West Ham United face Tottenham Hotspur tonight at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in both teams’ second game since the Premier League restarted, and while the derby is expected to be fierce given what is at stake for both sides, the lack of fans will definitely affect the players’ morale.
Spurs boss Jose Mourinho felt most of the games played since the league resumed resembled friendly games, and Hammers skipper Mark Noble shares the same sentiment.
The West Ham midfielder is hoping that tonight’s game is different, and has shared what his Liverpool counterpart Jordan Henderson told him after the Merseyside derby.
“There were times on Saturday when it felt a little like a pre-season friendly,” Noble told Standard Sport.
“I watched the Merseyside derby on Sunday night and it felt exactly the same.
“In fact, I spoke to Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson after the game and he echoed my thoughts, that it was so strange without the fans in what is normally an electric atmosphere.”
Everton held Liverpool to a goalless draw at Goodison Park on Sunday, and while the Reds are set to win the league title, they will have to wait till the weekend to be able to wrap things up mathematically after dropping two points.
The lack of atmosphere has definitely had a psychological effect on the players, and it could affect the survival chances of relegation-battling sides like West Ham.
With no fans to spur them on at the London Stadium, the Hammers will have to find the much-needed motivation within themselves in the remaining home games.
An empty stadium away from home could play into their hands with no opposition fans to intimidate them, and it is why they have a chance against Spurs tonight.