Looking Forward

 

WEST HAM UNITED (Away)

Premier League

Wednesday 31st January 2001

With Rio gone for big bucks, that has left Harry Redknapp to practice his best second hand car dealer patter to recruit new staff to Upton Park.  And he has bought on the cheap once again bringing in Christian Dailly (not a religious newspaper, but a defender from Blackburn Rovers), defender Rigobert Song from Liverpool, Todorov - a Bulgarian striker, Ragnvald Soma - another defender, with Tihinen from Finland and Sebastian Schemmel from Metz both on loan .  Rumours are that there are Japanese and Australian defenders on the way too to shore up the Irons defences.  I must say, 18 million rates as a very good deal for the massively over-rated Ferdinand, so no wonder Hang-Dog Harry snapped off David O'Deary's hand in taking the money.

All this has left the side with an unusual look to it, especially as Javier Margas has had to retire with knee trouble (will anyone really know he was there in the first place) and the same affliction has hit Trevor Sinclair.  Di Canio is also in a state of flux with Lazio wanting him and Hang-Dog saying he has a cold, so make of that what you will.  Song hasn't really acclimatised yet and there is further concern in defence with Hislop being injured, meaning Forrest has had to step in between the sticks.  In fact, with Gary Charles, the two Pearces, Potts and Winterburn there, it will look like pension day at the Post Office.  They may have Stimac, Ian Pearce, Michael Carrick and Scott Minto back in contention for places, but they will have had little match practice.  More likely we will see one from Soma, Song, Dailly and Tihenen in there, with Pearce and the ex-Gooner as the experienced old stagers.

In midfield, Sinclair might be fit and often has a good game against us, while the youngsters Cole and Carrick have been taking the plaudits for the Irons.  They have settled very well and play with great effect.  The fourth member of the midfield will probably be Steve Lomas, who has an uncanny knack of getting sent off against us.  Long may it continue.  He does provide the drive in their midfield and will be all over the pitch, harassing the Spurs players.  Frank Lampard Junior will also be in the side to add his considerable presence to the midfield and to link with the attack.

Upfront, the usual pairing has been Kanoute and Di Canio, who both exhibit great flair and both have an eye for goal.  It will be a good test for the young Spurs defence to keep them in check.  Also available to choose from are Todorov, Diawara (on a season's loan) and Titi Camara, the Spurs trialist who looked like Bambi on ice.  Expect him to have a blinder if he features in the match then !!

After a poor start, the Irons picked up to head for the top half of the table, but have stuttered again recently losing to Leicester City and Sunderland.  It could be a good time to play them, but a lot will depend on how many regulars have made it back into the side.  Defensively West Ham must be considered suspect, but our attack is hardly the most potent around at the moment, so it will be hard to see where a Spurs goal might come from.  A bitter London derby battle is on the cards and I reckon it could end ...

PREDICTION : -  West Ham United  1  Tottenham 1

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

 

 

West Ham United  0   Tottenham  0     Wednesday 31st January 2001

Weather : -  Cold, dry
Crowd : -  33,295
Referee : - Neale Barry (Scunthorpe)
Scorers : - None

West Ham: Hislop, Stuart Pearce, Dailly, Tihinen, Winterburn, Schemmel, Carrick, Cole, Lampard, Di Canio, Kanoute.
Subs Not Used: Forrest, Moncur, Song, Camara, Soma.
Tottenham: Walker, Doherty, Campbell, Perry, King, Freund, Anderton, Leonhardsen, Clemence (Young 84), Booth, Rebrov (McEwen 84).
Subs Not Used: Segers, Sherwood, Thelwell.

Coming off the back of a win at Old Trafford for West Ham and a couple of uninspiring 0-0 draws against teams below us, it had defeat written all over it.  The fact that Spurs came away with a point was due to some brighter play for our boys and a performance from the Irons that lacked a cutting edge.

Although a 0-0 resulted, it was not a boring match, with chances at both ends.  Sergei had a chance, but couldn't direct his shot past the goalie much as he had done earlier in the match after Sol headed on for him. It wasn't to be the Ukrainian's night as another first half effort flashed across the goal, instead of hitting the target.  Anderton's cross was met forcefully by Andy Booth's head and only a linesman's flag denied him a dream start to his Spurs career.  That was after 15 minutes and it looked a close call as the loan player finished of a passing move that started at the back and offered hope that Tottenham might be playing a different style to the last couple of matches.  Shaggy's shot bounced back off Hislop to Leo, but he was beaten to it by Tihenen, who would come back to haunt him later.

At the other end of the pitch, Walker had a quiet time until the end of the half.  On 33 minutes, Kanoute (who had a goal ruled out for offside just a short while earlier) mesmerised Perry and hit a low shot that Walks blocked at his near post, but the Spurs keeper could do nothing after a piece of Di Canio magic set up a cross and Lampard met it with a thunderous header that bounced over off the crossbar.

After the break, West Ham picked up where they had left off and it was amazing how a low cross escaped two Hammers within the six yard box and went through everyone.  Spurs then had their big chance, when Anderton lofted the ball into the box for Leo to run on to.  He in turn lifted it over Hislop and it was only an amazing kick off the line by the Finn Tihenen that stopped Spurs taking the lead.  Walker had to be alert to save Pearce's free kick and then got lucky when the same player hit the outside of the post direct from a corner !  Di Canio also had a good chance, but could only manage to shoot into the side netting as he was running away from goal.

Booth did well on his debut and won almost everything in the air, while running himself into the ground.  Anderton used the ball a lot better and playing in a wider position provided better service, but poor Rebrov ended the night being subbed by McEwen. For them, Joe Cole showed a lot of skill and a lot of his tricks, but little resulted directly from them.  Di Canio was more damaging, as was the hard work that Carrick and Lampard put in.

It was a surprise that it was the first game between the two sides to be goalless here since 1924, but after the teams two results at the weekend, perhaps I shouldn't have been.

MEHSTG TOP MAN : - SOL CAMPBELL

Sid E Netting

 

Blankety blank

 

This year is a month old, but Spurs have already played five times.  Apart from the four goals against Newcastle, they have scored but one other - against Leyton Orient in the last minute.  Another 0-0 tonight and the sixth out of the last seven League games that Tottenham have failed to score in.  So where does the answer lie ?

Could it be in Andy Booth, the much maligned Sheffield Wednesday striker on loan at White Hart Lane ?  Why not.  His fifteenth minute header past Hislop was only ruled out by the assistant referee's flag and he had another effort scrambled away at the end.  Would Les have done any better in the circumstances ?  He also put Rebrov in with a neat header, but Sergei is lacking a striker's confidence at the moment and all his shots were off target tonight.

The midfield was more effective, with Leo, Daz, Freund and Ledley all working hard to close down the space afforded to the tricksters in the opposition side, but also did alright in playing the ball to make a few scoring half-chances.  Probably the best was Leo's late lob over the Irons keeper, but Tihinen produced Go Go Gadget legs to lift the ball over the bar from an impossible angle.  On another day it might of gone in ... but only if Tottenham had not been playing.

Defensively, the back three dug in and the wing backs helped out almost as much as the woodwork.  Pearce's inswinging corner and Lampard's header both came back off the frame of the goal.  It wasn't the only thing that Pearce hit on the night, with his tactic of letting Rebrov "know he was there" having the desired effect in making our Ukrainian drift out of the game.  So much so, that McEwen replaced him near the end.

So, not much to write home about and a point.  Grateful for small mercies, but the goalscoring problem continues.  The sooner it is sorted (and news from Norway suggests a player might be in-coming soon), the sooner Spurs can start getting results away from home. 

Stan Chun

 

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