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Premier League

Monday 28th December 2009

Unfortunately, I haven't got a lot of time because of Christmas commitments to do a full preview, but on the back of a p point at Craven Cottage and with West Ham United having won a game against Portsmouth at the Boleyn Ground, this should give the London derby a bit of an edge.

West Ham have a litany of injuries and more sustained in Saturday's win, while Spurs are boosted by the return of Ledley King and Luka Modric.  With Harry Redknapp having shifted the team around a bit in the last game at Fulham, Jermain Defoe will probably be drafted in to take on his old club and there should be a desire to take the three points to catch up on the sides around us who have lost points over Christmas.

The flanks will be the way into West Ham, with their midfield being patched up and the defence lacking their usual full backs, so Aaron Lennon on the right and Luka Modric on the left will need to give good supply into the front two and with support from midfield, where Tom Huddlestone should return, the players should be timing their runs into the Irons box to perfection.

Rob Green can be a top performer in goal on his day, while Matthew Upson is highly rated in some quarters as an England World Cup prospect.  New signings up front Diamanti and Franco are starting to get some goals in Carlton Cole's absence and with Dean Ashton having retired.  They are both big lads and will need to be watched in and around the box, with the defenders keen to push on, Spurs will need to work hard, as they did against Manchester City and Blackburn Rovers, to make sure they don't allow the visitors to take the initiative.

While the post-Christmas period is not always productive for Tottenham, I hope they are tuned in to take the game to West Ham from the start and dictate the play, which could lead them to a win by the following score-line ...

PREDICTION : -  Tottenham Hotspur    3      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.


TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -  Carlo Cudicini (out - broken wrist); Jonathan Woodgate (out - groin);  David Bentley (out - calf); Alan Hutton (doubtful - ankle); - (-); 

WEST HAM UNITED :  -  Mark Noble (out - hamstring); Kieron Dyer (out - hamstring); Daniel Gabbidon (out - hamstring); Carlton Cole (out - knee); Zavon Hines (out - knee); Luis Boa Morte (out - knee); Calum Davenport (out - leg); - (-);  


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Sky Sports 1 -  Football First  -  Saturday 20.25
Match of the Day  (BBC 1) - Saturday 22.50 (highlights)   [repeated at 07:40 Tuesday]  Also available online.
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Radio :  
BBC LONDON 94.9FM (London area only), Digital Radio (London area only) &  Sky Channel 0152
 (live coverage)
BBC Radio Five Live (live coverage)  606/939 MW

If available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard in these countries on these stations ...
Australia (Melbourne) SEN  -  116 AM  Live Transmissions: TWI, Saturday. 12.45 & 1500 matches
Australia (Sydney)  Radio 2  -  1611AM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 12.45 Match
Singapore Media Corp Radio  -  93.8 FM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
South Africa  SABC (Radio 2000)  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
Uganda  Radio 1 (English) 90.0 FM, Radio 2 (Lugandan) 87.9 FM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
North America (USA, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean)  Sirius Satellite Radio  Live transmission: Saturday - 12.45, 15.00 (TWI) & 17.15 (BBC) Sunday - 14.00 & 16.05 (BBC) Mon, Tue, Wed - Various times (BBC)

Internet :   Live webcast  - subscribers only
BBC London -
click on link to "Listen to Tottenham Hotspur live commentary" on top right hand menu.


Tottenham Hotspur   2    West Ham United   0      (Half-time score : 1-0)

Premier League
Venue : White Hart Lane  
Monday 28th December 2009
Kick Off :  12.45 p.m.
Crowd :   35,994
Referee :  Chris Foy (St. Helens)
Spurs kicked off and played towards the Park Lane end in the first half.
Weather :  -  Bright, chilly
Teams : - 
Tottenham Hotspur :

  1  Gomes

32  Assou-Ekotto  (  3  Bale 78)
26  King (c)
20  Dawson
22  Corluka     

14  Modric   (21  Kranjcar 83)
12  Palacios
  7  Lennon  (  8  Jenas 89)  

18  Defoe      
15  Crouch

Unused subs: 
27  Alnwick
  2  Hutton

West Ham United :

  1  Green

20  Faubert
30  Tomkins
15  Upson
23  Illunga  (18  Spector 19)

  8  Parker  (17  Jiminez 12)
21  Behrami
31  Collison  (46  Stanislas 79)
14  Kovac
33  Diamanti

10  Franco

Unused subs: 
29  Stech
22  Da Costa
35  Payne
24  Nouble

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of
Tottenham Hotspur

  West Ham United
Scorers : -  
Tottenham Hotspur

Modric 11
Defoe 81

West Ham United


Cards : -  
Tottenham Hotspur  

Corluka (foul)  67
Defoe (goal celebration with crowd) 83 


West Ham United

Franco (continual fouling) 63
Diamanti (foul) 66 
Kovac (continual fouling)  72


Match Report : -  
A fourth clean sheet was perhaps the easiest of them so far, with West ham United showing why they are near the bottom of the table with an insipid performance against a Tottenham side that created a large number of chances, but only took two.

Of all the teams that have visited White Hart Lane so far this season, West Ham look the equal of some of the worst.  Boringly as Wolverhampton Wanderers and Stoke City played, they did close Spurs down, which the Irons failed to do and as such, allowed Tottenham to make a multitude of chances and given the seasonal goodwill, perhaps let the East Enders off the hook, while leaving their lead from the 11th minute in peril of being one mistake away from disappearing.

The visitors made only two efforts on goal worthy of mention, one shot across the face of goal as Scott Parker drove to the right hand edge of the box and a half-hearted drive from 20 yards from Collison, which was an easy stop for Gomes.

In fact, West Ham left a lot of the cultured football that we hear so much about back at the Academy, as they ensured that Aaron Lennon came in for some rough treatment at the start of the game.  Diamanti and Illunga fouled the little winger early on, but when a move started way back on the edge of the Tottenham area, it was a run by Lennon that created the opening for the opening goal.  Luka Modric, making his first start in the side since breaking his leg at home to Birmingham City, played a major part in the game and it was his possession of the ball on the edge of the Tottenham penalty area that started the move that ended with him scoring to make it 1-0.  He exchanged passes, moved forward to feed Jermain Defoe from inside his own half, then the ball went out right to Lennon.  His run took him past Ilunga and his low cross came off Tomkins' leg and to the far post, where Modric had continued his run from deep to meet the ball.  The Croatian maestro was stretching for the ball, but hit his shot into the ground and it bounced up and over the diving Rob Green to bulge the net and give Tottenham an 11th minute lead.

As well as the damage the goal did to West Ham's hopes of getting anything from the game, while they prepared to take the kick off to restart the game, Scott Parker was limping down the tunnel, the victim of a damaged hamstring, which hampered him tracking Modric back for the goal.  On came Jiminez, a Chilean loan player, who failed to make much of an impression on  the game, while another nine minutes saw Ilunga having to go off with Jonathan Spector replacing him.  The changes didn't make a great deal of difference to the Irons, as Spurs created chance after chance, but couldn't get the second goal, which might have opened the floodgates.

Lennon made good ground on the right, cut infield and laid the ball square to Tom Huddlestone on the edge of the area and he cut across the ball with his left foot and that ended up with the ball swerving away from the right hand post of Green's goal, when a fierce straight shot might have caused the West Ham keeper more problems.  Some neat inter-passing on the edge of the West Ham penalty area between Modric and Assou-Ekotto saw Huddlestone put through on the left and he hit a shot with his left foot, but caught it all wrong and the ball went wide of Green's left hand post.  Wilson Palacios caused all sorts of problems when he went on a run forward and he set up Crouch for a shot on the edge of the six yard box, as he pulled the ball back from the right, but the Spurs striker scuffed his shot and it went across goal.

Just before the break, Defoe was fouled by Tomkins and got up to take the 25 yard free-kick himself, but his effort curled just too much and although it cleared the wall, it bent wide of the left hand upright with Green beaten.  There was a late corner, which Ledley King met with his head, but could not keep down and it rose over the bar just before the ref blew the half-time whistle.

It was an awkward lead as West Ham were going to have to step their game up if they hoped to get anything out of the game.  Spurs started the second half spritely and Huddlestone shot just wide, before Lennon came in from the right hand touchline and ran across a couple of challenges to hit a left foot shot from just outside the area, but he was leaning back and the ball went into the Paxton Road crowd.  The ball ended up in the same place when Palacios struck a shot that was going in before Matthew Upson unknowingly got his head in the way and took the ball over the bar.

Ten minutes into the half, Spurs almost went 2-0 ahead, when a good passing move on the right wing ended with Vedran Corluka found Huddlestone running unseen into the box and he hit the shot early across Green, who was helpless as the ball went past him and luckily for the Irons, bounced back off the post beyond the in-running Crouch and Modric got to the ball, but could not keep the ball down and it went over the bar again.

A second foul in a matter of minutes by Franco earned him a yellow card and then Diamanti could easily have been carded for a rash challenge on Lennon, but he did get one for an unsuccessful lunge at Aaron, as he darted past him to cross for Crouch to knock down to set up a chance for Defoe, but the ball was cleared and Corluka ran into direct a header over the bar with Green out of position and the defence all over the place.  Both players were involved as West Ham broke forward and Corluka was cautioned for a foul from behind on Diamanti.

Kovac was the next in the book with two bad tackles on Huddlestone in the matter of two minutes and he and his look-alike midfield team-mate Behrami ran around kicking everything that moved without much attention for the round thing that was the object at the heart of the game.

There came a period of what came as close as a period of West Ham pressure on the Tottenham goal from the 70th minute, that only brought a shot from Kovac, who mistakenly kicking the ball, reached row X in the Park Lane.  When the Irons tried to make a move through the middle of the Tottenham defence near the D on the edge of the penalty area, Palacios intervened to stop Diamanti, who went down easily as he had done for much of the game.  The ball was poked on to Modric, who put Jermain Defoe away on the left.  With three defenders in front of him, Defoe came sideways across the pitch, running past the defenders until he was on the right side of the D and hit a shot so fierce that Green was shocked by it and it was only kept out by his shoulder, but unfortunately for him, the ball broke into the box in front of him, but also in front of Defoe, how rammed it back past him leaving him grasping thin air to make it 2-0 with nine minutes of normal time left.

That sealed the win for Spurs, as West Ham were not likely to come back from 2-0 and although Diamanti got one on target to make Gomes dive to hold the effort with five minutes to go, the rest of the game was mainly Spurs going forward, but no other major chance was created, leaving the final whistle to signal Tottenham's rise to fourth place.

A fourth successive clean sheet and another three points was a good return from the afternoon's work and there will rarely be easier points on offer.  The way that other sides have battled, West Ham look like a lost cause.  It was a poor performance by West Ham, for all the praise they were given by manager Ginafranco Zola and the excuses they are injury hit.  What they need to do is get some effort into their game or they will drop like a stone.  It has long been held that West Ham come down with the Christmas decorations, so Zola only has a week to do something before the traditional post festive drop-off affects the club's final position and their financial situation.

As for Spurs, we are looking at the other end of the table after a 2009, which has seen the club's fortunes turned around.  Where they can finish in 2010, we can only wait to see, but at the end of the year, Spurs are just three points from the 40 points needed to avoid relegation.  They will have to wait a while to get to that target total, but once they do, they can then concentrate on pushing on to get as many points as they can.

stanford rivers


Fan Reaction : -



Read Wyart Lane's report on the game at the Times Online Fanzine Fanzone
The pleasing thing about the way Spurs won was their patience when they were not converting the opportunities they made.  They were not afraid to knock the ball around until the right moment came to play a pass that created panic in the West Ham defence.

While some sections of the crowd still boo when the ball goes backwards, I would wager that they would be the first to complain when possession changed over to the other team.

It is never going to be easy once Spurs stay in the top six for any length of time.  Every one of the teams we then come up against regard us as a big scalp and therefore, there will be times when it doesn't always go like it did against Wigan, so the team have to keep their shape and keep playing their football.

I, for one, would rather see that than a style of play like Wolves or Stoke play.

gary sampson




Other scores this mid-week :
Chelsea 2 Fulham 1 Monday
Everton 2 Burnley 0 Monday
Stoke City 0 Birmingham City 1 Monday
Sunderland 2 Blackburn Rovers 2 Monday
Wolverhampton Wanderers 0 Manchester City 3 Monday
Aston Villa 0 Liverpool 1 Tuesday
Bolton Wanderers 2 Hull City 2 Tuesday
Manchester United 5 Wigan Athletic 0 Wednesday
Portsmouth 1 Arsenal 4 Wednesday



League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Chelsea 20 14 3 3 45 16 45 +29
2 Manchester United 20 14 1 5 45 18 43 +27
3 Arsenal 19 13 2 4 51 21 41 +30
4 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 20 11 4 5 42 22 37 +20
5 Manchester City 19 9 8 2 38 27 35 +17
6 Aston Villa 20 10 5 5 29 18 35 +11
7 Liverpool 20 10 3 7 37 25 33 +12
8 Birmingham City 20 8 5 6 20 18 32 +2
9 Fulham 19 7 6 6 24 19 27 +5
10 Sunderland 19 6 5 8 25 27 23 -2
11 Everton 19 5 7 7 26 32 22 -6
12 Stoke City 19 5 6 8 15 23 21 -8
13 Blackburn Rovers 20 5 6 9 20 35 21 -15
14 Burnley 20 5 5 10 22 40 20 -18
15 Wolverhampton Wanderers 20 5 4 10 17 36 19 -19
16 Wigan Athletic 19 5 4 10 21 44 19 -23
17 West Ham United 20 4 6 10 28 37 18 -9
18 Bolton Wanderers 18 4 6 8 26 36 18 -10
19 Hull City 20 4 6 10 20 42 18 -22
20 Portsmouth 20 4 2 14 18 32 14 -14


Position before the match :  5th
Position after the match :  4th
Position after the Bank Holiday programme : 4th


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