With a 2-0 away win at Upton Park, Spurs leapfrog West Ham United and
keep another clean sheet with a good performance by Heurelho Gomes, as
the team clicked against a poor home team.
The performance of the team looked promising
in the first half, when Tottenham had the best chances, but in the
second half scored two of them to add another three points to the
It all started inside the first two
minutes, when Aaron Lennon pulled a left wing cross back low to Bentley,
who prodded the ball into Luka Modric's path and the Croatian's shot
failed to have either accuracy or power to beat Robert Green in the
Irons goal. With a challenge for the ball that knocked Craig
Bellamy to the ground, Didier Zokora got involved with the whingeing
Welshman, while other clashes showed Lucas Neill trying to intimidate
Roman Pavyluchenko and later in the match, Behrami going bonkers chasing
around white shirts in the hope of getting a booking to add to his
earlier one and disassociate himself with the shameful Hammers showing.
West ham's main tactic was to play a ball
beyond the Spurs defence in the hope that Bellamy would lurk offside and
get back onside in time to turn and head back towards goal with the
Tottenham players left behind him. Usually, the balls were too
long for him to catch, but one he did get to was knocked wide, with
Gomes doing enough to distract the striker. It was funny, as every
time West ham got a corner, the crowd started to get excited, but Gomes
came for the ball and met them with good punches to clear the ball
outside the box.
As for Tottenham, Assou-Ekotto floated a
cross to the far post and David Bentley rose to head it, but could not
get much power on it to trouble Green, although his later cross, when
under no pressure, went high over the head of Pav, but by then the Irons
had a goal disallowed, with Lucas Neill wrestling Jenas to the floor as
a cross came in, forcing him to slice the ball past Gomes. Bentley
did considerably better when Collins headed out a cross straight to the
winger in the box and he whipped a shot in on goal, only to see Green
dive to palm the ball out.
When Lennon got away on the right, his
low ball along the six yard box eluded everyone, apart from Roman at the
far post, who slid in, but could not get around the ball sufficiently to
direct it into goal and was frustrated to see the ball come back off the
upright. Play switched to the other end and Behrami knocked a good
opportunity very high over the top, then Neill's cross, which was
similar to that of Lennon's, could not be met, as Corluka did well
stopping Faubert getting to it.
While the first half ended with Spurs
rueing the missed chances, it took only ten minutes of the second period
for Harry Redknapp to take Pavlyuchenko off and replace him with Darren
Bent. With Upson and Collins eating up all the long balls Spurs
were feeding the lone striker, Bent's pace brought about a different
style and encouraged to play the ball on the floor, which also suited
With Spurs working the ball well, a move
on the right wing made some space for Vedran Corluka, who was getting
forward and linking well with Lennon. The defender put a cross
into the West Ham penalty area, but Ilunga turned away and raised his
arms, knocking the ball out for a corner. Penalty ? No
chance with Foy being in close attendance and not noticing the Irons
defender's movement. A well crafted chance came on the hour when
Aaron's low ball into the heart of the penalty area was met by Bent, who
could not get a clean contact on it and the ball went wide. With
Bellamy still trying to hit long range shots to test Gomes, with them
all flying off target, Zokora showed him how to do it, with a 40 yard
run ending in a shot that dipped just in front of Rob Green, who managed
to get behind the effort and deny Didier his first goal for the club.
But a minute later, Spurs took the lead
when a right wing cross from Aaron Lennon invited Ledley King to race in
to head unchallenged down and past the West Ham keeper. He got
there ahead of Bent and with Upson and Collins nowhere, had time to
power his header into the ground. It was a much needed goal and
one that had been coming, although had taken 68 minutes to arrive.
Almost immediately, Spurs nearly went 2-0
up as Darren Bent was alive to a loose ball from Lennon's cross and his
shot was deflected, ensuring it went into Green's arms and not the goal.
West Ham hit back with their first shot on target in the 72nd minute, as
Carlton Cole struck a weal bobbling shot straight at Gomes, who
collected with simplicity. The home side brought on Di Michele for
Mullins and the move almost paid dividends, as a corner fell to him and
he manoeuvred around Assou-Ekotto before seeing Woodgate block his shot
Spurs were moving the ball well and
running West Ham a merry dance. Corluka and Bentley made good
progress with the ball between them before playing in Modric, who let go
a curler from just inside the area, but Collins headed it away. It
was Bentley's last action, as he was replaced by Jamie O'Hara and
Tristan came on for Parker for West Ham. With just a minute
remaining, it was almost 1-1, when a corner failed to be cleared and it
dropped for Lucas Neill to shoot, but Gomes got a good palm out on it.
The ball was returned in and with Michele standing precariously offside
right in front of the goal inside the six yard box, he tried to knock
the ball home, but only succeeded in hitting it straight at Gomes, who
was the hero of the moment.
Within thirty seconds it was 2-0.
Bent broke away on the right wing with West Ham defenders still trying
to get back and his square pass to O'Hara, found the young midfielder in
acres of space. Collins failed to shut him down and he let fly
with a left foot shot that arrowed past Green and hit the net to confirm
a three point victory for Tottenham in the last minute. It was a
fine strike and one which few keepers would have got near.
So, in the end, it was a double save by
Gomes and a late clincher by O'Hara that took the eye, but the team
effort was good today and the passing, at times, was very good. A
repeat on Saturday would also be most welcome !!