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Premiership
Sunday, 22nd October 2006

Tottenham Hotspur 1
West Ham United 0

by Nick Bull


One of my first thoughts when the summer transfer coup went through was the possibility that a West Ham side could go to White Heart Lane and beat the team that we all love to hate. These two World Class players on our books, I thought at the time, could go and destroy that lot from North London. As it turns out, it did not happen, though one of our South American certainly made the headlines………

No blame can be attached to Mascherano for the furore that has originated after Sunday’s derby. His original tackle was mistimed and he clearly did not get the ball – this happens at every football ground the World over. Most human beings would have just got on with it. Not Jermaine Defoe, the biggest imbecile of them all. Luckily, we’ve all got more reasons to hate him now; aside from the fact that he is a money grabbing, disloyal, ill-tempered Judas. Forget Ince and Lampard, there is no one I despise more in football today.

The club certainly did not need this extra press attention, even though the midfielder is receiving the sympathy for the incident. The critics are scrutinising West Ham more than ever, the Manager is on tender hooks, the confidence is long past sapping away, and all Martin Jol can talk about is how his striker was only ‘playing about’ when he wanted to take an additional lunch break on the field of play. Perhaps I was wrong when I said that it is Defoe that I loathe the most in today’s game. After all, this is the manager who was unbelievably sure that Spurs would reach the Champions League last season after winning at Upton Park. Arrogant little swine. I’m glad he can joke about this vile act; him and Paul Ince Jnr are made for each other. I cannot wait until they come to Upton Park this season, them and their little fans who were awful until Mido scored. Bring it on.

More than ever since the defeat have fans started turning against Pardew. The sheer magnitude of the match really has not helped him. Below the discontent, things are slowly improving on the pitch; the display was probably the best (in comparable terms) since Liverpool away back in August. The only real problem that does not appear to be residing is the lack of goals in this team. Two good chances aside, the midfield simply did not create enough for the strikers. Eleven hours without scoring is a frightening fact; made worse when it is only too clear why that is the case.

Defensive as it may seem, I’m glad the manager played both Mascherano and Mullins in the centre, something I have wanted to see. A couple of loose passes aside, I thought they performed ok. Unless this is tried again with two out-and-out wide players, I guess we won’t know how beneficial it is. The only problem with this is who those men will be. Reo-Coker was out of position but certainly did not disgrace, as he has done in his favoured role this season. Etherington has not reached 100% this season, and we miss him dearly. Benyaoun is unrecognisable from the talent we saw last season. He was dire at Portsmouth, even worse at the Lane. His final pass was dire, he rarely tracked back and was in and out the game more times than the Oki-Koki. At the moment, Yossi is the weak link in the team.

He takes over that honour from Konchesky, who had a steadier game, though is passing remains off target (crossing the ball is his nemesis). Dealing with Lennon is never easy, especially after being booked early on in the game. All told, the defence as a unit looked a lot more solid. Anton and Gabbidon shone, making some vital interceptions (and stopping Defoe from scoring), whilst Paintsil returned to Premiership action, and delivering a competent right back performance in a high-pressure game. Mears and Spector have also played in that role, but the Ghanaian is the pick of the bunch from what I’ve seen.

I am one of the few that likes Roy Carroll, but seeing Rob Green make his debut seemed to settle the defence – and the travelling support – far more than the Irishman does. He looked very assured between the sticks, his kicking was far more accurate and the save he made from the Judas was one out of the top drawer. It appears that many football fans have forgotten about him, hopefully that will change after a steady run in the team – and some clean sheets for a change?!

Following the game, I was rather annoyed with the result. The dreadful run had been extended, thanks to a team I hate. For some reason, my main frustrations were knowing that a draw would have been a fair result. Goals change games, commentators always say, and this was right on the mark at WHL. Nil nil half time would have affected the course of the game, dare I say I think West Ham might have even knicked it – just like I thought would have happened back in August. At least Chesterfield beckons…….



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Player Ratings

Robert Green
Could do nothing about the goal. Solid debut, producing one good save from everyone’s favourite, Jermaine Defoe. West Ham’s number one from here in.


John Paintsil
Good to see him back for the first time in a month and a half. Not afraid to attack his man going forward.


Paul Konchesky
Better from the left back, though he must work on keeping possession.


Anton Ferdinand
Coped very well with all that was asked of him. Only thing missing was a last minute equaliser again.


Danny Gabbidon
Back to the Gabbidon of best perhaps?


Hayden Mullins
Mullins playing as Mullins. Quiet but effective, as per.


Nigel Reo-Coker
Looked good on the right first half, all told. Moving to the left after the break stifled him.


Javier Mascherano
Not his best performance, though I’d like to see him and Mullins start together again.


Yossi Benayoun
Awful.


Marlon Harewood
Unlucky with the side’s best chance. Now he needs a goal – urgently.


Bobby Zamora
Tried to impress at the Lane but had little to feed on.


Substitutes


Carlos Tevez
(Replaced Mascherano, 68) Attempted to play on the right, needed in the centre.


Carlton Cole
(Replaced Benayoun, 78) Very quiet after his introduction.


Christian Dailly
(Replaced Harewood, 82) The reasons for his arrival are getting spoken of more than his cameo role.


Roy Carroll
Did not play.


Teddy Sheringham
Did not play.



Match Facts

Referee: S.Bennett.

Attendance: 36,132.

Man of the Match: Robert Green.

West Ham United

Robert Green, John Paintsil, Paul Konchesky, Anton Ferdinand, Danny Gabbidon, Hayden Mullins, Nigel Reo-Coker, Javier Mascherano, Yossi Benayoun, Marlon Harewood, Bobby Zamora.

Goals: None.

Booked: Paul Konchesky 32 Javier Mascherano 43 Marlon Harewood 45 John Paintsil 90    .

Sent Off: None sent off.     .

Tottenham Hotspur

Robinson, Chimbonda, Assou-Ekotto, Dawson, King, Huddlestone, Jenas, Lennon, Davids, Mido, Defoe..

Substitutes: Keane (Defoe 77), Ghaly (Lennon 78)..

Subs not used: Cerny, Gardner, Murphy..

Goals: Mido (45)..

Booked: Defoe (44), Mido (49), Davids (86)..

Sent Off: None sent off..

 
Nick Bull's Man of the Match: Robert Green


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