Tottenham Hotspur 1 West Ham United 2
Wednesday, 18th December 2013
by Trevor Twohig
For the second time in ten weeks, West Ham United have beaten Spurs at White Hart Lane to heap even more pressure on the under-achieving North London club.Stand-in Spurs manager Tim Sherwood showed his intent by playing two strikers, something AVB was reticent to do whilst Big Sam named an experienced, yet largely second string side. Noble, Diame and Morrison dropped to the bench and there were call ups for Matty Taylor, Alou Diarra and Jack Collison.
Razvan Rat returned to the starting line up and George McCartney filled in at centre back for the injured James Tomkins. Carlton Cole made only his second start of the season up front.
Tottenham started the brighter of the two teams and ex-Hammer Jermain Defoe had a gilt-edged chance early on. Spurs continued to make a lot of the running in the first half with chances for Adebayor and Sigurdsson both going astray.
As has been the case for a majority of this season, there was a lot of huff and puff from Tottenham but little final product and as the minutes ebbed away, West Ham knew they had every opportunity of nicking a chance on the break.
That being said, there were few West Ham chances in the first half, with Carlton Cole striking tepidly at Lloris and Jarvis causing difficulties down the left hand side. Sadly there was little else to write home about. Defensively though, the Irons were outstanding.
Marshalled by stand-in skipper James Collins, West Ham frustrated their opponents, in similar fashion to the league match here in October. Diarra and Collison sat in front of the back four and broke up Tottenham's play well and looked to attack on the break.
In the second half, Sam swapped a tired looking Carlton Cole for Modibo Maiga. The latter won a corner for the Irons that was well defended and saw Tottenham burst up the pitch. Townsend found Defoe, who beat Matt Taylor, to produce a pinpoint cross to Adebayor, who rifled the ball into the top of the net. The Spurs faithful went wild and from Adebayor's celebrations, you would have thought he had just won the league for his side.
As the game moved into the final third, Big Sam looked to make further impact and brought on the ever-impressive Mo Diame for Joe Cole. His low shot from Maiga's flick on brought the best out of Hugo Lloris as West Ham refused to lie down once again at White Hart Lane.
Andros Townsend pulled up with a hamstring injury which will see him out of action until the new year and Sherwood decided to pull off Adebayor, to much applause from the Tottenham fans.
Then the moment came: an Adrian clearance found Maiga's head who knocked it down superbly to Diame. He played it into Matty Taylor who had the vision to put Matthew Jarvis in wide on the left. Jarvis took a first time shot which cannoned into the back of the net, to even the score on the night.
Big Sam, sensing blood or deja vu, made his final change of the night bringing on Ravel Morrison for the final ten minutes of the match. Diame et al continued to be a nuisance and a long cross that looked to be going out of play was kept in by Jarvis who managed to find Ravel, who played himself out of trouble before laying off a perfect ball to Diame, wide on the right.
Diame, with time to pick out his man played in a majestic ball that spun and swirled in the air and found Maiga's head which in turn found the left hand corner of the goal; 2-1 to West Ham. This was Maiga's first goal in twenty games and was fabulously-taken by the much maligned centre-forward.
Tottenham's final throw of the dice was to introduce Lewis Holtby but their best opportunity fell to Nacer Chadli, who was quite brilliantly challenged by Joey O' Brien ehrn through on goal and thus tamely knocked his effort towards the open arms of 'keeper Adrian.
In fact, it was West Ham who had the best opportunity to wrap up the game with a threatening break, started by Jack Collison with some nimble footwork. A half clearance fell to Maiga who beat his defender sublimely and shot from thirty yards only to watch the ball thunder off the crossbar and fall at the feet of a Spurs defender.
West Ham saw out the five minutes of added time to record another sublime victory at White Hart Lane. It was even more pleasing to note that West Ham's squad was ravaged with injuries and suspensions, while Spurs fielded a fairly strong side.
The Spurs' faithful were expecting a response following their 5-0 slaughter at the hands of Liverpool at the weekend; sadly it was not to be as West Ham out-thought and outplayed their rivals on their home patch once more this season.
The win lifts a little pressure off West Ham and gives Big Sam some selection headaches for Saturday's trip to Old Trafford. Taylor and Collison were superb in midfield and Adrian continues to impress between the sticks. Overall, the spirit was pleasing for a team accused of not showing the passion and integrity associated with this magnificent football club.
The only down side to the evening was that the draw for the semis could have been kinder, as West Ham were handed a semi final tie with in-form Manchester City. Still you have to beat the best to win the competition and Wigan knocked them out last year, so there is always hope.
Something our north London rivals will be clinging onto, in these rather embarassing times.
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Excellent accuracy and some splendid saves.
Joey O Brien
Played supremely well - some excellent tackles.
Filled in fabulously.
A solid if not inspiring game.
One of the best games I have seen him have - no mistakes!
Chased shadows a lot today.
A great game - harrassed and bullied the Tottenham midfield.
Really stuck his hand up today - key role in the equalising goal.
Was mostly on the backfoot - not a lot of threat.
Looking like he is returning to form at the right time.
Won some headers.
All is forgiven Modibo - best game so far.
Immediate impact on a tiring Spurs defence.
Pace and dribbling always a problem for defences.
Did not play.
Did not play.
Did not play.
Did not play.
Match FactsWest Ham United: Adrian, Joey O Brien, George McCartney, Razvan Rat, James Collins, Alou Diarra, Jack Collison, Matt Taylor, Joe Cole, Matt Jarvis, Carlton Cole.
Goals: Matt Jarvis 80 Modibo Maiga 85 .
Booked: Alou Diarra 61 .
Sent Off: None sent off. .
Tottenham Hotspur: Hugo Lloris, Kyle Walker, Etienne Capoue, Vlad Chiriches, Danny Rose, Aaron Lennon, Mousa Dembele, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Andros Townsend, Emmanuel Adebayor, Jermain Defoe.
Subs not used: Brad Friedel, Roberto Soldado, Christian Eriksen, Ryan Fredericks.
Goals: Emmanuel Adebayor (67).
Booked: Emmanuel Adebayor (33).
Sent off: None.
Referee: Neil Swarbrick.
Man of the Match: Modibo Maiga.