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Preview: Tottenham Hotspur vs. West Ham - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole provides team news, predicted lineups and a full preview of Saturday's Premier League meeting between Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United.

Tottenham Hotspur have the chance to tighten their grip on third place in the Premier League on Saturday when they welcome London rivals West Ham United to their new home.

The Lilywhites have won three of their last four top-flight matches and are three points better off than fourth-placed Chelsea with just three games to go.

Tottenham Hotspur

Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino pictured on April 3, 2019© Reuters

With their league campaign now firmly back on track, and a top-four finish very much in their own hands ahead of games against West Ham, Bournemouth and Everton, Tottenham can afford to focus all their energy on their massive Champions League double-header with Ajax.

Spurs just about saw off Manchester City in a thrilling quarter-final and are now within 180 minutes of reaching their first European Cup final, where one of Barcelona or Liverpool will await.

The first leg of their semi-final against Ajax comes just three days after West Ham visit the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, meaning that Mauricio Pochettino must decide whether to rotate his squad or keep the momentum going.

Pochettino's decision to push for Tottenham's move into their new ground before the end of the season, albeit half a year later than originally planned, has been an inspired one as Spurs have played four and won four there in all competitions, scoring eight and conceding none.

The first of those victories came against Crystal Palace on April 3. That took the Lilywhites' points return from London derbies this season to 19, behind only Chelsea (22) in that regard.

Tuesday's 1-0 victory over lowly Brighton & Hove Albion was hardly inspiring, though, with back-to-back matches against Man City perhaps taking it out of Pochettino's players as they required an 88th-minute strike from Christian Eriksen.

One more final push is now required, with a maximum of six games to go, potentially concluding with a Champions League final in Madrid on June 1.

That is the ultimate aim for Pochettino, but first he will want to nail down a top-four spot in the Premier League, which his side can as good as achieve this weekend with another home victory.

Recent form in Premier League: LLWWLW
Recent form (all competitions): WWWLLW

West Ham United

West Ham United manager Manuel Pellegrini watches on during his side's Premier League clash with Arsenal on January 12, 2019© Reuters

Despite having something tangible to aim for in the closing weeks of the season, West Ham have gone off the boil and are now staring at a bottom-half finish in a season that offered plenty of promise.

Finishing seventh may well be enough to secure a place in the Europa League qualifiers, but just four points from the last 18 on offer has seen them slip down to 11th, eight points adrift of best of the rest Wolverhampton Wanderers.

United have suffered 2-0 defeats to Cardiff City, Everton and Chelsea, lost 2-1 at Manchester United and played out a 2-2 draw with Leicester City in their most recent outings.

In fact, their only victory in the past month came against bottom side Huddersfield Town when netting three goals in the final 15 minutes to edge a seven-goal thriller at the London Stadium.

The Hammers' campaign is very much petering out, then, with games against Spurs, Southampton and Watford to come over the remaining two weeks of the season and little left to play for, barring a big slip-up from all four of the sides above them in the race for seventh.

Manuel Pellegrini was keen to take the positives away from the draw with Leicester - a game that saw the Chilean's side denied maximum reward for an encouraging display, a week on from their narrow loss at Old Trafford against a below-par Man United.

Following an unbeaten run of five games away from home for Pellegrini's men, they have now lost seven of their last eight on the road in the Premier League, drawing the other, including defeats in each of the last four. They last lost five away league games in a row in January 2014.

West Ham have also conceded at least twice in their last six Premier League games - they have never shipped 2+ goals in seven consecutive games in the competition, last doing so in the top flight between November 1970-February 1971 (10 games).

Pellegrini needs to hope that the calibre of the opposition this weekend ensures his players step things up in an attempt to end the season on a high.

Recent form in Premier League: LWLLLW

Team News

Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane celebrates scoring against Southampton on March 9, 2019© Reuters

Tottenham remain without a trio of players as Moussa Sissoko has joined Serge Aurier and top scorer Harry Kane on the sidelines.

Erik Lamela and Harry Winks are also fitness doubts and will have to be assessed ahead of Saturday's early kickoff.

Knowing that Son Heung-min is suspended for the first leg against Ajax, Pochettino is almost certain to use the South Korean forward against West Ham.

Rotation can be expected elsewhere, with Danny Rose potentially being given a breather and Victor Wanyama also in line for a rest should Eric Dier be deemed fit enough to start two games in quick succession after spending a month out injured.

West Ham are definitely without a quartet of players for their short trip to North London, meanwhile - Andriy Yarmolenko, Andy Carroll, Manuel Lanzini and Winston Reid are all long-term absentees.

Jack Wilshere made his return to action against Leicester, though, and Aaron Cresswell, Javier Hernandez and Samir Nasri are all in contention to play a part despite carrying injuries.

Hernandez's absence against Leicester provided Lucas Perez with a chance to impress with a rare goal, but he is unlikely to have forced his way into Pellegrini's plans.

Mark Noble and Felipe Anderson are the only West Ham players to have scored away from home in the Premier League in 2019.

Tottenham Hotspur possible starting lineup:
Lloris; Trippier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies; Eriksen, Dier, Alli; Son, Llorente, Moura

West Ham United possible starting lineup:
Fabianski; Zabaleta, Balbuena, Diop, Masuaku; Rice, Noble; Anderson, Antonio, Arnautovic; Hernandez

Head To Head

Tottenham are looking to complete their first league double over West Ham since the 2012-13 campaign, having won 1-0 at the London Stadium in October.

Spurs also beat their city rivals 3-1 in the fourth round of the EFL Cup six months ago. They have never previously beaten the Irons three times in the same season.

West Ham have only won one of their last 16 away league games against the Lilywhites, picking up a 3-0 victory in October 2013 at White Hart Lane.

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We say: Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 West Ham

West Ham have lost their last six away league games against big-six opposition by an aggregate score of 16-3. Indeed, they are winless in 20 such matches since a 2-1 win at Man City in September 2015, and that run is unlikely to end on Saturday going by their recent form.

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Who will win Saturday's Premier League clash between Tottenham and West Ham?

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Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino pictured on April 3, 2019
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Spurs injury, suspension list vs. West Ham

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1Manchester CityMan City36302490226892
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs362311265362970
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd36198964511365
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves36159124644254
8Leicester CityLeicester36156155147451
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham36137164554-946
12Crystal Palace36127174348-543
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle36119163645-942
17Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton3698193355-2235
18Cardiff CityCardiff3694233066-3631
RHuddersfield TownHuddersfield3635282074-5414

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