OPPONENTS West Ham United
COMPETITION Premier League
DATE Saturday 3rd May 2014
VENUE Upton Park






With two games remaining, Spurs play their penultimate game away at West Ham United, who are on a run of four straight defeats, but this should not cloud the way that Tottenham approach this match, having been beaten in the two previous meetings this season.

Going into the game with a number of injury problems, Spurs will have a changed side from the other two matches against West Ham. They will not have faced Spurs under the truly outstanding management of Tim Sherwood; the best Spurs manager ever. They will not have faced Spurs with two men up front. They will not have faced Spurs away from White Hart Lane.

There is pressure on the West Ham manager Sam Allardyce, with the fans at the Boleyn Ground not satisfied with their team just maintaining their Premier League status and not providing the entertaining football they are do well known for.  The pressure on Sherwood in comparison, is not so great.  There is not a lot he can do about the queue of managers looking over his shoulder at his job.  However, the recent form of both clubs; Tottenham good - West Ham bad, will fly out of the proverbial window just after the book that it is written in.

With only Marco Borriello missing from the squad, there is a full complement to pick from, but with Winston Reid saying there were only two problems with the team ... "They can't score goals and they can't defend," this leaves the selection of an eleven a tricky proposition for Allardyce.  While nominally safe from relegation (and if they had gone down this year with the number of teams worse than them, Allardyce would have deserved the sack), their is still a  need to pull as far away from the bottom three places as possible before the end of the season for the Hammers.

Adrian has come into replace the slightly faltering performances of Jasskelainen.  The Spaniard has proved a good shot stopper, but he has been caught out in where he positions himself sometimes and the amount of work ha has had to do, with the less than water-tight Irons leaky defence being sprung, like leaks, all too often.  James Tomkins was held as one with great hopes to go through into the England side at centre-half, but he has been found out a bit by wily Premiership strikers and his slight physique makes it difficult to hold them off.  He has been playing alongside NZ international Winston Reid, who is quicker, but not as dominant in the air, they make a decent pairing, although they play too far apart to be a tight unit.  A veteran can be found at left back, with George McCartney trying to stop any supply from the opposition's right flank, meaning he might find himself busy on Saturday, with Lennon up against a famous foe, with Naughton doubling up on that wing.  Guy Demel might have an easier time on the other side of the defence, but if Christian Eriksen drops wide to link up with Danny Rose, they could make life difficult for the Ivory Coat full back.  Italian Pablo Armero is on loan from Udinese, while James Collins is nearing the end of his top flight days, but is a physical, old-fashioned centre-half.

In midfield, West Ham's most valuable player Kevin Nolan can be found, but not always, as he is also a big liability, having seen red twice this season for hot-headed incidents which could have been avoided.  He is top goal-scorer for the side and also top of the assist list for the home side.  Mobile, despite his advancing years, he tries to drive the team forward, but when moves break down ,he is not able to retrieve his position as quickly as he used to be able to.  Mark Noble has had a disappointing season, with great things expected from him, but he has picked up some criticism from the Upton Park crowd. 

West Ham often pack this area of the team with five men strung across the middle, leaving Andy Carroll alone up front.  Usually, Senegal international Mohamed Diame is partnered by the two players above and Matt Jarvis and Stewart Downing, with the former to add the steel and the latter two the speed, trickery and supply line to Carroll in the middle.  Jarvis looks a decent player and Diame is often linked with other teams flirting around the top of the table, but, while inspirational, they both sometimes are not involved in play enough to dominate.   Downing is a player well known to Spurs and their fans for his appearance sin the opposition over the years from Middlesbrough, Liverpool and Aston Villa to West Ham.  There are a number of other options in former England midfielder Joe Cole, Italian Antonio Nocerino, Frenchman Alou Diarra and another vet - Matthew Taylor.  Cole is inventive, but has seen better days, with his legs making it difficult for him to cover the ground like he used to.  He can pick out a pass though, which Taylor is able to do from set-pieces with his trusty left foot.  Diarra is a Diame look-a-like and Nocerino is one I don't know much about.  Coming in from AC Milan on loan, he has only started two games and might still not be fully acclimatised to the English game.

Carroll has been back in action after being out with a  foot injury for a long time, using his height and presence to unsettle defenders.  Michael Dawson and Younes Kaboul will be in for a testing time, but the trick will be to stop the ball reaching him in the first place.  There is no doubt that West Ham will go long to him at some stage, but preventing the ball coming in from the wings will be key and it is not something Spurs are expert at.  The longer they can keep the Irons at nil, the more frustrated the home crowd will become and this will transmit to the players.  Carlton Cole is a player in the same mould as Carroll, so they have a ready made replacement if he has to leave the field through injury.  Limited in attacking options, their only other player for these positions would be Ricardo Vaz Te.  He scored against Spurs in the League Cup match, but has not been prolific with goals nor appearances.  Similar to the other two strikers though.

Spurs might have Adebayor up top with Kane just playing off him, with the other players fitting into the side as they have done for the last two matches, although Sandro might make a return in place of Nacer Chadli to pick up loose balls when cleared out of the Spurs defence.   With Eriksen and Lennon taking up nominally wide positions, this would leave Paulinho to play through the middle box-to-box.  Spurs need to be quick on the ball, as West Ham will try and close them down and hit them with some hard tackles early on to try and set the tone, but after last week's attempts to get roughed up by Stoke, the Tottenham team came through it and ground out a win.

The same result here would be very welcome.

PREDICTION West Ham United    1         Tottenham Hotspur    2
Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , an alternative history, etc.
Spurs will be missing Andros Townsend (ankle), Jan Vertonghen (ankle), Etienne Capoue (ankle), Mousa Dembele (ankle), Erik Lamela (back) and Kyle Walker (hip).  Nabil Bentaleb is suspended for the firs tof three games after being sent off in the Under-21 match last Sunday.
The Irons have a full squad to select from except for Marco Borriello (calf).

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West Ham United  2 (2)                                                                        Tottenham Hotspur  0 (0)
Premier League
Saturday 3rd May 2014                                                                                                                    Kick off 12:45
Upton Park
Kane (o.g.) 27
Downing 44



Naughton (foul on Taylor)  19
Dawson (foul on Noble)  43
Soldado (push on Nolan)  71
Sandro (foul on Noble)  84

Kaboul (foul on Downing) 18

Crowd :   34,977 Weather :  Warm, sunny
Referee :  Phil Dowd (Stoke-on-Trent) Assistant Referees :  Mr. S. Ledger, Mr.M. Perry
Fourth Official :  Mike Jones -
Spurs kicked off and played towards the Bobby Moore stand in the first half.
Game time : -  90 + 4 minutes.
West Ham United : kit Tottenham Hotspur : kit

20  Guy DEMEL
  5  James TOMKINS
2  Winston REID
  3  George McCARTNEY

23  Stewart DOWNING 
  Mohamed DIAME
  Mark NOBLE
  4  Kevin NOLAN (c)  (  7  Matt JARVIS 88)
14  Matt TAYLOR

  9  Andy CARROLL (24  Carlton COLE 84)

Unused subs: 
  8  Pablo ARMERO
  Ricardo VAZ TE

  25  Hugo LLORIS

16  Kyle NAUGHTON     
  4  Younes KABOUL     
20  Michael DAWSON (c)     
  3  Danny ROSE

  7  Aaron LENNON
  8  PAULINHO  (30  SANDRO      65)
23  Christian ERIKSEN
Gylfi SIGURDSSON  (  9  Roberto SOLDADO  66    )

37  Harry KANE  (  6  Vlad CHIRICHES 28)
10  Emmanuel ADEBAYOR

Unused subs: 
24  Brad FRIEDEL
42  Nabil BENTALEB


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

Any chance Spurs had of getting anything from this derby went along with Younes Kaboul, sent off for a foul when he was adjudged to be the last man, leaving West Ham to bombard the penalty area and get the rub of the green on most occasions, as Spurs struggled to match their physical approach to the match.

Tottenham had brought in Gylfi Sigurdsson for the injured Nacer Chadli, while West Ham stiffened up their midfield by replacing the attacking wide man Matt Jarvis with the more functional Matt Taylor.

Within the first minute, Kane shut down Adrian as he prepared to kick the ball out and blocked the clearance, but the ball went wide of the goal. When West Ham earned their first set piece, Adebayor ducked out of a header when the ball was nodded back across goal and a weak overhead kick went straight into Lloris’ hands fortunately. Spurs broke away quickly from the next Hammers attack and Gylfi got away on the right, playing the ball across for Eriksen to set up a shot for Adebayor, but he struck a weak effort, low at Adrian.

A corner posed problems for Spurs when the ball pinged around the box until Demel shovelled a shot up in the air, that dropped on the top of the bar and Hugo had to be alert to grab the ball as it came down in front of goal. The dead ball situations were perhaps always likely to be the way the Irons would get around the Spurs goal and Andy Carroll was always the focus of their aim. One time they almost got in on the floor came from a short back-pass from Dawson that Lloris had to push past Carroll before clearing.

Spurs were also patient in possession and a move on 15 minutes ended with Paulinho meeting Naughton’s cross with his head, but it went straight at Adrian. They were passing the ball well, but West Ham’s reliance on the aerial threat of Carroll saw him knock the ball down for Downing to come inside and shoot over from 20 yards out. Contrasting styles meant Spurs didn’t earn their first corner until 22 minutes in, but like most of our corners, it came to nothing. The ball wasn’t cleared out of play, but went back to Eriksen and he brought the ball down with great skill and sent in a low ball to the near post, where a defender smacked it against a team-mate in a moment of panic.

In the 24th minute, Downing picked up on a rebound and the path to goal was brought to a halt when Younes Kaboul clashed with him as the winger came across him. The impact was outside the box and Dawson was coming in from the side that Downing was taking the ball, but Dowd produced a red card to dismiss the French defender. With a free-kick inside the D, Carroll fired a powerful drive at goal, but Lloris was wise to the man on the end of the wall peeling away and rose to push the ball over. However, from the corner, West Ham took a 27th minute lead when Carroll headed back from the far post, but Harry Kane got a touch and took the ball past Sigurdsson on the line.

0-1 down and a player down, Spurs brought on Chiriches for Kane and had to go with only one up top. It was hard, with the home side’s tails up and closing them down when on the ball, with that pressure winning the ball and allowing McCartney almost got on the end of a Downing cross at the far post, but Lennon got back to do enough to put him off. Lloris was called upon to make a double save when he punched clear at his near post as Nolan closed in for a header, then recovered very well to dive to his left to fingertip Taylor’s drive from the edge of the box wide of the goal.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was all West Ham for the rest of the half, with only a thirty yard effort from Paulinho that was blocked as Tottenham’s attacking threat. West Ham broke away two minutes before the break, but this time Noble’s winning of a free-kick only brought a booking for Dawson, but the resulting free-kick would have been of no consequence, as the former Middlesbrough winger’s shot was not high enough to curl over the wall. However, in the middle of the wall, Paulinho turned one way and Adebayor the other, allowing the ball through to beat Lloris’ dive. At 0-2, there didn’t seem a way back, with over 45 minutes still to play.

It almost became three before Sherwood had a chance to get the players in the dressing room. A cleared ball in dropped on the edge of the box and Carroll hit a low volley that missed Lloris’ right hand post by a foot or so. But there was little to indicate that Spurs would make a dent in the score-line, as they were struggling to hold the ball and make much of an impression on the home team. Another match when we didn’t score early and ended up suffering for it.

Trevor Brooking gave a very interesting interview but the fans in his stand were more concerned about what might happen in the coming three quarters of an hour, with the home fans happy that they are beating us for the third time this season and thinking that Sam Allardyce was some sort of tactical genius. You don’t win much for beating Spurs three times in a season though.

Spurs tried to get in behind the West Ham defence, with Eriksen’s run taking the ball away from Adrian, who had come out to the edge of the box, but they had numbers back to crowd Spurs out. The attack from the home side on the right hand side saw Diame hit a scissors kick right down the middle of the goal, but Hugo got down to it well and then was alive to the loose ball running in front of goal and kicked the ball away from Nolan as he closed in on the ball. The Irons were playing for set-pieces and Spurs were out-numbered as well as lacking in knowing how to defend them. In contrast, Spurs were now unable to free Lennon to run at McCartney and any time players came inside, they ran into a wall of purple and blue shirts.

A straight free-kick brought two players challenging Carroll and the ball dropped for Nolan in the clear round the penalty spot, but Lloris was on him in a flash and deflected the point-blank range shot over. From the resulting corner, Diame had a free header, but put it wide.

Tottenham did manage a break, with Eriksen slipping Lennon in and then playing it wide left to Rose, but he shanked a shot across the penalty box and the chance was gone. From that, the Irons broke away and Downing’s low cross was dwelt on, allowing Naughton to nip in as the home team tried to set up a shot. Fortune was favouring West ham, but not because they were being particularly brave, just lucky. The bounce of the ball went their way often and Dowd allowed a lot of stuff to go in their favour. Why is a foul in Tottenham’s final third by Carroll on Dawson not a yellow when it would be the other way around ?

On the hour, Eriksen almost caught Adrian out with a cross come shot to the near post that the keeper only just managed to smuggle around the post. Another soft free-kick brought a shot by Taylor that Lloris held low at his right hand post, then Spurs worked the ball out from back to front and Lennon finished it off with a shot that kept rising over the bar. A double substitution by Spurs changed nothing, with Sandro immediately giving away a free kick, which brought another corner. Nothing came from that and then Downing showed his true form with a cross under no pressure that went way behind the goal. When Noble dragged Eriksen back by his shorts, Dowd waved play on in an example of his poor refereeing of the match. When Soldado fouled Demel, Nolan got in his face and Soldado pushed him off earning a yellow card, but Nolan got no punishment for his aggressive attitude.

Soldado was played in on the right corner of the box and he shot but dragged it across the area when Spurs made a rare attack, then Lennon pulled a shot wide as he ran centrally at the West Ham defence, then Eriksen picked out Soldado spinning off McCartney, but his effort back across goal was blocked by McCartney.

It was another weak free-kick when Diame fell over that led to Aaron Lennon throwing two blocks to stop efforts from the edge of the box getting through.

Sandro’s 86th minute cross was heading for the middle before it hit Taylor’s arm, but Dowd, in another marvellous piece of officiating (along with his linesman who had a better view) failed to spot it. Not that it might have affected the final score, but Spurs continued to attack. A weak header out dropped to Sandro in the D, but his volley flew way over the bar.

Substitute Jarvis flopped to the ground in the box as Dawson challenged, but at least Dowd wasn’t falling for that as easily as Jarvis did. A minute into injury time, Rose came off the right and when he got into the box right of centre, he drove a right foot shot that Adrian dived upwards to just tip over the bar.

Poor use of the ball when Spurs had it (before and after the sending off) piled pressure on our own goal and only Hugo Lloris kept the score down to a respectable level. Losing Kaboul meant that it was a tough task to get back into the game and the second half performance was more solid, but West Ham were comfortable with a two goal lead. If we could have got a goal back, it might have been interesting, but there was still only one man up for them, as they tied up the midfield with numbers.

“Tottenham Hotspur, It's happening again” the home crowd sung. Three wins over us in a season, staying in the Premier League on reaching 40 points and a clean sheet sent the Irons home happy. Maybe that is what we should be striving for if that is the definition of a successful season.

Kirk Hammerton


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What you thought
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Other scores during this week :
Aston Villa 3 Hull City 1 Saturday
Everton 2 Manchester City 3 Saturday
Manchester United 0 Sunderland 1 Saturday
Newcastle United 3 Cardiff City 0 Saturday
Stoke City 4 Fulham 1 Saturday
Swansea City 0 Southampton 1 Saturday
Arsenal 1 West Bromwich Albion 0 Sunday
Chelsea 0 Norwich City 0 Sunday
Crystal Palace 3 Liverpool 3 Monday
Manchester United 3 Hull City 1 Tuesday
Manchester City 4 Aston Villa 0 Wednesday
Sunderland 2 West Bromwich Albion 0 Wednesday




League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Manchester City 37 26 5 6 100 37 83 +63
2 Liverpool 37 25 6 6 99 49 81 +50
3 Chelsea 37 24 7 6 69 26 79 +43
4 Arsenal 37 23 7 7 66 41 76 +25
5 Everton 37 20 9 8 59 39 69 +20
6 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 37 20 6 11 52 51 66 +1
7 Manchester United 37 19 6 12 63 42 63 +21
8 Southampton 37 15 10 12 53 45 55 +8
9 Newcastle United 37 15 4 18 42 57 49 -15
10 Stoke City 37 12 11 14 43 51 47 -8
11 Crystal Palace 37 12 5 19 31 46 44 -15
12 Swansea City 37 10 6 20 51 53 39 -2
13 West Ham United 37 11 7 19 40 49 40 -9
14 Sunderland 37 10 8 19 40 57 38 -17
15 Aston Villa 37 10 8 19 39 58 38 -19
16 Hull City 37 10 7 20 38 51 37 -13
17 West Bromwich Albion 37 7 15 15 42 57 36 -15
18 Norwich City 37 8 9 20 28 60 33 -32
19 Fulham 37 9 4 24 38 83 31 -45
20 Cardiff City 37 7 9 20 31 72 30 -41


Position before match :  6th
Position after match :  6th
Position after the weekend :  6th

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