WEST HAM UNITED (Away)
Saturday 1st March 2003
travel to Upton Park where West Ham United have won just one home league
match all season. Unusually, we are not the first to succumb when
such a record is on offer.
Spurs will find an Irons side buoyed by the win over fellow strugglers West Bromwich Albion last week and keen to keep up the pressure on those around them with another point-grabbing performance. On paper, Tottenham should be too good for West ham, but on paper, West Ham should be too good to be where they are.
Too many players have not been performing to their true ability and there has been dissent within the ranks, as it was reported that new signings Les Ferdinand and Rufus Brevett has criticised the training regime at West Ham as being not strict enough and that the canteen still offers a diet of food that is not conducive to today's nutritionally attentive player. This was later denied however. With Di Canio wanting away at the end of the season and in constant dispute with Roeder and James and Repka arguing on the pitch, the Boleyn Ground is not the happiest of places at the moment.
It is at the back that West Ham have not excelled this season. They currently have conceded 53 goals, the worst defensive record in the Premiership. I would like to think that Tottenham would add to that total, but with Robbie Keane out and only Sheringham and Doherty up front, it might be a big ask. Perhaps we might see more running out of the midfielders, but only Davies could fit the bill there and maybe Poyet, who picked up a knock on Monday night. James has been erratic as usual, playing well one week (against West Brom) and not the next (hopefully that will be Saturday). He could be an imposing figure in goal were it not for his uncalled for errors, which leave him looking foolish (even more than his wacky hair-dos). In front of him, Gary Breen has not reproduced his World Cup form and looks a fish out of water in the Premier League. Alongside him, the Vogts-blasted Dailly has lost form and Repka looks like (but doesn't play like) a man possessed. Only Ian Pearce looks as though he knows why he is in the middle of the Irons defence !! And he scores more goals than he stops sometimes. The aged Winterburn has been replaced by the veteran Brevett and Scott Minto and Sebastian Schemmel fight over the other full back spot. Neither makes a great contribution to the defensive side of the team's game.
The signing of Lee Bowyer was a controversial one and rumours still persist that he will come to Tottenham in the summer. On current form, he is little better than we have got already, although it is said that he has been carrying an injury for some time now which is hindering his game. Steve Lomas is still there and works hard in the engine room, while the flair comes from Cole and Carrick, who are being asked to carry the side at a young age. The Frenchman Cisse has found it hard going in England and in the reserves on Monday, he plainly didn't have the appetite for the match. Wide on the left, Trevor Sinclair will work the line and often scores against Spurs, so he will need to be watched and his battle with Treacle could be crucial to the outcome, while Don Hutchison is just coming back from long-term injury and has been missed by the Hammers faithful. However, there are stories that he wants away too, so it will either produce a lack-lustre performance or it will be used as an opportunity to use it as a shop window to move on.
Freddie Kanoute will miss the game as he will be suspended after getting sent off at Leeds, so Les Ferdinand will most likely start up front with Jermaine Defoe. Ferdinand we know all about and his presence in the air will make for an interesting battle with Deano and Ledley King will be keen to stop his Under-21 team-mate getting on the scoresheet. Defoe is a poacher and quick with it, so Spurs must keep him out of the danger area, before he can get his sight son goal.
With our injury problems, it will not be as easy as we might have thought. West ham should be battling for their lives and we should be pushing for a UEFA Cup place, but the lack of firepower will eventually cost us dear. It will be a low scoring match, as they seek to keep a clean sheet and try and hit on the break, which I fear will lead to the points being shared, but I would like to think it will end up ...
PREDICTION : - West Ham United 0 Tottenham 1
For more information on the opponents and their history, including full result history of matches between the two teams, click here.
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Webcast - www.spurs.co.uk
TV - Highlights - "the Premiership" - ITV
|West Ham United 2 Tottenham 0 (Half-time score : 0-1)|
|Saturday 1st March 2003|
|Venue : - Upton Park|
|Kick Off : - 15.00 p.m.|
|Weather : - Rained before game and again near the end, mild.|
|Referee : - N. Barry (Scunthorpe)|
|Crowd : - 35,049|
|Teams : -
West Ham United : - James; Repka, Johnson, Pearce, Brevett; Bowyer, Carrick, Cole, Sinclair; Defoe, Ferdinand (Hutchison 63)
Unused subs. : - van der Gouw, Breen, Moncur, Cisse
Tottenham : -
Keller; Richards, King, Bunjevcevic (Thatcher 46); Carr, Davies,
Anderton, Etherington (Acimovic 78), Taricco; Sheringham, Doherty (Freund
|Colours : -
West Ham United - Claret and light blue shirts, white shorts, light blue socks with claret turnover
Tottenham - White Shirts with navy blue trim, navy blue shorts, white socks with navy blue turnover
|Scorers : -
West Ham United - Ferdinand 31, Carrick 47
Tottenham - None
|Cards : -
West Ham United - Johnson (foul) 17, Bowyer (foul) 20, Cole (foul) 26,
Tottenham - Taricco (foul) 64, Davies (foul) 72
|Losing to West ham virtually puts paid to
any hopes of gaining a UEFA Cup place through the League placing at the
end of the season for Tottenham. Frankly, on this performance, it
is just as well. If they can't get fired up for a London derby
against the lowly Hammers, who had just one previous home win, then
there would be little hope against the cream of Europe.
Poyet didn't make it in the end and he was replaced by Etherington, who failed to show his pace enough to trouble West Ham. The side started off with a 3-5-2 formation, which didn't seem to be clicking today, as Keller was twice called on to make early saves from Bowyer and Defoe, who looked lively. He also had to be sharp in the 23rd minute, when Bowyer got through and the Spurs keeper finger-tipped the ball onto the post. Spurs' first effort came when Carr looked as if he was going to cross, but unleashed a shot that James did well to cope with low down.
It was no surprise that on the quarter hour Les got laid out after a clash of heads with Richards. Then he took another knock on his hip and had to have more treatment. I bet the Hammers physio team were cursing when he was signed by West Ham !! It all started to get a bit physical as Johnson picked up a yellow card when he fouled Etherington, when Spurs might have preferred the advantage to be played, with Bunjy set to hit a shot in on goal. The Yugoslav was fouled against a couple of minutes later and Bowyer joined his team-mate in the book.
When Les got the ball from Jermaine Defoe, after the England Under-21 man had run from the half-way line, on the edge of the box just after the half hour, the obvious happened and it flew into the net, with perhaps Keller needing to do better with it. It's not just ironic that we are short of strikers, but against a side who has the worst goals against column in the Premier League, we could barely get a strike on target to worry their (dodgy) keeper. Therefore, it was so clear that any chance that came Ferdinand's way would cause the fans to tremble and remember that last season it was his goal that won the game ... but that was for us !!
West Ham perhaps should have been reduced to ten men just after the goal, when Johnson was floored in a tackle with Taricco, then taking a swing at the Spurs man. The ref decided not to take any further action and perhaps for Spurs it might have been just as well after Monday's performance against the reduced Fulham side. We looked as though we were making it difficult against 11 !!
Sheringham almost got Matty in, but Johnson got there first to put the ball out for a corner. From it, Sheringham headed the ball across goal and Etherington missed the ball from just a yard out. Looks like him being employed as a replacement for Acimovic was being taken all a bit too literally !! Anderton himself got an effort in just before half-time, but it didn't test James too hard.
Unfortunately, when the Tottenham back line were tested just after half-time, they could not rise to the test. Richards fluffed a clearance, so did King and then when Keller went to claim it, Les challenged with the ball dropping kindly to Carrick to smash home for the second. It would have been hard enough for Tottenham to score one with the side they put out, but two was too much of an ask.
When Spurs got a chance after Davies broke away, it fell to Teddy who skied his shot miles over the bar. Davies did the same, while Hutchison and Defoe went a lot clearer as the home side hit on the break. The home side comfortably contained any dangerous move we had and
I suppose the only good thing is that we always lose to teams that eventually get relegated. Let's trust that hope doesn't fade and die.
|BUBBLING UP ??|
|Losing to West Ham ? You're
having a laugh aren't you !! Yes, we know we were away and our
record away from White Hart Lane is abysmal.
Are all those people who hailed ENIC as the saviours when Sugar was ousted glad to see that we have got our Tottenham back ?? Scrimping and saving in the financial means, while losing to lame ducks that everyone else rubs their hands in glee at playing and comes away with three points ??
Because after being unable to finish off an equally poor Fulham side on Monday, we lost out to a feeble Irons XI, who frankly, looked more up for it than we ever did. The poor application by the team really does not help the impression of Hoddle being a great man motivator. You can't imagine him kicking thee boot into any Spurs player's face. You can't imagine him throwing tea cups about. You can't imagine him having a lock-in to dissect what had gone wrong.
Perhaps there was more to his comment about being sure that Glenn Roeder would keep West Ham up than meets the eye. He's hardly the most animated of characters, but he's made to look like Graeme Souness compared to Hoddle !!
The use of subs has again cropped up as a dubious tactic over the last two games. Hod has his favourites and sticks with them. It would be kinder to put Doherty out of his misery. Acimovic and Toda have done nothing to show that they are Premiership quality as yet. Freund is relegated to the bench because he dared to question the manager. Players are played out of position and the tactics change, but with no end result.
The away form has been pitiful. With Hoddle in charge, we all hoped that would change, but we go away with less hope than we play with at home and consequently return with sweet FA.
When we have no strikers, you need your defence to function properly, but there was no sign of that today. Richards looked all over the place and was too easily turned by Defoe for the first goal, while he knocked Keller's fumble on to set up Carrick for the second. King looked rocky and it was only when Thatcher came on that things steadied a bit. The midfield went AWOL and Bunjy looked like a man running around not knowing what he was supposed top be doing. He has yet to make a crucial tackle and in this game he made no contribution to the movement up the field either. Carr just had a plain, old fashioned 'mare. A more angry young man you go have to go a long way to find.
On days like these. it is difficult how Teddy is going to get the extension to the contract he wants. All the fancy flicks and wayward shots make him look off the pace and out of touch. Anderton did little to enhance his appeal to many of the fans who feel he is not the same player since he came back from his latest injury. Davies, I felt a bit sorry for. He was running around like a headless chicken, but that was to cover for those who appeared unable to play the game. Not one of his best games, but at least he never stopped giving 100%.
And then there is Keller. I felt a bit sorry for him ,as Bowyer clearly made contact with Kasey's shin with the full force of his studs on a raised boot. It was a brave save and he kept the home side at bay in the early stages, although he must take a share of the blame for both goals. It was not a vintage gloveman's performance and will Glenn have the bottle to put Sullivan in, albeit a risk in the form he has showed since his return from a broken thumb.
It is days like these that you just don't want to think about the game you have just seen. You know that the shy Irons will come out of the closet and give you stick, but tell them that without us they would be almost down now. Harry Redknapp claimed they were a bigger club than Tottenham. If you looked at the two teams at Upton Park, you might have had trouble telling which was which, but one glance at the League table will put you right. One good season does not a big club make. And a few good performances will not earn Tottenham a European place. It needs more than that from both the manager and the board.
|Other scores this weekend :|
|Aston Villa||0||Birmingham City||2||Monday|
|Blackburn Rovers||1||Manchester City||0||Saturday|
|Worthington Cup Final|
|Manchester United||2||Leeds United||1||Wednesday|
|18||West Ham United||29||6||8||15||32||53||26|
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