Sunday, September 24

Hammers show spirit but too late to deny Spurs

West Ham 2 Tottenham 3

Steve the Cornish Postie has already provided plenty of colour for the blog by posting his ticket to the wrong address, but after some frantic knocking on my neighbours' doors, I'm able to hand it over to Lisa by the H Block sign. Hopefully West Ham's delivery will be better. 

Matt and Lisa are preparing for a week of living Danishly, Ryan Air permitting. I explain that The Little Book of Hygge recommends comfy socks, slippers, a warm fire and generally relaxing like the West Ham defence. They report huge queues in the Clyde Best Cafe where they've been caught out by the early kick-off. Alison's in Brighton preparing to govern. Nigel's opted for a pre-match pastie costing the price of his house while I've found a reassuringly cheap £2.50 egg and bacon sandwich for my daughter Nell at the burger bar by Tank in Hackney Wick.

The big team news is that Carroll is dropped to the bench. For the first half an hour West Ham match Spurs for intensity and probably have the better of the game. Arnautovic is foiled in the box by a fine tackle (and some shirt tugging) from Aurier while Kane misses a good chance at the other end. The key moment comes when Antonio goes off with a groin strain and is replaced by Andy Carroll.

On half an hour big Andy is still feeling his way into the game as he plays a blind pass inside. Kouyate gets out of the way and the ball falls to Eriksen. The Spurs playmaker releases Alli, who has got behind Cresswell, and his cross is flicked in by Kane who has lost Ogbonna. 

"We just need to keep it to 1-0 at half-time," announces Mystic Morris, just as Kane doubles Spurs lead. More hesitation leads to Eriksen and Kane playing in Alli on the left, who fires against the onrushing Joe Hart. Kane has lost his marker again and taps home the rebound. 

At half-time Nigel and myself discus the Climber's Traverse of Bowfell, and West Ham have been left a similar mountain to climb. It gets worse as Kane hits the post from a free kick and as the ball is half-cleared Eriksen shoots home first time. It looks like being another Man City-style 5-0 home drubbing at this stage as Kane hits the post again.

But at least West Ham show some spirit. Zabaleta for one never stops trying, and there's some hope when Fonte flicks on a corner and Chicharito nods home with his first effort on target. A good poacher's goal. It starts to get a bit tasty when Aurier is sent off for a second yellow after clattering Carroll. To give Big Andy some credit, he's kept going after his early error and is drawing a lot of fouls. 

Chicharito draws another save from Lloris with a stinging drive. "Come on you Irons!" cries a revived crowd. Masuaku has come on for Fonte and plays wide on the left. With three minutes left Arthur gets in a superb cross that Kouyate thumps home with a towering header. 

The Hammers really give it a go for the last seven minutes, forcing corners from which Reid and Noble blaze over. There's a good case for a late penalty as Carroll is nudged when going for a header and then a late melee after Carroll is fouled again. There's not huge contact, but at Southampton just such a decision was awarded against West Ham. But Spurs hold out and despite the signs of team spirit, we can't give quality teams three-goal leads. So Swansea become yet another must-win match.

PLAYER RATINGS: Hart 6; Zabaleta 6, Fonte 5 (Masuaku 6), Reid 6, Ogbonna 4, Cresswell 5; Noble 6, Kouyate 6; Antonio 5 (Carroll 6), Hernandez 7, Arnautovic 6 (Ayew 6). 


Rob Graham said...

Hi Pete, nice write up, thanks, Antonio injury was the turning point,big Andy would have been a perfect sub at 60 mins with something to prove. Hard and all as it is to admit Spurs are very good and showed it against us, but even at 3-0 it didn't seem a fair reflection of the game.
We badly need Lanzini back to give the midfield some magic again far too many comfortable sideways and backwards passes.
I thought Arnie looks good although a little rusty and Masuaku certainly contributed when he came on.
Little pea is an example to the team along with Zabeletta, with these guys in the team I am sure we will recover ok, but whether that is with Slav in charge I dont know...... its unfair adding to the pressure by Sully not getting behind him.
Anyway onwards and upwards hopefully its never dull supporting the hammers! COYI

Pete May said...

I still think we look better than last season with Zabaleta, Hernandez, Hart and Arnautovic to call on. Sad to say Spurs looked a really good side with Eriksen, Kane and Alli outstanding. It's the games against Swansea and their ilk who will decide our season.