Sunday, March 09, 2008

Tottenham 4 West Ham 0

West Ham started with Ashton, Zamora, Parker and Spector. The more attacking line-up from West Ham almost paid off in the opening five minutes. West Ham had at least three good chances. In the fourth minute Ljungberg cut in field and shot from 20 yards, Robinson padded the ball down to Ashton's feet but got down well to block Ashton's shot, the ball then fell to Boa Morte but Robinson again got down to save at Boa Morte's feet. And that was the end of the game for West Ham.

For the next forty minutes it was nearly all Spurs. In the 8th minute the referee awarded Spurs a dodgy free-kick. Huddlestone crossed for Berbatov, who returning from an offside position, headed the ball home. Three minutes later Spurs were awarded another free-kick with the same result. Huddlestone again crossed for Berbatov who headed in his second goal.

West Ham were poor all over the pitch in the first half but in particular Ferdinand lost Berbatov for both of his goals and Lennon ran rings around McCartney. Boa Morte was guilty of a number of fouls. He was booked for a fair challenge but after that he still threw himself around and he was finally sent off for going in for a challenge with Lennon with a foot raised.

With West Ham down to ten men Spurs enjoyed the majority of the possession in the second half with Ashton playing up front on his own having to feed on scraps. In the 51st minute Ashton did well to create a chance for himself, beating two defenders but shooting just over from twenty yards.

In the 55th minute West ham enjoyed a little period of possession which ended with a Ljungberg shot which was blocked. The ball rebounded out to Neill, who shot from 20 yards straight at Robinson.

Pantsil and Noble were both given twenty minutes, on for Ljungberg and Parker. Just before Parker was replaced he won the ball in midfield, passed out to Pantsil on the right wing who crossed into the box. Ashton did well to just get in front of his marker but his shot from six yards was deflected wide. That was the last of the action for Ashton as he was replaced by Cole.

With West Ham looking like they might actually go a half without conceding and with only four minutes left Lennon dummied a cross and Gilberto turned and fired home Spurs' third from seven yards. Then with barely seconds to go Bent got in front of the West Ham defence to head home a cross from close range. There was even more bad news for West Ham as Zamora was forced to play out the last five minutes with a bad injury.


At 5:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Curbishley is damned if he does, damned if he doesn't. Today he played with a 4-3-3 formation, and still, Spurs scored within the first 12 minutes.

Forget about the formation, what about the fouls, not just the fouls that are awarded a yellow or red gard, but the fouls situation in general. It would seem that the team was very frustrated today and the previous two games. Or perhaps, they resent not having a Tom Huddlestone or Dimitar Berbatov in the squad.

Dean Ashton played really well- just not offensively. No matter though, it's all Curbishley's fault.

At 5:35 PM, Anonymous portugal said...

It s frightening how wrong our tactical approach to the game was.

1- why leave noble on the bench? either start him ahead of mullins,or be bold, and play him on the wing,instead of boa morte.

2- why start boa morte when we re playing 4-4-2? surely ,when you have solano and pantsil as options ,you start one of them ,not boa morte.

3- clearly ,we ve all felt that 4-5-1 wasn t working. but when the lynchpin of your defence, Upson,is injured,is that the best time to switch to the 4-4-2,especially away from home ,against a player like Berbatov?

4- So you finally, perhaps under severe pressure,choose to go with the 4-4-2, do you really want to start 2 guys upfront who have not been fit enough recently to play one full game between them? Or does it not make more sense to start Cole and Zamora,or even Cole and Ashton,and then make a change as required later in the match?

5- The single most important thing after the previous drubbings shud have been putting out a side ,and playing a formation ,that gave us a decent chance of not conceding early. why did we not do that ? Wigan,Portsmouth and Barnsely all managed to do exactly that ,against stronger opposition than spurs. why do we fail to do the same? i want to see a 4-4-2 as much as anyone else, BUT THAT DEPENDS ON HAVING MATT UPSON IN THE SIDE. you don t all of the sudden become much more agressive in attack when you are missing your best defender. because if you do, you get turned over against a player of the quality of berbatov.

6. after boa morte got the first booking ,and knowing that he has a history of early bookings and needless fouls this season,why not take him off? why run the risk of a second booking and killing off any chance of getting back into the game? as dire as it looked at 44 minutes, 2 goals down, what was he still doing on the pitch at the time of the second booking? had we gone into the break with eleven men, as bad as it looked ,at least it wouldn t have been completely done and dusted.

so any way you slice it, curbishley made significant tactical mistakes here. not one,not two, but many. and how in god s name cud we be marking berbatov as poorly as we did on set pieces? if he was going to be too hot to handle for our centerbacks,then surely we shud have thought about ways of coping with that ,ways of providing more help to ferdinand or spector ,especially from set pieces.

as many mistakes as curbishley made in preparing for this game, it s boa morte who singlehandedly is the most at fault. how cud he possibly put the team in such jeopardy when he was already on a yellow? how cud he be so careless?
and even apart from the bookings,he committed other needless fouls. i can forgive boa morte a lot of things,including his poor finishing this season. but i can t forgive him the sort of sloppiness, and i ll take it a step further ,the selfishness that resulted in his sending off. his teammates didn t deserve it, the manager didn t deserve it, and the fans didn t deserve it. this was a crucial game in trying to stop what has become an implosion- boa morte shud have accepted fully,from the moment he got the first booking ,that he had to be careful beyond description, to avoid inflicting another disaster on us .

this is just plain wrong. it s obviously the heat of the moment,but i have just about run out of patience with curbishley. that may be hasrh,it may be unfair. but 3 games of this is simply beyond the pale. you reach a point where there simply can no longer be excuses.

there is just no way to justify losing 12-0 on aggregate to these 3 sides,as each of these 3 sides have shown themselves ,even recently ,to be less than worldbeaters,regardless of where they sit in the table or winning the carling cup.

At 5:55 PM, Anonymous portugal said...

great point by contributor at 5.01 about the fouls. we are consistently, game after game,conceding more fouls than the opposition . all it does is put our defense under pressure,result in conceding free kicks from dodgy positions ,and inevitably result in bookings as referees lose patience.

i ll also agree on ashton s performance. i ve been extremely critical of him this season, but to his credit, he was improved in this match. if there is anything positive to take from this match, and in all honesty,there isn t , one tiny bit of light is that ashton at least showed desire and looked fitter.

yes ,there is an element here of curbishley being damned no matter what formation he plays ,with results like these. but i feel strongly that he definitely made tectical errors today, and that aspects of the preparation for the match were sub par . you can argue that he had little time to prepare ,as we last played on wednesday,away from home. or is that ,again,just making excuses?

At 6:29 PM, Blogger Keir Clarke said...

Good call on Ashton.

I was going to end the match report with some praise of Ashton's performance but I forget to do it in my general depression.

At 8:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Portgal, consider the following please..

1. Hayden Mullins has played better than Mark Noble in the past few games. Noble has been poor, giving the ball away a lot and getting completely lost watching the game pass him by. Mullins has been more consistent all season. He deserved that spot.

2. Boa Morte offers more penetration down the flank than Solano who lacks pace. Pantsil is quick but lacking somewhat in technical ability. Furthermore, neither of them play on the left. With Etherington short of fitness and Ljungberg clearly a better performer on the right, Boa Morte was the best option.

3. If we had started 4-5-1 and lost, you would have been on here moaning about Curbishley adopting a 4-5-1. Admit it. You're as fickle as the rest of them.

4. The only way Ashton and Zamora are going to get fit is games. Ashton was our best player today and worked very hard, clearly showing a greater degree of fitness. Zamora, though picking up an injury late on, got through the full 90 and gave it a good go. Carlton Cole has worked his arse off for a long time and recently it's stopped happening for him. It was time for a change of personnel given that we have been failing to score goals.

5. Both of their early goals came from set pieces and Anton not bothering to mark. NOTHING AT ALL to do with the formation. Get it? Player error, not tactical. OK, so you can argue it should be worked on in training, but I'll bet they spend a lot of time on that and if a player isn't going to pull his weight and let you down then there's not a lot you can do from the sidelines. We were the better side before they scored, remember..

6. Any manager would have waited until half time to either bring off Boa Morte or calm him down. Again, player error. He let the side down.

I'm glad you accept that he did let the side down and to some extent acknowledge that Curbs has been badly let down by the players, especially Boa Morte. But like anon said at 5.01, he's damned if he does and damned if he don't. Some of the criticism the man has come under has been nothing short of a disgrace, every bit as disgraceful in my opinion as the performances the players have turned in the last 3 games. This man took over a club 15 months ago that was in absolute freefall, performed a miracle to keep us up, stabilised and brought back dressing room harmony, brought in some good players and on a threadbare squad has guided us into the top ten of a very tough league. Before these 3 games we were unbeaten in 8.

Sack him? Piss off, all of you fickle morons who suggest that. Why don't you take a look at Everton, Blackburn, Portsmouth.. when the going got tough, did they sack Moyes, Hughes or Harry? No, they didn't, they gave the manager time to build, accepted that teams go on poor runs and look where they are now.

West Ham fans need to face a reality check and give Curbishley the opportunity to show he can take us forward. I'm not saying I'm certain he's the man, but he deserves a chance.

At 10:21 PM, Anonymous portugal said...

The results don t lie.
The mistakes don t lie.

it was clear ,as early as boa morte s first booking,perhaps sooner,that he was all at sea.
admit it ANONYMOUS, the many fouls that boa morte committed made it obvious ,EXACTLY what the end result of all that was going to be.

Still worth playing Boa Morte then for his "penetration" then ,when he was the man who "let the side down?"

there is a time and a place for a 4-4-2. that s when your main central defender is fit.

one of the reasons it hasn t been happening for carlton cole is that he s been playing on his own. as for fitness ,that s what the training ground and reserve matches are for. that said, ashton did justify selection with his performance.

we were the better side before they scored ,were we? oh what was that for then, all of 6 minutes?

if marking ,AS A TEAM,and properly ,from set pieces ,when you know full well the danger of a player,isn t tactics,then what is.

did it ever occur to you ,that maybe, just maybe ,we wouldn t have conceded the free kicks leading up to the first 2 goals ,IF WE WERE PLAYING 5 THROUGH THE MIDFIELD. spector works hard,but isn t of the stature or experience to handle berbatov,get it?

took over a club in freefall did he? did it dawn on you that for awhile curbishley exacerbated that free fall? did it occur to you ,that to a degree it was tevez and other key players who perhaps got the club out of the relegation zone ,and not just curbishley? curbishley did well the last 9 games of the season ,but he had a horrific 11 games before that .

give him a chance ,yes? i ve backed the guy throughout this whole season ,and was happy to give him his share of the credit for what he achieved at the end of last season, and through most of this season. he s had plenty of cash to work with in his time here,although it was wrong that he did not appear to be given money this past window.

as for dressing room harmony, i have some doubts about that at the minute.poor runs is one thing ,but utter surrender ,utter defensive incompetence goes beyond a poor run. teams on poor runs don t necesarily get turned over 3 TIMES IN A ROW BY 4 GOALS,no matter who the opposition is .unless they re derby county. if we d lost 1 or 2 nil 3 times in a row that wud be different. but we were not even at the races. not even close . i don t think a redknapp,moyes or hughes side wud get ship out 12 goals in 3 matches with not even one in reply,not even during a poor run.

what s gone on here exceeds a poor run. yes, the performances from certain players have been unforgivingly poor. but the manager has to take some responsibility for that . i expect a west ham side not to necesarily win or draw,but at least TO TURN UP. TO SHOW DESIRE AND COMMITMENT.
and to be competent at the basics, i.e. marking from set pieces ,which we have been atrocious at all season.there is no excuse for being second to the ball over and over again in 3 matches on the trot.

prior to the chelsea match ,i d say on the whole that curbishley had done well amidst some difficult circumstances.and i d say that prior to chelsea, he WAS NOT TOO NEGATIVE ,as some had suggested,and that to a degree ,we had been forced to play more conservatively than we d like to by injuries.

but you can t use injuries as a blanket to hide under forever.
and living in denial doesn t make it any better . as for whether he shud be sacked ,i have very mixed feelings on it. part of me thinks it wud be excessively harsh,but part of me has serious doubts about whether this man, however well-intentioned, is the right one to take the club forward.

part of being the right man to manage west ham united is to be able to get a response from the squad when things go wrong. to be able to motivate ,to inspire , and also to be tactically astute enough to make decisions that have a positive impact.

people who recognize the lack of response aren t fickle nor are they morons.

they don t live in a state of denial .

At 11:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Portugal, I honestly think that it's people like you who we don't need as our fans.

Firstly, the choice to start with Boa Morte for his 'penetration' and the events that unfolded through the match are two totally seperate points. When picking the starting line up, the manager doesn't sit there and consider not picking a player because he looks into his crystal ball and forsees him committing a number of fouls. Yes he's done it a number of times this season and yes I'm pissed off with Luis Boa Morte because he's let the side down on a number of occasions. Yet he was still the best man to play on the left hand side of a 4-4-2.

With regards to Cole, him and Ashton hasn't worked up front on the numerous times it's been tried. Sure you could have started him with Zamora, but Ashton's been pushing for his start because he's looking sharper again and by putting him up there with Zamora he's doing something a little different. I am fully aware Cole has been playing on his own a lot of the season and I have a lot of time for him because he's done very, very well up there. But recently it's not been coming off and a change was necessary up there.

Anton fell asleep for the free kicks. It happens. He will take the blame, not the manager, you ask any player in that dressing room. He was given a responsibility and he failed, badly. Curbs' fault? No, the fault of the player. Anton will be gutted tonight.

Fitness on the trianing ground? You clearly don't play football. Fitness is one thing, match fitness and sharpness a totally different thing. Don't even try and argue that further mate.

And your comments about the freefall situation demonstrate firstly your complete and utter lack of understanding about football, and secondly demonstrate that you are every bit as fickle as you deny being. For christ sake, Alan Curbishley deserves so much credit for keeping West Ham up. Yes he had eleven games of poor results, but you don't just come into a football club in the dire state that West Ham was in and turn it round with a click of your fingers. Sure the players played a massive part, Tevez, Noble, Green, Neill, Zamora to name a few in particular, but the manager worked very, very hard to get that team spirit back and the performances on the pitch showed as a result once the confidence came back.

That's all that's needed now, confidence. If we'd have scored one of the golden chances in the opening minutes today, I guarantee it would have been a different game. The confidence would have been restored. But as it was we get caught out by 2 silly goals and we're hit for six.

You say you've given him a chance? A year is not a long time. Yes you can use injuries as a smokescreen, but we have been desperately unlucky with them. Any other squad with that level of injuries up where we are would not have coped as we did. You forget that before Chelsea we had the best defensive record in the Premiership.

So this exceeds a poor run? We've lost three games in eleven. We are tenth in the Premier League. What more do you want? We have lost heavily three times in a row and I accept that it's not good enough, not by a long shot, no matter who the opposition. But these things happen, you move on and look at the bigger picture and look at the season we've had. Are you honestly telling me you're not happy with tenth place? Can you hand on heart say that? If so, you are deluded. Simple.

Stop moaning about a lack of response, get behind the team and give the man a chance.

Out of interest Portugal, and not having a go here as I am enjoying this (heated) debate, what would you change for Blackburn next week?

At 7:44 AM, Anonymous portugal said...

when you learn how to respond without losing your temper ,and when you have the honesty to say who you are ,and not hide behind
anonymity,is when you ll get a response.

until then, i ll let you stew in your anger. until it cooks you .

At 8:15 PM, Anonymous Coey said...

we were unlucky again with injurys

i think anton will be gutted but if upson was still fit i think it would have stayed 0-0 hes our best defender and would have been marking berb

boa morte is probably our best left winger at that time. with injurys we have no choice i would love to see solano back to his best on the right and prehaps lungberg on the left and that creates a great service from the right with the threat of lungberg on the left.

but they are what we want not what we can get, i was happy with the way ashton performed and zamora, i was slightly dissapointed at leaving noble out for parker and parker wasnt ready i feel, he was our best player on the pitch in my opinion but its not a game i would have expected him to be thrown into.

overall i cant see what curbs done wrong, its not the easiest of jobs and i would have only made limited changes to the team he picked, i would have had cole on the bench so i think it was a good decision.


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