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

:Headline: Preview: West Ham United vs. Tottenham Hotspur - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole looks ahead to Wednesday's EFL Cup fourth-round clash between West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur, including predictions, team news and a full preview.
By , Editor | 11mo

West Ham United will welcome Tottenham Hotspur to the London Stadium for the second time in the space of just 11 days when they host their bitter rivals in the fourth round of the EFL Cup on Wednesday night.

The hosts put eight past Macclesfield Town in the last round, while Spurs needed penalties to scrape past Watford at their makeshift 'home' of Stadium MK.

West Ham

The 2017-18 season was largely one to forget for West Ham fans, but one moment they will want to remember came at this exact stage in this competition against the very same opponents.

The Hammers looked set to crash out of the EFL Cup when they trailed 2-0 at Wembley on that occasion almost exactly one year ago, but they launched a stirring second-half comeback which saw them score three times in the space of 15 minutes and seal a famous 3-2 win.

West Ham went on to lose to more North London opposition in the form of Arsenal in the quarter-finals - leaving them still without a major trophy since 1980 - but the memories will still be fresh from that triumph over Mauricio Pochettino's side.

Unfortunately for Manuel Pellegrini, there are even fresher memories of defeat to Wednesday's opponents from earlier this month, although the Chilean may have taken enough out of that 1-0 Premier League loss to believe that his side can pull off a better result this time around.

The Hammers were unfortunate not to get anything out of that game as Erik Lamela's goal proved decisive - one of a three-match winless streak in the league which has seen them slip to 13th in the table.

Saturday's 1-1 draw with Leicester City will unfortunately be remembered for the tragic events which followed it as Foxes owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was one of five people killed in a helicopter crash, and it remains to be seen whether West Ham's proximity to the accident will have any ill effects on them for this match.

Matters on the pitch seem trivial in the wake of such a disaster, but the Hammers have no choice but to soldier on and a failure to win on Wednesday would see them go four games without a victory for the first time under Pellegrini.

The only previous instance of three games without a win was ended by victory over AFC Wimbledon in the second round of the competition as they came from a goal down to progress, and they made much lighter work of more lower-league opposition in the last round with an 8-0 drubbing of League Two strugglers Macclesfield Town.

The visit of Spurs is a significant step up in quality from what they have previously faced in this season's competition, then, but their last two fourth-round matches have seen them beat Chelsea and Spurs to reach the quarter-finals, so they will be looking to make it three major scalps in a row at this stage of the EFL Cup.

Recent EFL Cup form: WW
Recent form (all competitions): DWWLLD


The dust has barely settled on Tottenham's 1-0 defeat at the hands of Manchester City before they are forced to gear up for another big game against one of their main rivals.

Spurs had their chances to take something from Monday night's match at Wembley and, while they also rode their luck at times against the champions, ultimately the difference was City punishing a defensive mistake and Tottenham failing to do the same at the other end.

The defeat leaves Pochettino's side still fifth in the table despite their second-highest points tally after 10 games of a Premier League season, placing even more importance on the cup competitions.

Much has been made of Pochettino's lack of silverware during his time at Spurs, and with their Champions League hopes seemingly in tatters after just one point from their opening three group games, it is the EFL Cup which looks like their best bet to end an 11-year drought.

Away defeats to Liverpool and Man City this season suggest that Spurs are not quite at the level to challenge for the Premier League title, and while the FA Cup and possibly the Europa League provide viable alternative routes to trophies, Wednesday's match also holds significant importance in their bid to mark the team's undoubted progress under Pochettino.

Indeed, this could be a season-defining period for Tottenham, whose failure to complete their stadium in time has partially contributed to a run of five games in the space of just 12 days - beginning with this unusually quick turnaround of less than 48 hours between the Man City defeat and their visit to the London Stadium.

A trip to face Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League follows at the weekend before hosting PSV Eindhoven in a Champions League game which looks likely to determine who will finish third and therefore continue in the Europa League after Christmas.

Another London derby against Crystal Palace then rounds off the intense run of fixtures, and things do not get much easier after the November international break with games against Chelsea, Inter Milan and Arsenal in a row upon their return.

There is certainly a balance to strike between resting players and pursuing silverware in Wednesday's match, then, and it is in spells like these where Tottenham's failure to bring in a single player this summer could prove costly.

Recent EFL Cup form: W
Recent form (all competitions): WLWWDL

Team News

Dele Alli returned after a four-game absence during Monday night's defeat to Man City and has since signed a new six-year deal with the club.

Pochettino could use the midfielder from the start on Wednesday night, although he could continue to hold back with Christian Eriksen, who featured for just nine minutes against Man City due to an ongoing stomach issue.

Wholesale changes are customary for EFL Cup matches, but Spurs should still be able to field a strong team with the likes of Son Heung-min, Victor Wanyama and Serge Aurier among those hoping for recalls.

The match will come too soon for Danny Rose, though, while Jan Vertonghen and forgotten striker Vincent Janssen remain sidelined for longer.

West Ham, meanwhile, will be without captain Mark Noble after his red card against Leicester, but Pedro Obiang could return after missing two games with a calf problem.

Jack Wilshere is nearing a return but will not be ready for this meeting with his old North London rivals, while Andy Carroll, Winston Reid, Carlos Sanchez, Manuel Lanzini and Andriy Yarmolenko are all long-term absentees.

Marko Arnautovic also remains doubtful due to a virus, and is unlikely to be risked unless he has fully recovered.

West Ham possible starting lineup:
Adrian; Fredericks, Balbuena, Ogbonna, Creswell; Diangana, Obiang, Rice, Snodgrass, Antonio; Hernandez

Tottenham possible starting lineup:
Gazzaniga; Aurier, Sanchez, Foyth, Davies; Wanyama, Winks; Sissoko, Alli, Lucas; Son

Head To Head

The last 17 meetings between these two London rivals have been surprisingly even, with each side winning seven apiece and three draws since 2010.

Spurs have won two of their three visits to the London Stadium, though, including a 1-0 triumph just 11 days prior to Wednesday's meeting between the two sides.

This will be the 10th League Cup clash between the two, with West Ham edging that particular head-to-head record 4-3 courtesy of last season's victory at the same stage of the competition.

We say: West Ham 2-1 Tottenham

Tottenham have not looked at their best for long spells this season and the two-day turnaround is a tough ask - particularly after facing a team like Man City. West Ham deserved more from the Premier League meeting between the two teams, and they should get it on Wednesday.

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