Palacios for �12million, who will both miss Saturday's game through injury and suspension respectively.
Robbie Keane was his other big-money buy, splashing out �12million to bring him back from Liverpool, though he has only managed three goals since his return.
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Tottenham's home form of late has certainly been impressive. Their last three games at White Hart Lane have seen a 1-0 win over Chelsea, a 4-0 humbling of Middlesbrough and a 0-0 draw with Arsenal, so West Ham will certainly find it tough to buck that trend.
Darren Bent, who has 10 league goals to his name this season, is likely to join Keane in attack, though Roman Pavlyuchenko is also pushing for a start.
Winger Aaron Lennon is providing plenty of ammunition for the strikers and he could be the biggest danger to the Hammers.
His recent form has seen him earn a starting place in Fabio Capello's England team.
History also suggests that this will be a tough encounter for West Ham.
They haven't won at White Hart Lane for almost 10 years to the day. Back in April 1999, goals from Ian Wright and Marc Keller gave them a 2-1 win, with John Moncur getting sent off right at the end for good measure.
Redknapp recently stated that he is after that coveted seventh place in the league, and after their defeat at Ewood Park, he will be even more determined to get a positive result on Saturday.
Looking at West Ham's injury-hit squad, he may well get it.
Probable team: Cud-icini, Corluka, Woodgate, Dawson, Assou-Ekotta, Lennon, Jenas, Zokora, Modric, Bent, Keane.
Spurs 2 West Ham 0