West Ham United (Home)
Premier League

Sunday 22nd October 2006

Neither team has set the Premiership a light this season and West Ham's crash since the surprising arrival of the two Argentine stars - Tevez and Maschereno - has astonished a lot of people.

At the end of the transfer window, the football world was agog at why the two players had joined the Upton Park side, with many top European sides wanting them.  However, the introduction of them into the team has unsettled the pattern that Alan Pardew had developed with his players.  It was not only Tevez and Maschereno who came in, but also Preston defender Tyrone Mears (who Spurs were tracking), Ghanaian John Pantsil, England keeper Rob Green, former Sunderland defender George McCartney and Jonathan Spector from Manchester United.  another signing saw them take Carlton Cole from Chelsea, when he looked set to join Tottenham.

In goal, Roy Carroll has had possession of the gloves and he has been fairly consistent over the course of this seaon after being out for long periods injured last campaign.  He is prone to errors, as Spurs fans know only too well, but his understudy until now has been Jimmy Walker.  Short for a keeper, he is a good shot stopper, but has not been quite the same since dislocating his knee in the play-off final a couple of years back.  So, that is probaly why the East Londoners signed Rob Green from Norwich City.  his appearances for the Norfolk club have been impressive, but he hit a poor patch when they failed to get promoted and then he got a groin injury taking a goal-kick in an England B international against Belarus just before the World Cup.  This prevented him travelling to Germany and he has nto played since, but West Ham bought him and he may be fit to return to action in this match.  A good shot-stopper again, but he lacks the decisive decision making ability that sometimes separates the very good from the top class keepers.

In defence, George McCartney has been injured since West Ham signed him in August (Ed - is there something of a common thread running through their transfer policy here ??) and summer signing Pantsil has just come back after going under the knife for knee ligament problems (Ed - yes there is !!).  Daniel Gabbidon has been partnering Anton Ferdinand in the centre of defence and both like to think they can play a bit, so plenty of closing them down and catching them out of position may be the order of the day.  Both are tall, but lack the timing of tackle, relying on their speed to get back in time.  With Defoe and Berbatov in tandem, they could give them a torrid afternoon.  Also available are Spector, who has played twice this season and veteran Christian Dailly, who still commands a place in the squad.  Welshman James Collins, who joined with Gabbidon, has dropped down the pecking order, while Mears is a pacy defender, who needs a little time to adjust to the Premiership.  We know all about Paul Konchesky, who was on loan at Spurs, but was not kept on.  He is a tough opponent and if he is up against Aaron Lennon, he will try and muscle him out of the action, but if Aaron gets a run on him, he could leave him in dust.  He likes to get forward and has scored a few goals, including one in the FA Cup Final (albeit a cross that floated in).  It could be that Spurs make the most of his forward forays.

With Maschereno having played when the team are not doing too well, a lot has fallen onto the shoulders of Nigel Reo-Coker, who is the captain of the side.  His transfer window move to Manchester United or Arsenal did not come off, so he has been a bit unsettled, but he is a strong runner with the ball, although he does not possess the cool finish of many midfielders.  He will start and no doubt ex-Spur Matthew Etherington and former Tottenham target Yossi Benayoun will be willing to have a go at the home side.  Etherington did nothing to endear himself to Spurs fans when he left the club for E6, but his season was hit by injury and he has only recently returned to action of late.  A tricky runner with the ball, but with an erractic final ball, he had ability but not the poise and Benayoun had an outstanding season for the Irons prompting with his short passes from midfield or long passes from deep.  He also got forward to score a few and is a dangerous player, who Spurs cannot allow to play his own game.  Out of favour Hayden Mullins and another veteran, Shaun Newton, can also operate in midfield with Mullins being a central midfielder, while Newton prefers the right flank.

The attack also has some familiar faces, with Teddy Sheringham, Bobby Zamora and Carlton Cole among their ranks.  With the strong Dean Ashton missing with a broken ankle picked up in training with England, it leaves Marlon Harewood and Carlos Tevez as the first choice pairing, with the others vying for a chance to get on.  Harewood is big, strong and a good goalscorer, but he is also a great misser of chances too.  It depends on which day he decides to do which !!  He can get into the right positions, but sometimes lacks the composure to hit the net.  It is not something you could say about Sheringham, but he gets only cameo appearances these days, as his legs have gone, despite his head still being in good shape, while Tevez has been busy for the Irons, but has still to gel with his team-mates.  Cole has played fleetingly, with his strengths being his strength.  Again, he needs to develop a calm finishing technique to go with his ability to hold defenders off.

Witht he poor run West Ham have found themselves on, it is difficult to break and they face a Spurs side having not been beaten for a little while, but the London derby means that the form goes out of the window and the result will have to be fought for.  Spurs have two reasons to do well with a last minute equaliser at home and the "food poisoning" game at the end of last season to settle.  With the players being ready to move up the league with the UEFA Cup form transferred to the Premiership, it could spell a continuation of the bad run for Pardew and his Irons ...

PREDICTION : -  Tottenham Hotspur  2    West Ham United  0

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


TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -  Teemu Tainio (hernia); Steed Malbranque (hernia); Didier Zokora (malaria); 

WEST HAM UNITED :  Lee Bowyer (hernia); Dean Ashton (ankle); - (-); 


Sky Sports 1 - Football First (highlights)
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Internet :
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Tottenham Hotspur   1    West Ham United   0      (Half-time score : 1-0)

Premier League
Venue : White Hart Lane  
Sunday 22nd October 2006
Kick Off :  3.00 p.m.
Crowd :   36,162
Referee :  Steve Bennett (Orpington)
Weather :  -  Wet, rain heavy at times
Teams : - 
Tottenham Hotspur :


King (c)

Lennon (Ghaly 78)

Defoe (Keane 78)

Unused subs

West Ham United :



Benayoun (Cole 78)
Mascherano (Tevez 68)
Reo-Coker (c)

Harewood (Dailly 82)

Unused subs

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of http://www.colours-of-football.com)
Tottenham Hotspur

  West Ham United
Scorers : -  
Tottenham Hotspur

Mido 45

West Ham United


Cards : -  
Tottenham Hotspur  

Defoe (retaliation) 44
Mido (removing shirt) 45
Davids (foul) 86


West Ham United

Konchesky (foul) 32
Maschereno (foul) 43
Harewood (not retreating 10 yards) 45
Pantsil (foul) 90  


Match Report : -  
What promised to be a red hot derby match, with both clubs in need of the win, turned into a bit of a damp squib, with the rain pouring down as Tottenham took a comfortable three points despite their exertions in Turkey less than three days before.

A single Mido strike sealed the win, but the poor West Ham side that faced Spurs are now stuck in second bottom place with no goals scored in over 11 hours of football.  For Spurs, the tide has momentarily turned and it is up to them to keep it going in midweek against McDons and then at Watford on Saturday.

Paul Robinson must wonder what all the fuss is about when he is told about London derbies, as this was not a typical Spurs-West Ham meeting.  In fact the nearest it came to sparking into life was when Maschereno hacked Defoe down from behind and got a yellow for his troubles (where Gabbidon and Ferdinand had got away with it), with Jermain retaliating and the Argentine reacting like he had been shot in the chest.  This led to a melee of most of the players, with Tottenham holding the hard man cards with Davids looking to exercise his pit-bull tendencies and Huddlestone standing with his arms outstretched, holding people back as if to say ... "Don't even think about it."

The game could have been level at 1-1 within the first 25 minutes.  Lennon was set free by Defoe and his shot saw him open his body just a little too much and push his shot wide of Green and the goal.  Defoe then had a golden opportunity to hit back at the "Judas" chants from the visiting horde.  Twenty minutes gone and Lennon's low ball in was not met with the cleanest hit, but he got it on target and only the debutant Green's foot diverted it in a looping arc just over the bar.

When West Ham did break, a bit of good fortune saw Harewood stumble past Dawson and his first time shot brought a diving save from Robinson, although it was not likely that his effort would have ever beaten ENO.  This was the most work Robbo had to do all afternoon, apart from punch a few of the many hopeful crosses the Irons slung into the box.

Before the Defoe/Maschereno fracas, Paul Konchesky got booked for a despicable scythe through the back of Lennon on the halfway line, which left him unable to foul the little winger again and Aaron made the most of it by running at the bald defender and making his afternoon one to forget.  If only Lennon's delivery matched his build-up, but that will come.  In fact, Konchesky was lucky to stay on the pitch, as late in the second half, Defoe was through on goal when the Irons defender hauled him down from behind, when he was even possibly the last man.  However, Steve Bennett, who I normally regard as one of the better refs around, had a nightmare game and barely awarded Tottenham a goal-kick let alone a penalty, which they should have had when Gabbidon brought down Keane in the area near the end.  His continued inability to spot the difference between a corner and a goal-kick was a constant in this match.

Anyway, just when it looked like the untidy first half would finish all square, Edgar Davids took on John Pantsil down the line for pace.  No really.  He did !!  He played a left footed cross weakly into the area and found Mido coming towards the near post about five yards out.  With Anton Ferdinand at his back, he flicked the ball up and without hesitation, he hit a left foot volley that ripped across Green and into the goal off the far post to put Tottenham ahead on the stroke of half-time.

The second half saw Tottenham make further moves forward, with Davids, Huddlestone and Lennon all getting efforts in on goal.  The best chance to add to our total came when Defoe went on a trademark run from halfway and twisted and turned Konchesky before trying to hit a left foot strike past Green, but he saved the tame effort fairly easily, when a square ball to Lennon might have been the better option for a goal.  Mind you, it looked like another goal was coming as Hud let fly from 30 yards and missed the left hand post by inches and then with six minutes left, Ghaly put in a well placed cross and his fellow countryman Mido got his head on the end fo it and the ball bounced over off the crossbar.

The penalty claim went unheeded by Bennett and for the last five minutes (plus three added minutes), Spurs dropped deep and invited West Ham onto them.  Having put on Christian Dailly and Carlton Cole, they looked for the route one method to score one, but Spurs held firm with Michael Dawson heading everything that came his way away.  The closest the Irons came was when Dailly won a far post header, but Mido knocked the ball away before it got near goal.

The final whistle came when Spurs were on the attack and condemned West Ham to their fifth match in defeat on the trot.  Their season hangs in the balance and the same could be true for Tottenham.  But for Tottenham it is looking up, while for West Ham the only way might be down.





Reaction : -



The headlines were grabbed (by the teeth) by Jermain Defoe's supposed bite on Javier Maschereno, but the real bite is on Alan Pardew, who will be entering his last few days as West Ham manager.  Seven straight losses, no goals in 668 minutes, his team impressing the fans with their "effort", the fact that the team are just no good.  Take your pick for the reason he will go, but the biggest one will be the new owners coming in.  They will want their own man and Pardew is not him.

His side looked very poor.  Reo-Coker hardly set a captain's example by having a 90 minutes long shouting match with new defender John Pantsil.  When things went wrong, Nigel always found someone else to blame.

Of the other players on their side, Maschereno featured on the back page photos, otherwise you wouldn't have known he was playing; Tevez did little when he came on; Ferdinand got injured in the first couple of minutes, then I only realised he was still on the pitch with ten minutes to go; Marlon Harewood is a Premiership footballer, but if I didn't know who he was playing for, you could have fooled me.  Need I go on ?  Some of the others, I didn't even recognise and that says a lot about the team the Irons have become.  Nonedescript, whereas they used to have good, talented players.  Now their effort is all that can be used to gauge their progress ... or lack of it.

Not that Tottenham were much better in the first half.  Better chances were created, but not taken, until Mido scored a cracking goal out of nothing.  His flick up and hit were enough to undo West Ham and take the points.

In truth, the second half should have been a bit of a procession, but Spurs decided to defend the 1-0 lead and leave us all having kittens for the last ten minutes.  Only, West Ham did not have the nous to break the defence down, other than keep heaving high balls forward in what must be a new coaching manual they have at the Academy.

In the analysis of the game, it was an easy three points and two more than we got off them at home last season ... when they did manage a last gaps equaliser.  Spurs did not play that well, but well enough and that is an indictment of West Ham in itself.


In days of yore when this was all fields etc. Martin Chivers never bit anybody (is this a dentist comment ?).


Good news that the FA have decided not to interfere in the biting incident last Sunday.

What can Defoe have been thinking of ?  Even to get that close to a West Ham player was risky enough never mind that he was from Argentina.  Still it fits nicely with the story of Spurs linking with a “feeder” club. 

Men of the match for me were undoubtedly Huddlestone, Dawson and Lennon.  Huddlestone hardly put a foot wrong and sprayed some Carrick like passes that must have impressed MJ.   Dawson is as solid as you could wish at the back whilst Lennon is an exciting treat.  Overall I felt the team performed well although we should have scored at least one more goal when the “hungry” and greedy Defoe should have passed to the unmarked Lennon just before both were substituted.  

Still a long way to go to catch the Gooners but we are showing improvement.   Possible banana skin in MK Dons, but hopefully not and then it’s Watford and three more points.

Come on you Spurs !

Tony Pawson



Other scores this weekend :
Aston Villa 1 Fulham 1 Saturday
Chelsea 2 Portsmouth 1 Saturday
Charlton Athletic 0 Watford 0 Saturday
Everton 2 Sheffield United 0 Saturday
Wigan Athletic 4 Manchester City 0 Saturday
Blackburn Rovers 0 Bolton Wanderers 1 Sunday
Middlesbrough 1 Newcastle United 0 Sunday
Manchester United 2 Liverpool 0 Sunday
Reading 0 Arsenal 4 Sunday



League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Manchester United 9 7 1 1 19 5 22 +14
2 Chelsea 9 7 1 1 15 5 22 +10
3 Bolton Wanderers 9 6 2 1 10 4 20 +6
4 Arsenal 8 5 2 1 15 4 17 +11
5 Portsmouth 9 5 1 3 13 5 16 +8
6 Everton 9 4 4 1 15 8 16 +7
7 Aston Villa 9 3 6 0 11 6 15 +5
8 Fulham 9 3 4 2 11 14 13 -3
9 Reading 9 4 1 4 9 12 13 -3
10 Blackburn Rovers 9 3 3 3 9 11 12 -2
11 Liverpool 9 3 2 4 9 11 11 -2
12 Middlesbrough 9 3 2 4 9 13 11 -4
13 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 9 3 2 4 6 10 11 -4
14 Manchester City 9 2 3 4 6 13 9 -7
15 Wigan Athletic 8 2 2 4 11 12 8 -1
16 Newcastle United 9 2 1 6 7 13 7 -6
17 Sheffield United 9 1 3 5 4 12 6 -8
18 Watford 9 0 5 4 7 13 5 -6
19 West Ham United 9 1 2 6 6 13 5 -7
20 Charlton Athletic 9 1 1 7 6 15 4 -9



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