December 13 2013 Latest news:
By George Lacey
Monday, October 7, 2013
Tottenham blogger George Lacey gives his verdict on yesterday’s shock 3-0 loss against Sam Allardyce’s Hammers at White Hart Lane.
Yesterday’s 3-0 loss at home to West Ham is our worst result under Andre Villas-Boas. We came into the game full of beans and looked set to continue our solid early-season form with another three points.
Visitors to the Lane, West Ham were yet score on their travels this season and all the signs pointed to a Tottenham victory.
However, a Spurs side with only one change from the 1-1 draw with Chelsea the previous weekend were second best, and three goals in 13 second-half minutes blew us away.
In the build-up to the game, there was a strong case to be made for Jermain Defoe replacing Roberto Soldado, and the debate raged over whether or not he warranted his first Premier League start of the season after his goal haul so far this season.
Personally, I was very surprised that Villas-Boas drafted in Defoe, who scored in the Europa League as usual on Thursday, against Anzhi, but also played the full 90 minutes.
I was even more surprised to see Gylfi Sigurdsson and Andros Townsend retaining their starting places as I felt that Erik Lamela, like Defoe, deserved a crack in the Premier League and an opportunity to justify why we paid £26million for his services.
On the other hand, I wrote last week that there was no need to change something that wasn’t broken, so there was also an argument for stability.
Ultimately, AVB opted to field Defoe against his former employers, with £26m signing Roberto Soldado making way.
I’d said before the game that if Spurs were to come out firing in similar fashion to previous home games against Norwich and Chelsea then we’d be in for a comfortable afternoon.
However, we just didn’t get going and a few flashes across the box from the lively Townsend were not met by the outstretched Defoe in a poor first half of football.
Spurs never got going after the break either and were punished by some really scrappy goals – although the third from Ravel Morrison was classy.
I wouldn’t say that Villas-Boas’ decision to start Defoe backfired but I feel he played it safe keeping Sigurdsson and Townsend on the flanks, rather than drafting Nacer Chadli back in – the Belgian provides much more natural width and pace than Sigurdsson.
I found it very hard to draw any positives from the game and the only player I felt worthy of any mention was Townsend.
Again, he was full of endeavour and constantly beat the man in front of him. The young winger looked very lively but he was often forced to go backwards or play it square as a lack of ideas from his team-mates meant that moves were breaking down - the story of our afternoon.
Everyone knows the importance of this fixture and games against the Hammers are usually fiery affairs with a lot of passion and desire on show.
However, there was little on display yesterday and I felt that was very unusual for a game that means so much to the fans.
With no disrespect to West Ham, that was a game we should have won comfortably and we now sit sixth in the table after a resounding loss at home before the two-week international break.
Spurs have now taken one point from a possible nine against our London rivals this season - not good enough.
Follow me on Twitter @Georgie_Lacey