Tottenham V West Ham at White Hart Lane - Match Preview
Updated Saturday, 24th November 2012
Tottenham V West Ham at White Hart Lane - Match Preview.
Caulker: Spurs ready for revival
Steven Caulker has played down the scale of Tottenham's recent dip and insists he and his team-mates can return to winning ways at home to West Ham on Sunday.
Tottenham touched down in London in the early hours of Friday morning after their tumultuous trip to Rome.
The shocking stabbing and controversial anti-Semitic chanting that occurred in the Italian capital overshadowed what was largely a poor performance that will do little to silence Andre Villas-Boas' doubters.
Hugo Lloris almost single-handedly prevented Villas-Boas' side from slipping to a damaging defeat, but Spurs have a chance to restore some faith by beating the in-form Hammers in one of the most fiercely-contested derbies in the capital.
Defeats against Wigan, Arsenal and Manchester City have seen Tottenham fall away from the top four in the last couple of weeks and Caulker is keen to arrest the slump.
"It's important for us to get our form back in the league," the Tottenham defender said.
"We made a good start to it. We hit a bit of a dip in form but we're a good bunch of lads and we're working hard every day to put it right.
"There's no denying it's a massive game for us and we're confident we can get three points and put the season back on an upwards spiral."
While Reading and Southampton have struggled to adapt to life back in the top-flight, West Ham have started the season with a bang.
Sam Allardyce's men have lost just three times this season and currently reside in seventh place - something that has impressed Villas-Boas.
"You have to congratulate them when it's due, they have been extremely good this season," the Portuguese said.
"It makes them more comfortable in terms of their objective which is to stay in the Premier League. So now they are on track and maybe they can raise their objectives."
The Hammers' ascent has come despite the fact that their star signing Andy Carroll has not scored since arriving on loan from Liverpool in the summer.
Villas-Boas thinks the #35million striker has nevertheless had a positive impact at Upton Park and expects him to be handful in Sunday afternoon's game.
"He fits their style of play which is so effective, very direct but with great results," Villas-Boas added.
"Obviously he's not scoring as much as he wants to but he's creating chances for others."
Villas-Boas will once again be without a number of key players.
Emmanuel Adebayor will watch from the stands as he begins a three-match suspension while long-term absentees Scott Parker, Younes Kaboul and Benoit Assou-Ekotto remain sidelined.
Playmaker Mousa Dembele made his recovery from a month-long injury lay-off against Lazio but is unlikely to start.
West Ham's difficult run of fixtures is getting tougher due to the matches being scheduled closer together, according to boss Allardyce.
The Hammers travel to local rivals Tottenham before a midweek clash at Manchester United and another London derby with Chelsea next weekend.
The run follows fixtures against champions Manchester City, Newcastle and Stoke, with Allardyce's side taking five points from those three games.
West Ham, seventh in the table, face all five teams directly above them before the turn of the year.
But it is the forthcoming week of matches that Allardyce reckons could prove to be a tough test for his squad.
"We played Manchester City and Newcastle recently and Stoke was also a tough game," he said.
"I think that the games coming up are of a similar stature, but they also come within just six days. The fixtures are hard enough on an individual basis but to have them in such a short space of time makes it more difficult.
"We will certainly see what the players and the squad are made of by the end of next week."
West Ham have not beaten Spurs at White Hart Lane in 13 years but Allardyce has done his homework on how the side are set up under Villas-Boas.
He said: "I have read the scout reports and watched a few videos but I definitely think the system has changed. We very rarely saw Jermain Defoe employed as a lone striker when Harry was in charge but we have seen it quite a lot under Andre.
"There has been a change in how they play and a little change in positions and selection. Some of that has been forced because top quality players like Luke Modric have left and they are very hard to replace.
"They have been going okay but only time will tell whether it will be enough."
Winger Matt Jarvis will return to the squad after missing Monday's 1-1 draw with Stoke with a shin injury.
Yossi Benayoun (thigh), Jack Collison (knee) and Ricardo Vaz Te (shoulder) are ruled out.