The second half against Wigan excepted, West Ham were probably the worst team to come to White Hart Lane this season, but we made hard work of this win. Henry Illunga had already launched several illegal Illunges at Aaron Lennon but after ten minutes he lost him completely as our flying winger raced clear following a couple of neat flicks in midfield. Tomkins attempt to block Lennon’s cut-back to Crouch only diverted the ball to Modric who finished well whilst off balance.
We were totally dominant thereafter but didn’t kill the game off until the 81st minute when Lennon’s pace on the break again created room, this time for Jermain Defoe. He wriggled and found space for a shot which Green should’ve done better with, Defoe followed up to absolutely crash the rebound home past the keeper from 16 yards.
West Ham’s virtually unidentifiable collection of stocky and angular lookey -likeys mustered nothing in response either between the goals or either side. Early on Parker and then Illunga were replaced in quick succession due to injuries prompting massed rolling hand over hand, i.e. ‘substitution needed’ gestures from the Park Lane whenever a pass was misplaced by the away team or Robert Green carefully side footed a ball into touch, which was often. They’ve got big injury problems and are in for a long second half of the season. I’m reliably informed that they play all ‘the other shit teams’ at home between now and May and on this showing that’s got to be their best hope for survival.
So we were on top throughout but didn’t/couldn’t put them away. All season long our most likely source of goals has looked to be Lennon crosses, Huddlestone breaking into the box or Crouch knockdowns and that was definitely true today. Big Tom hit the post and scuffed a couple of other efforts, Crouch had one knockdown to Defoe cleared from under the crossbar. Modric adds extra flair, as does Kranjcar but even though we have such a creative range in midfield we have been struggling to create clear cut chances of late. There were few at Ewood Park and Craven Cottage before today.Â On the back of four clean sheets, then ‘who cares’ is a valid & fair response but only if you believe that we’ve turned it round at the back and are no longer quite so open as we were at the start of the season.
Ledley King today played today. Sebastien Bassong was taken off at the end of the game on Saturday so maybe that was a precaution. It’d be interesting to know if it was tactical as Dawson and Bassong have done well lately.Â Huddlestone and Modric came in for Jenas and Kranjcar both of whom must’ve been tired after their efforts at Fulham. Palacios looked as fresh as a daisy however as he battled in midfield. Some of his passing was top drawer also, something you can’t always say.
So in the end we comfortably defeated an injury hit and poor team and completed our first double of the season. How they miss Carlton Cole. West Ham’s fans were loud throughout but in the end those in the lower tier matched off the pitch the comedy that their own team provided on it by having a pop at those home fans who’d left before the end not realising that almost all of their own support in the upper tier had long ago headed for the High Rd.
We go to Anfield next in the League. The return of King and Modric and the form of Defoe, Huddlestone and Lennon amongst others mean that we’ll go with confidence.
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