|OPPONENTS||West Ham United|
|DATE||Saturday 3rd May 2014|
With two games remaining, Spurs play their penultimate game away at
West Ham United, who are on a run of four straight defeats, but this
should not cloud the way that Tottenham approach this match, having
been beaten in the two previous meetings this season.
Going into the game with a number of injury problems, Spurs will have a changed side from the other two matches against West Ham. They will not have faced Spurs under the truly outstanding management of Tim Sherwood; the best Spurs manager ever. They will not have faced Spurs with two men up front. They will not have faced Spurs away from White Hart Lane.
There is pressure on the West Ham manager Sam Allardyce, with the fans at the Boleyn Ground not satisfied with their team just maintaining their Premier League status and not providing the entertaining football they are do well known for. The pressure on Sherwood in comparison, is not so great. There is not a lot he can do about the queue of managers looking over his shoulder at his job. However, the recent form of both clubs; Tottenham good - West Ham bad, will fly out of the proverbial window just after the book that it is written in.
With only Marco Borriello missing from the squad, there is a full complement to pick from, but with Winston Reid saying there were only two problems with the team ... "They can't score goals and they can't defend," this leaves the selection of an eleven a tricky proposition for Allardyce. While nominally safe from relegation (and if they had gone down this year with the number of teams worse than them, Allardyce would have deserved the sack), their is still a need to pull as far away from the bottom three places as possible before the end of the season for the Hammers.
Adrian has come into replace the slightly faltering performances of Jasskelainen. The Spaniard has proved a good shot stopper, but he has been caught out in where he positions himself sometimes and the amount of work ha has had to do, with the less than water-tight Irons leaky defence being sprung, like leaks, all too often. James Tomkins was held as one with great hopes to go through into the England side at centre-half, but he has been found out a bit by wily Premiership strikers and his slight physique makes it difficult to hold them off. He has been playing alongside NZ international Winston Reid, who is quicker, but not as dominant in the air, they make a decent pairing, although they play too far apart to be a tight unit. A veteran can be found at left back, with George McCartney trying to stop any supply from the opposition's right flank, meaning he might find himself busy on Saturday, with Lennon up against a famous foe, with Naughton doubling up on that wing. Guy Demel might have an easier time on the other side of the defence, but if Christian Eriksen drops wide to link up with Danny Rose, they could make life difficult for the Ivory Coat full back. Italian Pablo Armero is on loan from Udinese, while James Collins is nearing the end of his top flight days, but is a physical, old-fashioned centre-half.
In midfield, West Ham's most valuable player Kevin Nolan can be found, but not always, as he is also a big liability, having seen red twice this season for hot-headed incidents which could have been avoided. He is top goal-scorer for the side and also top of the assist list for the home side. Mobile, despite his advancing years, he tries to drive the team forward, but when moves break down ,he is not able to retrieve his position as quickly as he used to be able to. Mark Noble has had a disappointing season, with great things expected from him, but he has picked up some criticism from the Upton Park crowd.
West Ham often pack this area of the team with five men strung across the middle, leaving Andy Carroll alone up front. Usually, Senegal international Mohamed Diame is partnered by the two players above and Matt Jarvis and Stewart Downing, with the former to add the steel and the latter two the speed, trickery and supply line to Carroll in the middle. Jarvis looks a decent player and Diame is often linked with other teams flirting around the top of the table, but, while inspirational, they both sometimes are not involved in play enough to dominate. Downing is a player well known to Spurs and their fans for his appearance sin the opposition over the years from Middlesbrough, Liverpool and Aston Villa to West Ham. There are a number of other options in former England midfielder Joe Cole, Italian Antonio Nocerino, Frenchman Alou Diarra and another vet - Matthew Taylor. Cole is inventive, but has seen better days, with his legs making it difficult for him to cover the ground like he used to. He can pick out a pass though, which Taylor is able to do from set-pieces with his trusty left foot. Diarra is a Diame look-a-like and Nocerino is one I don't know much about. Coming in from AC Milan on loan, he has only started two games and might still not be fully acclimatised to the English game.
Carroll has been back in action after being out with a foot injury for a long time, using his height and presence to unsettle defenders. Michael Dawson and Younes Kaboul will be in for a testing time, but the trick will be to stop the ball reaching him in the first place. There is no doubt that West Ham will go long to him at some stage, but preventing the ball coming in from the wings will be key and it is not something Spurs are expert at. The longer they can keep the Irons at nil, the more frustrated the home crowd will become and this will transmit to the players. Carlton Cole is a player in the same mould as Carroll, so they have a ready made replacement if he has to leave the field through injury. Limited in attacking options, their only other player for these positions would be Ricardo Vaz Te. He scored against Spurs in the League Cup match, but has not been prolific with goals nor appearances. Similar to the other two strikers though.
Spurs might have Adebayor up top with Kane just playing off him, with the other players fitting into the side as they have done for the last two matches, although Sandro might make a return in place of Nacer Chadli to pick up loose balls when cleared out of the Spurs defence. With Eriksen and Lennon taking up nominally wide positions, this would leave Paulinho to play through the middle box-to-box. Spurs need to be quick on the ball, as West Ham will try and close them down and hit them with some hard tackles early on to try and set the tone, but after last week's attempts to get roughed up by Stoke, the Tottenham team came through it and ground out a win.
The same result here would be
|PREDICTION||West Ham United 1 Tottenham Hotspur 2|
|Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , an alternative history, etc.|
HOTSPUR TEAM NEWS :
Spurs will be missing Andros Townsend (ankle), Jan Vertonghen (ankle), Etienne Capoue (ankle), Mousa Dembele (ankle), Erik Lamela (back) and Kyle Walker (hip). Nabil Bentaleb is suspended for the firs tof three games after being sent off in the Under-21 match last Sunday.
WEST HAM UNITED TEAM NEWS :
The Irons have a full squad to select from except for Marco Borriello (calf).
available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard
in these countries on these stations ...
United 2 (2) Tottenham Hotspur
Saturday 3rd May 2014 Kick off 12:45
Kane (o.g.) 27
Naughton (foul on Taylor) 19
Dawson (foul on Noble) 43
Soldado (push on Nolan) 71
Sandro (foul on Noble) 84
|Crowd : 34,977||Weather : Warm, sunny|
|Referee : Phil Dowd (Stoke-on-Trent)||Assistant Referees : Mr. S. Ledger, Mr.M. Perry|
|Fourth Official : Mike Jones||-|
|Spurs kicked off and played towards the Bobby Moore stand in the first half.|
|Game time : - 90 + 4 minutes.|
|West Ham United :||kit||Tottenham Hotspur :||kit|
9 Andy CARROLL (24 Carlton COLE 84)
Vlad CHIRICHES 28)
|Manager : Sam Allardyce||Manager : Tim Sherwood|
|Sponsor : alpari||Shirt sponsor : Hewlett Packard|
|Kit Supplier : adidas||Kit Supplier : Under Armour|
Any chance Spurs had of getting anything from this derby went along with Younes Kaboul, sent off for a foul when he was adjudged to be the last man, leaving West Ham to bombard the penalty area and get the rub of the green on most occasions, as Spurs struggled to match their physical approach to the match.
Tottenham had brought in
Gylfi Sigurdsson for the injured Nacer Chadli, while West Ham
stiffened up their midfield by replacing the attacking wide man Matt
Jarvis with the more functional Matt Taylor.
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|What you thought|
|Other scores during this week :|
|Aston Villa||3||Hull City||1||Saturday|
|Newcastle United||3||Cardiff City||0||Saturday|
|Arsenal||1||West Bromwich Albion||0||Sunday|
|Manchester United||3||Hull City||1||Tuesday|
|Manchester City||4||Aston Villa||0||Wednesday|
|Sunderland||2||West Bromwich Albion||0||Wednesday|
|13||West Ham United||37||11||7||19||40||49||40||-9|
|17||West Bromwich Albion||37||7||15||15||42||57||36||-15|
Position before match :
Position after match : 6th
Position after the weekend : 6th
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