BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE
WEDNESDAY 2ND MARCH, 2016
WEST HAM UNITED 1(1) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 0(0)
West Ham scorer:-
Referee:- Andre Marriner
Assistants:- S. Ledger & D. Cann
Fourth official:- M. Dean
West Ham (3-3-3-1):- Adrian; Kouyate, Collins (sub Oxford, 66), Ogbonna; Antonio, Noble (Capt.), Cresswell; Lanzini (sub Sakho. 84), Obiang, Payet; Emenike (sub Carroll, 73)
Subs not used:- Randolph; Dobson, Song, Henry
Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Lloris (Capt.); Trippier, Aldereireld, Wimmer (sub Carroll, 77), Davies; Dier, Mason; Lamela (sub Son, 70), Eriksen, Chadli (sub Alli, 61); Kane
Subs not used:- Vorm; Walker, Rose; Onomah
Booked:- Alderweireld (foul on Payet); Wimmer (foul on Emenike); Davies (foul on Antonio)
Hammers win their "Cup Final", but not such a bad night for Spurs
On the night when Spurs could have gone top of the top flight table for the first time in March since 1964, they failed to find their rhythm and lost to a seventh minute goal from a set piece. It was West Ham and not Spurs who pressed hard, certainly in the early stages, and played "in your face football" which prevented Spurs from playing to their full potential.
Despite defeat, it wasn't actually such a bad night for Spurs, as their closest chasers - Arsenal and Man City - both lost.
However, when you contemplate the Spurs Odyssey post-match survey you will be hard-pushed to find a decent performance by a Spurs player. Slaven Bilic set his men up in a fine tactical formation with three centre-backs in the shape of Kouyate, Collins and Ogbonna. Antonio and Cresswell were wing-backs ahead of the three man defence, with Noble and Obiang alternating between them.
Up front, West Ham had the talented Lanzini, Emenike and the much fancied Payet.
Spurs were missing the injured Dembele, and others, with Dele Alli starting on the bench, having required a late fitness test.
Referee Andre Marriner will not win any plaudits from the Spurs contingent tonight, who raucously and ironically applauded the few decisions he did give in our favour. Mr. Marriner turned down a couple of Spurs penalty appeals, and showed yellow only to Spurs players.
The referee gave the Hammers an early free kick on the left side, and it was Harry Kane who cleared Spurs' lines. Christian Eriksen had a dangerous cross from the right, following a Spurs throw, but we went a goal down far too early in the game.
Payet took the corner on the right-hand side, and it was met at the near post by Antonio. Lloris got a touch, but could not prevent the ball hitting the net inside his goal to the left.
Ben Davies tried a shot at the other end, after Lamela's pass from the left flank, but Adrian was not tested on this occasion, and rarely at all on the night. Lloris did have to make a good save, diving to his left to prevent Noble's shot also hitting the net. Noble was taunted by Spurs fans with "You'll never play for England", but he showed more than any Spurs player tonight.
Kane had a shot blocked after Spurs made a good break from a corner through Lamela. Chadli made the final pass. Spurs fans were amazed when there was no punishment for an apparent foul on Kieran Trippier deep in West Ham territory, which left us short at the back as "The Hammers" sought to take advantage.
Payet won a corner, having got away with patting the ball in the Spurs area. Lamela was having one of those nights, when he might do something clever, but then lose the ball through over-running it. Spurs were at sixes and sevens at the back at times, and perhaps we did not have our best full backs on the case tonight. After an error by Trippier, Noble had a shot blocked, and Antonio won a corner from the follow-up. Collins headed over from the corner.
The referee had "words" with Lamela and Kouyate after a spat out near the touchline. West Ham fans booed Lamela thereafter. Three minutes before the break, "The Hammers" did have the ball in the net following a corner, but the offside flag was up.
To be honest, I got the impression that West Ham were playing like the away team in the second half, happy to soak up what pressure Spurs could offer, and threatening Lloris's goal on several occasions. Spurs had a good move three minutes into the second half, with Chadli on the right passing inside to Kane, who in turn fed the ball to Eriksen. The final part of the move was a Ben Davies shot going well wide.
Lamela had a near post header go well short of the post, following Trippier's cross. Lamela had started this move with a ball to Chadli. Kouyate failed against Harry Kane when Lloris hit a long clearance. The ball went through Eriksen to Ryan Mason, whose shot went wide of the top right staunchion.
Cresswell was getting well forward for West Ham, and hit a header wide after a cross from the right. Spurs' best chance probably fell to Harry Kane after Adrian could only parry a powerful shot by Alderweireld. Harry was just beyond the back post and failed to worry the keeper with his attempt.
Chadli was probably unlucky to be the first Spurs player to be substituted, but Dele Alli got a rousing cheer when he came on. Even Alli couldn't change things for us tonight.
Eriksen had a decent effort saved before Collins had to be replaced, and it was by young Reece Oxford, surely not a regular centre-back, but not really tested by Spurs.
Harry Kane hit an effort wide following an Eriksen cross, but the chances became fewer and farther between. Substitute Son fired over after Dier's pass, and Cresswell had another chance after a poor headed Spurs clearance. The left back fired over in front of The Bobby Moore stand.
Andy Carroll didn't really cause Spurs much trouble when he came on. For Spurs, Tom Carroll replaced Wimmer, with Dier moving into defence. Tom was energetic, but he too was ultimately unable to affect the game.
There were four minutes of added time, but Spurs looked less and less like scoring, They will need to be much improved for the North London Derby on Saturday. I understand that Arsenal will be missing Cech and Koscielny along with other existing injuries, such as that to Oxlade-Chamberlain.
It is of course frustrating to lose this game in particular (only our second away defeat of the season). We can only hope the team knuckle down and get a result on Saturday.
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