Tottenham Hotspur 4 v 0 West Ham United
Premier League, White Hart Lane, 15:00 GMT, Sunday 9 March 2008
West Ham achieved the unwelcome feat of losing three games in a row 4-0 today at White Hart Lane as Tottenham emphatically returned to winning ways.
Two goals by Dimitar Berbatov, one by Gilberto going some way to make up for his nightmarish debut and one from Darren Bent saw off a West Ham side who also had Luis Boa Morte sent off for two yellow cards.
After five minutes Paul Robinson continued his run of unusual goalkeeping by failing to deal with a Ljungberg 25 yarder, although he reacted quickly enough to deny Dean Ashton.
Just three minutes later Tom Huddlestone delivered a perfect free kick for Berbatov to head Tottenham in front.
Only a few seconds later Tottenham were awarded another free kick on the other side of the pitch and the Huddlestone Berbatov routine was repeated to double Tottenham’s lead and leave West Ham looking shell shocked.
Tottenham dominated the game and Huddlestone and Malbranque went close. A series of fouls by West Ham as they became frustrated by Tottenham’s dominance saw Boa Morte receive two yellow cards and get sent from the field. That really was game over for the Hammers.
In the second half neither team created much as Tottenham comfortably held on to their lead against a West Ham side looking short of ideas and confidence.
In the final five minutes substitutes Gilberto and Bent added a third and fourth goal for the hosts and completed a miserable day for West Ham.
Some Sunday papers suggested today that Alan Curbishley will be looking for a new job in the summer and this third consecutive 4-0 defeat will do nothing to bring an end to those rumours.
Tottenham: Robinson, Hutton, Dawson, Woodgate (Tainio 77), Chimbonda, Lennon, Zokora, Huddlestone, Malbranque (Gilberto 58), Berbatov, Keane (Bent 69).
Subs Not Used: Cerny, Boateng.
West Ham: Green, Neill, Ferdinand, Spector, McCartney, Ljungberg (Pantsil 71), Parker (Noble 76), Mullins, Boa Morte, Ashton (Cole 77), Zamora.
Subs Not Used: Wright, Solano.
My profuse apologies to Tottenham and West Ham fans for the title of this article, but with Arsenal and Chelsea flying high in the Premier League and in Europe, it’s hard to make a case for either of these two teams at the moment.
Earlier this season Tottenham took a point from West Ham at Upton Park, but missed out on the chance of all three when Robert Green saved a late Jermaine Defoe penalty.
There’s a bit of history between the two teams, and the two sets of fans aren’t the best of mates. It’s not one of the really big London derbies but it’s big enough! With Lasagnegate in 2006 when West Ham beat a poorly-fed Tottenham side to prevent them getting fourth place, and last season’s 4-3 win by Tottenham at Upton Park nearly sending West Ham down, both teams will still feel they have a score to settle.
Overall Tottenham have the better of West Ham in this fixture. In the last ten meetings Tottenham have won 5, West Ham 2 and there have been 3 draws. Since 2000, at White Hart Lane, West Ham have yet to win with Tottenham winning 3 and 2 games ending all square.
Tottenham have gone five unbeaten at home since the freak result against Birmingham and West Ham have won only one of their last six away. That win was at Fulham, so it doesn’t really count.
Tottenham are going into the game after a defeat against PSV in the UEFA cup, and have hopefully got over their hangovers from the Carling Cup triumph. Their last league game ended in an embarrassing 4-1 defeat at Birmingham. Maybe the home defeat wasn’t a freak result?
West Ham have lost their last two games 4-0, at home to Chelsea and away to Liverpool. Their season has been seriously disrupted by injuries, but although they are doing so much better than last season, I suspect their fans and Alan Curbishley are very frustrated by their lack of consistency. I suppose were they to lose 4-0 again on Sunday that would be consistent!
Curbishley was very disappointed after the performace at Anfield. “It’s the second time in four days we’ve played a top side and we knew it would be a tough game but we did not expect this. We have let ourselves down.”
He will be looking for improvement. Further allegations of financial wrong doing made by Kia Joorabchian will not be helping the atmosphere down in East London.
Eleventh placed Tottenham are eight points behind tenth placed West Ham and have a game in hand. Victory for Spurs tomorrow would put them in touching distance of taking over the third best team in London spot.
With West Ham having a bit of a rocky patch and Tottenham still just about on a high after their Wembley triumph, despite the defeat at Birmingham and the fairly abject performance against PSV, it is difficult to see past a Tottenham win.
Tottenham have scored an average of 1.96 goals in each of their home games this season. West Ham average 0.92 in away games.
That looks about right. 2-1 to Tottenham it is then.
Graham writes at Views of a fan.