OPPONENTS West Ham United
COMPETITION League Cup 5th Round
DATE Wednesday 18th December 2013
VENUE White Hart Lane






Spurs enter this match with Tim Sherwood in charge for his first game as a manager - whether that is as a caretaker or a semi-permanent fixture, we do not know.  The team will be picked from the same squad of players and so it will be interesting to see if the formationa nd style are massively different from that of AVB's teams.

Sherwood is highly regarded at Tottenham and was disappointed not to have had more of a major role when AVB was appointed, but perhaps it was a case of him waiting his time.  And now it has come, we are on the verge of the League Cup semi-final, a position we have been in before and failed to succeed, so can Tim turn that around ?   Additionally, Sherwood has to contend with the fact that West Ham have already beaten us here this season and he will be judged against that result as well. 

The Irons won't make the same choice as the Premier League match and will feature a few more fringe players, with more important things keeping their minds focused on pulling away from the bottom of the Premier League table.  Sam Allardyce will be looking for goal-scoring options where he has failed to realise them in the league matches.  While the defence are reasonably solid, keeping a number of clean sheets, the forwards have not been hitting the net and that explains why they are fourth form bottom at the moment.  I think the chances have been there, but lacking the focal point of Andy Carroll, the likes of Modibo Maiga, Carlton Cole and Ricardo Vaz Te, the Upton Park side have found a lack of quality there and with Under-21 side strikers having gone out on loan, Big Sam obviously feels there is little in reserve.  It is almost like all their goal-scoring eggs were out into one Andy Carroll shaped basket.  

They have people who can score from midfield, but the loss of form of Mark Noble will be of concern and Matt Jarvis and Stewart Downing have failed to contribute too many from wide positions.    The absence of Kevin Nolan, Mladen Petric, Downing and will further restrict their options of getting goals from midfield, while Vaz Te is also out injured.  Defender Winston Reid, who scored in the league game at the Lane, is also injured and ruled out of the match.

Ravel Morrison is a talent which has to be channelled in the right direction, as he can score solo goals of quality, but he is perhaps more noted for having punch-ups with team mates in the England Under-21s or going AWOL when with Manchester United.   A player that Spurs will have to keep their eye son for more than one reason.  Mohamed Diame is a big presence in midfield and can run a game if allowed to, while Joe Cole  has skill on the ball, but his legs are no longer as quick as they used to be.  Jack Collison was another player West Ham had high hopes for, but injury has hampered his progress over the years.

The back line has been West Ham's strength this season and for Sherwood to mastermind a way through that will be a first test for the new man in the hot seat.  Jussi Jaaskelainen has been performing heroically in goal, as he has still been busy, but has been keeping shots out with all parts of his body.  He is beatable and tends not to hold low shots too well, so players following in might snaffle a poacher's goal.

The defence of Guy Demel, James' Collins and Tomkins, with George McCartney at left back has been sound enough and with Razvan Rat and Joey O'Brien as other options.  Missing Winston Reid will be a miss, as he is a consistent performer in the back four, but the worry for West Ham will be on the flanks, where Demel is an experienced player, as is McCartney, but they might find the pace of Lennon and Townsend too much to cope with.  Soldado might well find some space in the box, as his ability to drop off his marker could be used to good effect on the night.

Expect Sherwood to play a more conventional 4-4-2, with someone up to support Soldado.  This might pay off, with West Ham not likely to threaten too much from open play, but mainly through set-pieces, which would give us an opportunity to get men back, but if Friedel is in goal, it might cost us, as he stays put on his line.  It won't be a fluid performance, but I can see Spurs edging it and with Chelsea out, it gives them a good opportunity of progressing is they can get past West Ham and be handed a favourable draw.

PREDICTION Tottenham Hotspur    2         West Ham United    1
Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , an alternative history, etc.
Spurs are once more without Jan Vertonghen (ankle), Younes Kaboul (thigh), Harry Kane (back), Sandro (knock), Michael Dawson (suspension) and Paulinho (suspension).  Vlad Chiriches, Danny Rose and Christian Eriksen could be ready to return to action again.
Kevin Nolan is suspended for this match after being sent off last weekend, while Ricardo Vaz Te (shoulder), Andy Carroll (foot), Mladen Petric (calf), Stewart Downing (calf) and Winston Reid (ankle) are all injured.

League Cup Show (BBC 1) - Wednesday 23.05 (highlights)  Also available online.

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Radio :  
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BBC London - click on link to "Listen to Tottenham Hotspur live commentary" on top right hand menu.

Tottenham Hotspur  1 (0)                                                                     West Ham United  2 (0)
Premier League
Wednesday 18th December 2013                                                                                                                       Kick off 19:45
White Hart Lane
Adebayor 67 Jarvis
Maiga 84
Adebayor (persistent fouling)  33


Diarra (foul on Rose) 61  


Crowd :   34,080 Weather :  Very wet and windy
Referee :  Neil Swarbrick (Preston) Assistant Referees :  Mr. J. Brooks; Mr. D. Cann
Fourth Official :  Andy D'Urso -
West Ham kicked off and played towards the Paxton Road end in the first half.
Match time :  90+6 minutes
Tottenham Hotspur : kit West Ham United : kit
25  Hugo LLORIS

  2  Kyle WALKER (c)
15  Etienne CAPOUE
  3  Danny ROSE (35  Zeki FRYERS 62)

  7  Aaron LENNON
19  Mousa DEMBELE

17  Andros TOWNSEND (21  Nacer CHADLI 73)

18  Jermain DEFOE
10  Emmanuel ADEBAYOR        (14  Lewis HOLTBY 78)

Unused subs: 
24  Brad FRIEDEL
23  Christian ERIKSEN
  9  Roberto SOLDADO

  13  ADRIAN

  8  Razvan RAT
19  James COLLINS (c)
  George McCARTNEY
17  Joey O'BRIEN

14  Matthew TAYLOR
18  Alou DIARRA      (15  Ravel MORRISON 79)
  7  Matt JARVIS 

24  Carlton COLE (15  Modibo MAIGA 65  )
26  Joe COLE (15  Mohamed DIAME 70)

Unused subs: 
20  Guy DEMEL
16  Mark NOBLE

Manager :  Tim Sherwood Manager :  Sam Allardyce
Sponsor :   Hewlett Packard Shirt sponsor :  Alpari FX Trading
Kit Supplier :  Under Armour Kit Supplier :   adidas
Match report

For the second time this season, West Ham took the punishment until Spurs had been worn down and then hit them with two sucker punches in a Bolton style to take the game for Sam Allardyce's team, who progress to a League Cup semi-final against Manchester City.

The first game for Tim Sherwood as a caretaker manager with hopes of being made permanent, his changes did not pay off and Spurs were beaten by two agricultural goals after Adebayor's stunning opener.  The Togo striker had been recalled by Sherwood, with rumours that AVB had been sacked because he refused to do so.  The Portuguese Head Coach's departure had made it a strange atmosphere at the Lane, with many glad he was gone and probably an equal number who thought that he deserved more time.  With traffic and rail chaos hitting North and East London, people streamed into the ground up to half an hour after kick off, by which time, they had missed a promising opening by Tottenham.

Pinning West Ham back in their own half, the chances came with pace down the flanks and some good efforts from the front two.  Within 90 seconds of the start, Sigurdsson's shot was blocked and Defoe hit the loose ball just wide.  Then Townsend went close with a low shot, before Jarvis had West Ham's first shot that rose over the bar.  Aaron Lennon was tearing up the right, with one cross to the far post almost causing Joey O'Brien to head into his own goal, missing by a couple of feet.  West Ham's defenders were getting in the way, with Dembele and Adebayor having shots blocked and Defoe ballooned one over the top.  With a series of free-kicks between the 20 and 30 minute marks, the Irons failed to seriously threaten our goal, with Carlton Cole making Lloris dove low to get behind a shot from the edge of the box, while Adebayor skied a pull back from Walker in the 40th minute.

Spurs had started at a decent tempo, but slowed as the half went on and that allowed West Ham to get on the ball a bit more.  At the start of the second half, after we had been entertained by an interview with Paul "Ollie" Allen, Spurs again picked up the pace.  Crosses were played into the West Ham box, but without finding a Spurs man and the closest anyone came to a goal in the second half at this stage was James Collins, who returned possession from an uncontested drop ball by hammering it at Tottenham's goal and Hugo Lloris had to back-peddle quickly to keep the bouncing ball out and fell into the back of the goal in the process, only just succeeding in an example of unsporting play, which is oft associated with Allardyce's Bolton team of old.

Danny Rose was getting forward and came inside to fire one over the bar, then Lloris had to be good on the floor this time, as Carlton Cole ran onto a through pass and the French keeper flung himself at his feet to grab the ball.  Walker fired a free-kickoff target before Spurs went ahead with a cracking goal.  The ball was played out to the left from defence and Jermain Defoe picked it up just inside the West Ham half.  He looked to have lost possession as he ran alongside the defender, but suddenly accelerated, but crossed low into the box, with Adebayor coming in from 10 yards out to smash a volley into the goal off the underside of the bar with 67 minutes gone.  It was a very well taken goal that saw Emmanuel point to the badge on his shirt and then point to the floor, as if indicating he was staying put.  He did put more into his performance than he often had preciously, chasing back and often linking play on the halfway line, but the need for him was much further forward.  His eventual substitution, which probably came because he was fatigued, was the turning point of the game. 

Zeki Fryers came on for Danny Rose on the hour, with Adebayor making way in the 70th minute for Lewis Holtby.  Yes, Holtby is all action and gives a lot of energy, but we were literally reverting to one up front.  Now where had I seen that before ?  Subsequently, the ball started coming back towards the Tottenham goal with boring regularity.  Especially after Townsend stopped mid-run down the right to grab at the back of his left thigh, as his hamstring pulled him up. 

Twice Matt Taylor moved forward to test Lloris, firstly with a shot that the keeper punched away and the second, he took into his midriff as he dived low at his near post.  When the equaliser arrived in the 80th minute, it had been on the cards.  A ball into the box fell to substitute Maiga, who looked to his left for Jarvis, who shoot past the exposed Lloris at his near post.  Five minutes and Spurs were behind.  Another high ball into the box cleared everyone, but Jarvis headed it back and the ball was worked out to the Irons' right wing.  Diame stood up a steepling cross and Tottenham, without a dominating centre half to come and head it out, allowed Maiga to rise highest to head down to Lloris's right and score his first goal in a year to put the visitors ahead.  With extra time looming, it was perhaps a release that there was to be an outcome within 90 minutes.

With time running out, Spurs sought to level the score again, but when Sigurdsson had a shooting opportunity from the edge of the box, Adrian had to make his first serious save of the night, with a dive to his left at full stretch to push the effort aside.  However, things could have got worse, with Maiga nodding on for Diame to stride into the box, but only find the side-netting and then, with a minute of added time remaining, a long range effort, struck first time by Maiga thundered against the crossbar, as Tottenham's heads had gone.

West Ham were not as convincing as their League win at the Lane, but they didn't have to be.  Spurs ran out of ideas and that was also true of those on the sidelines, who failed to notice that Soldado for Adebayor should have been the change and Eriksen for Townsend to provide some chances for the forwards at a time when our passing was gettgin sloppy and we were handing possession to the Irons.

Like the league match, they did what they did and did it well.  Whatever style and system Sherwood or whoever plays, our players have to realise that they must do the same and make sure that it provides goals.  The performance tonight wasn't a great deal different than those under AVB.  Promise, but ultimately, lack of success. 

West Ham fans were claiming a win for their Reserves, but it was only over our Under-21 team manager.

How long he will be care-taking is up to Daniel Levy, who has to choose the next candidate to sit in the manager's office for 18 months before being sacked.

Charlie Mason


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Other scores during this round :
Leicester City 1 Manchester City 3 Tuesday
Sunderland 2 Chelsea 1 day
Stoke City 0 Manchester United 2 Wednesday


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