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Spurs v West Ham, 18.12.13

CAPITAL ONE CUP ROUND FIVE
WEDNESDAY 18th DECEMBER, 2013
(7.45pm)
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1 (0) WEST HAM UNITED 2 (0)

Spurs Scorer:-
Adebayor, 67

West Ham scorers:-
Jarvis, 80
Maiga, 85

Attendance:-34,080

Referee:- Mr. N. Swarbrick
Assistants:- Mr. J. Brooks & Mr. D. Cann
Fourth official:- Mr. A. D'Urso

Teams:-
Spurs (4-1-3-2):- Lloris; Walker (Capt.), Capoue, Chiriches, Rose (sub Fryers, 62); Dembele; Lennon, Sigurdsson, Townsend (sub Chadli, 73); Defoe, Adebayor (sub Holtby, 78)

Subs not used:- Friedel; Fredericks; Eriksen; Soldado

Booked:- Adebayor (persistent fouls)

West Ham (4-2-3-1):- Adrian; O’Brien; Collins (Capt.), McCartney, Rat; Collison, Diarra (sub Morrison, 79); J. Cole (sub Diame, 70), Taylor, Jarvis; C. Cole (sub Maiga, 65)

Subs not used:- Jaaskelainen; Demel, Noble, Chambers

Booked:- Diarra (foul on Rose)

Gung-Ho doesn’t work either.

From out of the wilderness came Spurs exile Emmanuel Adebayor to put the finishing touch on quite a special team goal, which gave Spurs a deserved lead in the 67th minute. Adebayor had been Spurs best player in Tim Sherwood’s first (maybe his last) venture as team manager, in which Spurs played Gung-Ho football, with two strikers for the first time this season.

However, Adebayor was taken off after 78 minutes in favour of Lewis Holtby, when presumably Sherwood’s intentions were to shore up the midfield and prevent West Ham from coming back. This didn’t work. The Hammers had played a cautious game, with 10 men often behind the ball whenever Spurs attacked. However, the Hammers’ goalkeeper had been threatened too rarely, and after Adebayor’s removal, Sam Allardyce hoodwinked Sherwood, and went gung-ho himself, scoring two late goals to give West Ham a dramatic late win, and a place in the semi-final, where they will meet Manchester City.

West Ham took their full away allocation, and their fans had gleefully been celebrating their 3-0 win earlier in the season. This win gave them all the more reason to celebrate and Spurs fans couldn’t get out quick enough at the end of the game whilst Hammers’ fans were kept inside. Well they might celebrate, as this was the first time West Ham have ever won two games at White Hart Lane in the same season.

This was our 200th League Cup tie, and we have lost the first and last of these to West Ham. It was also the first time that we have lost consecutive games to West Ham was in 1966, when we lost in April 4-1, and then in November 4-3.

Like AVB on Sunday, Tim Sherwood was hampered by enforced absentees. Both Paulinho and Dawson were suspended. Vertonghen, Kaboul and Sandro were all injured. The defence was again make-shift, but it did include Vlad Chiriches, and Danny Rose. However, Danny Rose also has to be protected, and was replaced by Zeki Fryers after 62 minutes. It was from Fryers’ section, where there was too much space left for Hammers’ late winner, which came from a cross from that flank. That is not to cast the blame upon Fryers, as Spurs had become rattled and lost any semblance of composure at the back when they were supposed to have been holding the fort.

Much of the game was played in windy and wet conditions. At stages one of the corner flags was blown almost to a horizontal position.

I’ll admit to liking the starting line-up, looking very much like an old fashioned 4-4-2, but critics were alarmed at the outset by the lack of any authentic holding midfielder. It was left to Dembele to fulfil this task, behind an attacking midfield three with two authentic wingers. With Sandro and Paulinho absent, what other option was available?

Clearly Sherwood’s plan was to go out and out for an attacking style and a win. His team dominated possession (68% - 32%), but failed to give West Ham’s number two keeper Adrian enough direct pressure, especially in the first half. Adebayor worked really hard, and came deep quite often, playing effective in close quarters with good ball control, and excellent link-up play. The Spurs Odyssey survey so far confirms my view that he was our best player by a mile.

Spurs made a great start out of an early defensive position with a ball to Adebayor who quickly sent Lennon away down the right. Lennon crossed and Sigurdsson met the ball at the near post, but his shot was blocked. Another attack came from the right side involving Sigurdsson and Lennon. The ball reached Townsend who was towards the right side of the box, but fired wide of the keeper’s left post. Townsend ultimately frustrated again. He was instrumental in Spurs goal, but too often his final delivery, or attempt lacked the quality needed in a given situation.

West Ham had their first chance after 6 minutes, when Chiriches’ headed clearance was sent the wrong way, giving Jarvis a chance, but he fired well over. Adebayor headed wide from a Townsend cross after 10 minutes. Already, Spurs were in charge, and West Ham were getting men behind the ball in droves. Defoe fired over with his left foot after 18 minutes, before Dembele won in midfield and sent Lennon away. His cross was headed over by Adebayor, who soon got the first booking of the game for persistent fouling, as referee Neil Swarbrick pointed to all corners of the ground before waving his card.

Lloris was down well to an attempt by Carlton Cole, and Vlad Chiriches was strong in defending against Matty Taylor’s attempt to advance in the Spurs box. Defoe and Adebayor combined before Defoe’s final ball was put out for a corner.

Townsend made a good run after Lloris had patted down a West Ham shot, but Andros frustrated when he got to the business end of the pitch. After 48 minutes, his cross was touched back to Lennon by Adebayor, but Lennon’s effort was deflected out for a corner. Adebayor collected deep in midfield and sent skipper for the night Kyle Walker away, but his effort was blocked. Both Lennon and Sigurdsson had shots blocked in the ensuing attack, which ended with the ball being cleared from the feet of Defoe.

There was a moment of farce and near disaster for Spurs in the wind, when Collins was supposed to be returning the ball to Lloris after an injury situation. The kick was from within the West Ham half, and the ball was caught by the wind, nearly catching out Lloris on his line. Had the ball gone in, would West ham have given Spurs a goal back? I wonder.

Danny Rose had a half-chance after 55 minutes, as he played himself into a central position, but he fired over with his right foot. Sigurdsson sent Townsend away down the right, and he got all the way to the bye-line, but failed to deliver a telling ball. Carlton Cole gave the Spurs defence plenty to think about on their right side of the box, but we held him at bay.

Kyle Walker fired a free kick way over the goal after 61 minutes, before Spurs took the lead in quite spectacular fashion. They had been defending a West Ham corner, and Lloris threw the ball to Townsend, well within his own half on the left. Townsend sent Defoe away with a good ball down the line. Defoe got round the outside of the defence and sent over a cross which was met with a first time volley by Adebayor hitting a shot into the roof of Adrian’s net in front of the Paxton Stand. Adebayor strutted and was entitled to celebrate such a goal on his first start of the season. At the time, of course, we thought it would be the winner.

Now it was Allardyce’s time to play some gung-ho football. Townsend pulled up with a hamstring and was replaced by Chadli. Lloris had to dive full stretch to save from Taylor at his left post, and within minutes saved again from Taylor.

Adebayor went off after 77 minutes, and west Ham equalised in the 80th minute. Taylor gave the assist with a header from the centre and Jarvis was in too much space on the left, beating Lloris with a powerful rising shot. Spurs might have re-gained the lead when Defoe put Chadli through, but he was almost bundled off the ball and got no strength in his shot.

Spurs’ agony was complete in the 85th minute, as the defence lost its composure. Substitute Diame had too much space on the right flank, and substitute Maiga rose to head home for his first club goal for over a year.

Spurs won a corner after a Defoe shot was deflected. It was taken by Holtby and Sigurdsson hit a good shot from the near post, which Adrian tipped over. Sigurdsson had another shot saved after a Dembele pass, but as we played out the 5 added minutes, it was West Ham who threatened most with Lloris stretched to save from Jack Collison.

Spurs’ season is folding before our very eyes, and it doesn’t make good Christmas Fayre. Tim Sherwood doesn’t know who will be in charge for our game on Sunday at Southampton. Any game for Spurs at the moment is a stern test. One thing is certain. Gung-ho football won’t work on Sunday.

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