Tottenham Were Ill-Prepared For The Challenge Posed By West Ham


In the view of Tim Sherwood, I shouldn’t be writing this but Tottenham were ill-prepared for the challenge posed by West Ham at Upton Park.

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After Tottenham’s defeat by West Ham, Tim Sherwood, in a response to a question, told TalkSport reporter, Ian Abrahams that his view was wrong as “he hadn’t played the game”. Abrahams tweeted:

Related Article:

Tim Sherwood’s Reaction to Defeat – Read more

So, as I definitely haven’t played the game, according to Tim Sherwood my views will be wrong and I shouldn’t be writing this blog. But not to worry, here goes anyway, and like Ian Abrahams, I would agree that Spurs lacked passion and never matched West Ham for commitment or work rate in any of the 90 plus minutes at Upton Park.

Spurs Were Ill-Prepared for The Game

I would say that Spurs were ill-prepared to meet the challenge they should have known would come from Sam Allardyce’s team.

  • Irrespective of West Ham’s recent form, they were going to be up for this game – it was their last home game of the season and after a poor run of results it was an opportunity to finish with a good result and give their fans something it cheer about. They were going to be motivated and play with energy and commitment.

The Spurs players should have known that and been ready for the intensity of that challenge – unfortunately they weren’t and surrendered the initiative to West Ham from the outset, maintaining this season’s slow, sluggish starts to games which has seen them fail to score in the opening 15 minutes of a Premier League game this season.

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  • With the home team’s work ethic they weren’t going to give the Spurs players time to dwell on the ball, they were playing a high tempo game, giving the Spurs midfield players no time on the ball.

Spurs should have been aware that that would be the case as that was the way West Ham played at White Hart Lane earlier in the season. It was very effective then and it worked equally successfully yesterday. Spurs wanted two or three touches on the ball by which time West Ham had closed them down to win possession or force a poor pass and regain the ball in that way.

  • With Andy Carroll in the team, West Ham were always going to provide a constant stream of long, high balls towards him. With that in  mind Spurs should have done a number of things:

Steffen Freund and Sandro [Photo: Jav The_DoC_66]i. planned a system to prevent Carroll winning the ball so easily or
ii. when that clearly wasn’t working they should have made sure that when he knocked the ball down, that they were there to compete for the loose ball or
iii. better still try to cut out the long ball at source by preventing West Ham playing the long ball towards him. That would have required Spurs to close players down and ensure they conceding fewer free-kicks and corners. Tottenham provided West Ham with too many opportunities from set-pieces to persevere with the tactic.

16 free-kicks, 10 corners conceded

Spurs were reckless in giving away so many free-kicks inviting West Ham to bombard their penalty area. West Ham have become the ‘new Stoke’ as they played under Tony Pulis. When playing against Stoke it was necessary to adapt your game and select a team prepared to stand up to the challenge and meet fire with fire in a controlled, disciplined fashion.

Those are basic tactics which everyone knew West Ham would use against Tottenham, the only people who seemed shocked and unprepared for the challenge presented by the home team were the Spurs players.

At the conclusion of yesterday’s match preview, I wrote,

‘The win is there for the taking for Spurs but they can’t take anything for granted and will need to match their expectations with commitment and application.’

Spurs were unprepared for the intensity of the game and didn’t show that commitment and application so they didn’t win and got what they deserved – a third successive defeat by West Ham who wanted to win so much more than Spurs and it was nothing to do with needing the points to avoid relegation as they were already safe barring the most unrealistic series of results – it was just that they cared about it more and wanted to beat Tottenham.

I may not have “played the game” but like thousands of other Tottenham supporters, I saw another poor Tottenham performance when the team failed to compete or pose any real threat to the opposition, even before the dismissal of Kaboul. But,of course, my view is “wrong”.

What is your view of Spurs performance in yesterday’s defeat at West Ham?