There’s always plenty going on in the capital every Saturday afternoon, and this weekend is no exception. West Ham and Spurs are both involved in crucial home games, and each is as desperate as the other for a morale-boosting win.
Will they get it? Here’s our football odds expert Adrian Clarke with his big match predictions…
West Ham United v Chelsea | 9 December 12:30
Injury-ravaged, bereft of confidence, psychologically fearful in front of their own fans, and led by a new manager that’s beginning to look as ashen-faced as he did in his last job, I’m afraid I don’t give West Ham much chance of beating the team they have always traditionally loved to hate.
They are 23/4 to take all three points against Chelsea for a reason.
On paper they did OK at Manchester City last weekend, losing by just the one goal, but the truth is they could have been battered if the leaders had bothered to get a sweat on.
That was the sloppiest display I’ve seen from Pep Guardiola’s men this term, and they still mustered 28 shots. Had it not been for Adrian’s heroics it could have been another savage defeat.
The Hammers have shipped 13 goals in four matches against the Big Six this term, and up against a Chelsea side that will still be smarting at tossing away top spot in their Champions League group, my hunch is that the average will be maintained.
I’d be happy to take Chelsea to score over 2.5 goals against a very makeshift West Ham defence at 21/10 with Grosvenor Sport.
Eden Hazard is in scintillating form at the moment, and I know Blues fans are particularly excited at the chemistry he’s beginning to develop with striker Alvaro Morata.
And guess who’s up for the @EASPORTSFIFA Premier League Player of the Month award…
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) December 6, 2017
As a front duo, they are outstanding, and I suspect their fantastic movement will befuddle the east Londoners, who are likely to be without four key defensive players.
This east v west derby has delivered some colossal duels in the past, and at Upton Park, the Hammers used to regularly give Chelsea frights, but sadly times have changed.
As it stands today West Ham just don’t have much life about them. They are meandering towards relegation.
I fear they’ll get battered in this one. My score selection is a brutal 4-1 win for Chelsea. (22/1)
Tottenham Hotspur v Stoke City | 9 December 15:00
If Mark Hughes has had bad dreams all week in readiness for his side’s trip to Wembley Stadium it’s perfectly understandable.
The last three times he has sent a Stoke City side out to face Tottenham Hotspur, his players have trooped back in at the final whistle, heads bowed, having suffered a comprehensive 4-0 stuffing.
The odds on a fourth straight four-nil-er are a relatively short 11/1.
Home games have been a struggle for Spurs. Aside from their glorious drubbing of Liverpool, they have stuttered badly against opponents that have shown little interest in making it an expansive contest.
Just five goals in the remaining six home matches tells a story of massed defences holding firm.
If you think this will be another frustrating toil for Mauricio Pochettino’s men, they are 9/4 to score under 1.5 goals.
From the Stoke angle, it’s a delight to see Peter Crouch back in favour with his gaffer.
The six feet seven-inch star played the full 90 minutes in their much-needed 2-1 win against Swansea, and should keep his place for a trip to his former club.
If you fancy backing Crouchie to score, maybe hold fire though. Since making a £10million switch from White Hart Lane in 2011, he has never scored against Tottenham.
— Stoke City FC (@stokecity) December 5, 2017
In fact, during his illustrious 200-plus-goal career he has only ever netted twice against them.
Peter Crouch is 4/1 to score anytime and buck that trend.
Personally, I’d expect Tottenham to get out of their rut against the Potters. They’ve not functioned brilliantly at either end of the pitch of late, but have not become a poor side overnight.
Sooner rather than later they will click back into gear, and faced by a Stoke team that was walloped 7-2 against Manchester City, they should not slip up.
Harry Kane (6 goals), Dele Alli (4) and Son Heung-Min (2) have been Spurs’ scorers in those three 4-0 triumphs that humbled Hughes.
And my selection here is a home success with Alli to score. This is available at 7/4.
If Tottenham fluff their lines in this one, we can officially call it a crisis.