Tottenham Hotspur-West Brom Preview
West Bromwich Albion will be targeting just their second set of back-to-back league wins of the season when they welcome Tottenham Hotspur to the Hawthorns on Saturday.
Pepe Mel’s West Brom (6-14-12) are five points clear of the relegation zone after a crucial 1-0 win over Norwich last weekend, and know that three points against Tottenham would see them move to the cusp of Premier League survival.
The win over Norwich came a week after a shock last-minute goal that saw the Baggies drop two points in a draw with Cardiff, prompting a reported dressing room brawl. However, Mel insists that the squad have become more united since the incident.
"All of the players have really helped and gone in the same direction," said the Spaniard. "The dressing room has shown itself to be very professional.
"I don’t mind if there are fights if in the following match we win. Is it healthy? No, but it’s something that’s normal among players and young players who are ambitious.
"The most important thing is what happens on May 12. I’m certain West Brom will still be in the Premier League."
Tottenham (18-5-10) head into Saturday’s game with their season in limbo. Just three wins in the last seven games have left the north London club off the pace in the race for Champions League qualification, with only the slightest of chances of the Lilywhites overtaking Everton and Arsenal to fourth place. With manager Tim Sherwood likely to be heading for the exit door in the summer after a tumultuous and divisive six months in charge, the players could be forgiven for switching off and focusing on the summer’s international commitments.
However, star striker Emmanuel Adebayor is one of the few members of the squad with no such World Cup distractions, and after Monday’s 5-1 win over Sunderland, spoke of his desire to see Sherwood remain at the helm.
"I am playing and scoring goals, I would hope he stays," said Adebayor. "When everyone forgot about me he gave me back my life. I am very grateful and I owe a big thanks to him. But I am not the chairman or the owner of the club. No matter what happens I am a professional footballer and just want to do my job for the club.
"As a team we are going through a difficult moment, but we just have to keep fighting for the club."
West Brom have injury doubts over James Morrison (ankle), Zoltan Gera (hamstring), Graham Dorrans (knee), Chris Brunt (knee), Claudio Yacob (hamstring) and Billy Jones (hamstring). Spurs have concerns over the fitness of Michael Dawson (hamstring), Jan Vertonghen (ankle), Kyle Walker (groin), Erik Lamela (back) and Roberto Soldado (hamstring).
It was a 1-1 draw when these teams met at White Hart Lane on Boxing Day – the first time Tottenham dropped points under Sherwood. The London club dominated the game, though, outshooting the Baggies 20-6.
West Brom have failed to win any of their last eight league games against Spurs, but have drawn four of those matches.