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Spurs v West Ham, 06.10.13

BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE
SUNDAY 6th OCTOBER, 2013
(4pm)
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 0(0) WEST HAM UNITED 3(0)

West Ham scorers:-
Reid, 66
Vaz Te, 72
Morrison, 79

Attendance:- 35, 977

Referee:- Mr. L. Probert
Assistants:- Mr. G. Beswick & Mr. P. Bankes
Fourth official:- Mr. C. Pawson

Teams:-
Spurs(4-2-3-1):- Lloris; Walker, Dawson (Capt.), Vertonghen, Naughton (sub Holtby, 81); Dembele, Paulinho; Townsend, Eriksen (sub Soldado, 74), Sigurdsson (sub Lamela, 63); Defoe

Subs not used:- Friedel; Chiriches; Sandro, Chadli

No Bookings

West Ham (4-2-3-1):- Jaaskelainen; Demel, Tomkins, Reid, Rat; Diame (sub Collins, 80), Nolan (Capt.); Downing, Noble (sub O'Brien, 90+), Vaz Te (sub Cole, 86); Morrison

Subs not used:- Adrian; Maiga, Jarvis, Petric

No Bookings

West Ham fans live for days like this.

Spurs players; the club's connections; their manager; fans, and this reporter were embarrassed by this shocking result. After all, West Ham had not won a game at White Hart Lane this century, and had not won by such a margin at The Lane since April, 1994, which was also the last time they had managed to score three goals here. (It was 4-1 on that occasion).

The only two games we have lost this season have been London Derby matches. They have been two of the games we most hate to lose, and one wonders if the manager, and his players truly realise what those matches mean to we fans?

Credit to West Ham. They came with a game plan, which worked exceedingly well for them. Whenever we got into their half, they had ten men behind the ball, closing us down effectively. Spurs did have some chances, especially in the first half, but goalkeeper Jaaskelainen was not severely tested. That game plan of Sam Allardyce also featured an intent to attack on the counter, and the Hammers did this to good effect too.

What was it that moved AVB to select Jermain Defoe for his first Premier League start abode Soldado, for whom the club had paid a princely sum? Obviously Defoe has scored freely in the second string games in Europe and in the Capital One Cup, but he did not offer enough in this game to convince me the selection was wise. Defoe was of course caught offside a couple of times, and failed to convert a wonderful one on one opportunity at the start of the second half. He did not offer the clever touches we have seen from Soldado in tight situations.

This was a London Derby, and yet there were no bookings. One expects more passion in such games, which would normally make a card or two a natural event. The game was crying out for tempo from Spurs, which did not surface until the second half. Then when they went a goal down, against the run of play, heads went down whilst West Ham tails were up.

The "Y" word had of course been a major issue in the build-up to the game, with the police threatening to arrest anyone (home or away, inside or outside the ground) who uttered the word which has been a badge of honour for Spurs fans for at least 30 years now. The police contingent in the ground were concentrating on the away section, and the policy was tested sorely by home fans who greeted their team, and Jermain Defoe in the traditional way. I am not aware of any sanction upon this behaviour as yet.

On the face of it, the away fans showed a degree of restraint, but they gleefully suggested that Gareth Bale had left because we were **it. Later in the game they gleefully and ironically greeted their rare away victory.

The closest thing to a chance in the first ten minutes was when Defoe closed down Jaaskelainen, and nearly caused panic. Sigurdsson put a good ball through to Paulinho, who offered a shot which was blocked, and went out of play, not for a corner, but for a goal kick.

All game, the one Spurs player to offer any threat to the opposition was Andros Townsend. He made winning runs, and some decent crosses. Ultimately though, I feel that his end product fell below the standards needed at this level as the game wore on. Don't get me wrong, I love to see Andros in our colours, and I have followed him since he was a Spurs junior. I repeat, he was our best player, but he also could have offered more at times.

After 14 minutes, Michael Dawson was in the opposition half, and he sent Andros away on a run which worked out in his favour, after a rebound from a defender. Townsend fed the ball to Sigurdsson, who hit a right foot shot, which was saved by Jaaskelainen, moving down to his right.

Dembele made a run in the middle, skipping to his left before sending the ball in, which was half cleared as far as Paulinho, whose shot was, to be frank, poor.

There was a little delay because Jaaskelainen needed a change of footwear, which frustrated the home fans, who were already getting tetchy around me. Another good Townsend run gave Paulinho another chance, which was again spurned.

After a rare West Ham attack and a corner, Vaz Te glanced a header wide across the far post. Townsend won the ball in the middle and took it forward, before hitting a low cross that just evaded Defoe at the back post. Eriksen slipped the ball to his left for the advancing Paulinho, who was again off target.

Just before the break, West Ham were awarded a free kick just outside the box on the right. Noble took it quickly, and surprised the Spurs defence with his chip into the box, where Nolan met it. And hit a good shot just wide across Lloris.

Spurs did indeed start the second half with raised tempo, and Paulinho threaded a lovely ball through to Defoe within the first minute after the break. Defoe failed and was smothered by the keeper and his defence.

Dawson was penalised at the other end, and Noble again hit a good free kick, this time finding Diame on the left of the box. He fired wide across the goal.

Paulinho was fouled as he approached the West Ham box, and Eriksen's free kick to the back post could not be converted by the advancing Dawson or Vertonghen. Eriksen was the provider for an excellent chance for Defoe, who did test Jaaskelainen this time, who just got a fingertip to the ball to concede a corner.

Walker conceded a somewhat cheap corner, from which Lloris had to save a downward bouncing header. As Spurs tried to clear in front of the away fans, they called a for a handball, but the referee was having none of that.

Andre Villas-Boas made his first change, with Erik Lamela taking the place of Sigurdsson. To be honest, it was a long time before Lamela even got a touch, and I can't say he had an impact on the game.

Shortly after that substitution, West Ham won a corner on the right, from which Winston Reid scored at close range, against the run of play. His first attempt was actually blocked by his team-mate Noble, but Reid put in the rebound.

It wasn't long before West Ham added to Spurs' ignominy, after the lost the ball in midfield. Vaz Te was left in the clear, and whilst Lloris saved his first shot, the ball fell back to Vaz Te, who seemed to score involuntarily from the rebound.

Now AVB put on Soldado to play side by side with Defoe for the first time this season. Townsend crossed and Paulinho headed goal wards, but it was all too easy for the keeper. There was no way back for Spurs, after they had been on the attack, and Ravel Morrison broke clear on a fine run from half-way, before chipping the ball over Lloris. I thought that a team-mate had got the final touch, but Morrison's shot had rolled over the line.

Spurs huffed and huffed. West Ham's substitutions included two defenders, and the nearest Spurs came to a goal was an effort by Soldado. By now though, most Spurs fans had left, and West Ham fans chanted "is there a fire drill"

What more can I tell you? It was a truly horrible day. One could try to console oneself with the fact that Arsenal suffered a similarly embarrassing home defeat on the first day of the season, but Spurs, who could have gone above them with a good win today, have let us all down very badly.

Significantly, both Chelsea and Manchester City have won this week-end, and I fear that despite the signings and the pre-match optimism, we will be once again amongst the "also rans" this season.

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