Filed: Wednesday, 16th November 2005
By: Matthew Coker
With less than 40 days to Christmas, the officers of the Metropolitan Police have worked out this would be a good weekend for a bit of Sabbath overtime. Therefore, on Sunday lunchtime, West Ham and a few hundred robocops head to N17, where the Irons seek their 15th competitive victory at White Hart Lane.
There has been much media debate about how this Spurs team can break into Europe, maybe even the Champions League, according to the gushing host of the nation’s favourite highlights weekly. They currently sit 5th in the table having beaten Everton, Fulham and Boro at home and Charlton away. They have shared the points with Blackburn, Liverpool, Villa, Man Yoo and L’Arse and come a cropper at home to Chelsea and most recently, away at the Reebok.
In charge is Dutchman, Martin Jol, who was Dutch footballer of the year in 1986 before spending time at both Coventry and West Brom. His coaching skills were honed in the Netherlands where he won the Dutch Cup with Roda Jc, their first trophy in 30 years and he took RKC Waalwijk from being relegation battlers to being European contenders.
He has bought a Dutch developmental attitude to his reign at Spurs, the buying policy seems to be to buy young and primarily British and he has plundered the best players from Championship clubs including ourselves, Leeds United and Nottingham Forest.
The defence is a fairly well established unit; Paul Robinson has been ever present in goal as has Canadian right back, Paul Stalteri. The coach seems to have settled on England under 21, Michael Dawson to accompany academy product and club captain, Ledley King in the middle and attacking full back Young-Pyo Lee (number 16 to you and I) has made the left side his own in recent weeks. King is performing well at both ends of the field, scoring against Arsenal and Charlton and is a danger at set pieces.
In midfield we are re-acquainted with West Ham Youth academy product, Michael Carrick. He seems to have picked up at Spurs where he left off at West Ham, an undoubted talent with an extraordinary range of passing and an exquisite footballing brain. However for a player of 6’0, he is surprisingly lightweight in the tackle and goals are not a part of his game, a fact that those who compare him with Brooking and Hoddle seem to miss.
Although he is most effective somewhere between the halfway line and the edge of the opposition box, he almost seems a bit of an indulgence as he neither scores nor prevents goals. His last competitive goal was in the 2002/03 season, one of just five he scored for us in 101 appearances. He is yet to score for Spurs. It is hard to see him usurping the role from Gerrard or the fat twat in the national team without introducing some additional dimensions to his game.
Whenever we played football in the playground at school and I was captain, my policy was only to pick the kid in glasses when everyone else had been taken. Not so Martin Jol, who has made Edgar “The Pitbull” Davids a regular in his starting line up. Despite demonstrating his clever ball juggling skills in numerous commercials, his usual style of play is as a big, aggressive, competitive bastard who gets stuck into everyone. It is a shame that Do Do Do is not going to be back for this one as Davids is the sort of opponent that would have been excellent experience to go up against with his refuse to lose attitude.
Jermaine Jenas was signed for £8m just before the transfer window was closed allowing me to point out that you pronounce his surname to rhyme with penis twice in the space of four months. He has settled in well, establishing himself as a first team regular and scoring three goals including a peach at Old Trafford, making him current joint top scorer.
Finish midfielder Teemu Tainio has been a regular in recent games, though 18 year old Aaron Lennon has impressed with some mature displays this season. Andy Reid seems to have made few friends at the Lane so far, his workrate and body mass index have not endeared him to the Spurs faithful. He does seem to play well against us though, his 90 yard run at the Boleyn two seasons ago was one of the rare times that I actually applauded an opponents goal and he also scored one against our reserves a couple of weeks back. Michael Brown and Pedro Mendes make occasional appearances.
Up front, the main striker is Jermain Dwarf, only 5’7 in height but with an ego to compensate. In all honesty we can’t complain about our acrimonious split with him as we poached him from Charlton in the first place and should have worked out then that he was little more than a footballing brass.
In terms of ability he has the attributes to go a long way, confidence in abundance, bags of speed and he can score goals from distance as well as being dangerous in the box. He has three goals so far this season but has not scored in the last five games, or not one that has been allowed. Nevertheless, he will be a danger on Sunday and will be desperate to score against us. The only other thing to remind you all of is that JERMAIN PUT IN A TRANSFER REQUEST THE DAY AFTER WE WERE RELEGATED. Just in case, you’d forgotten.
His strike partner is likely to be Mido (and if Spurs fans haven’t turned his name and the word Yido into a rhyming couplet, then they don’t deserve to be called football fans), the large to The Foe’s little. Robbie Keane is used sparingly as a substitute but has scored twice after coming off the bench. Frankenstein look a like Gregor Rasiak has only started two games as cover when Mido was suspended.
For all the rivalry off the pitch, West Ham and Tottenham fans demand the same standards of good football on the pitch. This may explain why so many current players have been able to make a seamless transition from one club to the other. The styles of play should ensure a football contest and hopefully the game should live up to expectation (and justify the £43 entrance fee).
For my prediction this week, I am going to say that there is more chance of walking into the Cockerel public house before the game wearing a “West Ham Air Conditioning and Glaziers” t shirt and getting served than we are of taking points from this game. I am going to go for a 2-0 reverse in the hope that I am wrong.
Enjoy the game.
Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.
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