Looking Forward



Carling Cup 3rd Round

Wednesday 29th October 2003

With West ham's demise to the First Division came the sell off of a majority of their big stars to reduce the wage bill.  Spurs managed to pick up Fredi Kanoute, while Chelsea cashed in on the availability of players and others have moved onto pastures anew.  This has left their challenge on the title a little precarious with a less than bulging squad and a few teams more equipped to  know the rigours of the Nationwide league.

David James, the England goalie (and I never thought I would be writing that), is prone to the odd clanger and although his height and physique would make him a favourite to win balls in the air, he is not brilliant on that aspect of his game. Sometimes, appears to lose concentration, although put a Playstation in front of him and he will concentrate through the night !!

The defence contains the unreliable Thomas Repka, although his disciplinary problems have landed him with a ban for this match.  Wayne Quinn is on loan from Newcastle and has added some industry to the back line, while alongside him Christian Dailly just keeps going on.  On the flanks in defence, there are Robbie Stockdale, given special dispensation to play by Boro and he is one that looks to get forward, but might be stymied by Etherington being in front of him.  Ian Pearce is still holding back time in the back four, with his aerial ability providing a strength to his game, while prodigy Anton Ferdinand (brother of Rio) has had a few outings to bring him on slowly.  

The midfield choices are between Michael Carrick, a fleet footed passer of the ball; Matthew Etherington, a fleet footed crosser of the ball (into Row Z); Don Hutchinson, a Scottish tackler, who needs to keep calm and might have lost a little of his pace in the time he has been back at Upton Park; Kevin Horlock, a dogged character, who fights for the ball endlessly; Rob Lee, the veteran worker, who is a West Ham fan and finally ended up with his boyhood club.  There is a little lack of creation in this area of the team, but Carrick is good at picking out a pass and Etherington can beat a full back, but as we all know to our cost, his final product does often leave something to desire. 

That leaves the ones picked up front to fight for whatever they can create themselves.  
Jermain Defoe is a sprightly twisty forward in the Robbie Keane mode, so will need to be watched tightly, while Youssef Soufaine might be used on the bench, although I think it more likely that Richard Garcia will be a sub and his power was demonstrated recently for the reserves against Spurs.  He has good movement and is a strong lad.  So that only leaves on loan Neil Mellor and with rumours about none of the three main strikers at the club getting on with each other, there might be some hope that Mellor will forge something out of nothing as he has done in Liverpool reserves previously.

Without Fredi Kanoute, Spurs look a less threatening force, but there are still players in the team who can score.  We might see some different faces, with one game already played this week and a third to come on Saturday.  Whatever the team, they should not have too much trouble in disposing of the East Londoners and my prediction is ...

PREDICTION : -   Tottenham   2     West Ham United   0

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


How are your club doing this season?

As well as can be expected I think. Obviously relegation is a disaster, and many of our best players either left or were sold. At the start of the season we were blooding youngsters in every game, and since then it's been loan signings in and out, and never a settled side. Three managers as well ! To be four points off the top of the division after all that is some result!

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

Defoe seems to have upped his game from last season and looks every bit a Man Utd-bound striker. Connolly is an unexpected treat on the cheap from Wimbledon, a skillful, tricky little striker who knows exactly how to get goals at this level it seems.  James is probably in the form of his life and essential at this level, and Repka has recovered from the slatings he got in the Premiership to be easily our best defender.

Your worst players?

I think it's been hard for everyone in the circumstances, but of the regular players Neil Mellor on loan from Liverpool has disappointed me most - he's been thrown in at the deep end and it shows. Some other players are still disappointingly average, even at this level - Dailly, Hutchison, Lee etc.

Any hidden gems or promising younsters in the squad?

Anton Ferdinand seems to have the talent and attitude of his older brother, though he's been slightly slower to settle in much more difficult circumstances. But he's got everything in place to go all the way as a player.

What sort of line-up can we expect?

Depends on injuries really, particularly Connolly's - I've got a feeling we may put Defoe up front with Hutchison off him and making a five in midfield. The others pick themselves really - Etherington, Carrick, Mullins, Ferdinand and a back four of Quinn, Dailly, Repka and Stockdale
ahead of James.

How's ex-Spur Etherington doing for you?

I've been extremely happy with him - hard-working, good crosser, very positive and direct player, and left-footed. He's actually been the only forward-thinking midfielder in the team at times, so is worth his weight in gold to us so far this season.

Are you missing Kanoute?

Losing both Kanoute and Sir Les in the Summer has left us very lightweight up front. Kanoute I felt was criminally under-rated by our fans, not least because he always had a better record away from Upton Park. Unfortunately Roeder didn't feel he was a team player, we had to sell, and you got an absolute bargain I think.

How do you think Spurs will do this season?

I haven't seen all that much of you to be honest, but it doesn't take a genius to see that you'll be somewhere between relegation and the European places.

Any Spurs player's that will worry you?

I don't think we like tricky forwards too much, so Robbie Keane would be the one I'd expect to undo us.

Predicted score?

You should win... we're a shadow of our former selves.

Do you think it'll be a good game?

I think Pardew is trying to get us to tighten up, so it may be dourer than you might expect. But I'd back Defoe to cause any team problems.

Alex V

Players Unavailable

TOTTENHAM : -  Darren Anderton (knee) and Mauricio Taricco (thigh) - late tests on injuries

WEST HAM : -  David Connolly (thigh), Thomas Repka (suspended), Rufus Brevett and Steve Lomas (both out long term), Hayden Mullins (ineligible).

TV :  -
Radio :  BBC Five Live Sports Extra (On line at http://www.bbc.co.uk/fivelive/sportsextra/schedule.shtml) - live commentary 
Internet :  www.spurs.co.uk   Live webcast    



Tottenham   1      West Ham United   0     (Half-time score : 0-0)   
[after extra time     0-0 at 90 mins.]
Carling Cup 3rd Round
Wednesday 29th October 2003
Venue : -  White Hart Lane
Kick Off : -  19.45 p.m.
Weather : -  Cold, clear
Referee : -  G. Barber  (Welwyn Garden City)
Crowd : -  36,053
Teams : -  
Tottenham : -  Keller; Carr, Konchesky, Gardner, Doherty, Ziege (Blondel 61); Ricketts (Postiga 77), King, Dalmat (Mabizela 58); Keane, Zamora
Unused Subs : - Burch, Bunjevcevic

West Ham United : -  James; Stockdale (Ferdinand 22), Quinn, Dailly, Kilgallon; Lee (Garcia 68), Carrick, Horlock (Mellor 106), Hutchison; Etherington, Defoe
Unused Subs : -  Sofiane, Bywater

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of http://www.colours-of-football.com)


West Ham United

Scorers : -  
Tottenham  -  Zamora 92

West Ham United -  None

Cards : -  
Tottenham  -  Mabizela (foul) 120

West Ham United -  Etherington (foul) 90

It was a long time coming, but it happened in the end.  No not Bobby Zamora's first goal for Tottenham, but one in this match.  Shame it couldn't have come about two minutes earlier, as it would have saved us having to suffer extra time.

The bulk of the better chances during normal time had fallen to West Ham even though Spurs had enjoyed the better possession, but fell down when it came to getting the ball into the box.  For too long, Konchesky, playing left midfield, planted crossing practice for James to catch and Robbie Keane tried to take on the whole of the Irons defence on his own.

Zamora seemed determined to break his duck, despite what he said on the Spurs website about not being affected by not scoring yet.  He had one shot after about a quarter of an hour that he dragged wide without much power and then turning on the edge of the box, he fired in shot that two players blocked, leaving James an easy save as the ball popped up innocuously.

Dalmat started the game looking lively and had a drive go over from 25 yards out, but he faded in the latter part of the first half and was less effective in the remainder of the match, until Pleat decided to bolster the midfield with Mabizela around the hour mark.  West Ham were putting in some decent passes, amongst the ones that constantly went astray and the best opportunity came on 25 minutes, when a midfielder was played into the area on the left, but Gary Doherty produced a very well-timed tackle to deny Lee without conceding a penalty.

Shortly after, we came closest to a goal and it was Dalmat who nearly got it.  Robbie Keane seemed to be going nowhere on the left wing, but he got to the by-line and turned, dragged the ball back to the Frenchman, who picked out a precise low shot that hit an outstretched leg to take it away from goal, when it was heading just inside the post.  Robbie was tormenting the Hammers defence and when he got away on the right, he hit a shot that went into the side-netting, when Ricketts was open in acres of space on the other side of the box.  Spurs were shocked eight minutes before half-time when Defoe lobbed the ball over a square Spurs defence to find Lee bursting through and his low shot across Keller bounced back off the goal-post and back into the Tottenham's goalkeeper's arms.  While the Irons weren't having as much possession, they were making more of it in terms of dangerous efforts on goal.  In the whole of the first half, James didn't have a save to make ... a failing that was continuing from the last game against Boro.

The half-time break failed to change the pattern of play and Lee once more almost put Spurs to the sword when Etherington, back on his old ground, slipped him in.  Luckily for Tottenham, the former Charlton midfielder's control let him down and the ball bounced to Kasey.  Keller was called to make a very good save when Defoe got between two Spurs defenders on the edge of the area and hit an early shot as the keeper came out and got a good hand to the ball and diverted it away.  It was a crucial save and the recriminations in the Spurs defence took place with Doc telling Gardner he should have tackled Defoe, while it looked like Doherty was the nearer of the two to the England Under-21 striker.

For once, the Tottenham movement worked for them and Jonathan Blondel, on as a substitute for the injured Christian Ziege (who looked in great pain and could be out for a while again), produced a neat pass into the box and Keane cut inside, but found David James blocking his path to goal.  This moment seemed to spark Spurs into greater efforts in attack and Zamora took the ball away from his marker and ran past two more before hitting a 25-yarder that James had to push over the top.  However, time was running out and there was just time for Etherington to hack down Stephen Carr as the Spurs captain ran away form him down the line and get a booking for his foul.  All to the chants of "Tottenham reject" from the area of the ground where he made a gesture to his own supporters in our last game of last season.

Bobby Zamora started the first half of extra time like he meant it.  He had already made James save in the first minute, while 60 seconds later, he took a pass from Blondel on the left edge of the area, turned past Anton Ferdinand (how many of them are there ?) and hit a left foot shot inside James' post to give Tottenham the lead.  West ham were looking drained and the difference in class began to tell.

Hutchinson forced Kasey to dive and save a shot from inside the area, then Postiga, who was desperate to get in on the scoring act, produced a low dive from James to stop his effort.  In almost a replay of the goal, Blondel played Zamora in and James threw a block with his body to prevent the Tottenham player adding to his newly started total and then Ferdinand did the same to Postiga.

West Ham tried to hit back to force penalties, with a corner headed down by Mellor and Keller tipped the ball over the bar on it's way up.  Spurs seemed to be willing Helder to score to quash the rumours in the papers that Tottenham are willing to sell him in January.  His late shot caused James to dive full length to stop the ball getting past him.  There was just enough time left for OJ to pick up a yellow card for going through Quinn with an aerial challenge.

The game showed how far West Ham have fallen, as Spurs were not as good as we have played this season, while West ham constantly passed to space, the crowd or Tottenham players.  At times, Spurs were little better, but you could see there is a big difference between the two sides, which wasn't there last season.  If the Irons do come up this season, they will need to do a lot of wise spending to improve their squad and after their financial problems in the summer just gone, the money might not be there for that.  For them, they can concentrate on the League until the FA Cup starts and for Tottenham, a home tie against Manchester City beckons in the next round, which will be a tougher test of our defensive resolve. 


Barrington Levy




For someone who has supported a team, how difficult must it be to play against them and then to score the goal that knocks them out of a Cup competition ??  That was what happened to Bobby Zamora tonight.

Having been raised in the East End of London, he was a Hammers fan as a kid and he has said his dream move would be to Upton Park, although for most of us that would be some sort of Hammer Horror nightmare.  However, he lined up with Ledley King and Paul Konchesky, both former team-mates in the Senrab team from Bow that has raised a few other notable top flight footballers.  Obviously feeling more at home, he looked like he was up for it, but his desire to get off the mark for Tottenham might have been hampering his efforts on the night.  He dragged an early shot across the face of goal and then two defenders dived in to stop his shot getting on target and they took the pace off the ball for James to take comfortably.  During long periods, he got little change out of Dailly and Kilgallon, but he came alive again just towards the end of the 90 minutes of the match, with a fine rising shot that James helped over the bar.  It was great that he finally got his first Tottenham goal just into extra time, with a neat turn on the edge of the penalty area and a firm shot that beat James at his near post.  The England keeper will be very disappointed with that.  He had not had a great deal to do, although Spurs had hit shots high and wide on a regular basis, although failed to hit the target often enough.

The passing of the ball by Spurs far out-stripped that of the East Enders, who picked out almost everything but their own players in a way most unlike their Academy traditions demand.  They did have two great attempts in normal time, with Lee sneaking behind the Tottenham defence (and remaining onside) to hit a post and Defoe ghosting past Doherty and Gardner hitting the onrushing Keller.  There seemed a little lack of confidence in the side and whether that came form missing a few players through injury and suspension, but they might have found playing against Premiership opposition a little different from the Nationwide teams they have come up against since August.  It certainly told when the game went into extra time, as the Irons players dropped to the ground when Zamora's goal hit the net and Spurs ran the ball around in the added half hour.

Dalmat was fluent when running with the ball, but he found that there were people in his way as the game progressed and he ran straight into them, rather than floating past them.  It was not a surprise that Pleat decided that Mabizela should be introduced to the Spurs crowd in competitive action.  It was about an hour and a half to late, as he should have come on against Middlesbrough to stiffen the midfield on Sunday.  He showed great calmness and poise on the ball and a willingness to get stuck in when Spurs were defending.  Keller had a fine game, with little directly coming at him, but what did, he stopped with great ability.  He even went in bravely to clear a couple of corners with a punch as Irons flew in to try and hit him hard.  Just before half-time, he needed some treatment when Horlock collided with him.

The defence had their moments when they were prised open, but it was yet another clean sheet since reverting to a traditional 4-4-2 formation and Gardner did OK alongside Doherty, who produced a timely tackle to rob Lee of the ball as he burst into the area and was ready to shoot.  He also threw a great block as Garcia looked to break into the box in the dying minutes of the game.  Carr produced a couple of runs and shots unlike his recent performances have done, while Ziege looked solid until he was hit by a cross on his bad leg and limped off soon afterwards.  Konchesky dropped back to cover his vacant position and did better there than he had eon in midfield.

Blondel was a revelation when he came on.  Busy, bright and a good eye for a pass, he looked the most willing to create.  Ricketts before him did well in breaking up West ham's moves and starting our own, but he made way for Postiga, who looked lively too.  Ledders had a very good game in midfield and he would have been my man of the match, looking composed and he used the ball well when picking it up in midfield.

Zamora never stops trying.  Even when things aren't going his way, he tracks back to hassle defenders and he is confident in his own ability enough to keep having shots.

The match was played in a good atmosphere inside the ground.  The West Ham fans were magnificent with their rendition of "Bubbles" and another song that implied our support was not very good, whereas theirs is and they support the waste material they implied our fans resembled.  It is a pity that over the years their club has not given them the success they crave.  However, I am not sure that I would want to go through the scenes outside the ground before the match.  The Cockerel Bar had it's windows put in at 3.00 p.m., there were blue flashing lights up and down the High Road all evening and fights sporadically breaking out near the ground.  We had all this last season with Cardiff and perhaps it is just as well that teams like this have an arena for their petty feuds.  Luckily for us, it's called the Nationwide.

Huntley Palmer


Other scores this weekend :

Arsenal  (after extra-time 1-1 : won 9-8 on pens)

1 Rotherham 1 Tuesday
Aston Villa 1 Leicester City 0 Wednesday
Blackpool 1 Crystal Palace 3 Tuesday
Blackburn Rovers 3 Liverpool 4 Wednesday
Bolton Wanderers 2 Gillingham 0 Tuesday
Bristol City 0 SCBC 3 Tuesday
Chelsea 4 Notts. County 2 Wednesday
Everton 1 Charlton Athletic 0 Wednesday
Leeds United 2 Manchester United (after extra time 1-1) 3 Tuesday
Newcastle United 1 West Bromwich Albion  (after extra time 1-1) 2 Wednesday
Nottingham Forest 2 Portsmouth  (after extra time 2-2) 4 Wednesday
QPR 0 Manchester City 3 Tuesday
Reading 1 Huddersfield Town 0 Tuesday
Wigan Athletic 1 Middlesbrough 2 Wednesday
Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 Burnley 0 Tuesday

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