The Derby. Once upon a time, a local derby was the most intense, entertaining and passionate game on the calendar.
A team wanted to rule their own town or city before ruling the country, but as the globalisation of the modern game has increased so the importance of local rivalries has as well.
The all important goals
The 'Top 4' and Champions League became the all important goal and the domestic league separated out into different layers, each competing with those around and slightly above them. For a number of years the gulf between Tottenham and West Ham was such that both sides had bigger goals in mind than beating a local rival, be it chasing the money in Europe's premier club competition or avoiding the trapdoor to the Championship.
But on Saturday we return to the good old days, as Spurs travel to Upton Park to play a Sam Allardyce side that had the voodoo sign over The Lilywhites. Whereas previously Tottenham fans had looked upon the team in claret and blue blowing bubbles as an annoying little cousin, the way Andre Villas-Boas and Tim Sherwood's sides were swept away means Spurs supporters want revenge. The fact that it is the first game of the season for both clubs only adds fuel to the fire.
Beating West Ham
West Ham's success last season in beating Spurs 3-0 and 2-1 at White Hart Lane and 2-0 against ten men in East London came mainly through defensive organisation and a quick, direct attacking style that caught Tottenham's high defence woefully exposed. New manager Mauricio Pochettino will hope new signing Ben Davies will aide defensive solidity, while a better pressing game will stop West Ham exploiting any space in behind.
A higher intensity and competitiveness will be key in beating a stereotypical Allardyce side who, despite instructions to play a more attacking game, will look to use the game plan that worked so well last season. The plus side for Spurs is that they cannot be as poor as they were last season, with record signing Erik Lamela one of a number of players who will be better bedded in with a year in England under his belt.
West Ham have made more new signings but with their record signing Andy Carroll, who has always created so much trouble for Spurs, and bad boy Ravel Morrison who starred in the 3-0 win at the Lane, ruled out, the signs are not good for the hosts.
Pochettino has plenty of expectation heaped on his shoulders and an opening day win would be the ideal way to kick off the season. If some of last season's signings can make an impression too then the signs will be very positive as Tottenham exit yet another summer of upheaval.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: http://gms.to/writeforgms