Looking Forward



Premier League

Sunday 15th September 2002

The traditional London derby comes to the Lane in the shape of West Ham United.  Not the West Londoners of Fulham, as that is hardly a traditional anything.  Playing at Loftus Road means that Wednesday's fixture lost a lot of meaning for many fans.

The table seems odd with the Irons on the bottom after four games, as their form last season was patchy, but good enough to lift them to a heady position of 7th at the end of the campaign.  There was a bad start and a bit of a rough period around Easter, but they picked up at the end to finish reasonably.

Much of their invention came from the boots of young Joe Cole and the aged Paolo Di Canio.  The Italian is only just back from injury, while the weight of expectation on Cole has been great.  He had a fine game against Arsenal, but needs to perform consistently to help out club and country.  Meanwhile, his young colleague Carrick has been getting the stick from the Boleyn crowd, despite the high esteem he is held in by some other Premier League clubs.

Glenn Roeder has overseen a poor start to this season and I don't think anyone would have expected to see West ham propping up the table so early on, as everyone knows they come down with the Christmas decorations !!  There has been a fair amount of coming and going under the manager's reign, with some players unsettled, but the squad has been added to and the conveyor belt has produced some good youngsters over the last few years.

The signing of Raimond van der Gouw will give James competition in goal.  James has an odd approach to the game, as sometimes, he can seem really confident and stop everything thrown at him, but other times, his handling is suspect and he appears to be unsure of where he should be.  I am not sure if he was the sort of keeper the Hammers needed, but he will be replaced if he drops below what is expected of him.  Another newcomer is Edouard Cisse, on loan for the season and down E6 way, it is hoped that he will become a formidable figure in the middle of the midfield.  However, he has yet to settle fully into the pace of the game in this country.

The attack of Kanoute and Defoe will be pacy and deadly, although to often the Frenchman gets dragged wide and away from areas where he can inflict the most damage, which is good for us.  Defoe is only young, but has showed at various levels that he is a goalscorer in the old fashioned sense.  All his work is targeted at the goal and he does little else.  If he doesn't get the supply, then his effectiveness is severely limited.

Of all the areas, the defence is the one where there is greatest concern among the Irons fans.  Breen has come in on a freebie form Coventry, but is not the most commanding figure, even though he interested Inter Milan (apparently) before he signed for West Ham.  Alongside him, Tomas Repka is a rugged individual and he has had disciplinary problems with the refs in this country.  If Robbie Keane plays, he might have the legs to expose his deficiencies.  On the flanks, they have Schemmel and Winterburn on patrol.  Neither is the best defender, with the Frenchman more of a danger going forward and the ex-Gooner getting old.  If Etherington plays and can get at him, then he might be a good source of supply.

From what Alex says below, the sides might both line up 3-5-2 and there will be an attempt to cancel each other out, but with the movement that Keane should add to our side, it might pull West Ham out of shape and make gaps appear for others to run into.  I expect Ziege to play to add to the supply lines for Keane and Teddy will partner him up front, with Les on the bench, if a physical presence is needed in attack.

With West Ham desperate for points, so they don't get marooned at the foot of the table and Tottenham suffering a late defeat in the week, this fiercely fought derby will probably end ...

PREDICTION : -  Tottenham  1   West Ham United  1

For more information on the opponents and their history, including full result history of matches between the two teams, click here.

We asked a West Ham United site for their views on the game ...

How do you think your club will do this season??

Well I did think we had an outside shot at a European place this season, but confidence is already low and I think we'll have to accept mid-table as the height of our ambitions now. Such a shame as we've probably got one of the most talented squads in our history. 

Who do you think is your best/most on form player(s)?

Joe Cole has started the season on fire, head and shoulders above the rest of the squad. He so often was over-hyped in the past, and struggled with the most basic parts of the game. But now he's picking out some superb passes, and seems to have sorted out his shooting as well - really he finally looks the player we've been promised for years.

Your worst players?

Hard to single out players when the whole team is misfiring, but Winterburn looks worryingly like it's a season too far. But basically a number of the players in our squad look like they could achieve anything in the game, but often just fall far too short of their potential.

Any exciting new signings or gems in the squad that we might not know about?

Our loan midfielder Cisse looks promising, he's certainly got all the attributes to be a top player. Of the younger players in the background, Aussie midfielder/forward Richard Garcia looks the most promising. There are others making waves in the youths, but they're still a season or two away from the first team...

What sort of line-up can we expect?

I wonder if Roeder might just switch to 3-5-2 - we've been having big problems in central defence and so shoving an extra centre-back might just be a temptation. My guess:  James - Breen, Repka, Dailly - Schemmel, Sinclair - Cole, Lomas, Carrick - Di Canio, Kanoute.

Your best chant(s)?

Very little to sing about so far...

What do West Ham fans think of Tottenham Hotspur?

Well I think it's fair to say that you come in for more criticism from our lot than any other London Premiership team. Personally I don't share that animosity - I think there's a bit of a connection in the way both teams historically share a 'style over content' entertaining approach.

What do you think Spurs will achieve this season?

Got to say I'm surprised to see you make such an encouraging start - haven't seen much of you this season yet, but on paper logic seems to dictate that you won't be right at the top come the end of the season. If you can match our 7th from last season it'll be seen as good progress I'm sure...

Which Spurs player will you fear the most?

Over the years we've shown a total inability to deal with the forwards who drop deep, so Sheringham would be my primary concern. But I'd also be concerned to see Simon Davies running at Winterburn.

Predicted score??

It's hard to see us winning this one, but I think West Ham will be fired up and giving everything to get some sort of result. 2-1 to the Spurs...

Our thanks go to 
Alex V
West Ham Online



Tottenham  3   West Ham United  2  (Half-time score : 0-0)
Sunday 15th September 2002
Venue : -  White Hart Lane
Kick Off : -  16.05 p.m.
Weather : -  Overcast, warm
Crowd : -  36,005
Referee : -  U. Rennie (Yorks)
Teams : -  Tottenham : -  Keller; Perry (Doherty 33), Gardner, Taricco (Thatcher 46); Ziege, Etherington (Iversen 85), Redknapp, Bunjevcevic, Davies; Sheringham, Keane
Unused subs : - Hirschfeld, Acimovic

West Ham United : - James; Repka (Winterburn 10), Dailly, Breen, Pearce; Sinclair, Cisse, Lomas, Cole; Di Canio (Carrick 80), Kanoute (Defoe 85) 
Unused subs : - van der Gouw, Camara

Colours : -  Tottenham -  White Shirts, navy blue shorts, white socks with navy blue turnover.

West Ham United - Claret shirts with blue sleeves and trim, White shorts, Navy blue socks with black turnovers

Scorers : -  Tottenham -  Davies 62, Sheringham (pen.) 71, Gardner 89

West Ham United - Kanoute 66, Sinclair 77

Cards : -  Tottenham - Bunjevcevic (foul) 28, Redknapp (foul) 76

West Ham United -  Sinclair (foul) 49, Kanoute (handball) 61, Pearce (foul) 70

With matches like this, who needs heart attacks ?  The roller coaster second half saw Spurs spurn the lead twice, before finally grabbing a late winner.

After the late turnover at Loftus Road on Wednesday, Tottenham were nearly undone by their lack of attention when West Ham roared back into the game with ten men after going 2-1 down.  The second half was when all the action took place after a dogged, but dull first period.

The only things to commend it were the lovely piece of skill by Robbie Keane, when he lifted the ball over a defender's head and hit a volley that dipped just over the bar.  Spurs made some good approach play, but the final ball was mostly lacking and the crossing was wayward.  As for West Ham, they were winning a lot of possession in midfield, but their shooting from distance was worrying only the crowd, rather than Keller, with the main culprits Cole and Lomas.  

Ziege had a free kick go inches wide and Teddy had a header off target, but apart form that there was little to put down as thrilling in this London derby.  It wasn't helped by the referee, who spent his time whistling for innocuous challenges and being pedantic about where free-kicks were taken.  His handling was not conducive to the flow of the game.  Each team also lost players to cuts on their legs.  Repka came out of a challenge with Redknapp on the stretcher and Perry left in similar fashion, when he blocked a Kanoute effort.

Nobody would have thought the second half would explode into a frenzy of goals.  Two West Ham headers were off target and Thatcher made a desperate lunge to prevent Winterburn getting a shot on target as he ran in from the left wing.  But it was left to new-boy Robbie Keane initiated the deluge, when he made a neat reverse pass down the line and Matthew Etherington beat Sinclair for pace.  His low cross was met perfectly by Simon Davies, who got in front of Dailly and clipped his shot past James at the near post.  It was a very well worked goal and one that was the route that should have been taken in the first half, rather than high balls into the box, as if Les was still there.

It only took four minutes for the Irons to get level, with Di Canio lobbing up a hail Mary to the far post, where Dailly made amends by heading across goal and Kanoute came in unmarked to bundle the ball over the line.  Another four minutes and another goal !!  Bunjy played Keane in on the left side of the box.  His quick feet and ball control left Pearce trailing and he could only bring him down with just James to beat.  A penalty and a red card to boot.  James and Di Canio stalled for all they were worth, but when Sheringham strode up to take the kick, he coolly smashed it into the inside of the side netting to restore the lead.  

Surely Spurs would go on and win it comfortably from here ?  But no, you know Spurs. With 77 minutes gone, a free kick out on the right was taken swiftly and before any Spurs player could react, Sinclair nipped in round the back and stuck his leg out to volley it past Keller.  2-2 and all the good finishing had gone to waste.  Was it to be another Fulham ?  It nearly was, when our free kick was cleared to Cole, who ran from his own half and nearly turned Doherty to score, but his shot was deflected wide.

It was left to the dying embers of this fiery encounter for Anthony Gardner to step out of defence and as the West Ham defence backed off him, he let fly from outside the area and his shot took a deflection off Gary Breen, that saw it spin into the goal just inside the post and out of James' grasp.

Oh, it was sweet and condemned the away fans to the subject of their chant that "We Are Bottom of the League !"  It might be one that they get to sing quite a bit with this sort of luck.  They did come back strongly and showed that they are alert and bright in their play, but too much centred around Cole, who's magic did not often enough come up with an end product.  Kanoute was often dragged wide and away from where he is most dangerous, with much of the West Ham shooting well off target.

For Spurs, it was a chance to put right what had gone wrong on Wednesday.  It didn't go entirely to plan, but then what does these days ?  With the Man U game at Gold Trafford next week, we are going into the match on better form than they are ... and how many times can you have said that over the last ten years ??


Burton Coggles




Heart stopping finishes are now the stock in trade for Tottenham as they left it until the closing stages to grab a win from the jaws of a draw.

For all the work Tottenham put in to getting into the lead twice with good moves, they nearly threw it all away with two moments of slackness and could have lost out altogether if Joe Cole had made more of the break away from Gary Doherty he had when the score was 2-2.  Luckily, he was the most profligate of their players, who had at least four shots in the first half, all of which failed to hit the target.

Spurs had only a few chances in the match, but their finishing was more than sharp.  This was mainly prompted by new signing Robbie Keane, who showed a fine appreciation of space and where the goal is.  If his touch used in mugging up Breen in the first half and Pearce for the penalty in the second is anything to go by, then that might last for many a year.  He caused a buzz in the crowd and a tremor in the West Ham defence whenever he got the ball, such was his intent in running straight at the defence.  While Spurs often seemed to be playing to Les Ferdinand with long balls forward, in the second half they got the ball down and started playing more to their strengths.  The long ball and a flick on by Teddy might work as Robbie gives us some pace in the attack.

West Ham were neat and dominated the midfield in the first half, but couldn't make their possession pay.  They moved well and found holes in the Tottenham defence, but like many teams they need to find a finisher.  They might have to look no further than their bench, where Jermaine Defoe sat until five minutes from the end.

Spurs did create one very good goal, when Etherington sprinted down the line and pulled a low cross back to the near post, where his Posh mate Davies timed his run expertly to stroke the ball past James.  Such crosses will see Keane profit from them if he gets that sort of service.

West Ham's equaliser saw Spurs all at sea in defence, as the header from a cleared cross was let go across the width of the goal and Kanoute sneaked in unmarked to toe the ball over the line.  It was a poor goal to let in and worse was to come.  Bunjy had fed Keano, whose smart turn brought a foul from Pearce and a penalty that Teddy put away with confidence, despite James cleaning his boots in an attempt to put him off.  Then Spurs went to sleep.  A straight free-kick by Di Canio was seized on by Sinclair who ran behind Thatcher and in front of Keller to meet the ball on the volley for another leveller.

It all seemed to be going wrong as the ten men did what they are clichéd to do and made it harder for Tottenham, but we didn't help ourselves by giving them the ball too often.  Keeping the possession would have helped kill the game as they would have had to run more to shut down the extra man, while it would have prevented the Irons doing anything if they couldn't get the ball.  Such an example was when Tottenham were passing the ball around and it came to Anthony Gardner near the centre circle.  The tall defender strode forward as the Hammers defence backed off and he decided to take a pot shot, which flew off Breen's shin, spun away from James and into the net.

The joy of the Spurs players could be seen when they all jumped on Gardner and then at the final whistle when they saluted their win.  The London Derby factor kicked in and West Ham gave a good account of themselves, although they need to buy some shooting boots.  Tottenham stuck to their guns and despite not firing on all cylinders and fielding a fragile midfield, in which Bunjy and Redknapp disappeared at times in the second half, they came out with full points to keep our place near the top of the table.  Not a classic, but an exciting second half.  

While West Ham looked like they forgot their socks and had to wear our away ones, they played as though they were in a testimonial.  Nice flicks and tricks, but their shooting was cavalier in the extreme.  With that many efforts, the percentage on goal must have been shockingly low.  In fact, their shooting was pants.  They will need to improve it if they hope to clamber away from the foot of the table.

Stanford Rivers



Other scores this weekend :

Birmingham City  3    Aston Villa  0  (Monday)
Bolton Wanderers  2    Liverpool  3
Charlton Athletic  0    Arsenal  3  
Chelsea  3      Newcastle United  0
Everton  2      Middlesbrough  1  
Leeds United  1    Manchester United  0  
Manchester City  2    Blackburn Rovers  2   (Sunday)
Sunderland  0    Fulham  3   
WBA  1    SCBC  0  


League Table
  P W D L F A Pts
1 Arsenal 6 4 2 0 15 6 14
2 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 6 4 1 1 11 8 13
3 Leeds United 6 4 0 2 10 4 12
4 Chelsea 6 3 3 0 13 8 12
5 Liverpool 6 3 3 0 11 7 12
6 Fulham 5 3 1 1 12 6 10
7 WBA 6 3 0 3 6 9 9
8 Middlesbrough 6 2 2 2 7 5 8
9 Birmingham City 6 2 2 2 8 7 8
10 Manchester United 6 2 2 2 5 5 8
11 Everton 3 2 2 2 7 8 8
12 Manchester City 6 2 1 3 7 9 7
13 Blackburn Rovers 6 1 3 2 7 8 6
14 Bolton Wanderers 5 2 0 3 6 9 6
15 Aston Villa 6 2 0 4 3 6 6
16 Charlton Athletic 6 2 0 4 6 10 6
17 SCBC 6 1 2 3 3 7 5
18 Sunderland 6 1 2 3 2 8 5
19 Newcastle United 5 1 1 3 6 8 4
20 West Ham United 5 0 1 4 4 12 1

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