90+4 min: Eriksen smashes one…….into row Z. Not long now for West Ham to hold out.
90+4 min: Bentaleb does tremendously well to come away with the ball after a scrap with Reid and Song, but his ball into the area is wayward. Then Eriksen finds Kane far more effectively. He twists, turns and gets a shot off but Cresswell blocks well.
90+3 min: I should say something wry about Eriksen inevitably scoring a late goal now.
90+2 min: Not yet, because Adrian claims a cross well this time – leaping high to collect Eriksen’s deep ball in.
90+1 min: Five extra minutes to be played. Does this have another twist?
90 min: A late, high challenge from Lamela fells Song, who is understandably happy to take time over his recovery.
89 min: Sakho ambles down the right and seems to have played the ball off Vertonghen for a corner, but a goal kick is the decision. Spurs build again.
88 min: Bentaleb rather stumbles into the area, but Soldado gets onto the ball and wins a corner….which Vertonghen meets but can’t keep down!
87 min: Now it’s Spurs winning the 50/50s, Walker outdoing Jarvis as he chases a Cresswell ball. Carlton Cole is currently down injured – hamstring? – and will now be replaced by James Collins. The sub subbed, etcetera.
85 min: And that’s nearly an equaliser for Soldado! Adrian has to save sharply from his angled volley inside the area. Now it’s West Ham who look nervous at the back.
83 min: That came from nowhere really. Spurs haven’t threatened much in this half. But the Hammers will surely face a siege now. A grumpy crowd – those that haven’t gone home, it must be said – has come alive.
82 min: A strange goal, but a lacklustre Spurs now have a lifeline! Lamela takes a short corner, gets it back from Eriksen and puts in a serviceable cross that Adrian should nonetheless do something decisive with. He goes for an unorthodox-looking, unconvincing punch that Rose, standing just outside the area, returns beyond him and into the unguarded goal. It wasn’t a clean hit – the ball bounced up and in – but Spurs don’t care!
80 min: A final throw from Pochettino now, Chadli replacing Mason.
79 min: Cresswell makes an important interception to stop Soldado going clear. He’s barely put a foot wrong today.
79 min: “It’s happening again, it’s happening agaaaaaain,” sing the West Ham fans. “It” being the 3-0, although I think they’d settle for the current scoreline.
77 min: This time Adrian has to save a legal effort, as Eriksen bends in an accurate 30-yard free kick that’s going to nestle into the corner before the Spaniard gets down to his left and bats it away.
76 min: Disallowed! Kane chases a deflected Lamela shot that loops up into the air, heads towards goal, sees his effort saved but knocks in the rebound. He was a shade offside, it’s a good decision.
75 min: Valencia, who has worked incredibly hard and deserves to hear his name sung by the Hammers fans as he walks off, is replaced by Matt Jarvis.
74 min: There is a little quibble about Sakho’s goal. He was onside, arriving beyond the back post, but Valencia was in front of the posts and challenging for the ball as it came in. Valencia was just, but clearly, offside and there’s an argument that his leap was offputting for the home defenders.
72 min: If I keep saying Lamela’s name, it might remind me he’s playing. Poor today, I’m afraid. Not much better from Bentaleb there though, a weak shot aimed wide from range.
71 min: Lamela’s latest attempt, inswung from the left, is better and is cleared on the bounce inside the six-yard box. It was there to be attacked.
71 min: A Spurs corner now, but Kouyate gets Lamela’s cross away. The home side seem completely out of ideas. Another corner now though….
69 min: West Ham have dominated this half – no two ways about it. If they didn’t create a whole lot more than their goal in the first half, they could be four up now. Are we on for a repeat of last season’s scoreline?
68 min: Noble off, Carlton Cole on. Noble looks miffed but it’s probably good timing there, as he would surely be off if he made another later challenge.
67 min: It’s nearly three! Reid heads a free-kick across goal and Valencia, just a few yards out, leaps to jab it towards the net….but Lloris gets down to parry. What a chance that was.
66 min: An unfortunately-timed email from Rolf Wilhelm – “If I was Pochettino [sic. - I assume] I would bench Sakho three games no matter what because he failed to pass the ball when he was free on goal. The super egotistical strikers needs to be stamped out.”
65 min: But, ooh, should West Ham be down to 10 men now? Noble has been booked already and now he fouls Bentaleb from behind, getting nowhere near the ball. Jon Moss really should dish out a second yellow there – he’s got very lucky.
64 min: Well! Sakho chases another lost cause down the right and gets a ball across that is just too far ahead of Valencia. But! Mark Noble retrieves it, out on the left, and curls in a lovely cross which is met by Sakho, steaming back into the box, who crashes in a volley from almost on the byline. What a goal, and what a performance this is from West Ham!
No mistakes this time!!
60 min: Another Spurs change – Soldado, who scored nicely on Thursday night, on for Townsend.
Then Walker, having reached the edge of the area, slaps a cross-shot well wide.
59 min: Sakho should make it 2-0! Or help to make it 2-0! Downing slides him in beautifully down the inside-right and he’s one-on-one with Lloris – but also has a totally unmarked Valencia to his left. He goes for it himself and Lloris repels, the ball going for a corner. Should have scored – but if he’d have passed it, Valencia had a certain goal. Will they regret that?
58 min: West Ham taking time over a throw-in. A Spurs fan leaps to his feet and points animatedly to his watch, which the officials will be grateful for.
56 min: Whatever Spurs have is clearly catching – Eriksen plays a poor ball straight to Reid. Spurs still very jittery-looking all over the park.
55 min: Townsend aims a cutback to…probably not Mason, but it gives him a reasonable sight of goal 25 yards out. He’s had a few sighters today and his latest is fairly comfortable for Adrian.
54 min: Valencia had to receive treatment for what seemed like a knock to the knee – but looked okay moment later when springing down the left and cutting inside before seeing a shot blocked.
52 min: Paul Ewart observes – “Is it just me or does anyone else spot the family resemblance between Kouyate and Cosmo Kramer in Gary’s photo? That off kilter cheesy grin is the essence of Kramer. All he needs is a cigar.”
52 min: Cresswell is booked for a shirt pull on Townsend. Correct call, but he looks truly mystified.
51 min: That, too, is grasped by Lloris.
50 min: Sakho is at it again, winning a throw by the left corner flag. Could repeat this ad nauseam. If your strikers can’t score, they at least need to be contributing in other ways – and West Ham’s forwards have been superb.
Then, from a quickly-taken free-kick, Downing gets to the line and wins a corner….
48 min: Cresswell – could he be a candidate for the next England squad? – sashays forward but it’s not his best cross, grabbed by Lloris at the back post. Then Walker makes his own run upfield, and the result is similar – Adrian catching.
47 min: Early Spurs corner, won by Townsend. It’s half-cleared to the right corner of the area, but Mason’s attempt at a volley is so wayward that it takes an age to leave the far side of the pitch.
46 min: Not a surprising change. Dembele, who you just *know* has a couple more gears than he tends to show, had a poor half and was caught several times, notably for the goal. Does Eriksen have the energy to match West Ham’s tempo and aggression here?
West Ham start us off.
A Spurs change! Dembele off and, yes, Eriksen on…
Kouyate 1-0 Spurs. #afcon2015 http://ift.tt/1zYk5Fb
Gary Al-Smith, who has graced these pages in the past, shares a moment with the big man, who doesn’t seem quite sure where the camera is.
Email from Johnny Peace:
“Here’s a question for the history books. What is the genesis of the delightful Peeeeeep! Who used it first? Was it first used colloquially and then entered The Guardian’s Live commentary, or did The Guardian invent it.”
Fair play to West Ham here, it was clear from the off that they weren’t going to let Spurs settle whatsoever and it’s been an effort led from the front by Sakho and Valencia. Neither has done anything flashy, but they’ve hunted everything down and forced all manner of errors and snatched clearances from the Spurs defence. One such episode saw Dembele’s mistake set in motion the move that ended in Kouyate’s fine goal. Kouyate himself has been a dynamo in midfield, and Aaron Cresswell has had a fine half at left-back too.
Spurs have had their chances – Kane hit the post early on and Rose looped a header over. Adrian had to save from Bentaleb too. But West Ham have been pretty comfortable since taking the lead – I wonder if Eriksen will need to be deployed sooner than Pochettino had hoped?
And it’s deserved.
45+1 min: Mark Noble is booked for a tug on Townsend, which was deep inside Spurs’ half and not that necessary. Townsend, like Kane before him, then passes the ball off the pitch.
45 min: Townsend does then have another free-kick chance from the right, though, and it takes two West Ham headers to get it away.
44 min: Lamela sells Townsend short and Cresswell, excellent so far, clears. The home crowd are grumbling. Spurs are making numerous errors, forced and unforced, in possession.
43 min: Harry Kane passes the ball straight out of play. Cue indulgent eye-rolling and “Ahh, he is human”.
41 min: Mason clears to Cresswell, who finds Downing in space but the cutback can’t find a West Ham player. But the Hammers are winning the ball back incessantly here, and Sakho and Valencia causing havoc simply by chasing down balls into the channels. Spurs are incredibly twitchy back there.
40 min: West Ham are working really, really hard here. Spurs, after a couple of decent early chances, are toiling and they concede yet another corner after Valencia, from another direct Cresswell ball, chases it down and forces Walker into another mistake.
39 min: A bit of space for Mason in the West Ham half, although he has two men rushing out to meet him as he snatches a shot harmlessly wide.
38 min: The corner is worked back to Downing, whose cross is headed onto the path of the onrushing Noble at an angle on the left. He makes good purchase on his volley but it’s blocked for another flag kick. From that, Lamela heads away.
37 min: Cresswell goes long down the left channel for Sakho, a percentage ball really, and Dier clears for a corner under yet more pressure.
36 min: Then Downing seeks Sakho with an early ball but Vertonghen, in a rare piece of unflustered Spurs defending, gets there first and builds an attack.
35 min: Downing could find Sakho on the left, but dithers and Rose gets back to tackle.
34 min: Lloris causes a brief flutter when dallying over a backpass and letting the ball run awhile. West Ham have really unsettled them at the back here, and not through doing anything particularly nuanced.
32 min: Townsend gives away a needless corner on the left. Bentaleb clears Noble’s set-piece well, ahead of Tomkins.
31 min: Meantime, a question from Jeremy Dresner – “Is Lamela being the assertive tackler he was against Liverpool or the miss-pass-placer he was against Fiorentina? Lamely assertive as predictive text would have it. Surely he has to step up in Eriksen’s absence today.” You’d have thought so, Jeremy.
Jeremy sullies this innocent query with a brag: “About to enter Monastery Jerómonos in Lisbon…beat that someone!”
30 min: A let-up in the pace now though, with Senegalese pair Kouyate and Sakho both needing treatment.
29 min: Lloris has to block from Valencia, and Spurs really don’t look great at the back. Another Cresswell cross finds him alone at the back stick after winning a set-to with Rose, but Lloris is out quickly and saves. Then Mason, at the other end, shoots only just wide from 25 yards. Cracking game, this.
27 min: I think it was Dembele who conceded possession in the build-up to the goal, by the way. What an enigma of a player he is.
26 min: Adrian is nowhere again as Rose beats him to a lovely Kane ball, and he is relieved to see the left-back’s header loop onto the roof of the net.
24 min: Spurs nearly respond immediately, Jenkinson clearing superbly from right in front of his own goal before Vertonghen lashes unhandsomely over.
24 min: And it came from more of that West Ham pressing. They’ve hemmed Spurs in by their own corner flags on several occasions. This time the hosts are in possession before Valencia forces an error. The ball is laid back to Noble, who finds Cresswell – speeding forward on the overlap. He stands up a juicy, tempting cross and Kouyate attacks it emphatically. Lloris has no chance as it rockets into the roof of his net. Nil-one!
What a header!
21 min: Townsend has a good crossing opportunity with a right-sided free-kick, but it goes beyond all of the cavalry and into Adrian’s hands.
19 min: Some poor defending from Spurs gives Sakho a bit of space. He flicks the ball over Dier and then, confronted by the onrushing.Lloris, manages to get the ball just past him. The goalkeeper was nowhere near it. But the ball goes nowhere near the goal either, and a defender clears inside the six-yard box.
17 min: The corner is poor but West Ham get the ball back and it ends up with Cresswell, who is 30 yards out and under some pressure but, with a left foot like his, might be disappointed with his end product – a shot well wide.
16 min: Noble clips a ball over for Valencia but, not for the first time already, he is offside. West Ham settling down a bit now though, and Downing goes on a run down the right before winning a corner from Kane.
15 min: Now they do string a few passes together but Dembele forces Tomkins to go back to his goalkeeper. Quite tight in midfield, this.
14 min: West Ham are still pressing well – Dembele was just forced into an awkward ball back into his own half – but showing little in possession themselves.
11 min: Kane hits the post! That would have been a curious goal. Tomkins and Adrian both hesitated as long, straight ball came down the centre, Kane got onto it and just managed to edge the ball past the stranded ‘keeper – but it clipped the frame!
10 min: Sakho gets tight to Rose and charges down a clearance by the corner flag. He ends up winning a throw-in, but Jenkinson can’t get a cross away from it and Spurs clear.
9 min: Lamela’s free-kick rebounds from the wall. Kane had also been standing over it.
8 min: Spurs finding some rhythm now and Mason, after a one-two with Lamela, is fouled just outside the D by James Tomkins…
7 min: Save by Adrian! Harry Kane works hard to keep a ball in play on the right byline and eventually the ball is spirited back to Bentaleb, who thumps in a 25-yard left-footer that the goalkeeper does well to turn wide. The resulting corner is not properly cleared and the Algerian has another go, this one saved rather more comfortably.
5 min: It’s actually a decent enough start from the Hammers, who are giving Spurs very little time. Noble dispossesses Dembele but then the home side do get a bit of a run, Jenkinson eventually clearing from Townsend’s ball across.
3 min: West Ham pressing energetically early on, forcing Spurs back in possession and coaxing an error from Walker, who concedes a throw midway inside his own half. Eventually Kouyate gets the game’s first shot away, but it’s miles off target.
1 min: Early ball up the line by Cresswell for Valencia to chase, but it drifts out of play.
Let’s see what this one brings.
The teams are out! White Hart Lane seems noisy enough for midday on a Sunday.
You can, of course, get in touch via email on email@example.com. Or tweet @NickAmes 82. Go on, it still seems quite early, we can help each other.
Pochettino on Eriksen’s absence from the starting lineup: “We need to manage the condition of our players…nothing special, only that we have a very busy period and need to manage in the best way”
It’ll be interesting to see how proactive West Ham are. I was disappointed when I saw them at Chelsea on Boxing Day – whether or not this is overly simplistic, it felt like a bit of a reversion to type from Allardyce. They stuck nine men behind the ball, dabbled in a counter or two but essentially let the home team do what they would. They’ve been better than that this season, so let’s hope Sam doesn’t blink in another big away game.
BT Sport will doubtless be praying that Mourinho TV goes off air before midday. Jose is absolutely in his element on Sky Sports 1 at the moment.
So plenty of changes for Spurs. Dier, Rose, Mason, Dembele, Lamela and Kane all come in. Slightly curiously, Christian Eriksen is left on the bench – presumably due to (a) fatigue and (b) Pochettino trying to ratchet up a sense of theatre ahead of his 90th minute winner. Etcetera and so forth.
West Ham fans on Twitter seem fairly pleased with their selection. Perhaps this is their strongest team. The headline is that Kevin Nolan is on the bench, Winston Reid coming back and Mark Noble captaining the side.
TEAMS: #WHUFC starting XI: Adrian, Jenkinson, Tomkins, Reid, Cresswell, Song, Noble (c), Kouyate, Downing, Sakho, Valencia #TOTWHU
Subs: Jaaskelainen, Demel, O’Brien, Collins, Nolan, Jarvis, Cole
#THFC team: Lloris (c), Walker, Dier, Vertonghen, Rose; Bentaleb, Mason; Lamela, Dembele, Townsend; Kane. #COYS http://ift.tt/1AiehLr
Subs: Vorm, Davies, Fazio, Stambouli, Chadli, Eriksen, Soldado
Fancy a football marathon? Today you have one. I count 18 live games on British telly today, in eight different leagues. Ok, 16 now as the Aussie ones have finished. There’s still time to prepare your most comfortable darkened room for the next 11 hours or so – but not that much time. For our journey begins with Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United at the princely hour of midday.
It’s an important one, this. Spurs were giddy with glee when beating – and leapfrogging – Arsenal two weeks ago but were edged out in an entertaining match at Anfield a few days later and now sit five points shy of the Gunners, and four short of fourth-placed Manchester United, with a game in hand. They were good for half a game against Fiorentina on Thursday night but were forced to settle for a draw, and the earliness of this kick-off doesn’t exactly strike you as ideal given that they were in action against a decent Italian side just 60 or so hours ago.
Nick will be here any minute with the team news. In the meantime, here’s Conrad Leach on Sam Allardyce to keep you company:
If West Ham United win at White Hart Lane at lunchtime on Sunday – and they won there 3-0 last season – Sam Allardyce’s side would be two points behindTottenham Hotspur, sitting in a very respectable eighth place. That would be a huge boon to a club whose season appears to have run out of oxygen despite the fact there are three months of it remaining. And playing on fumes is not what you need against a Spurs side whose players are energy-rich, reaping the benefits of Mauricio Pochettino’s fitness regime.
Yet, with one league win from their previous eight games, beating Tottenham would be out of character for West Ham right now. It is a club that seems to be on a downward spiral. The windowless, stuffy room in which Allardyce held his pre-match press conference, at their training ground in Chadwell Heath, lent a further cloying feel to a club which is finding it hard to breathe. Continue reading…