OPPONENTS West Ham United
COMPETITION Premier League
DATE Sunday 25th November 2012
VENUE White Hart Lane






With a poor run of form in the Premier league and a Europa League game just three days before, Spurs must be second favourites when they meet West Ham United on Sunday.  Not only because of the recent results, but as the Irons are above them in the table.

West Ham have enjoyed a successful time since they returned to the top flight via the play-offs last season and there is a renewed confidence in the club under the management of Sam Allardyce.  This time last season, many West Ham fans were calling for his head, but now they are calling his name, as the energetic approach is paying off with some good results.

Star man so far this season has been Kevin Nolan, another unpopular at the start of his Upton Park career, but now scoring and showing the form he did when at Newcastle United.  Academy product Mark Noble is another Irons favourite, but I must admit I do not see what he offers that is different to a number of other players.  He works hard, can pass decently and he scores penalties.

One player who has split opinion has been loan signing Andy Carroll.  I am sure he will be a firm favourite if he scores against Spurs and he is likely to start, with his aerial power put into the side to disrupt the calm approach of the Tottenham back four.  He has scored some spectacular goals, but not enough scruffy ones and he can start doing that from Monday as far as I am concerned.  Carlton Cole has had to play second fiddle to Carroll and Modibo Maiga has scored a few goals this season and looks like he knows what to do when he gets into the box.

The defence might be an area where Spurs can exploit some uncertainty.  Winston Reid looks like a hard-working full back who likes to go up for set-pieces with some success.  George McCartney is now entering the twilight of his career and James Tomkins is always highly touted, but does not have the consistency of performance to propel him into the international reckoning.  The other full back Guy Demel is a player who will chase and tackle all day.  His drawback might be a lack of pace and that might cost him against Bale or Lennon.

The midfield will contain Nolan and Noble, but former Bolton players Matthew Taylor and Joey O'Brien will also feature, giving the balance to the grafters.  Both can score, with Taylor dangerous at free-kicks and O'Brien in the air at set-pieces.  Mathew Jarvis is just back from injury, so might not start, but he is a nippy winger, who perhaps lacks a trick that would out him into the very good category and Mohammed Diame provides a strong presence in the midfield, being a player who can run with the ball and also likes to get in on the goal-scoring scene.

Jussi Jaaskelainen has re-joined his acquaintance with Allardyce and had been playing well, but it more prone to drop a clanger now he is getting older.  Spurs will need to test him.  His shot-stopping tends to involve beating the ball out and it doesn't always go out wide, so following in might pay dividends.

Tottenham's biggest problem at the moment is only having one forward available and not being able to get the best out of Clint Dempsey or Gylfi Sigurdsson.   AVB might persist with Tom Carroll in midfield, as his passing can open up defences and with Dembele doubtful, the youngster might start again.  While neither team has been prolific this season, I think it be a close match and one goal will settle it.

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 again without Scott Parker (Achilles), Benoit Assou-Ekotto (knee) and Younes Kaboul (knee), but they are joined by Mousa Dembele, who is a doubt with his hip injury and Emmanuel Adebayor, who serves the first of a three match ban.
West Ham are missing Ricardo Vaz Te (shoulder), Yossi Benayoun (knee), Alou Diarra (thigh) and Jack Collison (knee), while Matt Jarvis has overcome a thigh strain and might feature.

Sky Sports 1 -  Football First  -  Sunday 22.00
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Radio :  
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Commentary may be found on
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Tottenham Hotspur  3 (1)     West Ham United  1 (0)
Premier League
Sunday 25th November 2012                               Kick off 16:00
White Hart Lane
Defoe 45
Bale  58
Defoe  64
A. Carroll 82
Defoe (foul on Reid) 33   


O'Brien (foul on Bale) 7  
Noble (foul on Lennon) 29


Crowd :   36,043 Weather :  Chilly, rainy showers
Referee :  Andre Marriner (West Midlands) Assistant Referees :  - (-)
Fourth Official :  Mark Clattenburg (Tyne and Wear) -
West Ham United kicked off and played towards the Paxton Road end in the first half.
Tottenham Hotspur : kit West Ham United : kit
25  Hugo LLORIS

28  Kyle WALKER
20  Michael DAWSON (c)
33  Steven CAULKER

30  SANDRO (29  Jake LIVERMORE 86)

  7  Aaron LENNON (19  Mousa DEMBELE 79)
  2  Clint DEMPSEY
11  Gareth BALE 

18  Jermain DEFOE         (22  Gylfi SIGURDSSON 90)

Unused subs: 
13  William GALLAS


17  Joey O'BRIEN     
  5  James TOMKINS
  2  Winston REID
  3  George McCARTNEY

11  Modibo MAIGA (  7  Matt JARVIS 31)
  4  Kevin NOLAN (c) (  9  Carlton COLE 68)
16  Mark NOBLE     
21  Mohammed DIAME
  Gary O'NEIL (14  Matthew TAYLOR 55)

  8  Andy CARROLL

Unused subs: 
30  Raphael SPIEGEL
19  James COLLINS
20  Guy DEMEL
42  George MONCUR

Manager :  Andre Villas-Boas Manager :  Sam Allardyce
Sponsor :   Aurasma Shirt sponsor :  SBOBET
Kit Supplier :  Under Armour Kit Supplier :   Macron
Match report

Rarely can Spurs have had an easier London derby win, as they strolled to a 3-1 win at "fortress" White Hart Lane, while the visiting West Ham fans could only sing about fading dreams and Arsenal victories over Tottenham.

Sam Allardyce must have helped AVB with his pre-match team talk by claiming Spurs would be tired after the trip to Lazio and that Spurs were not as good at home as they used to be.  Well, the way Spurs took West Ham apart with pace, playing at a fierce tempo and passing around the visitors, rather than emulating the Irons' own attmepts which were mis-directed and mis-guided.  When they did become more effective it was as a result of long balls aimed at Andy Carroll.  Funnily enough.

Spurs had no choice but to field Jermain Defoe against his former club and the choice of Clint Dempsey in  between Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon proved inspired, with the American having his best game yet for the team.  At the back, Michael Dawson was kept in the side to counter the aerial threat of Andy Carroll, something he did very well.

Spurs looked spritely from the start and Defoe in particular appeared keyed up for it ... but not in an Adebayor way.  He had two early shots, with one from the left going across goal and off to the right, with the second from the right, but failing to have much more power than a back-pass that Jaaskelainen saved easily.  Tom Huddlestone had the next effort as he seeks to book a barber's appointment, but his volley went way wide after a free-kick awarded for a savage chop from behind on Bale by O'Brien was cleared.

Spurs went closer to scoring in the 11th minute, as Gareth bale ran through the middle of the West Ham team and getting close to the edge of the penalty area, he appeared to take a heavy touch and had to stretch to get to the ball, but got enough power in it to beat the Irons' goalie, only to see it bounce down off the bar and be cleared.  Spurs were piling forward and two efforts from Dempsey failed to beat the keeper and Huddlestone sliced another shot wide, while it took 19 minutes for the Irons to have an effort on goal, with Carroll heading wide from a free-kick. 

Spurs' pace was troubling West Ham and when Noble was booked for a cynical foul on Aaron Lennon, it had been coming for a while, but then Marriner let him get away with a few more without any further punishment.  Maiga had made a meagre contribution to events and went off after 30 minutes to be replaced by winger Matt Jarvis, who did little better.  Then Defoe was booked for a foul on Reid as he went to clear the ball, with James Tomkins having some sort of problem by nagging the ref about it and then every other time Defoe made contact with a West Ham player.  Tomkins should really be worrying about his own game, with promise not being fulfilled and becoming one in a conveyor belt line of mediocre central defenders that the famous Academy is churning out.

Tomkins had the next meaningful chance, with a weak header at Lloris, who was dealing well with the aerial threat, coming to catch crosses and punching when necessary.  Kevin Nolan was finding space on the right and a low cross into the box was cut out by a stretched leg by Dawson to prevent the ball getting through to Jarvis at the far post and then Dawson and Caulker threw themselves in front of a Nolan shot to block it. 

Two minutes before the break, Bale broke away, pulled the ball back from the right to Lennon, who shot wide.  Now Bale was tearing up the opposition defence.  On one occasion, he started on the left of the pitch, ran across to the right wing and went around Noble and McCartney before winning a corner on the far side.  It was causing West Ham all sorts of problems.  Then a minute before half-time, Tottenham went ahead with Bale not involved.  Defoe took the ball away from Winston Reid and McCartney on the right side of the pitch by the halfway line, then ran at the penalty area, with nobody getting close to him.   With Noble trying to get back at him, Jermain stepped to the right of the player, looked up and thumped the ball as hard as he could at goal, with the ball slightly dipping as it flew past Jaaskelainen at his near post.  The little Spurs forward obviously looked overjoyed and ran towards the Spurs crowd, by-passing the West Ham fans who had been giving him stick every time he touched the ball.  Again, any more geeing up was not required.

The ferocity that Defoe, Dempsey, Huddlestone and Bale were hitting shots at Lawrence Vigoroux, the NextGen keeper in the pre-match warm-up, it was no surprise that the instructions to shot on sight and to shoot with great power had not been lost on JD.

The gathered Spurs fans were treated t something I thought I would never see at White Hart lane again - an appearance from Alan Gilzean.  one of my favourite players from when I started watching the team came out to be interviewed by Paul Coit and gave all the right answers to get the crowd behind him, much as David Ginola did a couple of weeks before.

West Ham come out looking to get back into the game and Nolan's low cross brought about a low shot from Jarvis that Lloris pushed out.  This was a brief interlude, as normal service was soon restored, with Bale's low shot pulling out a save from Jaaskelainen and then Lloris was back in action, as Nolan got away from our offside trap and pulled the ball low across the six yard box from the right looking for Jarvis again, but the French keeper dived out to grab the ball before it reached the West Ham winger. 

This was all before Spurs doubled their lead in the 58th minute.  A neat build up of passing gave Clint Dempsey the chance to shot at goal and with the keeper beaten, the ball thumped back off the crossbar and out,. As Defoe went to collect it, he was fouled from behind, but the referee waved on an advantage and Spurs had the ball but had to go back into their own half with possession.  However, they worked the ball well again and when Dempsey got the ball again, he ran towards the edge of the box and flipped up a pass, over the defence, for Gareth bale to run in on it and taking the ball at an awkward height, he managed to get his foot around the ball at groin level and steer it past the goalie and in off the left hand post to make it 2-0 from about ten yards out.  it was a well created goal and one which AVB would have been pleased about, as it featured some good passing, good movement and patience.

Six minutes later and the score became 3-0 as Huddlestone got a foot in, Sandro hassled to come away with the ball and played it to Dempsey, who set Lennon away on a run.  As Tomkins dived in to a tackle, Lennon left him on the floor as he skipped over the poorly timed challenge and was in on goal.  Jaaskelainen came out to meet him, with Spurs fans hoping that Lennon wouldn't shoot, as he had little to aim for, but Aaron looked up to find Dempsey and Defoe in the middle and his square pass in front of Defoe was tapped into the net to put Spurs beyond reach.  Again, another goal that would please the Head Coach, as it showed how quickly they can turn over possession and create a goal on the break

With West ham broken, Spurs attacked at will and they seemed to be trying to set Clint up with a goal, but it didn't quite come off.  Defoe didn't get his hat-trick, as he had a couple of shots wide and was substituted, after he hit a low shot that the keeper kept out with his legs and then Bale curled the rebound back at goal and Jaaskelainen dived to his right to push the ball away. Meanwhile Kyle Walker was getting forward to smack his shots at goal, but they too missed the target.

When Carroll headed in Taylor's cross in the 62nd minute after Caulker had put the ball out when Lloris was behind him, you thought Spurs might have been in for a pressured last few minutes, but apart from a save by Lloris from a Reid header and Dawson managing to deflect the ball over his own bar from about a foot out, there was little threat and Spurs played out time playing keep ball, which the West Ham players didn't have the heart or the energy to try to interrupt.

I particularly liked the Spurs chants of "3-1 in your cup final" and in response to Andy Carroll, he scores when he wants", a halting "He scores once a year" !!  All the Irons fans had to sing about was a few bubbles, which were somewhat burst after this chastening defeat.

Burton Coggles


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What you thought
Peter Francis I preferred the "Are you Villa in disguise" song, which I thought was a bit unfair to Aston Villa, who were bad, but not this bad.

Rarely have I seen a side produce so many passes that were over-hit or under-hit.  I thought West Ham had been doing quite well, but on this evidence, maybe their hype is not justified.

And a word on the West Ham fans, who let off a flare after about 75 minutes.  Perhaps they were waiting to let it off when they scored but couldn't see it happening, so did it anyway.  In Europe, it would mean a fine.  Would the FA do something similar ?  Unlikely, much as they will shy away from dealing with some of the nasty chanting that came from a section of the away fans.

Steve Corder Interesting to hear that "big Sam" Allardyce doesn't hear anything from the crowd when a game is on.

Next time the Wet Spam fans sing "Big Sam give us a wave", I take it that he will ignore them.

- -.



Other scores during this week :
Aston Villa 0 Arsenal 0 Saturday
Everton 1 Norwich City 1 Saturday
Manchester United 3 Queens Park Rangers 1 Saturday
Stoke City 1 Fulham 0 Saturday
Sunderland 2 West Bromwich Albion 4 Saturday
Wigan Athletic 3 Reading 2 Saturday
Swansea City 0 Liverpool 0 Sunday
Chelsea 0 Manchester City 0 Sunday
Southampton 2 Newcastle United 0 Sunday




League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Manchester United 13 10 0 3 32 18 30 +14
2 Manchester City 13 8 5 0 25 10 29 +15
3 West Bromwich Albion 13 8 2 3 23 15 26 +8
4 Chelsea 13 7 4 2 23 12 25 +11
5 Everton 13 5 6 2 23 17 21 +5
6 Arsenal 13 5 5 3 22 12 20 +10
7 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 13 6 2 5 23 22 20 +1
8 West Ham United 13 5 4 4 16 15 19 +1
9 Swansea City 13 4 5 4 18 16 17 +2
10 Fulham 13 4 4 5 25 23 16 +2
11 Liverpool 13 3 7 3 17 16 16 +1
12 Stoke City 13 3 7 3 12 12 16 0
13 Norwich City 13 4 6 3 10 19 15 -9
14 Newcastle United 13 3 5 5 13 19 14 -6
15 Wigan Athletic 13 4 2 7 15 23 14 -8
16 Sunderland 12 2 6 4 12 16 12 -4
17 Southampton 13 3 2 8 20 30 11 -10
18 Aston Villa 13 2 4 7 10 22 10 -12
19 Reading 12 1 6 5 16 22 9 -6
20 Queens Park Rangers 13 0 4 9 10 26 4 -16


Position before match :  8th
Position after match :   7th
Position after the weekend :  7th

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