Stats - How West Ham can take Tottenham off their game and beat them

Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United square up for what could be a very feisty midfield battle this Sunday.

Spurs will go into the game as clear favourites at White Hart Lane, looking to stay as close to local rivals Arsenal at the top of the Premier League as possible.

West Ham are disadvantaged in several ways. Tottenham have higher average possession, a better passing success rate and have more shots per game on goal than any other side in the top flight.

The Hammers need to try and turn this game into something of a mess aesthetically. One area where the sides are similar is in terms of bookings and if the 90 minutes descends into a midfield brawl, that will suit West Ham down to the ground.

Spurs and West Ham are very even in terms of discipline this season; Spurs have picked up 13 yellow cards and West Ham have picked up ten yellow cards and one red from matches played so far.

If it turns into the sort of game where there are scrappy challenges going in all over the pitch, those stats suggest the Hammers can draw Spurs into as many fouls as they give away.

There is only a 2.8 fouls per game difference between the two teams, with West Ham giving away slightly more set pieces but if it’s a stop-start game, that could suit West Ham more than it suits Tottenham.

See also: Tottenham fans react on Twitter to Lewis Holtby's performance v Anzhi

One area where West Ham are clearly ahead of Tottenham is in terms of aerial duels, with the Hammers winning 5.7 aerial clashes more than Tottenham per game on average.

Needless to say the more free kicks and set pieces West Ham can win, the more chances they will have to launch balls at Tottenham’s goal which can be attacked aerially.

If they maintain their impressive aerial duel stats in this game, there’s a very good chance someone could get on the end of a corner or free kick, grabbing a goal which could make the difference.

If the clash turns into a pass and move game, focused on the creative attacking players in each side then West Ham have lesser chance of forcing a result.

Spurs have several players across their midfield and attack who can hurt West Ham while the East London side will arguably be easier for Tottenham to contain if they try to play Spurs at their own game.

Sam Allardyce’s tactics as West Ham manager get him a lot of stick but the Hammers won’t care one little bit if they can force an impressive result in a match that many will be expecting Tottenham to win comfortably.

What do you think? Do West Ham have any chance?

image: © sachab

Register for TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch