Upton Park outfit keep up with their fight to survive the drop.
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– Jermain Defoe has scored in four of his last six Premier League games for Spurs against his old club West Ham.
– Jermain Defoe is aiming to become the 20th player to pass the 100 Premier League goal mark.
– Jermain Defoe is wearing a T-shirt under his main top with the word ‘GOAL!’ on it.
The script had already been written and had this game been played at the start of the season then West Ham would have played their role quite brilliantly. However, this is a West Ham team now playing as a team full of self belief and awareness of what is expected to survive relegation. At the start of the season West Ham would roll over quicker than the most loveable dog in town, but not any more. No sir.
Only a couple of months ago, Avram Grant had supposedly managed his last game for West Ham as they lost 3-0 at home to Arsenal. The newspapers were suggesting that even if he won against Arsenal, Avram would be replaced by Martin O’Neill on the following Monday. He wasn’t. Since that day “Avvy’s ‘appy ‘ammers” have only lost 1 league game and that was to Birmingham City on his birthday! Such spoil sports.
On Saturday West Ham showed again their desire to win as one instead of being the one man team they were becoming. Scott Parker should win the PFA Player of the year award for his performances this year whether West Ham are relegated or not, as his performances have been consistently brilliant and has kept West Ham’s heads up high when the chips were down. Just last month it was he who gave the half-time team talk when West Ham found themselves 3-0 down against West Brom. After the match had ended 3-3, Scott Parker’s team-mate Carlton Cole paid tribute to Parker by saying “Scott was in the zone – I’ve never seen him like that. If you were there you would have had a tear in your eye.”
Whilst being at opposite ends of the table, West Ham’s performance in the last 6 matches is equal to Tottenham’s as they have both won 3, drawn 2 and only lost 1. The Hammers have been boosted by the long awaited return of Thomas Hitzlsperger in midfield and the emergence of Demba Ba in attack. Avram Grant now has the luxury of having options for his starting eleven and is opting for the attacking formation of 4-3-3. In their match at the weekend against Tottenham Hotspur he reverted to a much more narrow 4-4-2 formation, with Mark Noble playing on the right side of midfield to keep the ever dangerous Gareth Bale at bay.
Tottenham could have easily been ahead in the first ten minutes as they launched an assault on West Ham’s goal, with a curling effort from Michael Dawson rattling the crossbar and Jermaine Defoe missing the target from close range. The attack wasn’t quelled until Carlton Cole found himself one-on-one with Heurelho Gomes but scuffed his shot straight at the keeper in what was to be the best chance of the first half.
Throughout the match West Ham’s defence was looking well organised and capable of dealing with every attack from Tottenham. They had an incredible 31 attempts on goal (including blocks) and only on three occasions this season have a side had more in a Premier League game, but it wasn’t to be their day. Robert Green made a stunning save from a Gareth Bale free-kick as he tipped it onto the crossbar before the ball was cleared. In the dying moments of the game the man of the match Wayne Bridge made a “good as goals” tackle on Defoe in the box to deny the cocky forward his 100th Premier League goal. He’d better wash his t-shirt for next week!
After the match Avram Grant was full of optimism for West Ham’s chances of surviving relegation. “I think we have a good chance [of avoiding relegation],” Grant told Sky Sports. “When we were five points behind and had played two more games [than teams aboves us] we still had a chance, but it will be a battle to the end. “But if you see the football we are playing, not just today but all season, we deserve to stay up. But we know you don’t get points for deserving to, we have to win by ourselves.”
I agree with Avram. They do deserve to stay up but I sincerely hope that Grant finally gets the credit he also deserves.
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