OPPONENTS West Ham United
COMPETITION Premier League
DATE Saturday 16th August 2014
VENUE Boleyn Ground






For a season's opening match, a London derby at Upton Park sees all the pressure on West Ham United, with their run on Treble T-shirts being greater than those on tickets to watch Sam Allardyce's team.  The Irons fans are less than enamoured with their manager and the Board have told him to make things more exciting this year.  If he has to concentrate on attack rather than defence, then that could be the case, but not in the way that Sullivan and Gold intended.

Spending money hasn't been a problem this summer, but the quality of the players that they have spent it on might be.  Enner Valencia looked a decent scorer in the World Cup, but often we have seen players shine in the major international tournament and not adapt to the Premier League.  He may have a surprise value and hit the ground running, but may need time to bed in.  One other forward signing they have made shouldn't need that luxury, as Mauro Zarate from Velez Sarsfield has been here before, with Birmingham City.  Four goals in a 14 game loan spell at St. Andrews saw him have a taste of top flight football and while he looks a solid player, it will be a re-entry into a different situation for the Argentine striker.  Latest incoming forward Diafra Sakho might make his debut, coming from French side Metz, where his goals helped propel the club into the Second Division and then the Championat.

Gooner Carl Jenkinson is already shooting his mouth off about Spurs, so it might be prudent to point out to him where he is now compared to where he should be.  Not a great full back, but committed, his ability might be more West Ham than Arsenal.  Ipswich Town full back Aaron Cresswell was supposedly interesting Spurs, but West Ham bought him and his transition to Premier League football will need to be quick, otherwise, teams could exploit any weakness he shows.

Former Spurs midfielder and assistant manager Gus Poyet's son Diego has been signed from Charlton Athletic and he is an inventive and energetic midfielder, with potential, which is why he signed with the Irons, to see if he can move onwards from there.  Another buy, this time from Anderlecht, in the shape of Cheikhou Kouyate is a battling midfielder, who obviously enjoys getting stuck in, as he was sent off twice last season, so be prepared for him spending some time on the sidelines.  A Senegal international like Sakho, he might link up well with the big man up front, but how he will fit with the existing players there will be a work in progress.

Big Sam had to bring in Teddy Sheringham as attacking coach to try and brighten the Irons' play up this season.  Wary of entering the Olympic Stadium as a Championship side or a Premier League side with little of the West Ham Academy flair, the owners want a new Hammers to be seen to win fans to fill the wide open spaces at Stratford.  How Teddy will take to coaching I don't know, but some of the things he did on a football pitch can't be taught, so putting them across to a range of players with a range of abilities will be testing.

As for Allardyce, he still has the core of his side from last season, but has shed some oldies and is missing Andy Carroll, as he often is.  Injured in pre-season and out for four months, the former Newcastle and Liverpool forward brought some unguarded comments about his purchase from Gold.  As it is, they are stuck with him, as other clubs are not likely to take a punt on him when he is fit, despite the fact that he was almost in the England squad this summer.

Tottenham's new approach under Pochettino will need to move the ball around quickly after they have hunted it down.  The midfielders will need to get up and support the lone attacker quicker, unless Poch is going to play a more traditional 4-2-4 on occasions against teams where he thins it will have the greater effect.  Spurs don't have a good record of quick starting.  Only one goal in the first fifteen minutes of a Premier League match last season (the last one v Aston Villa) and only four wins out of 16 on the opening day of the season are not good stats.  The need for a fast start cannot be emphasised enough.  However, Spurs had the second best away record in the top flight last season and the new boss will need to maintain a record like that for the side to do well.

With a range of attacking players and Sandro/Etienne Capoue sitting in front of the back four, it could produce an entertaining side and I hope Poch makes the most of the talent at his disposal.  Some players have a lot to prove this season, so there should be a desire there to do well too.

Will West Ham achieve their top ten hope for the end of the season ?  Well, I think they will be around mid-table somewhere, but not sure which side of the equator.  If Spurs can set them back at home on the opening day, it might set the tone for the crowd's feelings towards their manager until the Board have to bring the curtain down on Big Sam's West Ham tenure.  So, it won't be over until the Fat Manager slings (his hook).

PREDICTION West Ham United    1        Tottenham Hotspur    2
Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , an alternative history, etc.
The Spurs players returning to training following a rest after the World Cup are under consideration for the match, with Mauricio Pochettino having Paulinho, Mousa Dembele, Jan Vertonghen and Nacer Chadli in mind for the game.  The new manager also has hopes for Michael Dawson (thigh), Vlad Chiriches (back) and Kyle Walker (pelvis) recovering from their injuries.
Andy Carroll is out for four months having been injured in pre-season, Enner Valencia is not yet match fit and loanee Carl Jenkinson will not likely take his place in the side.  Ravel Morrison may not play, after being arrested and charged with assault on his ex-girlfriend and her mother in Manchester recently.

Sky Sports 1 -  Football First  -  Saturday 20.25
Match of the Day  (BBC 1) - Saturday 22.30 - 23.50 (highlights)   [repeated at 07:40 Sunday]  Also available online.
Goals on Sunday (Sky Sports 1) - Sunday 11.00
Match of the Day 2  (BBC 1) - Sunday 22.25 (highlights)  Also available online.

For coverage in all parts of the world, check here and here.

Radio :  
BBC LONDON 94.9FM (London area only), Digital Radio (London area only) &  Sky Channel 0152  (live coverage)
Commentary may be found on
>   BBC Radio Five Live (live coverage)  606/939 MW
TalkSport (DAB or 1089 MW)
Absolute Radio  (1215 AM/MW)

If available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard in these countries on these stations ...
Australia (Melbourne)
SEN  -  116 AM  Live Transmissions: TWI, Saturday. 12.45 & 1500 matches
Australia (Sydney) 
Radio 2  -  1611AM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 12.45 Match
Media Corp Radio  -  93.8 FM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
South Africa 
SABC (Radio 2000)  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
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North America (USA, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean) 
Sirius Satellite Radio  Live transmission: Saturday - 12.45, 15.00 (TWI) & 17.15 (BBC) Sunday - 14.00 & 16.05 (BBC) Mon, Tue, Wed - Various times (BBC)

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

West Ham United  0 (0)                                                                          Tottenham Hotspur  1 (0)
Premier League
Saturday 16th August 2014                                                                                                                    Kick off 15:00
Boleyn Ground
Dier 90+3m 15s
Collins (foul on Lamela)  54
Kouyate (foul on Kane 90+2)

Collins (second yellow - foul on Adebayor)  63


Naughton (handball) 29

Crowd :   34,977 Weather :  Warm, sunny
Referee :  Chris Foy (St. Helens) Assistant Referees :  Mr. H. Lennard, Mr. M. McDonough
Fourth Official :  Andy Woolmer (Northants) -
West Ham kicked off and played towards the South end in the first half.
Game time : -  90 + 6 minutes
West Ham United : kit Tottenham Hotspur : kit

17  Joey O'BRIEN  (20  Guy DEMEL 62)
  2  Winston REID
  James COLLINS               
  3  Aaron CRESSWELL

16  Mark NOBLE
  4  Kevin NOLAN (c)
8  Cheikhou KOUYATE     
11  Stewart DOWNING

12  Ricardo VAZ TE  (21  Mohamed DIAME 68)
24  Carlton COLE  (31  Enner VALENCIA 81)

Unused subs: 
33  Reece BURKE
  Diego POYET
  Mauro ZARATE

    1  Hugo LLORIS

16  Kyle NAUGHTON     
15  Eric DIER 
  4  Younes KABOUL (c)
  3  Danny ROSE

42  Nabil BENTALEB
29  Etienne CAPOUE

  7  Aaron LENNON  (17  Andros TOWNSEND 62)
23  Christian ERIKSEN
11  Erik LAMELA  (14  Lewis HOLTBY 62)

10  Emmanuel ADEBAYOR  (18  Harry KANE 83)

Unused subs: 
24  Brad FRIEDEL
33  Ben DAVIES
20  Michael DAWSON
  9  Roberto SOLDADO

Manager :  Sam Allardyce Manager :  Mauricio Pochettino
Sponsor :   Alpari Shirt sponsor :  AIA
Kit Supplier :  adidas Kit Supplier :   Under Armour
Match report

There is nothing better than a late winner at Upton Park for Tottenham and there have been a few over the last few years.  The fact that West ham didn't capitalise on the extra man in the capital derby cost them the points and looks like costing Fat Sam his position at West Ham, but Tottenham look like they have uncovered a gem in match-winner and debutant Eric Dier.

With Spurs missing their World Cup players and with Michael Dawosn injured, new signing Eric Dier was given a debut, with Nebil Bentaleb playing as one of the defensive two alongside Etienne Capoue.  Adebayor was up front, with Lamela, Lennon and Eriksen behind him.  West Ham lined up with two debutants, Youkate and Cresswell, with record signing Enner Valencia on the bench.  Originally, Spurs found it hard to break down the Old Irons Guard and Downing was showing a bit of pace on the line.

Following a messy attack, which Naughton dragged straight to Carlton Cole, the big striker tried a first time shot from the left corner of the box that went over the angle.  Tottenham's first effort came in the ninth minute when Collins went through the back of Lennon on the left and Eriksen fired in a low free-kick to Adrian's near post, but the keeper was right behind it.  There was plenty of endeavour in the middle third, but little in either last third, but Downing put in a centre from the right that eluded Kaboul and was taken down by the West Ham forward, but the ball was picked off his toe by Naughton as it looked like he might have had a goal-scoring opening with 15 minutes gone.

Around the 20 minute mark, West Ham tried to put a bit of pressure on the Spurs goal with a couple of high crosses, which Spurs just dealt with and a low cross form the left, which Rose did well to beat Downing to as he looked to finish it off.  A free-kick was headed out by Rose for a corner and from it, a scramble in the box came to Nolan and his shot hit Naughton on the hands as he turned his back and not only that but he has shown a red card to the full back.  Irony upon irony, Mark Noble steppe dup to take it instead of Nolan and he put the ball wide of the left hand post with Lloris going the other way.

With a penalty given against us and a sending off, it should have come as no surprise, as Chris Foy is hardly a referee who has given Spurs very much over the years and he is not going to change now.  In an ideal world the decision will be rescinded, but West Ham reap the benefit of no review of the decision being taken immediately.

So, just like last season, Tottenham had to play the Irons with ten men for the majority of the game.  Capoue dropped back to centre half and Dier went to right back, as Spurs went back to a 4-4-1 system.  Spurs settled down a bit and played the ball well, with O'Brien giving Adrian a tricky moment when he beat Adebayor to the ball and forced his keeper to a save at his near post.  When West Ham moved the ball to the Tottenham end, Cole was blocked when Capoue stopped his shot and then from the corner, Vaz Te hit a shot across goal which took a touch off a Spurs player for another corner, but this came to nothing.

Tottenham did manage to hit the Irons on the break, with Eriksen picking out Adebayor, who laid it down for Lennon to shoot just over the bar from the edge of the box.  The hoe team should have scored shortly after, when Vaz Te headed a cross into the ground with nobody in front of him except Lloris and the French keeper was able to take the ball simply.

Half time gave Poch a chance to lay out his plans of how to deal with the opposition with a man short, while Allardyce would have to try to get this side to improve on one shot out of eleven on target.

Spurs had chance when Eriksen found himself in the box with the ball at his feet, but his shot was charged down with jut two minutes gone of the half.  Spurs were grateful that Hugo was carrying on his good form from the World Cup, with a save low down in front of him from Downing's 20 yard drive, but the ball ran loose and he got to it first before a claret shirt.  As the West Ham player hit the ground, the Irons fans wanted a penalty straight away.  This time it didn't come, although you wouldn't have been surprised if Foy had pointed to the spot.

Spurs were giving it a go, when Rose skipped away from a challenge on halfway, he ran down the left, with his low cross just failing to find Lennon running in form the opposite side.   With 62 minutes gone, Tottenham again broke away and when Ade pushed the ball past Collins, it looked as though he wouldn't get it, but Collins turned a hip into him and picked up his second yellow card and he had to walk, leaving the game poised at 10 v 10.  Unfortunately, the West ham stewards weren't doing their job either and a fan ran onto the pitch, holding up play, so that when Eriksen took the free-kick, it went too high.  Having just made a substitution at the back, West ham had to shift Kouyate back into the middle of the back four and Vaz Te was sacrificed for Diame coming on in midfield. 

Townsend's ball curled into towards Adrian and as Adebayor went in, the keeper reacted and there was a flare up, but it came to nothing and then Andros has a swirling shot tipped over from 20 yards.  The corner was worked to him again, just outside the area and his low drilled effort took a touch that sent he ball just wide, as Spurs upped the pace.  But there was a lack of concentration when Kaboul brought the ball out of defence, allowing Noble to run forward to hit a low shot to Lloris' right and the goalie got down well to stop the shot.

Substitute Enner Valencia wrestled Capoue to the ground as he was trying to shepherd the ball off for a goal kick and they got a corner.  From it, Lloris punched clear, but when t he ball came back in, Bentaleb just beat Valencia to it and the clearance hit haphazard ref Foy in the penalty area.  If only he had sent himself off !!   When the Irons attacked again, Downing floated his second cross of the afternoon behind the goal, belying the stat about him being the most accurate crosser of the ball last season.

West Ham pushed towards the end and Lloris raced off the line to block Downing's shot as he stumbled through a challenge in the box to keep the home team out.  Spurs had not given up hope of getting something out of the match and Eric Dier's rampaging break out up the right wing took the play to West Ham and from the throw-in, the ball eventually came to Bentlaeb to strike a 25 yard drive that Adrian dived left to beat away.

And it was Dier who popped up in the third minute of added time, when Kane slipped a pass to the left channel of the West Ham area and it was Eric running forward who took the ball around Adrian and then slipped it left footed into the net to open the scoring with just a minute left.  It was taken like a forward and his ability on the ball shows he is not just a thump it forward defender such as was lining up in the other side.

It was a gritty performance and not one that saw Spurs flow in their new system under Mauricio Pochettino, but three points is a considerable improvement on last season's result at the Boleyn and stopped West Ham's bragging.  You can't hate West Ham can you ?  And Mark Noble's penalty could be what is the difference between them staying up or going down at the end of the season.  But in the long run, after Gold and Sullivan's comments about how they want the team to play, if that is attacking from West Ham ... goodness help them !!

As for us, there is more to come and without the World Cup stars this was a great three points under the circumstances.  Given a bit more time, there could be some good days ahead.




West Ham United's current ground was the actual place of the birth of King Henry VIII's wife Anne Boleyn.  It is said that she rarely bothers to haunt the site of the old palace that was there since the boring football Sam Allardyce plays has graced the ground.

Mark Noble's penalty miss was the worst penalty miss he has had since the last one. 


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What you thought
The Funky Phantom "Say You Are Bottom of the League, Say You Are Bottom of the League" !!

Even though it is early in the season, Tottenham's win has left West Ham in Dier straits.

Benny The Ball Why do we always get crap co-commentators on our games ?  Tony Gale (ex-West Ham) was so one-eyed it was embarrassing.  His comment that he couldn't understand how Mark Noble had been over-looked by England was hilarious, saying his passing is better than those chosen in front of him !!

The way he passed the ball past the post from 12 yards out was precision !!

I bet he was gutted when Dier scored and he had to say some nice things about the Tottenham goal ;o)

The sooner the Premier League dump the old duffer Foy the better.

Matty Black Pochettino's record is the best of any Spurs manager ever.  Shouldn't we be making hi m our manager for ten years ?  That's three points Sherwood didn't get last season.
Isaac Gregory Maybe when Sullivan and Gold said they wanted more entertaining football at Upton Park, the management thought that they meant missed penalties, red cards, a clown who runs on the pitch (the pitch invader not those in claret and blue shirts) and last minute goals.

Be careful what you wish for !!

- -..



Other scores during this week :
Arsenal 2 Crystal Palace 1 Saturday
Leicester City 2 Everton 2 Saturday
Manchester United 1 Swansea City 2 Saturday
QPR 0 Hull City 1 Saturday
Stoke City 0 Aston Villa 1 Saturday
West Bromwich Albion 2 Sunderland 2 Saturday
Liverpool 2 Southampton 1 Sunday
Newcastle United 0 Manchester City 2 Sunday
Burnley 1 Chelsea 3 Monday




League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Chelsea 1 1 0 0 3 1 3 +2
2 Manchester City 1 1 0 0 2 0 3 +2
3 Arsenal 1 1 0 0 2 1 3 +1
4 Swansea City 1 1 0 0 2 1 3 +1
5 Liverpool 1 1 0 0 2 1 3 +1
6 Aston Villa 1 1 0 0 1 0 3 +1
7 Hull City 1 1 0 0 1 0 3 +1
8 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1 1 0 0 1 0 3 +1
9 Everton 1 0 1 0 2 2 1 0
10 Leicester City 1 0 1 0 2 2 1 0
11 Sunderland 1 0 1 0 2 2 1 0
12 West Bromwich Albion 1 0 1 0 2 2 1 0
13 Crystal Palace 1 0 0 1 1 2 0 -1
14 Manchester United 1 0 0 1 1 2 0 -1
15 QPR 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 -1
16 Southampton 1 0 0 1 1 2 0 -1
17 Stoke City 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 -1
18 West Ham United 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 -1
19 Burnley 1 0 0 1 1 3 0 -2
20 Newcastle United 1 0 0 1 0 2 0 -2


Position before match :   N/A
Position after match :  4th
Position after the weekend :  8th


* Pub facts may not actually be true, but after a few pints everyone will think so.


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