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Premier League Preview: West Brom v. Tottenham Hotspur

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  • West Brom has just one win in last 16 against Spurs
  • Tottenham has scored at least once in last 23 league matches
  • Baggies winless in previous six home games (2D, 4L)

West Bromwich Albion hosts Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday (Watch live at 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) as the Baggies aim to stay afloat in the Premier League.

Anything outside of a victory in their final two matches will see West Brom drop to the Championship, as the Baggies sit on 28 points — five out of 17th place.

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

The Baggies are unbeaten in their last four matches, which gives the club genuine hope heading into their last two fixtures, however, only one game has resulted in three points.

Key injuries for both sides could leave them in a bit of a pickle, as Gareth Barry and James Morrison remain sidelined for the Baggies, while Moussa Dembele, Danny Rose and Harry Winks won’t feature for Spurs.

What they’re saying

West Brom boss Darren Moore named Manager of the Month: “It’s great to be nominated with those calibre of managers, it really, really is – I am honoured. But I will share that nomination with everybody here at West Brom. The reason I can sit up here and talk about it is because of the tremendous work everybody has done behind the scenes.”

Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino on West Brom’s recent form: “West Brom are showing great character in their last few games – the capacity to beat Manchester United at Old Trafford and draw with Liverpool. They are doing fantastic in the last few months and of course they have the belief still [that they can stay up]. We are playing to be in the top four and try to play Champions League next season. I think it will be a massive battle for them, but also for us.”

Prediction

The task is anything but simple for the Baggies, particularly against a Spurs side with so much quality. Darren Moore’s side has performed admirably over the last month, but the team needed at least another victory during that span to have a legitimate shot at safety. Even with two wins down the stretch, which isn’t likely, survival isn’t a certainty for the West Midlands side. West Brom 1-3 Tottenham

PL Preview: Tottenham vs. Watford

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  • Tottenham Hotspur defender Danny Rose rejoined team training on Saturday and has a chance of returning from a calf injury. Harry Winks (ankle) remains out.
  • Gerard Deulofeu could feature for Watford, having returned to training after an injury at the end of February. Troy Deeney has shaken off an ankle problem, but Roberto Pereyra will have a fitness test. Stefano Okaka and Tom Cleverley are out with thigh injuries, while Nathaniel Chalobah (knee), Younes Kaboul (ankle) and Tommie Hoban (knee) are also sidelined.
  • Tottenham Hotspur are unbeaten in its last 12 matches against Watford in all competitions (W9 D3), since a 3-2 defeat at White Hart Lane in the League Cup in October 1994. 
  • Spurs have scored in each of their last 22 Premier League matches. They last had a longer run of scoring in the top flight in April 1987, with 26 matches.

Tottenham sit just two points above Chelsea in the final UEFA Champions League place in the table as it takes on fellow North London side Watford at Wembley Stadium on Monday afternoon. (Watch live at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com)

Spurs are winless in their last three, with the team patiently waiting for Monday’s game after being knocked out of the FA Cup by Manchester United, 2-1, last week, a bitter pill to swallow as no trophies will be coming to the club yet again.

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Watford meanwhile seem to be comfortable on 38 points and in 13th place, a full five points clear of the drop zone, but a win at Wembley would surely ensure the club’s survival for another season.

What they’re saying

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino on getting over FA Cup defeat:

“The most important thing is to never give up and never accept this type of negative situation and work hard for the next opportunity to change that situation. That is how I think and what I believe. It’s always a challenge but it’s so important to work hard and keep going.”

Watford manager Javi Gracia on finishing the season on a high:

“I think the club’s best position in the Premier League was 13th and we have the chance to improve that position,” he said. There are only three games left and I think this is the best motivation for us in this moment, to try to get the best position that the club has ever got. We can do it. If you see the last results we took only two points in the last six games, but we can see in the next three games if we’ll be able to get more points or not.”

Prediction: Tottenham are in a bit of a tailspin lately but playing back in front of a partisan crowd at Wembley, Spurs return to winning ways against an always-fighting Watford side. Tottenham 2-1 Watford

Finally fully fit, Spurs ready for season-defining month

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The next six games, spanning exactly four weeks, will go a long, long way toward defining Tottenham Hotspur’s 2017-18 season as either a progressive success, or an untimely failure.

[ MORE: Spurs cruise past fourth-tier Newport, reach FA Cup 5th round ]

This Saturday, it’s Arsenal who’ll visit Wembley Stadium (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET, on CNBC and NBCSports.com), followed by the first leg of a Champions League round-of-16 tie with Juventus, followed by an FA Cup fifth-round trip to Rochdale, followed by a pair of banana-skin fixtures in the Premier League (Crystal Palace and Huddersfield Town), and finally the decisive second leg against Juventus.

For all of his side’s recent success, Mauricio Pochettino is yet to guide Tottenham to the club’s first piece of silverware since the 2008 League Cup. While they’re outsiders to triumph in Europe, a trip to the semifinals — or even the quarters — would more than suffice for Spurs fans. The FA Cup, on the other hand, is well within reach, should someone do everyone a favor and knock off Manchester City.

[ MORE: Forecasting the Premier League’s top-four race ]

Following Wednesday’s fourth-round replay victory over Newport County, Pochettino reaffirmed his desire to continue to compete on every front available,  — quotes from the BBC:

“It’s the FA Cup and it’s difficult. But I am happy because we wanted to be in the next round.”

“It is important to keep going and winning games. We are going to be very busy in the Premier League, Champions League and the FA Cup but we want to keep this run.”

[ MORE: PFA urges Mahrez, Leicester to resolve standoff “ASAP” ]

In many ways, Spurs arrived a season (or two) ahead of schedule when they were the nearest challengers to Leicester City and Chelsea in the Premier League title race two years running. The idea, at least one might presume, was that Mauricio Pochettino’s side would continue to rise through the ranks before finally peaking in the first or second season inside the club’s new White Hart Lane stadium (set to open August 2018).

The highlight on Wednesday, however, was undoubtedly the return of star defender Toby Aldeweireld, who missed the last two months with a hamstring injury. To a lesser degree, Danny Rose and Harry Winks (both out since Boxing Day) also made their way back into the starting 11 following injuries of their own. Given it’s already a thin squad, the importance of having everyone available for selection isn’t lost on Pochettino — quotes from Sky Sports:

“It’s important for many players to have the possibility to play. It’s tough to find a place to play because the team is doing well. Today was a great opportunity for different players, like Toby, Danny and Harry Winks, to play games and compete at this level. It’s completely different to training.”

[ MORE: Chelsea’s Courtois talking new deal, but “heart is in Madrid” ]

Successive third- and second-place finishes, coupled with the ease with which they breezed through this season’s Champions League group stage — brushing aside the likes of Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund — have left Spurs in something of a confusing no man’s land, where simply finishing fourth would represent a literal step back, even if not in terms of perception and expectation.

It’s a testament to the work that Pochettino’s done thus far, as well as a reminder of how far Spurs had, and still have, to go.

PL Preview: Tottenham vs. Everton

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  • Everton has not beaten Tottenham in any competitions since 2008
  • Tottenham are unbeaten in 10 home league matches
  • Everton have scored just one goal in their last four games

An important top-half clash comes your way Saturday as Tottenham hosts Everton at White Hart Lane, live on NBC at 12:30 p.m. ET or live online at NBCSports.com.

Spurs sit fifth in the Premier League table with 41 points, and they are looking in both directions as they chase Liverpool three points above them in a Champions League place and hope to fend off Arsenal two points back in sixth. While the Premier League title is likely wrapped up barring a historic collapse, the Champions League places are very much up for grabs.

WATCH LIVE, HERE

Since losing 4-1 to likely champions Manchester City, Spurs have rebounded with three Premier League wins and a draw. Harry Kane is in unstoppable form, with a pair of hat-tricks over the festive period followed by a brace midweek in FA Cup action against AFC Wimbledon. Key to that midweek Cup match was the return of Moussa Dembele, who played a full 90 minutes for the first time since December 16th. Dembele has lost his place in the team due to both fitness concerns and poor form, but the 30-year-old played well against Wimbledon and could potentially see a return to the starting lineup.

On the other side, Everton has seen a brutal dip in form strike the Toffees, with just one Premier League win since December 2nd. A loss to Bournemouth and a draw with West Brom highlight the disappointing results of late, and it appears the honeymoon period with new manager Sam Allardyce is over.

However, they could receive a boost as new signing Cenk Tosun, a 26-year-old Turkish international, could make his first Everton appearance as the Toffees look for help up front. The striker had eight goals in 14 Turkish Super Lig appearances for Besiktas this season before his transfer, and 14 goals in 24 appearances over all competitions. Everton is starved for goalscoring prowess, with just one goal in their last four matches.

INJURIES: Tottenham — OUT: Harry Winks (ankle), Danny Rose (knee), Toby Alderweireld (hamstring). | Everton — OUT: Michael Keane (foot), Idrissa Gueye (hamstring).


What they’re saying

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino on the potential for new signings: “Until today, now, no-one is close to arriving in this transfer window.  Maybe in five minutes something happens. But until now, before the press conference, nothing is close. I’m not concerned, not worried. I think we’re working and of course we’re awake about the market. If something’s available in the terms that we can take, of course we are going to do it.”

Everton manager Sam Allardyce on balancing Everton’s weaknesses: “I think the service provided in the final third is one of our weaknesses and why we’re not scoring enough goals. We don’t have enough natural goalscorers so we have to try and work on that without losing our defensive qualities.”

Prediction

Cenk Tosun is a quality signing and will help Everton up front, especially against a defensively depleted Spurs, but they won’t be able to contain the home side all game, and this ends up as a 1-1 draw that is disappointing for both sides.

Pochettino: Win at Leicester necessary; Lamela available

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Tottenham has one win from its last four matches, and Mauricio Pochettino needs to steady the Spurs ship in a hurry.

The London side is coming off a surprising home draw against West Brom, one week after losing the North London Derby. Throw in a narrow win over Crystal Palace that followed a defeat at Old Trafford, and it’s fair to call this a slump.

Good news: A big name is back.

[ MORE: Lukaku dodges ban ]

Erik Lamela hasn’t played for Spurs in over a year, and the Argentine is in contention to make a Tuesday appearance at Leicester City. Danny Rose is an option, though Toby Alderweireld and Victor Wanyama remain out of action. An ill Harry Winks is a question mark.

All of this as Pochettino says their title hopes would take a humongous hit if the poor form stretches into Tuesday.

“Of course, Manchester City have improved a lot from last season. The gap is massive – we will see what happens. We need to believe and try to win games. If we don’t win [against Leicester] – it is difficult to be a contender.”

Spurs won this fixture 6-1 last season, getting four goals from Harry Kane and a pair from Heung-Min Son. The Foxes have lost just once since September ended with a draw at Bournemouth.