BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE
SATURDAY 16th AUGUST, 2014
WEST HAM UNITED 0(0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1(0)
Dier, 90 (+3)
Referee:- Mr. C. Foy
Assistants:- H. Lennard & M. McDonough
Fourth Official:- Mr. K.A. Woolmer
West Ham (4-3-2-1):- Adrian; O'Brien (sub Demel, 62), Collins, Reid, Cresswell; Downing, Noble, Kouyate; Nolan (Capt.), Vaz Te (sub Diame, 68); Cole (sub Valencia, 81)
Subs not used:- Jaaskelainen; Burke, Poyet, Zarate
Booked:- Collins (foul on Lamela), Kouyate (foul on Kane)
Sent off (62):- Collins ( Second yellow - foul on Adebayor)
Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Lloris; Naughton, Kaboul (Capt.), Dier, Rose; Capoue, Bentaleb; Lamela (sub Holtby, 61), Eriksen, Lennon (sub Townsend, 61); Adebayor (sub Kane, 83)
Subs not used:- Friedel; Dawson, Davies; Soldado
Sent off:- Naughton (29) - preventing goal-scoring opportunity.
Eric (The) Dier - King
Spurs debutant Eric Dier had a day to remember and was King for a day when he scored Spurs' dramatic added time winner to send West Ham fans home with their tails between their legs, and to end that horrible run of three consecutive wins by "The Irons".
The game did not always excite, but it had plenty of drama, with Kyle Naughton sent off for "preventing a goal-scoring chance" when handling Kevin Nolan's close range shot from an angle at close range in the box. Personally, I felt cheated; firstly because of the award of the penalty, and secondly when assistant referee Michael McDonough had a chat with referee Chris Foy and convinced him of the additional offending, having initially flagged for a penalty. I would argue "ball to hand", and also wonder if the shot was on target.
Spurs fans were exhilarated when Mark Noble hooked his penalty wide, having sent Hugo Lloris the wrong way.
Spurs had made a bright start, without testing Adrian to any great extent, but had already allowed the home side back into the game before Naughton's dismissal. When matters were evened up with the dismissal of James Collins, after an hour had passed (for a second bookable offence), Spurs became more assertive, not least because of the arrival of Andros Townsend on the scene to replace Lennon. Erik Lamela had also been replaced by Lewis Holtby, but Townsend had more influence on the game.
Apart from the orchestrated "Bubbles" chant before kick-off and at the start of the second half, the home crowd was remarkably quiet for much of the game, whilst the visiting support was very vocal for most of the time.
New signings Enner Valencia and Mauro Zayate started on the bench, and it was quite a surprise to see Carlton Cole get the nod to start from Sam Allardyce. The West Ham side bore a remarkably similar appearance, with the exception of the quite impressive Cheikhou Kouyate, who started in the centre of midfield, but was often to be seen in forward positions. Once Collins was sent off, Kouyate covered at centre back, so he is quite a versatile player, and a useful acquisition for The "Hammers"
As for Spurs, as I anticipated, they started with almost the same team as that which started last Saturday's friendly against Schalke. The exception was Capoue playing beside Bentaleb.
Capoue made some vital tackles in the early stages, and. Bentaleb was quite impactive in the second half. Bearing in mind the insertion of a Townsend and Kane in the second half, it is interesting to note that Mauricio Pochettino has a similar faith in our young players as did the much maligned Tim Sherwood.
Spurs started brightly, with Eriksen sending the ball to Lennon on the left, whose cross was cleared. Capoue made his first vital interception on the left flank, before Spurs demonstrated good skills in the West Ham half through Lamela, Adebayor, Naughton and Eriksen.
However, Carlton Cole had a half chance inside the Spurs box after only four minutes, but he put the ball wide.
Eriksen had a free kick from the left side held by Adrian. This was possibly the first use of the magic spray by referee Chris Foy in the game, and was cheered by the crowd.
Spurs were playing a fair bit of "tippy-tippy" football, before Bentaleb threaded a ball to Danny Rose, whose effort went into Adrian's hands.
At the other end, Rose has to be held partly culpable, I feel, for making Stewart Downing look good. Downing had an impressive game, providing plenty of crosses, and testing Hugo Lloris on occasions.
Spurs defended one such Downing cross well after 14minutes, and I think it was Kyle Naughton who got the final important touch in to prevent Carlton Cole taking advantage.
Spurs had to defend well when Joey O'Brien got inside Downing. Ultimately, Danny Rose carried the ball outside the box, and won a free kick.
West Ham have a long throw merchant in the shape of left back Aaron Cresswell (signed from Ipswich), and this caused some anxiety in the Spurs box. At corners, both Nolan and Cole would stand on the goal line and seek to impede Lloris. After a corner on 22 minutes, and a half clearance, Nolan had a header go wide when the ball was returned to the box. Collins headed over from another corner.
Kouyate glanced a Downing cross wide across the goal, and seemed to want more from the referee, such as a foul. Then, after another corner, Nolan won that penalty, and Spurs fans(including me!) were incensed at that award, then the red card. We laughed when Noble hooked his shot though.
Spurs had to revert to 4-4-1, with Dier moving to right back, and Capoue taking on the centre-back slot on the right of Kaboul.
Bentaleb started a great Spurs move, sending Eriksen away down the left side. Eriksen's cross was intended for Adebayor, but was cleared.
Vaz Te had a shot take a slight deflection for another West Ham corner. With five minutes of the first half remaining, Erik Lamela got away with a strong challenge, ultimately feeding Adebayor, who passed back to Lennon. Lennon hit a decent shot, which tested Adrian, but passed over the goal.
At the other end, O'Brien crossed, and Vaz Te headed goalward, but it was an easy hold for Lloris.
Spurs had managed to hold their own, despite the loss of Naughton, and to their credit, in the second half, had more of a go at West Ham. Bentaleb threaded a ball to Eriksen, who got in the box, but could not get in a shot.
Lloris got down well to a Downing low shot, before Collins took his first card for a foul on the advancing Lamela. Danny Rose made a good win in the West Ham half. His cross was intended for either Lennon or Lamela, but they too were thwarted.
After an hour, Pochettino made the double substitution of Holtby for Lamela, and Townsend for Lennon. West Ham's right back O'Brien was replaced by Demel.
Collins was shown a second yellow, and therefore got his marching orders, for unfairly halting an advance by Adebayor. Before Eriksen could take the resulting free kick, a West Ham fan invaded the pitch, and took the kick, but hit it wide. Once he was suitably treated, Eriksen took the kick and put it well over anyway.
Adebayor and Adrian had some argy-bargy when challenging for a Townsend cross from the right, and Adrian won a free kick.more tippy-tappy stuff from Spurs culminated in ball from Eriksen to Townsend, whose well-driven rising shot was tipped over for a corner.
Subsequently, Adrian saw an Eriksen shot late, but held the ball inside his left post.
As the game entered its closing phase, I feared that Spurs might concede. Kaboul messed up badly , allowing Noble a run on goal, thankfully defended by Lloris.
New man Valencia replaced Cole. Another substitute, Diame had an effort from beyond the back post, receiving a deep cross from the right, but Lloris held. Lloris was sorely tested when Downing got into the box, after a one-two, hitting a low shot, which Hugo saved well at close range.
With the end of normal time approaching, Townsend fed the ball inside to Bentaleb, who hit a powerful shot, well saved by Adrian, moving to his left. He couldn't do anything in the third minute (of four) of added time though, as Spurs launched an attack through the middle. Harry Kane made the final pass for hero of the hour Eric Dier, to make his way into the left side of the box, round Adrian, and fire home in front of the gleeful away support. The celebrations were passionate, and Kaboul was particularly demonstrative.
We've had some dramatic wins at Upton Park in recent years, with Gareth Bale's winner of early 2013 coming to mind, and Paul Stalteri in the 4-3 win several years ago. This wasn't quite so dramatic, but it is always so satisfying to win late, especially at Upton Park!
It is sobering to think of the players not involved in this game, including Sandro, Dawson, new signing Ben Davies, Paulinho, Vertonghen, Dembele, Chadli , and of course Soldado, who was another un-used substitute.
I felt we needed more grit in the middle, where "Hammers" were sometimes allowed too much space, but this early win is more than welcome!
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