OPPONENTS West Ham United London at the Taxpayers Stadium
COMPETITION Premier League 
DATE Saturday 20th October 2018
PREVIEW West Ham United London have won more Premier League games against Spurs than any other side except Southampton (14).  So say the Premier League on their website and this is clear justification that whatever happens to them over the rest of the season, this game takes utmost importance for the Irons. 

Expect blood and thunder and Mark Noble has already said that they will be physical to try and stop Spurs, which a) might result in a spate of cards flourished, b) explains that they don't feel able to out-football Spurs and c) following Eric Dier's tackle on Sergio Ramos might indicate that Tottenham are not the soft side they used to be and will be willing to mix it if West Ham start strong-arming it.

They are throwing Marco Arnuatovic into the mix to try and unsettle Tottenham's defence, which will be missing Vertonghen and Rose, but it is a risk, as he picked up a knee injury during the international break that many of their fans think may not hold up.  With so many players away on duty for their countries, Spurs might have more tired players than the opposition, but they mostly appear to have returned without knocks.

During the summer, West Ham spent GBP100 million on players, but unlike previous seasons, they don't seem to have wasted all their money.  Filipe Anderson was a much sought after Brazilian midfielder and has pace and trickery on the ball, while defenders Issa Diop and Fabian Balbuena add height and strength to a back line missing club captain Winston Reid through injury.  Some players have lost out after Pellegrini came in, with former England cap Aaron Cresswell out of favour, as the manager goes with Masuaku and Zabaleta at full back, not fancying ex-Spurs Ryan Fredericks either, having left Fulham for the Taxpayers' stadium in the summer too.  There might be an opportunity to cash in there, as pacy players can race away from them, so Lucas and Son might have some joy in wide positions.  Another summer signing was Lukas Fabianski, providing a more reliable pair of gloves in goal than the previous much heralded Adrian, but he was prone to drop a clanger now and again.  Angelo Ogbonna will be in the middle of the back four to add height and power against Kane.

The exciting news for Irons fans is that Andy Carroll is fit again, but for how long, nobody is sure.  No doubt he will be chucked in if they need to mix things up further and Sanchez will be in for a tough time if the former England striker does play, but they also have the options of playing Hernandez - who will fall over and moan, Yarmolenko - who will either score a cracker or disappear or Lucas Perez - who nobody knows much about because since Arsenal signed him in 2016, very few people have witnessed him on a football pitch.

It is the midfield of West Ham that is the most confusing.  Signing Wilshere because nobody else wanted him, appeared to be an attempt to add some creativity in the middle of the team, but it only appears to have created more work for the West Ham medical team. Did nobody at the club look at the number of appearances he has made over the years ?  There is no doubt that the home side will miss the talents of Manuel Lanzini, but the other players brought in by Pellegrini (except Anderson) are a bit of a mish-mash of ability.  Carlos Sanchez played at the World Cup for Colombia, but failed to make much of an impression at Aston Villa; Snodgrass had been loaned out to the Championship in recent times but can deliver a good ball into dangerous areas, although the rest of his game needs some work; Mark Noble is Mark Noble; Obiang adds the legs in midfield; Declan Rice is an up and coming youngster who is getting a lot of press and needs a little while in the top flight to fully establish himself and Michail Antonio has not been in the same form as the previous two seasons, having been handed a wider role, so he doesn't get into scoring positions so often.

For all the fact that they lost to Brighton last time out, form is not something that comes into play.  They will not have pout as much into that game as they will on Saturday, so you can't read too much into it.  Losing their first four matches left them stuck to the bottom of the table, but they have eased themselves out of that with a good win over Manchester United (but who doesn't these days) and a draw against Chelsea.  The ability is there, but it is harnessing it all together to put a run together and there is Pellegrini's problem.  Used to working with world class players, he is facing a tougher task to gel the talents n the West Ham squad to produce the football their fans want to see.

A London derby that won't be pretty, but Spurs showed against a dull Cardiff City side that they are able to eek out results by gritty performances, so they will need that mind-set again to get a win at the Olympic Stadium.

PREDICTION West Ham United London    1        Tottenham Hotspur    2
RESULTS HISTORY Click here for results, match reports and facts on meetings with West Ham United London
Christian Eriksen and Mousa Dembele are back in contention for this match, but Jan Vertonghen (hamstring), Dele Alli (Hamstring) and Danny Rose (groin) are all ruled out.
Marco Arnautovic is being played, despite picking up a knee injury playing for Austria in midweek.  In shock news, Jack Wilshere is out injured.

Sky Sports 1 -  Game of the Day -  Saturday 20.00
Match of the Day  (BBC 1) - Saturday 22.30  (highlights)   [repeated at 08:30 Sunday]  Also available online.
Goals on Sunday (Sky Sports 1) - Sunday 10.30 (repeated at 21.00)
Match of the Day 2  (BBC 1) - Sunday 22.30 (highlights)  Also available online.

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

Radio :  Try one of these to see if they are carrying coverage ...
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 2nd89 MW)
Absolute Radio  (1215 AM/MW)

Internet :
The THFC Official website   Live webcast  - subscribers only
BBC London -  Live commentaries listed down the page.
TalkSport (DAB or 1089 MW)

Premier League Kick off 15:00
West Ham United London  0 (0)  
Tottenham Hotspur  1 (1)



Lamela 44m s

Crowd :   56,921 Weather :  Bright, sunny
Referee : Martin Atkinson (West Yorkshire) Assistant Referees :  Mr. Peter Kirkup; Mr. Stephen Child
Fourth Official :  David Coote  
Tottenham kicked off and played towards the Bobby Moore Stand in the first half.
Game time : -  90 + 7 minutes.
Noble (foul on Lamela)  59 
Arnautovic  (foul on Trippier)  74
Snodgrass  (foul on Sissoko)  80





West Ham United London : kit Tottenham Hotspur : kit
  1  Lukas FABIANSKI

  5  Pablo ZABALETA
23  Issa DIOP
  3  Aaron CRESSWELL

41  Declan RICE
16  Mark NOBLE (c)       (30  Michail ANTONIO  72)
  Robert SNODGRASS     

  8  Filipe ANDERSON  (17  Javier HERNANDEZ  57)
  7  Marco ARNAUTOVIC     
20  Andriy YARMOLENKO  (45  Grady DIANGANA  41)

Unused subs: 
  Angelo OGBONNA
26  Arthur MASUAKU

    1  Hugo LLORIS  (c)

  2  Kieran TRIPPIER
  6  Davinson SANCHEZ
33  Ben DAVIES

15  Eric DIER 
  8  Harry WINKS
7  Moussa SISSOKO  (23  Christian ERIKSEN  89)

11  Erik LAMELA    (19  Mousa DEMBELE  76)
  Harry KANE  (18 
Fernando LLORENTE  86)
26  Lucas MOURA

Unused subs: 
13  Michel VORM

24  Serge AURIER
  7  Heung-Min SON

Manager :  Manuel Pellegrini Manager :  Mauricio Pochettino
Sponsor :   Betway Shirt sponsor :  AIA
Kit Supplier :  umbro Kit Supplier :   Nike
Match report

Sunshine lit up the ground as Spurs kicked off the game.  It was only that, Erik Lamela's goal and Hugo Lloris' goalkeeping that came close to lighting up the Olympic stadium, as West Ham tried to stifle Spurs and when they did go forward, couldn't penetrate the Tottenham back-line. 

With Pochettino putting out a side with Moussa Sissoko and Davinson Sanchez due to injuries, he at least welcomed the return of Christian Eriksen and Mousa Dembele on the bench.  As it turned out, Moussa Sissoko had Tottenham's first decent effort after 11 minutes and while most thought it had gone well wide, it had taken a big deflection and went for a corner, but just after, West Ham won a corner when Trippier headed behind when the ball had gone up into the air after Alderweireld made a well timed challenge on Arnautovic as he got a pass inside the box.   Spurs won a couple of corners around the 25 minute mark, but they came to nothing as the game got scrappy and the only interest was a fan being dragged out of the West Ham section.  While the home side couldn't get the ball off the floor or past the near post from corners, Tottenham were managing that, but the ball was usually too close to Fabianski, who claimed the ball in the air without too much of a problem.

Eight minutes before half-time, Yarmolenko broke down the left wing and pulled it back to Snodgrass, but Toby was there again and managed to block the shot, which sent Lloris the wrong way, but went off for a corner.  From that, Yarmolenko went down with what looked like a bad injury when you saw the other players' reaction.  His departure from the pitch brought Grady Diangana, who shone against Macclesfield Town in the League Cup a few weeks back, into the action.  His direct running provided a bit of a threat, but he faded out of the game in the later stages.  The game was stop start and West Ham were cutting down the space and time that Spurs needed.  However, Mark Noble once more tried to play the ball infield and Lucas Moura read it and broke away.  He couldn't get the ball across, but Winks recycled it and fed Sissoko, whose cross was guided into the net by Erik Lamela with his head from the six yard line.  It was a good move and Noble contributed to West Ham's downfall, but Lamela did well to get into a scoring positions and produced a good header that didn't have a lot of power, but was placed out of the keeper's reach.

It was nearly two when Sissoko again played a ball in and Sanchez couldn't really get a decent connection on the cross allowing Fabianki to get behind it just before half time.

Straight after the restart the ball came across from Cresswell and Arnautovic put power onto his header, forcing Lloris to dive up to his right hand top corner to push the ball over.  It was a fine stretch and Hugo threw up his left hand after good footwork, to show that his form from the midweek game against Germany was not a flash in the pan.  Spurs were on the attack again and Lucas set Lamela away, with the goal ahead of him, but he tried to find Kane and the ball was hacked away.  And talking of hacks, Snodgrass made a very strong tackle on Moura and caught him on the ankle after winning the ball, which started a string of heavy tackles, with Noble getting his standard booking for not being good enough. 

Lloris was on his toes again, seeing Arnautovic's strike that was heading into his bottom left corner, but his dive pushed the ball wide for a corner.  It was another top save and from the corner, the ball was headed down but went behind for a goal kick.  There was a couple of flashpoints straight after when Arnautovic did a stereotypical rash challenge on Sanchez, then put his head into the Colombian as they got up and then ripped the Spurs defender's shirt.  A card ?  Martin Atkinson, so that's why not.

Lucas was threatening the London defence with his pace but wasn't able to find the final pass, while Winks was going about his business with no fuss, but being effective nonetheless.  Sanchez went close with a header from a corner, but was being flagged offside.  There was an incident when Hernandez went down weakly under challenge and was ignored by the referee, as he should always be, because he is the softest player in world football in my opinion.  How he ever stood up long enough to score the number of goals he has got in his career is a mystery to me.  He got the ball in the net with six minutes left, with Arnautovic giving a square ball to the Mexican, but he had gone too soon and the Austrian had strayed offside as he often does.  The flag from the lineman brought a furious reaction from the home fans, but it was a warning for Spurs, who subbed Kane and brought on Llorente.  Fernando put the ball over when Moura pulled a pass back behind Dier to find the Spaniard, but he should have done better despite Rice's challenge on him as he was about to shoot.

As four minutes of added time was announced, Arnautovic held off Sanchez, but his prodded effort was saved by Lloris, who was out at him quickly at the expense of a corner.  When Antonio went past Trippier, the ball was knocked out for a corner and this time, it was clear of the first man, but Lloris picked it out of the air.  With a late, late free-kick, the ball dropped for Antonio and he hit it with all his might, but didn't get it on target with the ball flying over the goal from the edge of the box.  By the time Hugo took the goal-kick, the ref was ready with the final whistle, fittingly with the man of the match having the last kick of the game.  The keeper had won the three points for Spurs, but it was set-pieces that have proved our demise in previous games this season that produced the scoring chances for West Ham.  Luckily, they were unable to take them and although Tottenham were not back to their best, the win maintains the club's chase at the top of the table, while Irons fans will complain that they haven't had any luck, but perhaps they were fortunate for Arnautovic and Snodgrass to stay on the pitch, but even with eleven, they were not able to force an equaliser.

Diop played well for them and Kane, playing deeper than usual, was tied by by him and Balbuena, but like the rest of the season, he has had little support or supply.  Elsewhere, there were hard-working displays from Dier, Winks, Alderweireld and Davies, while Lamela and Moura gave everything to keep the home midfield worried.  A better final pass from a few Spurs players might have set up a second goal that would have comfortably wrapped up the match.  Sissoko did produce that ball, straight onto Lamela's head and that was enough to seal the win.  It needed Hugo's reflexes to keep the home team out, as the defence was a bit rocky, with Trippier and Sanchez not having their best games.

A morale boosting win when you are not playing too well ahead of Wednesday's trip to Eindhoven.  Another one like that will be most welcome.

Isaac Gregory

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What you thought
East Stan Mark Noble.  Thanks.
The Heathrow Spur What an anti-climax for the Hamsters ?  You get to a Cup Final and lose !
- -.



Other scores during this week :
Bournemouth 0 Southampton 0 Saturday
Cardiff City 4 Fulham 2 Saturday
Chelsea 2 Manchester United 2 Saturday
Huddersfield Town 0 Liverpool 1 Saturday
Manchester City 5 Burnley 0 Saturday
Newcastle United 0 Brighton & Hove Albion 1 Saturday
Wolverhampton Wanderers 0 Watford 2 Saturday
Everton 2 Crystal Palace 0 Sunday
Arsenal 3 Leicester City 1 Monday




League Table  2018-19
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Manchester City 9 7 2 0 26 3 23 +23
2 Liverpool 9 7 2 0 16 3 23 +13
3 Chelsea 9 6 3 0 20 7 21 +13
4 Arsenal 9 7 0 2 22 11 21 +11
5 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 9 7 0 2 16 7 21 +9
6 Bournemouth 9 5 2 2 16 12 17 +4
7 Watford 9 5 1 3 13 12 16 +1
8 Everton 9 4 3 2 15 12 15 +3
9 Wolverhampton Wanderers 9 4 3 2 9 8 15 +1
10 Manchester United 9 4 2 3 15 16 14 -1
11 Leicester City 9 4 0 5 15 15 12 0
12 Brighton & Hove Albion 9 3 2 5 9 13 11 -3
13 Burnley 9 2 2 7 9 16 8 -7
14 West Ham United London 9 2 1 6 8 14 7 -6
15 Crystal Palace 9 2 1 6 5 11 7 -6
16 Southampton 9 1 3 5 6 14 6 -8
17 Cardiff City 9 1 2 6 8 19 5 -11
18 Fulham 9 1 2 6 11 25 5 -14
19 Huddersfield Town 9 0 3 6 4 18 3 -14
20 Newcastle United 9 0 2 7 6 14 2 -8

Position before match :  5th
Position after match :  3rd
Position after the weekend :  5th


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