|OPPONENTS||West Ham United|
|DATE||Sunday 6th October 2013|
|VENUE||White Hart Lane|
An early October Sunday afternoon, courtesy of the Europa League
produces our home fixture against West Ham United, in what is an
important game for both sides.
For Tottenham, it is an opportunity to try and gain three points to stay i the top three in the table, while for the Irons, they are battling away at the other end of the ladder, with one win, two draws and three defeats leaving them in 17th place. Their problem this season has been not scoring the goals to even out the ones they have been letting in and the 0-1 reverse last time out at Hull was a good example. They had chances, with Maiga missing a golden opportunity, then succumbing to a dodgy penalty and being denied one of their own. On such fine margins things turn.
Without the injured £15 million man - Andy Carroll for those of you who wondered who we meant - and with Carlton Cole having re-signed after being released at the end of the season, West Ham have a light line up in attack, with Maiga not prviding the steady stream of goals they thought he might. They signed free Agent Mladen Pteric who left Fulham at the end of the season and still have Ricardo Vaz Te, so there two might line up in an attempt to throw some muscle at the Spurs back four. Any success hit tactic might have is reliant on the service that they receive, as no player has scored more than one goal so far.
With Matt Jarvis being raved about on the flank and Ravel Morrison surging forward to add to the goal threat from midfield, this area of the Irons side is fairly healthy. With Busy midfielders Mark Noble and Kevin Nolan also in the engine room, there is plenty of experience, but the artistry may be what is missing, so expect another man in the mix to try to stifle the Spurs midfield, whose movement might stretch West Ham's middle men. Matthew Taylor can also play wide, as does Stewart Downing, while Mohamed Diame firms up the middle of the midfield providing a strong presence, with Joe Cole also available to add a little craft to the side. Jack Collison was once seen as a real prospect, but following injury, he has been farmed out to Bournemouth on loan to get some games, along with reserve keeper Stephen Henderson.
The defence had had a tough time, resulting in goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen having had a few man of the match appearances. He is proving a good signing by Sam Allardyce, making good reflex stops, but with the number of shots Tottenham have been having each game, he may be hard pressed to keep them all out. The defensive unit has been pressured this season and with the manager having a choice of players to put in there, it is the lack of a cohesive unit that has made the goals against column a little too high for his liking.
Promising central defender James Tomkins is now approaching a stage of his career when he redeems those promises, while the rest of the options for the back four are all experienced campaigners. New Zealand international Winston Reid can play anywhere across the back four and is a strong tackler, but loses his position occasionally, while full backs George McCartney, Guy Demel, Joey O'Brien and Razvan Rat are all long in the tooth and perhaps a little heavy in the leg to maintain a 90 minute shut-out. McCartney was injured earlier in the season and turned out as an over-age player in the Under-21 match against Spurs at Upton Park, while O'Brien has been around a while, playing for Allardyce at Bolton Wanderers. Demel is a solid full back, who likes to get forward, but can get caught out leaving space where he should be and Razvan Rat came in during the last transfer window to add to the defence from Shakthar Donetsk and aged 32, the Romanian international might find the pace of the Premier League tough.
Spurs are playing well at the moment. I won't say that they are playing brilliantly, but there is an understanding building throughout the team, especially at the back. The defensive record is something to build on and a game like this will test Tottenham's fighting spirit, as West Ham will be playing in their cup final and with a defeat potentially putting them in the bottom three, they will want to avoid that as well as the ignominy of losing to Spurs. But the movement Tottenham have at the moment, with Eriksen pulling the strings and the play revolving around Roberto Soldado, who, even though he may nor be scoring as much as many thought, is playing a viral contribution in bringing others into play. With the pacy link-up between Walker and Townsend on the right, there are a number of areas which Spurs can utilise and it could spell a busy afternoon for the West Ham players ... and that means until the very end, as Tottenham have proved they can keep going to the final whistle, despite the hard work they are putting into winning the ball back and pushing forward.
|PREDICTION||Tottenham Hotspur 2 West Ham United 1|
|Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , an alternative history, etc.|
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West Ham United 0 (3)
Sunday 6th October 2013 Kick off 16:00
White Hart Lane
Vaz Te 72
|Crowd : 35,977||Weather : Dry, warm|
|Referee : Lee Probert (Wiltshire)||Assistant Referees : G. Beswick; P. Bankes|
|Fourth Official : C. Pawson||-|
|West Ham kicked off and played towards the - end in the first half.|
|Match time = 90+7|
|Tottenham Hotspur :||kit||West Ham United :||kit|
18 Jermain DEFOE
|Manager : Andre Villas-Boas||Manager : Sam Allardyce|
|Sponsor : Hewlett Packard||Shirt sponsor : alpari fx trading|
|Kit Supplier : Under Armour||Kit Supplier : adidas|
Rise and Shine !! If nothing else, this result should serve as a wake up call to AVB and the Spurs squad. Losing 0-3 to West Ham at home is not the result of a team wanting to challenge at the top of the table. With Arsenal drawing away at WBA, it was an opportunity to gain ground, but without creating clear cut scoring chances, it was an opportunity lost and so was the game, with Tottenham's ponderous approach work and inability to break down West Ham's massed and dense defence.
There were warning sin the first half, which Spurs dominated but did not break through nor did they learn the lessons from West Ham's few attacks.
West Ham's first goal just after the hour mark was a header from Winston Reid, which hit Kevin Nolan in front of goal, but came back to him and the New Zealander smacked it into the net from close range. In the first half, Reid got a free header to a corner, but could not get enough on it to direct it on target.
The second goal came from a break-away, with Ricardo Vaz Te put away on goal, leaving him free to run on goal, his shot was saved by Lloris, but another slice of good fortune saw the ball hit the forward and go back past the Frenchman. In the first half, Morrison was only denied a similar opportunity by the linesman's flag and Lloris' quick sprint to block him.
For the third goal, Morrison got away from halfway, with no real tackle on him, he went on and then dinked the ball over Lloris' dive and the retreating Naughton tried to scoop it off the line, but could not keep it out.
There was little excuse after having much of the possession, but lacking penetration, West Ham came with a ploy that will be much repeated at the Lane, so we had better get used to it and find a way to counter it. Time waste from minute one and then close down every Spurs player on the ball. Pack ten men behind the ball and get ready to break forward at a second's notice. And don't worry about letting them know you are there.
It was like watching Bolton of old. But they rarely had the luxury of scoring three times, which Spurs have only given two other teams at home in the last ten years.
The way Tottenham start matches appears to be cautious in the extreme. The emphasis seems to be play the ball around and try to pull the opposition out of shape, but to do this you need movement and good passing, Today we had neither and when you try to do it at a slow tempo, it gives the opposition the ability to pick passes off and to springboard attacks of their own. Luckily, West Ham weren't at a level to capitalise in the first half, but the second half saw them make inroads into Tottenham's half where our players were regularly out of position. Naughton got exposed as Sigurdsson drifted inside and left him with two players a lot of the time. Mousa Dembele had one of his most ineffective games in a Spurs shirt, with what is rapidly becoming a concern. A good display against Chelsea reverted to him not running at player and being only too willing to pass to a team-mate instead of having a shit himself. It looks like he has lost confidence and by taking the ball forward when he has space in front of him, he would commit players and allow space for others.
With Christian Eriksen being blocked at every turn, the middle of the pitch was becoming very crowded, with Tottenham's moves being channelled infield, so it was only when Andros Townsend got wide past Razvan Rat that the crosses came in. Defoe stretched a leg to a low ball in from Townsend in the first half, but it was not long enough and then he was too short when Andros put an aerial cross in. Defoe had a couple of chances in the second half, with a one-on-one created by a good ball from Paulinho, but Jaaskelainen was quickly out to block him.
Whether AVB's selection of Defoe ahead of Roberto Soldado was a contributing factor to the defeat, we will never know. Defoe is not at his best when he has his back to goal, while Soldado has shown that although he might not be scoring himself, he can create goals for others. Sigurdsson flitted in and out of the game, while Paulinho looked a little lacklustre considering he didn't travel to Moscow in the week. And when Spurs did get things together in the first half, there was some marvellous "professionalism" when Jaaskelainen's boot problem took the heat out of the game in a manner not seen since Ali's cut glove when he was boxing Henry Cooper.
Probert proved a lenient ref as a few tackles and a few dives could have earned cards, but in the end it mattered little, as West Ham were worth their win and their ends justified their means.
For Tottenham, it is back to the Argos catalogue of plays and that can only take place when everyone returns after the international break. How we bounce back will be important, with a packed schedule of games ahead in the month after the internationals. I can foresee changes, with some players getting a start and come being startled by what AVB might be planning.
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|What you thought|
|Other scores during this week :|
|Cardiff City||1||Newcastle United||2||Saturday|
|Hull City||0||Aston Villa||0||Saturday|
|West Bromwich Albion||1||Arsenal||1||Sunday|
|12||West Bromwich Albion||7||2||3||2||7||6||9||+1|
|18||West Ham United||7||2||2||3||7||5||5||+2|
Position before match :
Position after match : 6th
Position after the weekend : 6th
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