OPPONENTS West Ham United
COMPETITION Premier League
DATE Monday 25th February 2013
VENUE Upton Park






Tottenham's travels take them from Lyon in France to the Boleyn Ground and a London derby with West Ham United awaits.  The Premier League is never easy for London clubs, having so many derbies to contend with, but to win a place in the Champions League or even a title, you have to battle away and pick up points from every game.

Spurs have been good away from home and West Ham started well, but have faded a little in recent months (coming down with the Christmas decorations) and sit 11th in the table.  Since Christmas they have lost to Aston Villa, Arsenal, Fulham and Sunderland, beating Norwich City and Swansea City.  While relatively solid at home with a 6-4-3 record, their away form is dreadful and needs must when they require home points, so with Sam Allardyce in charge, don't expect it to be pretty.

The Irons have found it hard to score goals and with their loan striker signing Andy Carroll having missed games with injury, they have lacked a consistent target man, with Carlton Cole not always being trusted with leading the line.  Mali striker Modibo Maiga has looked like he might be a the man they needed, scoring against Wigan Athletic, Chelsea and Southampton, but he is usually a sub and come son in place of one of the strikers when playing at home.  It would not surprise me if Allardyce played Cole and Carroll to try and unsettle the Spurs defence, with a tactic of lumping the ball into the box to try and put Hugo Lloris under pressure in the style of his old Bolton side.

In midfield, West Ham have home grown talent in Mark Noble, who should really have developed into an outstanding player, but really works hard without setting the world alight, while the likes of Matthew Taylor, Kevin Nolan, Jack Collison and Gary O'Neil all similar players, who chip in with a couple of goals here and there.  The more skilful players such as Matthew Jarvis and  Joe Cole are slotted in, but rarely have the space or time to play their game.  Jarvis is a tricky winger, who  can provide good crosses, while Joe Cole passes the ball well and is looking happier now that he is playing at his first club, rather than warming the stands at Anfield.  The West Ham player of the season so far must be Mohamed Diame, who is a strong presence in their midfield, as well as forging forward when he breaks up moves. 

The defence has been a little leaky at times and when they do leak, the floodgates open.  Jussi Jaaskelainen has started to look his age on occasion and the amount of shots Spurs normally get away on goal could test his aging reflexes to the limit.  In front of him the two full backs could be in for a busy afternoon and while Allardyce might have done his homework and consider a Lyon type performance, Spurs will have learned from that experience and made them aware of the importance of hitting the wide men quickly, allowing them the space to run at their markers.  So, if George McCartney makes it, he will need to be sure his knee has improved enough to be turned by Lennon and on the other flank Joey O'Brien might return and have his thighs tested by Bale's runs.  In the middle Winston Reid, who has been a solid performer for the Irons, and James Tomkins pair up, so it might be time for Emmanuel Adebayor to start performing against this central defensive duo.

West Ham do better at home with the whole bubbles thing, but Tottenham need to ensure that they get the three points in what might be a physical, as well as a nerve test.  The Irons will be up for it and their crowd will be, but this does not appear to affect Spurs as much as it might have done in the past.  With a few days now passed since the trip to Lyon, they will be rested and still buzzing from the last minute goal that saw them through.  Hopefully, this time they won't leave it to the last minute for a much needed win.

PREDICTION West Ham United    1      Tottenham Hotspur   2
Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , an alternative history, etc.
Dan Potts will still be missing after suffering concussion in the game at Arsenal just after New Year, but George McCartney (knee), Joey O'Brien (thigh) and James Collins (hamstring) will be hopeful of passing late fitness tests to be involved. .
Younes Kaboul, Sandro and Tom Huddlestone (all knee injuries) are all missing, but Spurs hope to have Jermain Defoe back to play against his old club, although another week is more likely before he returns to action.


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West Ham United  2 (1)     
Premier League
Monday 25th February 2013                             
Venue :  Upton Park
Tottenham Hotspur  3 (1)

Kick off  20:00
Carroll (p) 25
J. Cole 58
Bale 13
Sigurdsson 76
Bale 90
J.Cole (goal celebration) 60
Diame (foul on Bale)  62    
O'Neil (foul on Bale)  71
Collins (foul on Bale) 82  


Dembele (foul on Nolan)  7



Crowd :   35,005 Weather :  Chilly, light drizzle
Referee :  Howard Webb (South Yorkshire) Assistant Referees :  Mr. M. Mullarkey;  S. Bennett
Fourth Official :  Martin Atkinson -
West Ham United kicked off and played towards the Trevor Brooking Stand end in the first half.
West Ham United : kit Tottenham Hotspur : kit

17  Joey O'BRIEN
  2  Winston REID
19  James COLLINS
20  Guy DEMEL  (18  Emanuel POGATETZ 72)

32  Gary O'NEIL
  4  Kevin NOLAN  (14  Matthew TAYLOR)
21  Mohamed DIAME  (10  Jack COLLISON 84)

26  Joe COLE
  8  Andy CARROLL
  7  Matthew JARVIS

Unused subs: 
30  Rafael SPIEGEL
  9  Carlton COLE
12  Ricardo VAZ TE
29  Maroune CHAMAKH

  25  Hugo LLORIS

28  Kyle WALKER
33  Steven CAULKER
20  Michael DAWSON  (c)

  8  Scott PARKER (29  Jake LIVERMORE 89)
19  Mousa DEMBELE (46  Tom CARROLL 75)

  7  Aaron LENNON
23  Lewis HOLTBY (22  Gylfi SIGURDSSON 55)
11  Gareth BALE 

10  Emmanuel ADEBAYOR

Unused subs: 
24  Brad FRIEDEL
13  William GALLAS

Manager :  Sam Allaradyce Manager :   Andre Villas-Boas
Sponsor :   SBOBet Shirt sponsor :  Aurasma
Kit Supplier :  Macron Kit Supplier :   Under Armour
Match report

In a game that started with Bobby Moore's grand-children bringing the match ball out and a minute's applause for one of the game's all-time greats, it ended with the crowd (well one part of it anyway) rising to anoint the new star of the world stage, who won this game for Spurs with a swing of his left boot and condemn West Ham's negative approach to a pointless exercise and one that sees them slip one place nearer the drop-zone, while Spurs leap-frog over Chelsea into Third place with this 3-2 victory.

Spurs had brought in Lewis Holtby to join Lennon and Bale in the attacking three, while Jan Vertonghen moved out to left back, with Caulker returning in the middle of defence.  West Ham, as expected, fielded Andy Carroll up front and brought back James Collins at the back.  And West Ham tried a furious start to put Tottenham off their game. Some heavy tackling and energetic closing down produced a low shot from the left of the box by Matt Jarvis that Lloris did well to hold at his near post, while a weak shot from Mohamed Diame failed to give the French keeper too much bother.

As it was, Tottenham took the lead with a goal from who else but Gareth Bale. The ball was played by Dembele towards Adebayor on the left hand corner of the box, but Guy Demel got there first, only to play the ball across the D to Bale. Shifting the ball onto his left foot and to the left of the lumbering Collins, giving him the space to fire in a low shot that went under Jaaskelainen's dive in the 13th minute.

After the goal, West Ham's players were putting in challenges worse than the one that Dembele had been booked for previously, so you can only assume that Howard Webb's yellow for the tackle the Belgian made (after being caught late himself) was just a frightener.  While West Ham tried to make the most of their aerial threat, Spurs were breaking well and when the ball came out from a couple of corners, it was Kyle Walker who tried his luck both times firing in shots way off target.

A ball was played up into the Spurs area and a diving challenge by Scott Parker on Andy Carroll, as Nolan held the ball up for him, gave West Ham the opportunity to equalise from the spot in the 25th minute and the Liverpool loan striker got up and sent Lloris the wrong way to make it 1-1.

Jarvis tried to race away from Walker and cut across him, luckily pushing the ball too far ahead of himself, allowing Dawson to rush in to tackle, but a ricochet took the ball square across the Tottenham area which could have been dangerous. However, there were no home shirts there to capitalise. Another long cross saw Carroll on Vertonghen, with the West Ham forward dragging down the Belgian with both arms and looking amazed at the decision Webb had given.

Spurs regularly played the ball back to Lloris to clear, which was an ill-judged tactic with the West Ham defence being so tall and six minutes before half-time, it almost back-fired on them.  Joe Cole picked up the second ball and flicked it over the Tottenham back line for Jarvis to run onto, but Kyle Walker made a great tracking run to slide in and block the winger's shot when it looked like he was in the clear.

The atmosphere was pretty flat, with the Irons' high balls into the box were being cancelled out by Hugo's claiming of the ball in the air. Then three minutes before the half-time whistle, a flowing move worked the ball from the back and a ball from Dembele freed Holtby, who fired at goal and a deflection gave Spurs a corner. From it, Steven Caulker rose to head at goal and Jaaskelainen dived full length to push it wide. Another corner and another Holtby shot, deflected wide for another corner, but nothing came from that one.

In injury time, a Collins foul, bundling Holtby over from behind, gave Spurs a free-kick some 35 yards out. Bale set the ball up and managed to get the ball down after it had gone over the wall, but it went wide. But only just wide, as Jaaskelainen didn't move. While the West Ham fans jeered, it had been reasonably close and the final whistle went before another kick could be taken.

After the break, Spurs almost went ahead again courtesy of Demel. A Vertonghen cross from the left was not going to a Spurs player, but Demel stuck out a leg to deflect the ball, forcing his own keeper to dive to keep the ball out at the near post. From the corner Caulker once more drifted in between Collins and Carroll to head powerfully at goal, only to see Jaaskelainen to beat it out on the line.

An early West Ham corner almost dropped for Diame, but was cleared and then when Spurs broke forward with Scott Parker doing incredibly well to cover 30 yards and retain possession, Sigurdsson's first touch saw him shoot. The ball bounced just in front of the keeper, who managed to touch it onto the post and Adebayor headed the rebound at goal, but it was too close to Jaaskelainen and the chance had gone.  Within a minute, the ball had been played through at the other end to Jarvis, who was beaten to it by Lloris, who kicked the ball into touch. From the throw, Spurs went to sleep a bit and when the ball came in, Vertonghen's attempt to play Joe Cole offside failed and when he got close to him, the midfielder turned and shot early from wide of the goal on the left to get it across Lloris and in to hand West Ham the lead. It was a poor goal to concede and made the remaining half hour a difficult one for Spurs.

Sigurdsson obviously felt up for it tonight, as he got the ball off Parker on the left and cut inside to curl a shot that deflected off a defender for another corner that found Caulker's head. This time he headed it down and again Jaaskelainen kept it out. Within minutes, Bale played the ball out to Lennon and got it back to try and pick out a shot into the top corner, but the Irons keeper tipped it over the bar, where it might have been going anyway. Then Parker ran the ball in from the cleared corner and hit shot that flew wide.

A poor foul by O'Neil on Bale handed the Welshman another go at a free-kick from 25 yards out that he got too high again. At the other end, Lloris had to stretch high to reach a deflected shot from Carroll and then, as Tottenham pressed forward, Joe Cole played a ball through the Spurs back line for Taylor to go through on goal, but Hugo was quick off his line and closed him down quickly, beating away his shot from near the edge of the box with his face !!

When Spurs attacked next, Bale's run on the right was halted by Pogatetz's pull back on his arm.  Another free-kick by the right wing touch-line and although West Ham won the first header, the ball bounced off a West Ham players' back to take the ball towards the far post, as Caulker was flattened and then kicked in the head. Adebayor had a go, but couldn't force it over the line, missing the ball altogether, but Sigurdsson was on hand to shoot low off Jaaskelainen's floppy hand and in for the equaliser.

Lennon was enjoying things more now that he had Pogatetz against him. Going around him, he pulled the ball back from the dead-ball line for Parker and his low shot was turned at goal by Bale or Collins with the Irons keeper chest keeping the ball out, with him knowing little of what happened. Then, when the ball came back in, Adebayor had a great chance to score with a header, but again Jaaskelainen dived to push it aside.

Livermore came on for his 100th career appearance replacing Parker for the last couple of minutes,as Scott had run himself into the ground. With a calm piece of defending in the box by Dawson, Livermore played the ball wide to , who played it on to Bale, whose run ended with O'Brien up-ending him. However, the play continued and when the ball came back to him, centrally placed and 25 yards out, his trusty left foot arrowed a shot into Jaaskelainen's top left hand corner leaving him no chance of stopping this one.

Coming in the last minute of normal time, it was a world class effort that had turned the game in Tottenham's favour. Seeing out the four minutes plus of added time was none too troublesome.

At the end, Bale had left Gary O'Neil treading water, as he let the ball run across him to turn away from the West Ham midfielder.  After the end, Sam Allardyce was left treading sour grapes, as he whinged on about how Mousa Demeble should have been sent off and then they might have stood a chance of getting a point.  Well "Big" Sam, perhaps you should just play the big man sometimes and admit you have been battered and beaten by the better team.  Credit to West Ham for showing spirit in scoring twice to take a surprise lead, as they were playing to their strengths and then Spurs did the same.  Running at the West Ham defence that sat deeper and deeper that played into Tottenham's hands ended up as the deciding factor in the game.  That and the fact that Spurs had Gareth bale, but it was not all about him tonight.  Lloris did well from the very back, the defence were good apart from a couple of moments of lost concentration.  The midfield not only worked hard going forward, but tracked back well and the presence of Adebayor helped in two of the Spurs goals, although he should have had a couple for himself.

An eighth away win in a season is now a new Premier League record for the club and there are still a number of games to play.  The win sets up next week's match nicely and I am sure that the opposition will be as fired up as West Ham were.  Unfortunately for the Irons, they ended up getting roasted.

Isaac Gregory



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What you thought
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Other scores during this week :
Arsenal 2 Aston Villa 1 Saturday
Fulham 1 Stoke City 0 Saturday
Norwich City 2 Everton 1 Saturday
Queens Park Rangers 0 Manchester United 2 Saturday
Reading 0 Wigan Athletic 3 Saturday
West Bromwich Albion 2 Sunderland 1 Saturday
Newcastle United 4 Southampton 2 Sunday
Manchester City 2 Chelsea 0 Sunday
League Cup Final :
Bradford City 0 Swansea City 5 Sunday




League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Manchester United 27 22 2 3 64 31 68 +33
2 Manchester City 27 16 8 3 50 24 56 +26
3 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 27 15 6 6 47 32 51 +15
4 Chelsea 27 14 7 6 54 29 49 +25
5 Arsenal 27 13 8 6 52 30 47 +22
6 Everton 26 10 12 4 40 32 42 +8
7 West Bromwich Albion 27 12 4 11 38 36 40 +2
8 Liverpool 27 10 9 8 49 34 39 +15
9 Swansea City 27 9 10 8 38 34 37 +4
10 Stoke City 27 7 12 8 27 33 33 -6
11 Fulham 27 8 8 11 37 42 32 -5
12 Norwich City 27 8 11 8 27 41 32 -14
13 Newcastle United 27 8 6 13 36 46 30 -10
14 West Ham United 27 8 6 13 31 41 30 -10
15 Sunderland 27 7 8 13 29 36 29 -7
16 Southampton 27 6 9 12 38 49 27 -11
17 Wigan Athletic 27 6 6 15 33 51 24 -18
18 Aston Villa 27 5 9 13 26 52 24 -26
19 Reading 27 5 8 14 33 51 23 -18
20 Queens Park Rangers 27 2 11 14 19 46 17 -24


Position before match :  4th
Position after match :  3rd
Position after the weekend :  3rd


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