The West Ham Post-Mortem


OK so I think it’s time for us Spurs fans to resurface from hibernation and face the music. Sunday was a bad day. Actually, that’s an understatement; it was a disaster. Days of endless mocking from West Ham/A*senal/Chelsea/Every other football fan has been tough, but we will battle through and i’m hoping it was just one of those days and not the Spurs-of-old creeping through after so many years. But was it really just an off day or was it the start of something that could spiral into much worse and how will AVB and the players put things right after the International break?

The first half was pretty open with both sides looking to attack and we dominated possession in the opening half hour in particular, but with no killer instinct. This is where it all went wrong for us in my opinion; there just wasn’t that killer pass and at no point did i feel we would score in this half which is very unlike us, particularly at home. The brave decision to start with Jermain Defoe was justified before kick off in my view but it didn’t look to smart once the final whistle blew. Defoe just couldn’t get going and i’m sadly beginning to feel he might be best utilised as a sub in the league after all. Roberto Soldado will almost certainly be restored to the first team against Aston Villa next time round and rightly so. Defoe failed to take the rare opportunity to impress in the league and he can only blame himself. That maybe slightly harsh on him as every single Spurs player could of done better, but i just wonder how well we would of done had Soldado started ahead of him. Andros Townsend was the only one who came out with any credit in the first half as he looked sharp and more motivated than his team mates and i was impressed once again with his efforts. First half over and it remained goal-less.

After the break we came out the blocks like men possessed only to find the stubborn West Ham defence on form once again. Once we started to press for the opening goal, cracks began to show and you could almost sense that once they mustered a counter attack, they would be the ones to get first blood. And that they did. 66mins, one nil down and obviously stunned. Little that we know a landslide was in full flow and we struggled from then on. West Ham were suddenly all over us and ultimately added their second and third in the space of 13 very painful minutes. Even though Erik Lamela entered the fray with half hour to spare and Soldado/Holtby were also thrown on, nothing could shift the power surge and we were extremely thankful to hear the full time whistle when we did. I think most of us would agree that it’s the worst we have played in many years at home and it was a crushing defeat to say the least.

So what exactly went wrong? Not taking our chances in the first half as I mentioned definitely played its part as i believe we would have won had we scored first but the blame has to lay with the central midfielders in my opinion. The usually dynamic trio of Mousa Dembele, Paulinho and Christian Eriksen were so ineffective it was untrue. No creativity, drive or guile were present from either of them and they let the likes of Diame, Noble and Nolan play them off the park, especially in the second period. I think it’s also time for Erik Lamela to get more starts and i’m disappointed he didn’t get this. Sigurdsson is only a back-up player and i don’t think he is good enough to start regularly for us in the league. We spent an awful amount of money on Lamela and he needs to get some game time in order to adjust to the league. Sigurdsson and not Townsend should be the one to go.

It would also appear that we are missing a bit of bite in the midfield. Sandro and Capoue have the characteristics needed to break up the opposition’s attacks more aggressively than Paulinho/Dembele and this perhaps was something that West Ham exploited during the second half. Ravel Morrison’s mazy run from the half way line (started by surpassing our midfield with ease as we pressed for a goal to get ourselves back in the game) was a good example of this. Sandro likes to sit very deep in front of the back four and i’m sure he would of been in the correct position to track Morrison’s run through the centre but i’m clutching straws. Will AVB address this? probably not.

I could write pages and pages about how poor we were during this game but i will leave it at that. I suppose we don’t do it often any more and we should be confident it was just a minor blip. Perhaps it’s the kick up the a*se that we needed and it will hopefully bring the players back down to earth after our recent run of good form. Complacency can now be erased and we start again. The Villa game can’t come soon enough. Let’s put it right lads, you owe it to the fans. COYS!!

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  1. This has to be the most balanced report I have read about the game. Well written – and I speak as a Hammers supporter. I have to agree that Townsend was by far Spurs' best player but what struck me was that the Spurs players did not appear to be "up for it" and nor did they appear to be playing for each other. For me Diame was a real key player in midfield and both Reid and Tomkins were outstanding.

  2. The biggest problem was width, not the middle.

    Granted, the midfield certainly wasn't anything to be proud of, but, travelling up the lane for my first game of the year, I just couldn't believe my eyes!
    Naughton & Siggy on the left hand side with Townsend cutting in on the right,. It was always going to be a disaster. Absolutely no width there whatsoever!

  3. People have been complaining about Dembele and that he doesn't play any through/forward balls. He is class. and was class on Sunday, but he had no options!! –
    AVB had some issues here, in that, Rose was injured and we didnt sign another left sided LB (I think Spurs thought they had Contreao in the bag)

    Also – Chiriches and Kaboom are not ready to start in the prem so he couldnt move Vertonghen over either,..
    BUT!! (Theres always a but!) AVB is paid hansomely to find a solution, Townsend is left footed and SHOULD have played LW.

  4. I also think I would have played Eriksen on the RW. Put Siggy or Holtby there who are clearly centrally minded and more settled to pace/physicality of premiership,..
    By the way – This is not slagging AVb with the benefit of hindsight, I love and welcomed AVB,. But, I also run a team, and as the manager YOU are responsible for seeing the game and adjusting your team accordingly! –

    I am extemely dissapointed by the lack of ability in AVB to pick the right line-up and also to change anything in -game…
    Never start Defoe again. As much as he is a great servant and professional and all round nice guy,,.. I am sorry. HE IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH. Dont care who doesnt like it, cos ur wrong!!!

  5. We have got to find a way of scoring more goals in the league games, we have a lot of possession but don't seem to know what to do with it. I can't figure out what AVB is trying to do yet but hopefully it will all click soon. The West Ham defeat was the worst I can remember at home for years and years, I didn't think we were capable of that type of piss poor performance. We can only hope that lessons will be learned from this disaster. Coys.

  6. I am worried about Villas-Boas.
    His style of play is negative and sluggish; three passes sideways, two back and if you're lucky one forward. Apart from being boring to watch it's very ineffective – the opposition have an interminable amount of time to get their defense into place. The best style of football not only for us spectators but also the most effective if you want to actually win a match is fast attacking football which pulls the opposition defense out of place and creates gaps to exploit.
    Also he seems determined to try to squeeze an opening down the middle. What's wrong with the wings? Taking the ball down to the goal line before pulling it back into the path of your forwards remains one of the best attacking moves. It's like you're trying to break down the front door, but it won't open and you can't think of any other way of getting into the house. Wouldn't you go round the side or back and look for another way in.
    If the manager is determined to play the wrong way no number or combination of new players will make the difference.
    All the more depressing and painful to admit for a life time Tottenham supporter like me is that the model for this fast attacking and effective style of football is Manchester Utd and most painful of all – Woolwich Wanderers.

  7. From a West Ham fan.
    You are bemoaning Spurs playing poorly on the day – and you're right.They had no idea how to adapt to counter a team using a formation they hadn't encountered before. Our setup I suspect was forced upon us as containing ploy as a result of having no strikers. But, to score thee goals from it – blimey.
    The surprising thing is though, that you expect trendy young continental managers to be innovative, but who'd have thought it of "Hoofer Sam"
    Southend Iron

  8. I am worried about Villas-Boas.
    His style of play is negative and sluggish: three passes sideways, two back, and if you're lucky, one forward. The most effective play is fast and direct. This pulls the opposition defense apart and opens up gaps to exploit. It's also the most exciting to watch. When they do attack Tottenham seem to be obsessed with attacking down the middle and trying to squeeze a way through. What's wrong with the wings and using the full width of the pitch? It's like you're trying to break down the front door of a house and it won't open. Wouldn't you try the sides or the back to look for another way in?
    No number or combination of new players will make any difference if the manager stubbornly persists in this slow boring predictable style of play.

  9. It was my first game of the year as well, I just kept saying to my mates this cannot be happening, unfortunately it was.
    That is the worst I have ever seen us play, we just didnt look up for it at all.
    At one point either side of the pitch had about 20 yards of space on each side right the way done each side of the pitch, so that goes to show our lack of width, for the villa game I would definately start Lennon (if fit) on the right, Townsend on the left, and Sandro in the middle (as Dembele got injured training withe Belgium) also Soldado has to start up front in the league and Lamela needs as much game time as possible.
    As a side note, I sat in the North Stand for the first time on Sunday……never again, it the South Stand or stay at home from no on.

  10. This article is interesting, but there is a simpler analysis. We lost because, in effect, Spurs played with only 9 men. There was no contribution from the left flank of Naughton and Sigurddson. You cannot play with a winger who can't run, and a full-back who freezes when the ball comes his way. So we were left with 2 players neutralised before the game even started. Where, in the newly acquired £100million talent, do we have pace? Nowhere. Until Lennon is back to supply it, and we switch Townsend to the left, and we find a fast forceful left back, plus, ideally, an imposing target striker, we will continue to have setbacks like the West Ham one, and will add very sparsely to our meagre goal tally.


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