OPPONENTS West Ham United London at White Hart Lane
COMPETITION Premier League 
DATE Saturday 27th April 2019
PREVIEW Having worn down the massed ranks of green Brighton shirts, we face another home match against a side who have little to play for except this match.  For a team like West Ham United London, it is easy to put everything into games against Spurs as the remaining 34 each season appear to matter little to their fans, other than to vent their fury about how they regret having the Dildo Brothers as their owners/moving away from Upton Park/spending money on wastrel players who want to be off as soon as they hit a bit of form (delete as appropriate).

So, after the stultifying performance of the Seagulls, we shall expect a full bloodied approach from the Clarets, typified by their captain Mark Noble.  He splits the West Ham fans right down the middle.  Torn between him being an "up and at 'em" local boy and the fact that he is not very good.  He will rally the troops to go into battle with the demand to get blood on your boots.  Expect also, a miracle recovery from players who have been out injured/ill/out of favour/sulking as they will want to play in a Cup Final.  I think that Arnautovic will rouse himself before being off in the summer; Hernandez will want to leave his mark before he finds a retirement club somewhere; Snodgrass will fly into tackles with reckless abandon and Anderson will put in one his rare performances.

While there are players with undoubted talent in the Irons' side, they have not been able to show their best form (other than Declan Rice), as they have bumbled around mid-table, which is about their true position.  In their attempts to catch up with teams above them in the table, West Ham have spent money in the past and that has not been done judiciously.  Spending a lot of money on a player isn't necessarily the way to success.  He needs to fit into the team and the philosophy of their style of play.  Having gone through a lot of managers over the last few years, there has not been the stability to utilise the squad of players they have to the best of their ability.  West Ham fans have had to make do with the odd success over teams above them, but to move to that next step will be difficult, with an overhaul of their squad needed.

There are threats to our home record, but West Ham will have to click on the day and they have been lackadaisical in their general performances and this has shown in some of their results, much to the disgust of the fans at the Taxpayer's Stadium.  Where it will all end, heavens knows.  Stability might see the club settle into a more consistent approach to their future.  If not, it might mean more years in the doldrums with fan disaffection hitting the profits that their board seek.

Spurs are in the middle of balancing their Premier League and Champions League ambitions, but the onus will be on the three points at stake.  There will not be a first choice XI fielded by Pochettino, with them being just good enough to see this particular job through.

PREDICTION Tottenham Hotspur    2        West Ham United London   1
Harry Kane's ankle injury and Moussa Sissoko's groin strain mean they will not be able to tak epart in this game, whiel Harry WInks (hip) and Erik Lamela (hamstring) will be monitored in the lead up to the match..
Manuel Lanzini (groin strain) is doubtful and Andy Carroll (unsurprisingly) is out injured. Andriy Yarmolenko is still out with an Achilles injury sustained in the game against Spurs at the Taxpayer's Stadium, while club captain Winston Reid is sidelined with a knee injury.   Jack Wilshere will also be on the bench after getting over an injury (no, really ?)  that goes alongside all the others he has had.  The Irons hope Aaron Cresswell, Samir Nasri, Javier Hernandez and Carlos Sanchez will all be fit for the match on Saturday.

Sky Sports Premier League and Sky Sports Main Event - (live coverage)
Sky Sports 1 -  Game of the Day -  Saturday 20.30
Sky Sports Premier League  (highlights)  Saturday 23.00; Sunday 02.00; and 06.00
Match of the Day  (BBC 1) - Saturday 22.25 (highlights)   [repeated at 07:30 Sunday]  Also available online.
Goals on Sunday (Sky Sports Premier League) - Sunday 10.00 (repeated at 20.30)
Match of the Day 2  (BBC 1) - Sunday 22.30 (highlights)  Also available online.

For coverage in all parts of the world, check here and here.

Radio :  
BBC LONDON 94.9FM (London area only), Digital Radio (London area only) &  Sky Channel 0152  (live coverage)
Commentary may be found on
>   BBC Radio Five Live (live coverage)  606/939 MW
TalkSport (DAB or 2nd89 MW)
Absolute Radio  (1215 AM/MW)

Internet :
The THFC Official website   Live webcast  - subscribers only
BBC London -  Live commentaries listed down the page.
TalkSport (DAB or 1089 MW)

Premier League Kick off 12:30
Tottenham Hotspur  0 (0) West Ham United London  1 (0)




Antonio  66m 24s


Snodgrass (foul on Moura)  26
Fredericks (foul on Rose)  86


Crowd :   60,043 Weather :  Some light rain, windy, sunny, mild
Referee :  Anthony Taylor (Greater Manchester) Assistant Referees :  Mr. Gary Beswick; Mr. Adam Nunn
Fourth Official :  Jon Moss  
Spurs kicked off and played towards the Paxton Road end in the first half.
Game time : -  90 + 4 minutes.
Tottenham Hotspur : kit West Ham United London : kit
  1  Hugo LLORIS  (c)

  6  Davinson SANCHEZ
33  Ben DAVIES

  3  Danny ROSE  (  9  Vincent JANSSEN  77)
15  Eric DIER
1  Juan FOYTH

20  DELE Alli  (12  Victor WANYAMA  85)
23  Christian ERIKSEN
27  Lucas MOURA   (18  Fernando LLORENTE  66)

  7  Heung-Min SON

Unused subs: 
  2  Kieran TRIPPIER
  Oliver SKIPP

    1  Lukasz FABIANSKI

24  Ryan FREDERICKS     
23  Issa DIOP
  4  Fabian BALBUENA
26  Arthur MASUAKA

30  Mikail ANTONIO 
41  Declan RICE
16  Mark NOBLE (c)  (14  Pedro OBIANG  77)
11  Robert SNODGRASS       (21  Angelo OGBONNA  85)

  8  Filipe ANDERSON
  7  Marko ARNUATOVIC  (27  Lucas PEREZ  80)

Unused subs: 
  5  Pablo ZABALETA
17  Javier HERNANDEZ

Manager :  Mauricio Pochettino Manager :  Manuel Pellegrini
Sponsor :   AIA Shirt sponsor :  Betway
Kit Supplier :  Nike Kit Supplier :   Umbro
Match report

Having struggle past Brighton in midweek, Tottenham finally succumbed to tiredness and West Ham United London, losing out by a single goal when better sides might have made the margin much larger.   Not only tired in body, but in mind, the side lacked the urgency to trouble the Irons too much, but even then, Tottenham almost grabbed a last minute equaliser that might have been an unjust outcome on the day.

With the Champions League semi-final first leg at the new stadium on Tuesday, changes were made, with Jan Vertonghen being given a total rest, not even being on the bench, so Foyth came in at right back and Davies on the left while Heung-Min Son played, as he will be suspended for the Ajax match.  There was some light rain before the game and whether this made the turf hold the ball up, but a number of times, Spurs players almost seemed to leave the ball behind, getting it caught under their feet and slowing any progress they were making.

The game started at a furious pace and referee Taylor tried to let play continue, despite some heavy challenges that deserved free-kicks if not more.  WHUL's star youngster Declan Rice fired a 30 yard shot just over the bar, before Son did the same from five yards closer.  As it was quite windy, If it reached pitch level, it might explain why both sides were over-hitting long through balls.  When Dele threaded a ball along the ground into Son's path coming into the penalty area from the left, the Korean smashed it left footed at goal, but the narrow angle made it possible for Fabianski to grab the ball on the floor as it went across him.  With a quarter of an hour gone, Fabianski was scrabbling backwards to try to get to Danny Rose's cross that looked like it was going to drift inside his left had post, but it went wide, luckily for him. A minute later, it was Lloris in action, as he had to dive to his left to palm out a low 25-yarder from former Spurs right back Ryan Fredericks and from the corner Antonio should have done better with the header he won at the near post.  The Irons had an even better chance soon after, when Anderson was freed down the left with a run into the box, but with Eric Dier catching him, he hurried his shot that was weak and straight at Hugo, when a yard to his left and it was almost certainly going in.  

The Spurs players were sluggish off the ball and it was difficult to build any momentum, as the passes kept being picked off.  Sonny laid the ball back to Lucas, but his shot was partially blocked for a corner.  Snodgrass dived in on Lucas and was lucky that Taylor was the ref or he might have seen another colour other than the yellow he received.  With play opening up a little, Davinson Sanchez played a heavy pass into Lucas Moura on the edge of the box and he turned on it, to strike an early shot that flew inches wide with Fabianski stuck to the spot.  Moura was then fouled again by Snodgrass, but not spoken to or punished any more than with a free-kick.  Eriksen almost put Son in on goal, but the pass had a bit too much weight on it to get through and Heung-Min couldn't gather it in.  Moura was having joy running at the West Ham defenders, who seemed terrified by his pace.  One dribble on the right side took him to the line and past a couple of claret and blue shirts, playing it back to Eriksen as he approached the six yard box.  Christian struck it well, but Fabianski had come out to block his shot with his chest.

Four minutes before half time, it looked as though Lloris' punch out might lead to a breakaway by Son from inside his own half (a la Chelsea at Wembley), but it was one of the occasions that the ball stuck in the grass and he over-ran it, losing possession.  Anthony Taylor's inconsistency came to the fore when the ball was played up to Dele on the edge of the box, with his back to goal.  Holding the ball, he went down and the referee waved play on.  A similar incident outside our box had resulted in a free-kick to the opposition.  West ham had a chance just before the interval as Anderson had a shot that flicked off Toby Alderweireld and spun towards the goal, but it had taken the sting out of the shot and Hugo watched it carefully before getting his body behind it on the line.

Glenn Hoddle's appearance at half-time was a welcome return to Tottenham, looking and speaking well about his heart attack and the club's future.  In truth, that didn't look that great as the visitors pressed from their kick off.  Arnautovic set up Fredericks, forcing Toby to block again and Arnautovic got a shot on target when the corner was cleared, but once more it was blocked.  Two corners and a free-kick meant Tottenham had a fair bit of defending to do and the West Ham striker from Austria then controlled Fabianski's kick-out and shot straight at Lloris on the turn from 25 yards out.  A free-kick then produced a goalmouth melee before Hugo claimed the ball and despite a good passing move to get the ball to the other end, Dele couldn't find space to get a shot through and had to cross it in for the giant central defenders to head away.  Dele was coming into the game a bit more and put the ball through Rice's legs to move into the area before being crowded out.  Masuaka blocked Son off in the box amid shouts for a penalty, but it never was.  We did get a free-kick on the edge of the area, when Balbuena brought down Rose, but Eriksen struck it against the wall.  From that Antonio broke away and played it to Anderson when he reached the 18 yard line, but Lucas had dashed back and made the block.

It was more or less Moura's last action, as Pochettino took him off an brought Llorente on to add some physicality up front.  Unfortunately, it was a minute before West Ham scored to make our task even harder.  Arnautovic clipped the ball over the defence and Antonio ran onto it in the right side of the box and took it around Lloris, despite being pursued by Sanchez and then placed a shot inside the near post on 67 minutes.  It was a goal that had been on the cards, as Spurs were wasteful with the ball and loose in their shape.

Eriksen put Davies in with a shot, but Fredericks blocked it, with Vincent Janssen coming on for Dele and his presence won a corner straight away.  From it, two more crosses came into the box, but nowhere near a Spurs head.  Arnautovic twisted and turned in the Spurs box and hit a shot from the left side to try and bend it around Hugo into the far corner, but the keeper dived to his left to grab the ball.  He had to be sharp when Antonio latche donto a ball over the top and smashed a shot at goal that Hugo stopped at his near post with his knee.  Diop broke away from inside his own half and looked odds on to score, but his legs gave out on him and he hit a weak low shot that Lloris had to tip around the post for a corner. 

With time running out, Tottenham threw men forward and Eriksen crossed from the left, but it was just too far ahead of Janssen and then when Vinnie did connect with a volley, he got a poor connection, leaving Fabianski a simple stop.  Sanchez made a great tackle to stop Antonio getting away again and in the last minute, Juan Foyth made a run in the right wing position and crossed to the far post, where Janssen met it with his head, beating the keeper, but not Balbuena on the line.  It would have been daylight robbery if it had gone in, but the majority at the game would not have cared.

As always with these games, West Ham were up for it, with their trumped up rivalry with us (when really they should be looking forward to playing Orient in a couple of seasons time).  Spurs' energy levels were not up to it and the win being limited to 0-1 was good for our goal-difference, although it lets in the other teams around us to jump above.  Having kept ahead with last weeks results, this was a lost opportunity.  Not only to cement our place in the top four, but to allow the luxury of resting players in the run-up to the second leg of the Champions League semi-final. 

Few players came out of the game with a lot of credit, but Danny Rose gave everything, Ben Davies was solid at the back, with Juan Foyth sticking to his task admirably.  Hugo made some good stops and Toby tried to get in the way of everything, but things just didn't lick further up the field.  Not for the want of trying, but the lethargy affected the decision making and those tired minds need to rest up before Tuesday's visit of Ajax.

Purcell Cole

Match facts


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Other scores during this week :
Liverpool 5 Huddersfield Town 0 Friday
Brighton & Hove Albion 1 Newcastle United 1 Saturday
Crystal Palace 0 Everton 0 Saturday
Fulham 1 Cardiff City 0 Saturday
Southampton 3 Bournemouth 3 Saturday
Watford 1 Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 Saturday
Leicester City 3 Arsenal 0 Sunday
Burnley 0 Manchester City 1 Sunday
Manchester United 1 Chelsea 1 Sunday


League Table  2018-19
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Manchester City 36 30 2 4 90 22 92 +68
2 Liverpool 36 28 7 1 84 20 91 +64
3 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 36 23 1 12 65 36 70 +29
4 Chelsea 36 20 8 8 60 39 68 +21
5 Arsenal 36 20 6 10 69 49 66 +20
6 Manchester United 36 19 8 9 64 51 65 +13
7 Wolverhampton Wanderers 36 15 9 12 46 44 54 +2
8 Leicester City 36 15 6 15 51 47 51 +4
9 Everton 36 14 8 14 50 44 50 +6
10 Watford 36 14 8 14 51 52 50 -1
11 West Ham United London 36 13 8 15 45 54 46 -9
12 Crystal Palace 36 12 7 17 43 48 43 -5
13 Newcastle United 36 11 9 16 36 45 43 -9
14 Bournemouth 36 12 6 18 52 65 42 -13
15 Burnley 36 11 7 18 44 63 40 -19
16 Southampton 36 9 11 15 44 61 38 -17
17 Brighton & Hove Albion 36 9 8 19 33 55 35 -22
18 Cardiff City 36 9 4 23 30 66 31 -36
19 Fulham 36 7 5 23 34 76 26 -42
20 Huddersfield Town 36 3 5 28 20 74 14 -54

Position before match :  3rd
Position after match :  3rd
Position after the weekend :  3rd

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