When looking at Tottenham Hotspur’s upcoming visit to Upton Park to face London rivals West Ham, a trend has emerged that shows how the game will go.
In the last seven meetings between these London rivals, six defenders or defensive midfielders have managed to find the net.
Comparatively, strikers have only managed one more goal in that time, highlighting how prolific those who are typically accustomed to preventing attacks have been.
Defenders also impact the game in other ways, with red cards a somewhat common theme in meetings between the Hammers and Spurs.
In the last four encounters, three players have been given marching orders, with two centre-backs and one full-back earning early baths.
Younes Kaboul’s red in 2014 saw his side lose 2-0 to the east Londoners, while James Collins’ dismissal in the opening game of last season did nothing to help his teammates in a 1-0 defeat.
The only one of those three not to contribute to their team’s downfall by earning a suspension was Kyle Naughton, but that red was shown in the same game that Collins was sent off.
Clearly, defenders are going to have an important part to play in this fixture and whoever can have the biggest impact from the back will emerge victorious.
Eric Dier, Toby Alderweireld, Danny Rose, Kieran Trippier and Kyle Walker have scored eight Premier League goals between them for Spurs whilst operating in more defensive positions.
Even more positively for Mauricio Pochettino’s men, no Tottenham player, let alone defenders, has been red carded in the top flight this season.
Meanwhile, Cheikhou Koyate is West Ham’s joint second top league scorer with four strikes, while Carl Jenkinson has netted once and Aaron Creswell has registered on a single occasion.
The Hammers have also racked up four top-flight red cards this term, but the last one of those was in October.
Given the wider range of defensive goalscoring talents and absence of suspensions in the Spurs side it would be wise to back them at 9/10.
Dier looks the most likely to continue the trend of non-traditional net busters, due to his three strikes already, and can be backed to score at any time at 17/2.