West Ham United (Away)
Premier League

Sunday 23rd August 2009


Two games; two wins and now a derby match against West Ham comes into view.  Having lost goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes with a thigh injury, Carlo Cudicini will play in goal, with Ledley King probably coming back into the middle of the defence to stiffen things up a bit.  This could help Spurs be more resilient at the back, while it should not affect the way the team are using the counter-attacking style to get at the opposition's goal.

West Ham are in a bit of turmoil at the moment.  With players leaving or about to leave to satisfy the new owners demand that debts are paid off, new players coming in on loan or who you have not heard of before, this weakens the side and may, eventually, lead to the departure of Ginafranco Zola, who told the Press Association that he denied he is considering his position.  Not a surprise, although as he bought into Chief Executive Scott Duxbury's 'project' (are Spurs the only club that does not have a project ?) to make the Irons great, things are going more pear shaped than Wayne Rooney down E6 way.  First the Icelandic biscuit king's reign crumbled and now the bank that bought him out are stricken in the global credit crunch, so he will not be building a side there this season, unless the current owners can sell the club off ... and you can see how difficult Mike Ashley is finding that.

So, what do the Irons have left in their locker to throw at Spurs ?  Dean Ashton is continually injured and with Boa Morte and Behrami having got knee knocks, the remainder of he squad is limited in the depth of choice Zola has to pick from.  With Ilunga looking like he might miss out, James Tomkins just coming back from injury and new players not yet fully integrated into the team, it is a difficult period for the West Ham manager. 

They did well winning their first game away at Wolves and will be looking to improve that start after having a rest of eight days.  Spurs had to play in midweek and had the trip to Hull to cope with too, but the result and the nature of the performance will leave the side confident of their ability to take on any opponent in the Premier League.  As long as this does not slip into over-confidence, then this will stand the players in good stead.

There are many things to appreciate in the Tottenham performances so far this season, with not just the skill and speed of the passing to break away, the awesome finishing and the vigorous closing down of any space there is available, this shows that a lot of thinking has gone into the team's preparation for the league programme.

With competition for places and Harry getting some top performances out of his players, there is a lot to be happy about, but until we have gone the obligatory media prescripted ten games until things pan out (although for Tottenham last season, it took a lot longer than that), Spurs fans can enjoy it while it lasts and the interesting thing will be to see how long the manager can keep the squad going like this.  Without European football and with a big squad, it might be some time, but West Ham will do their best to try and nip the improvement Spurs are showing in the bud.  However, on this occasion, I think there will not be an end to the run just yet and Spurs will sneak it ...

PREDICTION : -  West Ham United  1     Tottenham Hotspur   2

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


WEST HAM UNITED :  -  Herita Ilunga (doubtful - jaw); Luis Boa Morte (out - knee); Dean Ashton (out - ankle);  Valon Behrami (out - ankle);  - (-);

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -   Jonathan Woodgate (out - groin); Michael Dawson (out - Achilles); Gareth Bale (out - ankle);  Jermaine Jenas (out - calf); Heurelho Gomes (out - thigh); - (-); 


ESPN -  (live coverage)
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Radio :  
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 (live coverage)
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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
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Internet :
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BBC London - http://www.bbc.co.uk/london/content/articles/2005/10/12/live_commentaries_feature.shtml
click on link to "Listen to Tottenham Hotspur live commentary" on top right hand menu.




West Ham United   1   Tottenham Hotspur    2      (Half-time score : 0-0)

Premier League
Venue : -  Boleyn Ground
Sunday 23rd August 2009
Kick Off :  1.30 p.m.
Crowd :   33,035
Referee :  Mark Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear)
West Ham kicked off and defended the Bobby Moore Stand in the first half.
Weather :  -  Very hot, sunny
Teams : - 
West Ham United :

  1  Green

20  Faubert
15  Upson
19  Collins
18  Spector

17  Jimenez (14  Kovac 78)
31  Collison (24  Nouble 89)
16  Noble
  8  Parker (41  Hines 84)

46  Stanislas
  9  Cole

Unused subs: 
28  Kurucz
  4  Gabbidon
30  Tomkins
35  Payne

Tottenham Hotspur :

23  Cudicini

22  Corluka
19  Bassong
26  King
32  Assou-Ekotto     

  7  Lennon       
12  Palacios
  6  Huddlestone
14  Modric  (24  O'Hara 88)

18  Defoe    (16  Naughton 90+4)
10  Keane (c)  (15  Crouch 80)

Unused subs: 
35  Button
  2  Hutton
  5  Bentley
  9  Pavlyuchenko

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of http://www.colours-of-football.com)
West Ham United

Tottenham Hotspur
Scorers : -  
West Ham United

Cole 49

Tottenham Hotspur

Defoe  54
Lennon 79

Cards : -  
West Ham United

Jiminez (foul) 30
Faubert (unsporting conduct) 90+2   


Tottenham Hotspur 

Huddlestone (foul) 64 


Match Report : -  
From the worst start in the club's history last season to the best in nearly 50 years, the three consecutive wins have got the media whipped up into a frenzy claiming that Tottenham will be among the top four come the end of the season.  However, this 2-1 win after falling a goal behind to West Ham United  signals the arrival of a new Spurs.  A team who are more resilient and willing to battle back, even away from home. 

But not let us get too carried away, as the results achieved so far are only equal to those of last season's corresponding matches.

In what was a very open and attack minded London derby, it was Tottenham's attacking intent which triumphed over the caution of West Ham, who defended in numbers once they had scored and were made to pay the price. 

Spurs started confidently, as they should have done after two wins out of two, with Keane and Modric have efforts blocked and across the goalmouth respectively.  Aaron Lennon showed good pace against Jonathan Spector, which was something that became something of a pattern throughout the game.  As is what is rapidly becoming a Spurs trademark, with a tenth minute move when Cudicini started a speedy counter-attack, throwing out to BAE, then moving the ball onto Modric and the Croatian midfielder darted inside to hit a shot that Faubert had to make a block to stop doing more damage.

The return of Mark Clattenburg was marked in his inimitable style, getting in the way of the ball travelling to a Spurs player at the back of the box when it might have been a good chance for Tottenham to create something.

In the early stages, the closest the Irons got was to use Carlton Cole as a battering ram to bundle Carlo Cudicini into the net with no regard to the laws of the game, resulting in a free-kick to Spurs.  But the use of over-lapping full backs for Spurs this season has also lead to more defensive worries for opposition sides as Benoit Assou-Ekotto raided up the left, but could not quite find the right final ball, while back in his rightful position, he was muscled off the ball by Carlton Cole, who shot from outside the box, it was too high.  West Ham's first meaningful effort on target came after 18 minutes, when Scott Parker hit a low shot from 25 yards out, which had Cudicini scrambling to save at his left hand post. 

The Tottenham keeper was in action again, halfway through the first half, as a through ball from Spector released Cole, who beat Carlo to the ball, but his shot caught the goalie's leg and the ball was kicked away.  Then it was Rob Green's turn to save, this time Huddlestone's shot caused the England keeper to plunge to his left as Hud hit a shot from the right hand side from 25 yards out.  When the next attack happened at the Spurs end, Sebastien Bassong blocked Carlton Cole's shot and Jiminez hit the rebound over the bar.

A miscued corner routine in the 27th minute almost worked for Tottenham, as Modric's pull back to Huddlestone on the edge of the box was mis-hit and went straight to Robbie Keane inside the box, but the linesman had spotted he was offside.  Then Spurs had an even better chance as Bassong prodded a shot wide after Modric's corner was returned in by BAE.  Closer to a goal Tottenham couldn't have got when Ledley King almost repeated his feat of last season with a goal at Upton Park, but his flicked header from Modric's free-kick took the ball over Green, but bounced back off the crossbar on the half hour.

Spurs were pressing hard in this period of the game and Modric took a curling shot that went just wide after being set up by Keane, who foxed Collison, then Hud took the ball off Noble before feeding it through to Luka, who brought another save out of Green at his near post.  The movement and closing down was giving West Ham real problems and Bassong lost his marker at the far post from Tom's free-kick and couldn't wrap his neck around it to get it on target.

West Ham hit back, with a route one derived chance, as Cole held up Green's long kick and Collison burst through into the area to try and get onto the England striker's pass, but when he thought he would be about to give the Irons the lead, King produced a fine sliding tackle to block out his shot.  They should have gone ahead, with Stanislas getting around Charlie Corluka a bit easily on the West Ham left, then putting the ball across the six yard box where Carlton Cole was back on his heels and did not read it, otherwise he would have had the simple task of tapping in the ball to make it 1-0 as the game moved into first half injury time, with Assou-Ekotto off the pitch at the time.

The half-time interval only served to delay West Ham taking that lead.  Having had the bulk of possession and the larger proportion of chances, it will be a little surprising that they somehow fell behind, but it was a stunning goal that gave the home team the lead.  Four minutes in and a long kick by Green was taken by Cole, who teed the ball up for himself to hit a powerfully hit volley past a shell-shocked Cudicini.  It was one of those goals like Adebayour's at the Lane the other year.  Either they become a goal of the month contender or end up hitting row Z.  Whatever, it put Spurs behind for the first time this season.

But then, many people have been clamouring for Cole to partner Spurs up front  And their will be more calls for that after Defoe was set up by Cole for the equaliser just six minutes later.  knocking a pass up to him back towards the centre of his defence, he was looking for one of his own players, but only ended up picking out Defoe.  What came next was only to be expected, as Jermain took the ball on a pace and blasted the ball past Green, as he had done last Wednesday. 

Spurs had moved to push things forward and Modric found himself on the end of Lennon's cross after he ghosted past Spector once more.  When Jiminez went into the Spurs box, Assou-Ekotto challenged and the Chilean went down wanting a penalty.  But he didn't get one.  But then Spurs had been balanced out by two claims in the first half with a Collins handball and a tug by Spector on King as he went for a header.  Straight after those Irons fans behind the Spurs goal were wanting another one as a shot hit Ledley King in the chest.

Carlo Cudicini had to plunge down to his right in the 70th minute to deny Jimenez heading Noble's cross in at the far post, but it was Cole's shot two minutes later that came close with it fizzing past the post.  Upson got in the ay of two surges towards the West Ham goal, before the decisive moment that won the game came.  Right in front of the Spurs fans, Corluka tried to slip a pass up the right wing inside Spector.  There wasn't enough pace on the ball and the American defender got there first, but slipped and Lennon's speed took him in front of him, allowing him to gather the ball and curl it past Green into the far corner of the goal.  It was a fine finish from the little winger and gave Spurs a deserved lead for their attacking display away from home.

Harry countered any possible response by putting Crouch on for Keane to give them an out ball, while West Ham replaced the heavy tackling Parker with Hines.  This made little impact on Tottenham's forward moves, as Lennon pulled a low cross behind both Defoe and Crouch; one of whom should have been a bit behind the other.  Then Defoe saw a small gap as he latched onto a touch back to him and hit a shot that Green parried away and was quick up again to deny Crouch who go there looking for a goal off the rebound.

In between Stanislas fired over the bar when in the penalty area, then afterwards, Collison made a run into the box and was denied by a good low stop by Cudicini.  As the heat took it's toll on the players, the game fizzled out, except the heat ratcheted up a few degrees when Defoe and Faubert clashed, with the Frenchman scything the striker down, but Clattenburg only produced a yellow card, when perhaps he should have seen red.

So a third successive win, hard earned, but down by believing in the way the team were playing and by out-playing West Ham, despite the home team having some chances themselves.  This will happen, as the defence will sometimes be left exposed.

Winning games when things are in the balance might indicate that the team are making progress in the areas where they need to.  The way this result went, Spurs will be very happy, with tougher games coming up in the next few weeks and nine points out nine is a start not too many Tottenham fans might have seen in their years following the club.

the polyphant



Other League scores this weekend :
Arsenal 4 Portsmouth 1 Saturday
Birmingham City 0 Stoke City 0 Saturday
Hull City 1 Bolton Wanderers 0 Saturday
Burnley 1 Everton 0 Sunday
Fulham 0 Chelsea 2 Sunday
Liverpool 1 Aston Villa 3 Monday
Manchester City 1 Wolverhampton Wanderers 0 Saturday
Sunderland 2 Blackburn Rovers 1 Saturday
Wigan Athletic 0 Manchester United 5 Saturday



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

Position before the match :  1st
Position after the match :  1st
Position after the weekend :  1st

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