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Tony Cottee’s West Ham Column: Bale is one of the best, but Taylor miss was crucial

12:52 28 February 2013

Tony Cottee

Tony Cottee

Archant

Hammers legend Tony Cottee mulls over a thrilling derby clash at Upton Park

For the neutral, Monday’s game with Spurs must have been a real thriller. It was exciting, end-to-end and full of great goals, but in the end there were two crucial moments for me.

The first was the miss by Matt Taylor. West Ham had done brilliantly to get in front and Joe Cole took his goal superbly, so when Matt goes through that was the big chance to put the game to bed at 3-1.

It didn’t happen and the rest is history. It was the Gareth Bale story and I have to say that he is one of the best.

I saw him in the game at White Hart Lane where he was excellent and he was even better at Upton Park. He is not quite the standard of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, but I would confidently put him in the top 10 in the world and if he went somewhere like Real Madrid he would get even better.

It is difficult to know what to do about him on the field and I think in general West Ham coped fairly well, but I suppose not showing him on to his left foot might be advisable!

I have to say that the form of Jussi Jaaskelainen has been patchy this season, but against Spurs he was magnificent.

Without him, West Ham could easily have conceded five or six and it was good to see him at the top of his form.

We are going to need him to be at his best on Saturday when we travel to Stoke City, which is never an easy place to go.

I remember in my day when we went to the old Victoria Ground it was always tough and the Britannia seems to be even more intimidating, especially with the brand of football they play.

I’m not worried about relegation at the moment I must say because I think the team are more than capable of a couple of wins to get safe, but I think I will settle for a 1-1 draw on Saturday.

A fitting tribute to Bobby Moore

Monday night saw a fitting tribute to the great Bobby Moore and I think it was superbly done and a credit to the club.

West Ham perhaps didn’t pay Bobby the respect he deserved while he was alive, but they are going a long way towards making up for that with these sorts of tributes and full credit to the Tottenham fans as well on Monday.

They observed the minutes applause superbly as well and I think they appreciate just what a great servant to England and to football that he was.

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