West Ham United (Away)
Premier League

Sunday 25th November 2007


With the last two games being memorable for good and bad reasons, this one might have a lot to live up to.

Losing out to a lasagne fuelled bout of illness and a West Ham side, who only managed to win 2-1 followed by a game last season when the goals flew in at both ends, leaving Spurs 4-3 winners with a last gasp goal from the unlikely boot of Paul Stalteri.

With West Ham having had a good start which has stalled a bit lately and Spurs looking to improve further under the stewardship of Juande Ramos, it could be a closer affair with the likely winner coming from a spark of individuality.  West Ham have had Carlton Cole playing alone up front for a few matches as injuries have hit them hard in attack, but with Dean Ashton ready to make his second comeback of the season and he might partner Cole in a muscular front pairing.  With Bellamy out with a groin injury, the midfield might be bolstered with the availability of Scott Parker and Hayden Mullins, with Etherington looking to impress against his former employers on the wing and he plies his trade alongside the two elderly gents of Solano and Ljungberg, who are still capable of picking out a pass, but lack the legs of yesteryear.  Mark Noble might be back after surgery, giving his physical presence in midfield, but he can be by-passed. Mullins is a work-a-day midfielder, who will be a bit of a nuisance, while

The defence has a lot of players who have not settled into a regular back four, with central defenders Collins and Gabbidon failing to make the step up in quality from Cardiff City.  Anton Ferdinand is a player who lacks 90 minutes concentration in my opinion and his absence will not really be missed  by the Upton Park side.  George McCartney is a determined full back, who gives 100% and his battle with Aaron Lennon will be a real clash (or even Beatles).  Matthew Upson is a good player, who has been hit by regular injury and Lucas Neil is a dangerous full back on the other side ... with players worried about the tackle coming in.  Phil Spector ... no sorry, Jonathan is an American defender, who doubles in midfield, but is still finding his way in the Premiership after joining from Man U.  John Pantsil has not lived up to his World Cup showing for Ghana and might move on in January.

With Rob Green's supporters pressing for him to take the England gloves, it will be a good comparison between him and Robinson, with Green having a good game last season at the Boleyn.  However, ENO's challengers have come croppers against Spurs in recent times .. .Carson letting in five for Charlton and four for Villa, Foster being beaten by Robbo's 90-yarder and Kirkland's back-ache picking the ball out four times in our last outing.

Spurs have long been linked with Boa Morte, but I fail to see why and bringing in Henri Camara on loan might have seemed a good idea, as he has pace, but he has failed to set the team alight with his play so far.  it leaves the front line a bit light-weight, although I am sure every claret and blue shirt will be up for this one.

Spurs will have to guard against their tendency to try and play their way through this dodgy spell and be willing to tough it out with the likes of Noble, Neill and Cole. It will be an interesting selection that Ramos puts out, as he appears to be doing his homework and fielding sides suitable to meet the needs of the particular opposition.

Whoever takes the field will know that they have had a game and I think it might be honours even at the end ...

PREDICTION : -  West Ham United   1   Tottenham Hotspur   1

For more information on the opponents and their history, including full result history of matches between the two teams, click here.


WEST HAM UNITED :  - Lee Bowyer (suspended); Craig Bellamy (groin); Julien Faubert (ankle); Anton Ferdinand (hamstring); Kieron Dyer (broken leg); Bobby Zamora (knee); Calum Davenport (groin)

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -  Ledley King (knee), Ricardo Rocha, Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Anthony Gardner (all ankle); Gareth Bale (foot); Younes Kaboul (thigh)


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




West Ham United   1   Tottenham Hotspur    1      (Half-time score : 0-1)

Premier League
Venue : -  Boleyn Ground
Sunday 25th November 2007
Kick Off :  3.00 p.m.
Crowd :   34,966
Referee :  - Mike Riley (Leeds)
Tottenham kicked off and played towards the South Stand end in the first half.
Weather :  -  Dry, chilly
Teams : - 
West Ham United :


Neill (c)

Solano (Spector 82)
Noble (Parker 63)

Boa Morte (Ashton 72)

Unused subs: 
J. Collins

Tottenham Hotspur :


Kaboul (Bent 54)


Keane (c) (Defoe 78     )

Unused subs: 
YP Lee

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of http://www.colours-of-football.com)
West Ham United

Tottenham Hotspur
Scorers : -  
West Ham United

C. Cole 20

Tottenham Hotspur

Dawson 66

Cards : -  
West Ham United

Cole (elbow) 12
Gabbidon (foul) 57
Etherington (foul) 67


Tottenham Hotspur 

Zokora (foul) 8
Chimbonda (dissent) 52
Dawson (foul) 53
Defoe (dissent) 81


Match Report : -  
All the talk after this match was about penalties and for Spurs, there were enough opportunities for Mike Riley to have given more than one, as the game ran out as a 1-1 draw, with Rob Green's last minute save from Defoe's spot-kick raising issues about whether he should have been on the pitch at that stage of the game.

Defoe had his shirt tugged and then he was caught by a stray leg as Lucas Neill closed on him by the dead ball line.  Riley finally pointed to the spot, having ignored two shouts for penalties in the first half.  Against his old club, having been roundly booed for that reason rather than being part of the England squad who failed to qualify for Euro 2008. The little Tottenham forward got up and placed the ball on the spot, with regular taker Robbie Keane already off the pitch substituted when Defoe came on.  Hitting his shot into the corner, it was just too near the keeper's outstretched hand as he dived to push it aside, much as he had done at Portsmouth in the last minute there.

But in the final analysis, a draw was probably the right result.  West Ham created more shots on goal and with three penalty shouts, Tottenham had to contend with the foul every three minutes from the home players.  I have rarely seen a game with as many free-kicks conceded by one team.  As Spurs got four yellow cards to West Ham's three, it showed as two of ours came from incidents of dissent as Riley made gaffe after gaffe.

With long periods of possession controlling the game, Spurs failed to make too many clear-cut chances.  It was left to Paul Robinson to make three very good stops to keep Tottenham in it and Jermaine Jenas' good positioning on the far post at a corner kept the ball out when McCartney headed towards goal.

The early exchanges saw both teams dwelling on the ball a bit too long.  Green's first clearance from the floor was charged down by Robbie Keane and Younes Kaboul had the same happen to him.  It was something he failed to learn from. 

Tottenham could have taken an early lead has Aaron Lennon been half a yard further back when he tucked away Green's save from a 25 yard Jermaine Jenas drive.  It was close, but the Spurs winger just strayed offside.  Then seven minutes in, Berbatov took on three players as he made tracks into the area and Upson took him down, with some contact (not much), but Riley waved away the appeals for a pen.

This seemed to start the game hotting up.  Zokora stretched and put his studs into Boa Morte's ankle for a yellow card and after flattening Dawson with an elbow inside the first five minutes, Carlton Cole did the same to Gareth Bale and only then did Riley issue a caution, whereas Zokora's infringement was his first.  Cole's next intervention was more football related, as Kaboul dwelt on the ball and his clearance was charged down by Boa Morte, who then slipped a pass through to Solano. who pulled it square across the face of goal to allow Cole to shoot into a empty net.  it was a sloppy goal to give away and another individual mistake which cost Tottenham, when it looked as if they were gaining the upper hand.

Moments before the goal, Jenas' free-kick into the West Ham area saw McCartney slice his clearance a foot wide of his own goal, but suddenly the traffic was going the other way.  Paul Robinson ignored the boos to keep the Irons out twice in as many minutes, when he held Hayden Mullins' low shot at the second attempt, then he blocked Boa Morte's close range shot as he was slipped through on the left.

Spurs did hit back with a pacy break up the left with Gareth Bale putting a cross in deep and Mullins got under it, leaving Berbatov alone at the far post, but the striker could not get his shot away quick enough and there were five players between him and the goal when he blazed too high.  Dimitar's control was outstanding today, but when he got the ball, he seemed to slow down the build-up and allowed the Irons defenders to get back goal-side.

The Spurs defence opened up on our left to allow Solano to stand up a cross to the far post where Etherington finished the move with a weak header straight at Robinson.  When Spurs launched their next attack, with 40 minutes gone, Kaboul released Keane through the middle and as he darted into the box, he lifted the ball over Green, who kicked him with a trailing leg as he went past.  The ball bounced harmlessly wide and Riley, to the amazement of Spurs fans, officials and players ran the other way to indicate that he would not be giving a penalty.  it was the most obtuse decision I have seen for some time and even some West Ham followers were relieved that no penalty had been awarded. 

It was not just the fact that Spurs could have scored from the spot, but that West Ham would have been reduced to ten men, as Green was the last man as Keane would have rounded him to net the ball.  But then, we have had previous with Riley, so perhaps we should not be too surprised.

When it looked like Spurs had been deprived, they almost conceded when Mullins had a good chance of a free header, but he put his effort over the top just before the half-time whistle blew.

A cutting run by Jenas allowed him to play the ball to Malbranque and the midfielder curled his shot just wide, when he should have hit the target, although it didn't matter, as he was flagged offside.  The yellow cards were piling up as Chimbonda was done for dissent, Dawson for a foul and Gabbidon for going through Keane as he tired to go past him.

Just when Spurs seemed to be struggling with the re-arranged formation, they equalised.  A free-kick for yet another West Ham foul saw Solano not retreat 10 yards back, but Jenas' delivery had enough height on it to tempt Green to come for it, but he only succeeded in bumping into Upson, as the amount of pace on the ball allowed Dawson to glance it over the colliding duo and to see it go in off the underside of the bar to make it 1-1. 

The goal gave Spurs a bit more confidence in the new system and a rampaging run down the left by Bale saw him get to the ball right on the dead-ball line before Neill and pull it back for Malbranque, who hit his effort straight at the West Ham stopper.

Cole was allowed to run inside from the left wing and let go a low shot that went a couple of feet wide, as West Ham pushed for the full return of points from the game.  Twice in five minutes, Robinson kept Tottenham in it, with diving saves to his left as first Parker and then Ashton tried to beat him from inside the area, but both times, Robbo pushed the ball wide for a corner.  From the latter, Jenas kept his position on the far post as McCartney headed down, but as the ball bounced up, Jermaine headed it out from in front of the line and the clearance was completed to avert the danger.

With Green's last minute save  tipping the ball onto the post and then the rebound being cleared, the chance for all three points had slipped away and a draw sees Spurs stay in fourteenth position, with some games they need to take full points from before a tough December comes into view.





Reaction : -



The Life of Riley
Read Wyart Lane's reaction on the Times Online Fanzine Fanzone, by clicking




Other scores this weekend :
Arsenal 2 Wigan Athletic 0 Saturday
Birmingham City 0 Portsmouth 2 Saturday
Bolton Wanderers 1 Manchester United 0 Saturday
Derby County 0 Chelsea 2 Saturday
Everton 7 Sunderland 1 Saturday
Manchester City 2 Reading 1 Saturday
Middlesbrough 0 Aston Villa 3 Saturday
Newcastle United 0 Liverpool 3 Saturday
Fulham 2 Blackburn Rovers 2 Sunday



League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Arsenal 13 10 3 0 29 10 33 +19
2 Manchester United 14 9 3 2 23 7 30 +16
3 Manchester City 14 9 2 3 18 14 29 +4
4 Chelsea 13 8 3 2 20 8 27 +12
5 Liverpool 12 7 5 0 22 6 26 +16
6 Portsmouth 14 7 5 2 27 13 26 +12
7 Aston Villa 13 7 3 3 21 14 25 +7
8 Everton 13 7 1 5 26 15 22 +11
9 Blackburn Rovers 12 6 4 2 17 13 22 +4
10 West Ham United 13 5 4 4 19 11 19 +8
11 Newcastle United 13 5 3 5 19 21 18 -1
12 Fulham 14 2 7 5 18 22 13 -4
13 Reading 14 4 1 9 17 31 13 -14
14 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 14 2 6 6 24 25 12 -1
15 Bolton Wanderers 14 2 5 7 12 18 11 -6
16 Birmingham City 14 3 2 9 13 22 11 -9
17 Middlesbrough 14 2 4 8 12 26 10 -14
18 Sunderland 13 2 4 8 14 29 10 -15
19 Wigan Athletic 14 2 2 10 10 25 8 -15
20 Derby County 14 1 3 10 5 33 6 -28


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