West Ham United play the first of two consecutive London derbies tonight, starting with the visit of Tottenham Hotspur, as the Irons look to follow up their first win of the 2022/23 Premier League season at Aston Villa.
That victory lifted the Hammers up to sixteenth in the table but due to Tuesday’s results, they have slipped a place to seventeenth. This gives the home side even more incentive to clinch another three points against their fierce London rivals.
Having said that, this will be a difficult test for them, as Antonio Conte’s men are currently unbeaten after winning three and drawing one of their opening four games.
The home side will obviously want to build on that triumph at Villa Park three days ago and if they are to do so, then they will need to rediscover the spirit that guided them to their 1-0 success in the corresponding fixture last season when Nuno Espírito Santo was at the helm in North London.
West Ham have come up against Conte twice since the Italian was appointed last November and he has unfortunately come out on top on both occasions. However, the last time he brought a team to Stratford, David Moyes was in charge of his first spell with the Irons back in December 2018 and he led his team to a 1-0 victory over Chelsea, who were then under Conte’s stewardship. The hosts will certainly hope that the Scotsman can conjure up something similar.
Both teams have had the same amount of time to prepare for this game, as they were in action on Sunday, meaning that neither side will have an advantage. On the plus side, the two teams came away with three points, which could set us up for an entertaining evening under the lights!!!
Lucas Paquetá signed for the club on Monday for an initial fee of £36.5m with add-ons which will take the deal up to a club record £51.3m. The disappointing news for the home faithful is that Moyes is reluctant to include the Brazilian midfielder in the matchday squad, as he has not had chance to train with his new teammates.
Emmerson Palmieri went straight into the side against Steven Gerard’s team on Sunday and he will hope to do the same here, while the Hammers’ boss will have to decide whether to restore Michail Antonio to the starting line-up, or keep faith with Gianluca Scamacca upfront.
Ben Johnson had to be substituted early on against the villains, due to injury so Vladimír Coufal is set to deputise, while Aaron Cresswell will also have to be assessed after the weekend’s encounter in the Midlands.
New club Captain Declan Rice is likely to make his 200th West Ham appearance here, while if Antonio gets the nod over the former Sassuolo striker, then he will be notching up a similar milestone to Rice. The only difference is that Antonio will reach the same number of appearances in the top-flight as a whole.
Two players that will not be part of Moyes’ selection however, are youngsters Armstrong Oko-Flex and Emmanuel Longelo, as the pair have completed season-long loan moves to Sky Bet Championship sides Swansea City and Birmingham City respectively.
The match is a 7:45pm kick-off and as with all this week’s encounters, live coverage will be screened by BT Sport with build-up from Stratford beginning at 7:15pm. The referee in East London will be Peter Bankes.