By Antony Jordan
Round 36 of the 38 match EPL season kicks off at The London Stadium this Friday night as we’re treated to a capital city derby as West Ham takes on Tottenham in an East versus West clash that could see the away side move to within a point of Chelsea at the top of the table and pile on the pressure. Can Tottenham take all three points and see if they can make Chelsea crumble this weekend?
We preview this opening match of the weekend with online sportsbook Bet365.com to bring you our best EPL picks.
The Hammers do not have that many injuries affecting the team at the moment and they look far stronger for this match than they have done for long periods this season. The long term injuries of Töre, Obiang and Ogbonna all still remained sidelined while Mikhail Antonio remains out with a hamstring injury and Andy Carroll is returning to fitness, but this match may be a little too soon for him to make the matchday squad.
Erik Lamela and Danny Rose are the biggest issues for the visitors to The London Stadium this Friday night, but Tottenham have played well and picked up points without them over the last few months. With no new injuries to report it is the away side who will be most confident about taking all three points.
West Ham have been in reasonable form of late as they are unbeaten in four clashes coming into this game, although they have drawn all of their last three. These were away at Sunderland and Stoke as well as home to Everton. They came after a 1-0 home win against Swansea which, in turn, saw them end a five game losing streak. They have back to back clean sheets at home, but with only two wins in front of their own fans since the start of the year – and both of these coming against sides in the bottom three at the time – this will not be an easy match for the home side.
Tottenham, on the other hand, come into this match having won ten of their last 11 matches in all competitions and their only defeat since mid-February when they exited the Europa League came at Wembley when they were beaten 4-2 by Chelsea in the FA Cup Semi Finals. They have rallied since then with a 1-0 win at Crystal Palace before winning their local derby match against Arsenal last weekend and will be desperate to close the gap at the top of the table with a third successive win over a fellow capital city team to make it ten EPL wins in a row.
Tottenham have not had the best form away to West Ham in recent times as they have suffered two defeats in their last three away games against The Hammers. However, all of these clashes came at Upton Park and with West Ham not shining at their new home with just two wins in eight EPL clashes in 2017 it will be the away side who will hope to repeat their victory earlier in the season when the sides met at White Hart Lane. That game saw Harry Kane net twice from the 89th minute onwards to secure all three points and with 21 goals this season despite two injury setbacks he may be the key to winning this game.
With the way that both of these sides have been playing lately we can only see one side winning this match – and that’ll be the away side. Harry Kane will have a big part in this with more goals added to his tally and we’re backing him to net the first goal at The London Stadium and help Tottenham on their way to all three points.