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Preview West Ham v Spurs, 01.03.03

Here is Brian Judson's preview of the game


Premier          Pl   W   D   L   For-Ag  Pts
Home             10   5   2   3   12- 10  17
Away             10   3   2   5   12- 14  11
Total (Prem)     20   8   4   8   24- 25  28
Football League
Home (Div 1)     33  17   7   9   65- 51  47
Away (Div 1)     33   9   9  15   45- 54  29
Total (Div 1)    66  26  16  24  110-105  76
Football League
Home (Div 2)     10   4   4   2   18- 13  12
Away (Div 2)     10   3   3   4   13- 12   9
======================= ======================
Total (Div 2)    20   7   7   6   31- 25  21
Total (Prem)     20   8   4   8   24- 25  28
Total (Div 1)    66  26  16  24  110-105  76
Total (Div 2)    20   7   7   6   31- 25  21
Grand Total     106  41  27  38  165-155 125

This match will be the 106th League clash between the two clubs since Spurs first met them for Football League points in season 1919-20. The Hammers, as they are popularly known were originally founded in 1895 as Thames Ironworks but reformed under their present name in 1900, having joined the Southern League at the start of season 1899-1900. Spurs first met West Ham United in the Southern League during 1900-01. Their record is:


Southern League
Home (Div 1)  8  4  2  2   11-  8  10
Away (Div 1)  8  4  2  2   11-  7  10
Total(Div 1) 16  8  4  4   22- 15  20

At the moment, the Hammers look doomed to relegation, despite the fact they beat West Bromwich Albion on Sunday afternoon. All is not well in the West Ham camp as Di Canio appears to have decided that his great love affair with West Ham is over. He was visibly annoyed when he was substituted three minutes into the second half on Sunday. The TV cameras homed in on him as he volubly addressed Glenn Roeder as he stormed to the bench. The fact remains that, whatever Di Canio thinks, West Ham were more effective without him. They won 2-1 thanks to two good goals by Sinclair, which has put them within striking distance of the clubs above them.

West Ham's biggest problems this season has been due to the inability of their defenders to impose themselves on the opposition's strikers. There seems to be a degree of discordancy between James and the back four. This was brought into sharp focus on Sunday when James was seen confronting Repka after a series of mistakes by Repka had placed West Ham under pressure.

If West Ham do avoid relegation, it will be due in part to the continued good form of a goalkeeper once nicknamed 'Calamity' James. He has, in the past, been as clumsy as the famous Gary Sprake, although James has never thrown the ball into his own goal by mistake ... as yet.

West Ham's squad remains an enigma. On paper, they have a fairly strong squad with players such as Carrick and Joe Cole playing in midfield. Cole, in fact, reminds me of the great Trevor Brooking at his best but with more strength and power. What they lack most is a ballwinner in midfield of the kind that Billy Bonds used to be. Lomas is a hard working player but is not in Bonds' class.

Spurs need to be more focussed than they were on Monday night. It is true to say that the early departure of Poyet disrupted them but they played for nearly an hour with an extra player following Taylor's dismissal. Had Keane been playing, I am sure we would have beaten Fulham. Acimovic made the miss of the night, which is hardly likely to endear him to the fans.

Spurs have been somewhat better on the road this season and West Ham will feel the pressure more. If Spurs can ride the early storm, I am confident that Spurs can nick the points on Saturday. But they do need to be patient and to concentrate more than they have done at times this season.


Cheers, Brian

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