Spurs vs West Brom
Our first home Premier League match of the season sees West Brom come to N17 for Andre Villas-Boas’s first game in charge of Spurs in front of the WHL faithful.
Last weekend against Magpies we got the performance, but not the result, as the Newcastle stole the match 2-1.
West Brom will be buoyant after detonating Liverpool 3-0 on the opening day and will certainly be no pushover. Here are 5 keys to Spurs vs West Brom.
1. Spurs vs West Brom: Stop the Baggies left side
New Baggies manager Steve Clarke has switched up the West Brom formation this season. Under Roy Hodgson last term, they went with a classic 4-4-2 with one of the strikers dropping off in to the head of the midfield when they lost the ball.
This term, Steve Clarke has experimented with a number of formations in pre-season, playing a 4-3-3, 4-4-2 and a 4-2-3-1 as he figures out his best side.
Last weekend at home to Liverpool; he went with a 4-2-3-1 with a midfield base of Youssouf Mulumbu and Claudio Yacob. In front of them operates a talented trio of Zoltan Gera, James Morrison and Peter Odemwingie, with Shane Long up front.
West Brom really attacked down the centre and also their left side, with 34% of their forays forward coming down this flank.
Zoltan Gera would tuck inside to play off of James Morrison who shifted over from his central position to help attack this side.
Whilst Gera and Morrison were coming short, Liam Ridgewell was overlapping and trying to get balls in to the box. He manages to get several crosses in, as well as assist on Romelu Lukaku’s goal, highlighted by the yellow line.
On the other side, Peter Odemwingie was operating similarly to Zoltan Gera. Firstly, he was dropping off in to the centre-circle to pick up the ball. Then he was moving down the inside right channel and in to the penalty area looking for chances. Steven Reid was also overlapping him, but crossing from much deeper than Liam Ridgewell due to a more experienced full back in Glen Johnson on that side.
If West Brom does opt for this formation again, then Spurs need to be wary of this threat down the Baggies’ left side. Kyle Walker should have the pace to deal with Liam Ridgewell, but he can’t afford to get sucked inside by the play of Morrison and Gera. Jake Livermore and Sandro will need to deal with these two, as well as watch for Odemwingie trying to slip down the inside right channel when the ball comes over to the right.
2. West Brom sit back and soak up pressure
In their first Premier League match, West Brom sat back and invited Liverpool on to them. The Reds had 60% possession for the match, despite being down to ten men for a third of it, but were still undone by the Baggies on the counter.
Daniel Agger was sent off after they quickly transitioned to spring Shane Long over the top. If Spurs play a high line, they will also have to watch for long balls behind the back four to him.
We can see how deep they were sitting by where West Brom made their tackles and interceptions on Stats Zone. They made just one interception in the Liverpool half and three tackles, with all but one of these four turnovers being made just over the halfway line. The one that was in the area was Shane Long tackling Martin Skrtel and then win a penalty.
3. Stop James Morrison
James Morrison seemed to be enjoying his new role as the advanced midfielder. We saw earlier how he was moving to the left to link up with Zoltan Gera and release Liam Ridgewell down the flank and Spurs need to be aware of this.
Morrison in the game created three chances, as well as playing in the corner that set up Gera’s thunderous goal in to the top of Pepe Reina’s net. He also missed a guilt-edged chance when through one-on-one with the Liverpool keeper, so Spurs need to shut him down quickly when in possession.
4. Take our chances
Beating Liverpool 3-0 hid a lot of frailties in the West Brom defence, with Luis Suarez the chief culprit failing to take advantage. The Uruguayan, who is carving a bit of a reputation as someone who is great in the build up play but cannot finish, missed every chance that came his way.
Liverpool had 16 shots in total, despite playing the last 30 minutes of the match with ten men. Jermain Defoe is a predator and won’t be as wasteful if afforded the same opportunities.
5. Will Romelu Lukaku start?
Romelu Lukaku made an impressive debut for West Brom, causing havoc in the Liverpool defence and scoring a goal. He would also have had an assist, had James Morrison been able to slide the ball past Pepe Reina from 12 yards, rather than blazing it past the post.
Andre Villas-Boas signed Lukaku for Chelsea and he may have a point to prove to his former boss after comments he made about not being given opportunities at Stamford Bridge.
What we do know is that if Lukaku is in the game, West Brom will look to go long to him as a hold up player who will bully our defenders. In his 12 minutes on pitch last week he scored a goal, should have created one, but took in a lot of long balls from the back.
Spurs vs West Brom should be a good game that will hopefully see us come-away with the three points if we are wise to the Baggies’ tactics and put our chances away.
We have to be aware of the overlapping full backs, but also the runs of Peter Odemwingie and especially Shane Long looking to get in behind.
Andre Villas-Boas’s opener at home should be a good one.
Spurs vs West Brom match prediction: Spurs 3 West Brom 1
What’s your score prediction for Spurs vs West Brom?