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Spurs v West Ham, 25.11.12

BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE
SUNDAY 25TH NOVEMBER, 2012
(4 P.M.)
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 3 (1) WEST HAM UNITED 1 (0)

Spurs scorers:-
Defoe, 44,64
Bale, 58

West Ham scorer:-
Carroll, 82

Attendance:- 36,043

Referee:- Mr. A. Marriner
Assistants:- Mr. S. Ledger & Mr. D. Bryan
Fourth Official:- Mr. M. Clattenburg

Teams:-
Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Lloris; Walker, Dawson (Capt.), Caulker, Vertonghen; Sandro (sub Livermore, 79), Huddlestone; Lennon (sub Dembele, 79), Dempsey, Bale; Defoe (sub Sigurdsson, 90)

Subs not used:- Friedel; Gallas, Naughton; Carroll

Booked:- Defoe (foul on Reid)

West Ham (4-2-3-1):- Jaaskelainen; O’Brien, Tomkins, Reid, McCartney; Noble, Diame; O’Neil (sub Taylor, 55), Nolan (Capt.) (sub Cole, 68), Maiga (sub Jarvis, 31); Carroll
(Armband to Noble)

Subs not used:- Spiegel; Collins, Demel, Moncur

Booked:- O’Brien (foul on Bale), Nobel (foul on Lennon)

Defoe puts Hammers in their place

Jermain Defoe (he’s a "Yiddo", you know) put his old team West Ham in their place with his 127th and 128th goals for Spurs. The goals were the 85th and 86th premier League goals for his team, and his performance could only have been capped by a hat-trick. Defoe had to suffer strong ritual abuse from the West Ham contingent, who will also bring investigation upon their club for some despicable anti-Semitic chanting, and some outrageous support for Lazio, and the actions taken against Spurs fans in Rome this week. It was an unsavoury backdrop to one of the best performances of the season by Spurs.

Spurs overtook their East London rivals in the table, and on this performance it was hard to fathom quite how the Hammers had got to such a position in the Premier League. They will surely face their next six games with trepidation. (Man Utd (A), Chelsea (H), Liverpool (H), West Brom (A), Everton (H), Arsenal (A) ). Spurs did give one of their best performances of the season, inspired by Captain Michael Dawson, surprisingly making his first Premier League start of the season. Dawson was in place to counter the aerial threat of Andy Carroll on a season-long loan from Liverpool. Carroll scored his first goal of the season late in the game, which proved to be nothing but a consolation. It also caused some mirth when West Ham fans sang “He scores when he wants” and Spurs fans responded with “He scores once a year”.

Andre Villas-Boas maintained his traditional formation, but Dempsey’s role in the middle of the three behind Defoe was more advanced than usual, offering something like a 4-4-2 at times, and giving Dempsey the chance to shine for the first time in front of his new home fans. Spurs could and should have more goals, with both Bale and Dempsey hitting the bar (one in each half), and Tom Huddlestone having three good opportunities with driven shots that all went wide.

West Ham sought to emulate the Spurs style, with Carroll alone at the front, supported by Gary O’Neil, skipper Nolan, and initially Modibo Maiga, who was replaced after only half an hour by Matt Jarvis.

We saw little of the Hammers in the Spurs half in the first part of the game, but it was a headed clearance by Caulker that led to Spurs first chance. His header went to Sandro, who quickly sent Defoe away on the left side of the defence, before firing over. Another Sandro ball was cleared to the feet of Defoe after 5 minutes, but this shot was comfortable for Jaaskelainen. O’Brien got an early booking for a foul on the marauding threat of Gareth Bale (also suffering abuse from the away support). After Bale took the free kick, Huddlestone’s first chance was a left footer that went well wide.

A rasping Bale shot after 10 minutes beat Jaaskelainen but bounced down off the underside of the bar. Dempsey tried to follow up, but could get no power on the ball, which was saved by the keeper. Dempsey soon had a decent effort from a central position, but Jaaskelainen held the shot inside his left post. After an attacking throw taken on the left, Huddlestone had another left footed effort on goal, but was wide of the keeper’s right post.

Dempsey had another effort after good work by Vertonghen and Bale on the left, but fired over. Spurs had already created a hatful of chance, some of which should have been converted.

After Noble’s booking for a foul on the advancing Lennon, Spurs fans chanted “You’re a sh*t Scott Parker”. West Ham fans responded with “You’re just a sh*t Theo Walcott” towards Lennon. They couldn’t even cite one of their own to compare with the Spurs winger! Spurs won that round 2-1 with “You’re just a sh*t Aston Villa”!

Vertonghen, Bale and Huddlestone offered skill with quick accurate passing of the ball forward to the feet of Defoe, who had been called offside. Soon after that, Defoe put himself under pressure for the rest of the game when he got a yellow card for a foul on Reid. There were a couple of occasions later in the game when the referee (Mr. Marriner) showed a degree of lenience towards further infringements by Defoe.

Dempsey did well to win a ball in an advanced position, feeding it to Huddlestone in the middle, for whom space was opening allowing a shot. This one was hit wide with the right foot, when he really should have hit the target. Huddlestone started a Spurs break out of defence with a good clearance to Vertonghen, who sent Bale away down the left. Bale worked his way inside and fed the ball to Lennon who fired wide.

In the last minute of the first half, Jermain Defoe gave Spurs a well-deserved lead with a fine solo effort. He collected the ball out near the right touchline, and made a bee-line for goal, finally hitting a lovely right footed curler inside Jaaskelainen’s near post. It was the keeper’s narrow side, and he should have done better, but Spurs celebrated with gusto!

I was sad to miss the start of a half-time interview by Paul Coyte with Spurs legend Alan Gilzean, making a rare trip to The Lane for the first time in nearly 40 years. I was also surprised that the greeting for Gilzean was a little muted, with no chanting of “Born is the King”. Perhaps the younger generation of Spurs fans needed more of a reminder of the status of this man in the annals of our history. Gilly looked in fine fettle, and was accompanied by his grandson.

Early in the second half, after a foul on Dempsey, Gareth Bale hit a free kick two or three feet over the bar. Then at the other end Nolan had an effort that fell to the feet of substitute Matt Jarvis, whose shot was held by Lloris, now surely established as the Spurs number one keeper. Sandro sent a quick ball to Defoe, whose effort was blocked for a corner. A powerful shot by Bale after 53 minutes was parried by Jaaskelainen, then cleared. Another Nolan pass to Jarvis was thwarted by Lloris denying the attempt on goal.

Dempsey had an excellent shot on goal that rebounded off the bar, before he clipped a clever ball over the defence to Bale, who was towards the right of centre, slotting home with his left foot off the keeper’s right post.

Six minutes later it was 3-0, after Huddlestone won a tackle that gave Sandro a 50/50 ball to win. The Brazilian sent Lennon away and he scooted ahead of the defence before unselfishly sliding the ball to his left to Defoe to score with an easy finish.

Now Kyle Walker got forward a little more, and after combining with Lennon, his cross reached Defoe, who hit a full blooded shot held by Jaaskelainen. West Ham skipper Kevin Nolan was replaced by Carlton Cole, as West Ham pushed up and tried to at least score. A Dempsey shot across goal passed wide, with Bale threatening, and when Dempsey fed the ball to Walker, the full back’s shot hit the side netting.

West Ham’s consolation came after what I think was a rare poor clearance by Caulker. The ball was returned from the right by Taylor, and headed home by Carroll for that first goal of the season.

There was a worry for Spurs when Sandro was stretchered off with minutes remaining. Sandro has been the form player of recent weeks, and would be a sore miss against Liverpool on Wednesday night.

More excitement came at the Paxton End when Dembele fed Defoe, whose effort was saved before Bale also had a shot pushed round for a corner. In five minutes of added time Lloris saved from Winston Reid, and a Spurs advance seemed to be stemmed by a handball unseen by the referee. Defoe took a late ovation before the final whistle brought cheers all round, except of course from the few remaining West Ham fans in the corner.

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