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West Ham v Spurs, 23.08.09

BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE
SUNDAY 23RD AUGUST, 2009
WEST HAM UNITED 1 (0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2 (0)

West Ham scorer:-
Cole, 49

Spurs scorers:-
Defoe, 54
Lennon, 79

Referee: - Mark Clattenburg

Attendance: - 33,095

Teams:-
West Ham (4-1-4-1):- Green; Faubert, Collins, Upson (Capt.), Spector; Parker (sub Hines, 84); Jiminez (sub Kovac, 77), Noble, Collison (sub Nouble, 89), Stanislas; Cole

Subs not used: - Kurucz; Gabbidon, Tomkins; Payne

Booked: - Jiminez, Faubert

Spurs (4-4-2):- Cudicini; Corluka, King, Bassong, Ekotto; Lennon, Palacios, Huddlestone, Modric (sub O’Hara, 86); Keane (Capt.) (sub Crouch, 79), Defoe (sub Naughton, 90) (Armband to King)

Subs not used: - Button (GK – no. 35); Hutton; Bentley; Pavlyuchenko

Booked: - Huddlestone

I’m like a kid in a candy store!

I am like the proverbial kid in a candy store! Firstly I woke up at 4.25 a.m today filled with child-like excitement at the prospect of today’s game, where I felt confident that Spurs could get a result. The fact that my beloved team have won, and are at the top of the three-game old Premier League only serves to add to that excitement. With no disrespect to next week’s league opponents, Birmingham, I find myself looking forward to the visit of Manchester United on September 12th in the same way as I used to look forward to the fixture in the sixties, when we used to queue up from 10.30 a.m for a prime spot at the front of the shelf! They are saying that it’s the first time Spurs have won their first three games since the famous Double season. Well, I am certainly not counting any chickens, but I am so enjoying the ride at the moment!

This was Spurs fourth consecutive win against “The Hammers” and it is now 8 games since we suffered defeat on the day of “Lasagne-gate” in May 2006. Most of our players had to be ill for the Hammers to be able to beat us!

Spurs lined up as expected, with Cudicini in goal, and Ledley King returning to his central defensive role in an otherwise settled and achieving side. West Ham (who couldn’t fill their ground for their “Cup Final”) paid Spurs some respect despite being at home, with Scott Parker behind a midfield four which included Jiminez on the right, with instructions to get forward and support the otherwise lone striker Carlton Cole, who put himself about a bit, and gave both Bassong and King plenty to think about.

There was an announcement regarding the serious injuries suffered by former Spur Calum Davenport (and his mother) in a nasty stabbing incident earlier in the week-end and generous applause from both sets of fans.

As could be expected, both teams played with an intent to score and win, and there was no slow play or sitting on the ball which was pinged about across and up and down the field relentlessly. Spurs had the early pressure, following a free kick on three minutes by Luka Modric, which led to a corner and more set pieces to follow. West Ham’s Carlton Cole thought he was entitled to a goal after bundling Cudicini and the ball after a cross from the right after 10 minutes. Cudicini might well have carried the ball over the line as he fell, but referee Mark Clattenburg had already blown for a foul by the striker. Cole got between Bassong and King after 15 minutes, making the most of his strength, but hitting his shot wide. Cudicini held a Parker shot at his near post at the second attempt two minutes later.

The referee was determined not to get his cards out early, settling for “words” when Parker and Defoe clashed. Spurs started getting the shots in again, after Palacios was fouled, Huddlestone took the kick, sent to Modric, whose shot went over. Carlton Cole had another chance after 22 minutes, but with Cudicini chasing out to the striker, the shot was pushed wide. Aaron Lennon started making headway against Spector down the Spurs right wing, and his cross was met by Huddlestone, whose on target shot was blocked.

After another Modric corner, Ledley had a go that went outside the target to the left of goal, where Keane picked it up but fired wide back across the goal-mouth. Ekotto and Bassong got on the end of another Modric corner, but Bassong’s effort did not give Green anything to worry about. Jiminez got the first card for a foul on Ekotto, and from the free kick, Ledley King’s header bounced off the top of the bar. After a Spurs throw on the right, Keane was provider for Modric on the left side of the box, but again the shot was off target. Modric then forced a save by Green after Spurs broke fluidly from the back through King and Defoe. Ledley then blocked a good shot by Collison on the Spurs goal. Just before the break, Stanislas collected an excellent long pass down near the left corner flag and got the better of Corluka, before hitting a whizzing cross that passed without contact across the goal-mouth. Cole was lurking but could not get that vital touch.

West Ham took the lead within four minutes of the re-start and when it came, the goal really was out of the blue, with Carlton Cole hitting an un-stoppable shot from the right of the area to get the home fans roaring. The lead did not last long though, as after a poor throw by Ekotto, Carlton Cole became unwitting provider with a poor back pass, latched on by Defoe, who still had to beat the defence, but did so with the confidence of the Premier League top scorer. It was a great right foot finish.

Green just got a touch to a threatening cross by Lennon, who then sent a cross to the back post where Modric got his head to the ball, hitting it down and outside Green’s right post. Jiminez fell under the challenge of Ekotto, but referee Clattenburg waved away any penalty ideas by the home side and their fans. At the other end, Defoe got similar short shrift when he went down after Palacios’s pass.

Cudicini made a good low save after a West Ham corner was headed down, and Cole hit another effort wide. Aaron Lennon had been more and more involved in the second half, and he gave Spurs the lead, receiving from Corluka, before rounding Spector and any other claret shirt that tried to stop him, before advancing to the edge of the area and beating Green with a low left-footed shot. Form there it was a case of a round of substitutions with the home side finishing with more strikers on the pitch, trying desperately to score, but failing against a resilient defence. Once again, it was smiles and laughter all round for Spurs fans at Upton Park, amid chants of “We are top of the league!”

I think I’ll go for the Aero – I love those bubbles!

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