After recent results and West Ham producing results to beat our points tally I fancied anything could have happened at White Hart Lane this afternoon. On previous visits I had seen Andy Carroll silenced by Michael Dawson and tweeted as much on our journey to the ground never expecting to see him named in the side.
I got a text regarding the starting line up from a golfing mate saying “AVB must have been listening to us.” “Christ”, I replied “do you think that he heard everything we said…..”
So Michael eventually gets a start and after a tentative opening I thought he had a good game, with some deft headers and decent distribution. Not only that but we seemed to have some leadership across the back and he was talking to Walker who had his best game for some time. I am no way against Billy Gallas but at his age he should be supporting the group not playing every game.
It was also interesting to see Vertonghen moving back to left back. Is this an admission that last weeks back four was misjudged? Whatever, I was a little surprised to see Huddlestone starting after Dembele came on in Rome but he did and in the second half played his best 45 minutes for some time.
At last Bale and Lennon got into the game and combined well to create goals Lennon squaring to allow Defoe to score his second when a shot might have produced a goal for himself. In the first half a great run from Bale produced a blistering shot which smashed onto the crossbar.
Our first half performance saw a number of long distance shots not causing West Ham too much trouble until Defoe who was abused by the travelling fans for most of the afternoon picked up the ball on the right and carried it before unleashing a brilliant shot which flew into the net. Answered in the appropriate manner they fell silent for a period.
Our second from Bale saw him play a deft chip over Jaaskelainen which the keeper knew had beaten him and the result but could do nothing about. The through ball was a delightful chip from Dempsey who played a much better game today. A third followed after we broke and Lennon’s pace outstripped the defence before he squared for Defoe to add his second.
Unfortunately the clean sheet wasn’t to be after we gave the ball away in a needless manner that allowed a back stick cross that Carroll was able to loop over Lloris leaving him stranded and like Jaaskelainen before him knowing the end result. Apart from one palm out punch Lloris looked more comfortable as the game went on and came and collected more than once.
We finished with Sandro being carried off and taking oxygen but understand that he will be available for Wednesday when he will certainly be needed. Today West Ham weren’t at their best, in fact in parts they were quite poor, but we needed a performance to clear out the memory banks last weeks defeat. We got that and during the second half Tommy was knocking it around quite comfortably in his best performance for some time.
So the positives, better tempo throughout, no sitting off and trying to protect a lead, playing more as a team than in parts of previous games and scoring some goals and some decent ones to boot. Best home performance of the season so far and we need to continue it on Wednesday night to keep the pressure on those struggling above us.
Come on you Spurs!