December 10 2013 Latest news:
Dave Evans, West Ham Correspondent
Monday, October 7, 2013
Hammers manager Sam Allardyce out-thought Andre Villas Boas on a glorious day for West Ham at White Hart Lane
For those West Ham fans lucky enough to be at White Hart Lane on Sunday it must have felt like they were in a ridiculous, incredible dream.
Everyone had written off their chances at Spurs with most pundits, including this one, claiming they would be lucky to keep the score down to three or four by the end of another away-day nightmare and one seasoned West Ham scribe even suggested before the match that he would take a 1-0 defeat there and then.
How wrong we all were. Who knew the answer to the striker problem at West Ham would be to not bother playing one at all?! We should all take our hats off to manager Sam Allardyce and his coaching team for a formation and tactics that simply bamboozled high-flying Spurs and gave the Hammers an unbelievable victory that they thoroughly deserved.
“That’s probably the best result I’ve had since we’ve been in the Premier :League,” said a beaming Allardyce afterwards. “Let’s make no mistake about this, we deserved it because Tottenham have only conceded two goals all season in 11 matches. We know the strength of our team that no matter how good the opposition players are and how much they’ve spent - in excess of £100 million - that our team unity out of possession will nullify talent - that was a magnificent victory.”
It certainly was, but it might have been so different for the Hammers had Jermain Defoe taken a golden chance right at the start of the second half. The former Hammer has been a constant thorn in West Ham’s side since he left Upton Park and he was undoubtedly given a start because of it, but when Paulinho put him in the clear, his shot was superbly saved by Jussi Jaaskelainen. Had that gone in, the manager may well have tried Modibo Maiga or Mladen Petric off the bench and changed things around, but with the score still 0-0, he stuck to the game plan and it paid enormous dividends.
Allardyce knew how important that save was. “They capitalised on a mistake from us to get Jermain Defoe in, but Jaaskelainen was there when we needed him,” said the boss.
“He pulled that save out of the bag when we needed it because I think we’d have found it difficult to get anything if we’d gone 1-0 down.”
And then came the West Ham goals. James Tomkins had been denied by Hugo Lloris from a Mark Noble corner just a couple of minutes before, but this time when Stewart Downing delivered a corner from the other side, Winston Reid’s first effort was blocked by Kevin Nolan before falling back for the Kiwi to thump in the rebound.
“The game showed the importance of the first goal because a bit of panic set into Tottenham and we took full advantage of it again and again,” said Allardyce.
West Ham have not been blessed with a lot of luck this season, the penalty decisions at Hull City the previous weekend illustrating that perfectly, but this was the day when it all changed and they deserved that bit of luck.
After the slight fortune of the first goal, there was more luck in the second as when Noble’s brilliant pass put Ricardo Vaz Te through, his shot was parried by Lloris back into the body of the striker and rebounded into the net.
There was absolutely no luck about Ravel Morrison’s third goal, but by then West Ham were playing with real freedom and Spurs were a beaten and forlorn side.
It pulled the Hammers out of the Premier League drop zone and Allardyce knows just how vital that is for his side.
“The longer you are in there, the harder it gets because everybody starts talking about negativity and relegation this and that,” said the manager. “There was a huge amount of pressure on in year two at Bolton and we got out of it at the first time of asking and we may have made excuses that we didn’t deserve to be in there, but the fact was that while our performances were good enough, our results weren’t.”
Of course, defeat against Manchester City and those doubters will be back on their soap boxes once again, but for now let us wallow in a rare and stunning victory over the old rivals on their own patch.
For West Ham fans, it really doesn’t get much better than this.