Three key clashes as West Ham host Spurs in the Premier League

West Ham Upton Park

Tottenham kick off their season with a trip to London rivals West Ham United.

The Premier League season finally begins on Satuday, with Tottenham eager to arrest their poor form against their crosstown rivals, having lost all three games they played against West Ham last season.

A surprising 3-0 loss at White Hart Lane was one of the first cracks in Andre Villas-Boas's reign as Tottenham manager, while Tim Sherwood's first game in charge again saw the Hammers win at the Lane, this time knocking them out of the League Cup.

Sam Allardyce's men then won 2-0 at Upton Mark in May to all but end Spurs' hopes of a Champions League place.

With another new manager in charge at Tottenham in Mauricio Pochettino, the visitors will be determined to make a good start, while West Ham will be in confident mood given their recent performances against the North Londoners.

Below we list three contests that could help decide the outcome of the match, should the players mentioned, as expected, feature:

Kevin Nolan (WHU) vs Etienne Capoue (TOT)

With Andy Carroll ruled out, and the new West Ham strikers still likely to be bedding in at Upton Park, the onus will be on attacking midfielder Kevin Nolan to provide a goal threat. So good in the box, especially coming from deep, French midfielder Etienne Capoue if fit, will have to be on form for Spurs to keep the former Bolton man from getting on the ball in those goalscoring positions. 

Emmanuel Adebayor (TOT) vs Winston Reid (WHU)

The Togo striker has looked solid in preseason, despite suffering a bout of malaria over the summer, scoring in the two games he has played in. He should be given the nod over Roberto Soldado for the visitors, though will have to deal with West Ham defensive star Winston Reid, a powerful performer who helped keep the ex Arsenal man quiet when the two sides met in May. Adebayor will have to be at his unpredictable best to unsettle a Hammers defence marshalled by the Kiwi.

SEE ALSO: Spurs target set for PL opener despite not being 'mentally ready' last week

Erik Lamela (TOT) vs Aaron Cresswell (WHU)

New West Ham signing Aaron Cresswell could be in for a difficult game on his debut, with Tottenham's Erik Lamela looking much stronger in the club's preseason friendlies than he did at any point last season. Having netted four goals over the summer, the Argentine is set to be given a prominent role in the Spurs team by his compatriot Pochettino, and the visitor's fluid attacking play could be hard work for any player still trying to settle into a new side, especially considering Cresswell has stepped up from the Championship.

What do you think the result will be as Spurs travel to West Ham?

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