Tottenham may have been second best in the North London derby last weekend but that was certainly not the case in midweek as they bounced back in the best possible way with a win over Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League.
With qualification to the Round of 16 already secured, Mauricio Pochettino’s men had to come from behind to secure the three points required to top the group and in theory give them an easier draw when the competition resumes in the New Year.
They may have returned to winning ways on Tuesday but the next task in hand is to make sure that last Saturday was just a domestic blip. They can ill afford to give any more points away to Manchester City with their title aspirations already all but up in smoke.
And today they have to navigate what could be the particularly tricky task of facing a club that has just sacked their manager. That is because they play host to West Brom at Wembley this afternoon who said goodbye to Tony Pulis on Monday after a run of 10 games without a league win.
The man looking to apply the ‘new manager bounce’ is Gary Megson. The former West Brom boss was assistant manager under Pulis, so whether this is going to be more of the same remains to be seen as it almost a case of the name has changed above the door but the football is the same.
West Ham’s draw last night at home to Leicester means that the Baggies just stay on the right side of the dotted line for now but if results go against them than that situation could very well change and if the plight worsens they may then struggle to appoint the calibre of manager they will need to get them out of a relegation battle.
For Hammers boss Slaven Bilic already had the courtesy to politely refuse the call from the West Brom owners on Friday with Alan Pardew now looking the favourite to swap the warm confines of the TV studio for the unforgiving touchline once again.
And Gary Megson will be keeping the hotseat warm for at least a week and whoever does take the reigns will be hoping that the team are not even lower on confidence than they already are. The final straw for the West Brom owners was watching the club get soundly beaten by defending champions Chelsea 4-0 at the Hawthorns last week.
The Baggies gameplan this week may be try and emulate the likes of Bournemouth and Crystal Palace who have looked to stifle Tottenham at Wembley this season. Both times Mauricio Pochettino’s men have edged proceedings with a less than vintage 1-0 win.
In those two matches it has most definitely been a case of points over performance but Tottenham need to work out a way of unlocking the defences of teams in the lower reaches of the table on a more regular basis, especially when given so much possession.
Tottenham’s three biggest wins of the season at Wembley have come with an average possession rate of 40%, it seems as if when they have too much of the ball they don’t quite know what to do with it as the performances against Bournemouth and Crystal Palace will have attested to.
Mauricio Pochettino could well shift to a back four this afternoon and reward Heung min-Son for his winning goal on Tuesday night, that might give them the edge of what is a very flat West Brom side as of late, one that has failed to score in their last two matches and lost their last four.
There is no doubting that they are for the taking and Tottenham are very much due putting a Premier League team to the sword at Wembley. I just hope that Gary Megson does not have other ideas, it should be a home win. I say should with some level of anticipation. See you on the other side.
Here is what social media thinks will happen – you can still vote on the outcome
— Dan Tracey (@dantracey1983) November 24, 2017