Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs will travel to the Hawthorns on Saturday to take on Tony Pulis’ West Bromwich Albion. The Hawthorns has not been a venue where they are used to getting positive results. At Hawthorns, West Brom have beaten Spurs 34 time while Spurs have won just 17 times. Both games ended in a 1-1 stalemate last season when the two sides faced each other.
West Brom have won just one of their last six games in all competitions which was a 4-2 win against West Ham United. However, courtesy of as many as three draws this season, the Baggies find themselves on the top-half.
On the other hand, Spurs are flying high at the moment. Unbeaten this season, the Lilywhites are on the back of an impressive 2-0 win over mighty Manchester City and are sitting second in the table, just one point behind leaders Manchester City.
Spurs need to be careful while approaching West Brom as the Baggies are always a tricky side, especially at home. Here are three key battles that could decide the game.
Toby Alderweireld Vs Jose Salomon Rondon
Since he joined Spurs last summer from Atletico Madrid, Alderweireld has slowly established himself as one of the best defenders in the Premier League. The Belgian is the key reason behind Spurs’ solid defensive performances. The 27-year-old is a complete defender with excellent aerial prowess, the ability to pick out his teammates with his eye for a pass and excellent aptitude in organising his back four.
Alderweireld will be facing a tricky battle against in-form Jose Salomon Rondon on Saturday. The Venezuela international struggled to impress in his debut season in the Premier League but has done really well this season, finding the net thrice and setting up an assist. With his enormous experience, Rondon will pose the biggest threat to spurs’ defence and Alderweireld has to ensure that he keeps the South American silent.
Eric Dier Vs Nacer Chadli
A player who will be all heated up for the game is Nacer Chadli. The Belgian went out of favour at Spurs and was snapped up by West Brom this summer for their club record fee. The Belgian attacking midfielder has managed to resurrect his career in some fashion under Tony Pulis, scoring thrice and setting up two goals from four games for the Baggies.
Eric Dier will be assigned the task to deal with Chadli. Dier knows Chadli inside out from their time together at Spurs and has to stop the Belgian from firing. This could be the ideal game for the Englishman to get back in the first team reckoning and take advantage of Dembele’s injury.
Heung Min-Son Vs Gareth McAuley
Just when it was thought that Spurs will be struggling for goals following the injury to Harry Kane, Heung-Min Son stepped up big time. The South Korean’s first season at the club was quite underwhelming but his impressive form of late has brought big smiles on the faces of the fans.
With five goals and two assists from six games in all competitions this season, Son will be looking to keep up his bright form as he starts up front for the Lilywhites ahead of Vincent Janssen. Experienced defender Gareth McAuley, the organiser of West Brom defence, will have a big task on his hands in trying to stop the Korean from firing.
West Brom, surprisingly, have not been all that solid defensively as we expect them to be but they must ensure that they pick up their defending in order to stop high-flying Spurs and for that, they need McAuley to do well.