45+2 min A ball into the box from Fornals and Soucek tries to shoot then Coufal does, but his effort is blocked at souce by … Harry Kaneavaro! Unbelievable behaviour.
45+1 min “Did you really say that Shearer wasn’t elite?” asks Robert Lin. “Are you out of your mind?” he wonders.
No I didn’t say that, I said that Shearer Mk III wasn’t elite, which I don’t think is especially controversial. Still good, but not one of the best in the world.
43 min Excellent from Spurs, one-touch stuff pinging the ball about before Ndombele tries a pass over the top for Kane. He can’t gather, but Ndombele then manages two decent challenges to keep West Ham down. Is he the first player since Joe Cole who’s come back and been useful to Mourinho, after being victimised by him?
43 min “Losing My Reguilon is the song of the night for whoever’s supposed to be marking him,” sniggers Nicholas Walmsley.
42 min Spurs counter and Kane finds Sissoko; he squares for Bergwijn, who wafts wide. Spurs are playing through West Ham so easily.
40 min “Considering a Moyes-less West Ham’s last two league games garnered two wins (against Wolves and Leicester),” says Charlie Pulling, “and a total of seven scored and zero conceded, I hope, I think, I know that the Hammers would surely prefer the Scotsman would take a lesson out of Gareth Bale’s favourite Oasis album and please do go away. D’know what I mean?”
In fairness, he was managing remotely, and this team absolutely reeks of Moyes – in both good and less good aspects.
39 min Reguilon, who’s settling very nicely, arcs a cross into the space behind defence and keeper that has too much gas on it for Bergwijn.
37 min Antonio looks to budge the ball across Alderweireld, anticipating a challenge that’ll win him a penalty, but Alderweireld is firm, fast, and first to the ball. Excellent defending.
36 min “Harry Kane channelling Don Revie,” says Mal Simon, I imagine referring to the progenitor of the withdrawn centre-forward role.
I actually think someone else played it here first but can’t remember who – I shall investigate – but yes, it was inspired by Nandor Hidegkuti.
35 min Eeeeesh! Aurier again makes ground down the right and crosses low and hard; Son slides in, but can’t quite make contact so Fabianski collects. That was very nearly 4-0.
33 min I guess we oughtn’t be surprised that Kane is thriving under Mourinho – Mourinho is still a genius, but more than that, Kane is exactly the sort of monomaniacal freak of nature on with whom he gets.
33 min Reguilon finds Son, who finds Kane, but Soucek just about gets a foot in.
30 min “On Twitter last year,” says John Tumbridge, “one on of those pointless surveys” – are there any others? – “the question was ‘What is your unpopular view about Spurs?’ My response was that ‘We’ve seen the best of Harry. I was wrong .”
Yes, I also used that humiliating medium to wonder if Mason Greenwood was already better than him. Ahem.
29 min I wondered about Spurs in midfield, but they look alright so far. Maybe it’s just the addition of Kane, but Hojbjerg is playing really well and Ndombele is growing too, taking a chipped pass from Kane and sliding a nice ball inside the full-back for Aurier, who can’t pick out a man with his cross.
26 min “Thanks for the pop video,” says Charles Antaki. “The music is a bit on the hectic side for me, but great to see Helsinki’s beautiful Cathedral Square featured. I didn’t last the whole clip, but if the kids made it to the extravagant Orthodox cathedral a couple of hundred metres down the road, we’d have had the full travelogue’s worth.”
There’s only one Helsinki.
24 min A stat comes up: Mourinho has never lost a match to David Moyes.
22 min Spurs win a free-kick down the right which Son will swing out, and just as Kane looks poised to attack it, it prangs off Ogbonna who was looking the other way. Then, in the repechage that follows, a stray elbow cracks Sissoko – Antonio’s – and he goes down.
20 min The aspect of those 12-22 yard finishes that sets Kane apart is how quickly he sizes up the situation then does whatever it demands. Neither keeper nor defenders can set, and the purity of his technique – as much a facility of practise as nature, I shouldn’t wonder – means there’s nothing they can then do about it. Oh, and Antonio slid in late on Son, earning himself a booking.
18 min I’m not going to lie, I wondered about Kane. He’ll be able to finish and pass until the day he does and probably after then, but I wondered if he’d lost his gas, and whether that would have him like Shearer Mk III, a good player but not an elite one. If it was not already clear, I am a moron.
GOAL! Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 West Ham United (Kane 16)
It’s absolutely rrrrrrridiculous! West Ham have five defenders and they still can’t get close to Harry Kane! Hojbjerg finds Son, he goes wide to Reguilon and everyone knows what’s coming next: a perfect cross, an expert’s header, and Spurs are ravaging West Ham like wild dogs!
15 min “Thanks for the interesting mix of images today,” says Justin Kavanagh. “It got my slightly murky Sunday mind thinking how football has changed from the 1920s to the 50s and 60s to the present day. For example, who could picture either of the Charlton brothers with a man bun? Or Gareth Bale sitting in Madrid airport before his physical this summer with a beer and ciggie on?”
I guess there were footballers in the 60s with the equivalent of the bun, just as there will be players now who enjoy a tab.
14 min And where would winning the league with Spurs rank on Mourinho’s bedpost?
14 min In between conceding fine goals from ludicrous defending, West Ham have played pretty well, and Bowen collects the ball sliding through to Antonio, who lunges into a shot. It goes wide, but he was offside anyway.
12 min I’ve no skin in this game, but how not to want to Spurs to score when every time they do, this happens? How long before the players say bun this, I’m off to the kluhrb?
10 min It’s absolutely ridiculous how good Harry Kane is. His most obvious comparator is Shearer, I guess, and though he doesn’t have the same acceleration, he’s a much better passer, smoother technician, and better finisher from 12-22 yards. I’m not sure I’ve seen anyone better from that range.
GOAL! Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 West Ham United (Kane 8)
Harry Kane! Harry Kane! Harry Kane! Bored of playing as a number 6, Kane appears as a number 10, sliding Bergwijn through. He crosses to the back post and Coufal cranes his entire being to head clear, but Hojbjerg collects, finds Son who finds Kane, and the absolute man megs Rice on the half-turn then drags a brilliant finish inside the near post with Fabianski expecting one towards the far. What an absolute player!
7 min This is a good response from West Ham, winning a corner which goes to the near post, where Antonio plays Steve Bould, winning the flick on; Sanchez pokes a foot at it, sending the ball across the face and behind, but the ref appraises a goalkick.
5 min But Cresswell has a shy, looking to sweep it around the outside of the wall. It’s not far away, ruffling the side-netting, but Lloris had it covered.
4 min But West Ham win a free-kick 25 yards out, left of centre, and Rice lines one up…
2 min That’s West Ham’s gameplan out of the window then. My guess is they’ll try and stay on the game for now and for the next hour if they can, before changing to a more aggressive formation.
GOAL! Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 West Ham (Son, 46 seconds!)
Midfield maestro Kane picks up possession not that far outside his own box, and hoddles a ball in behind Balbuena for Son, who latches on, advances into the area, and with intense joy and extreme prejudice, bends a finish past Fanianski towards the far corner! These two!
I hope the game comes with as much incident as Declan Rice’s barnet.
Here come the teams! Bale is saying something extremely riveting, because he’s put a glove in front of his face so no lip reader can work out its secret. But using my supersense, I can reveal that what he in fact said was “Be Here Now was actually not bad, y’know.”
And here are further details of the Gatwick derby.
It’s not been a good day for Tottenham Women. They’re currently 6-1 down to Arsenal.
Moyes is back from corona, and says his team played well after lockdown and good in pre-season so he’s not surprised they’re doing well now. Looking at their XI, they must be an absolute mare to play against.
I was thinking during the week about the total ridiculousness of Mourinho’s achievements. Save coming second with that dreadful Man United team that had a decent keeper, which is his best achievement of these:
1. Back to back Europa League and Champions League with Porto.
2. Inspiring a team that lasted a generation at Chelsea.
3. Winning the treble at Inter.
4, Taking a league title off the greatest club side ever at Madrid.
David Ferrier has the answer: “The only time the FA Cup left England, won by Cardiff City?”
There it is.
Back to 1927, “Was it that players were limited to a maximum of five cigarettes on the pitch?” wonders Bill Hargreaves.
“Can you explain if Spurs bought Matt Doherty to do anything other than weaken their main rival for a place in next season’s Europa League?” asks Duncan Edwards. “That and mess with my Fantasy Team week in week out.”
He’s good, was cheap, and gives them an option of 3-5-2. It’s also hard not to notice that he’s repped by Jorge Mendes, who also reps Mourinho.
Garry Bale, then. If he’s not lost his gas, he’s one of the best players in the league, though I wonder where he’ll play. I find he looks a bit awkward on the right because he’s a power player not a touch player, so looks more comfortable on his natural side, but Son plays there. I guess they can swap and rotate.
Mourinho says that the “message and philosophy we want is here”. He says they don’t talk about top four, or winning a cup, just about the next match, and doesn’t matter where or against who, but they go in order to win. At Old Trafford, they conceded a goal in the first minute and just played their football.
On Bale, he says he has three “incredible attacking players” on the bench, and also references the excellent ones who aren’t involved.
Who can forget this encounter? And go on, a trivia question while we’re here: what was, and remains, unique about the 1927 FA Cup competition?
That said, I’m slightly surprised we’ve not seen more of Bergwijn, who looks a far better player than Moura, has more room for improvement and – crucially for Mourinho’s purposes – is no less unpredictable.
Back to that Spurs XI, my guess is that Bergwijn would’ve come in anyway. Lamela was there to do a particular job at Old Trafford – win the ball off United’s dicky back-four high up the park – but against West Ham, width will be the order of the day, which is why, I imagine, Aurier and Reguilon remain the full-backs. Though Kane and Son are good enough to fashion a goal in all manner of circumstance, the game for Spurs is out wide.
At Selhurst Park, Alexis Mac Allister has just equalised in the … er … checks notes … M23/A23 derby in the final minute. There are, though, seven minutes of injury time to play and whatever happens, both sides can ultimately console themselves with tea at Tasty Jerk next door the ground.
Spurs make two changes from their 6-1 Old Trafford squeak: Eric Dier has a minor hamstring, so Toby Alderweireld comes in, and Erik Lamela is
injured (I think), so Steven Bergwijn comes in. It’s funny really, given Giovani Lo Celso and Dele Alli are also missing, out of nowhere Spurs look like they’ve got a good squad. Oh and Gary Bale is on the bench, likewise Carlos Vinicius.
suspended after his red card against Man United
Let’s have some teams…
Tottenham Hotspur (a reanimated 4-3-3): Lloris; Aurier, Alderweireld, Sanchez, Reguilon; Ndombele, Sissoko, Hojbjerg; Bergwijn, Kane, Son. Subs: Hart, Doherty, Davies, Winks, Moura, Vinicius, Bale.
West Ham United (a sophisticate’s 5-4-1): Fabianski; Coufal, Ogbonna, Balbuena, Cresswell, Masuaku; Bowen, Rice, Soucek, Fornals; Antonio. Subs: Randolph, Fredericks, Diop, Noble, Snodgrass, Lanzini, Yarmolenko.
VAR’s straight man: Paul Tierney (Belfast)
Football is extremely weird – at the best of times but even more so now. Yet even in such circumstances, Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United stand out from the mess, the kid in the playground who turns up for school in an overcoat thinking it makes them classy, and the kid in the playground who turns up in a pink fur thinking it makes them different. Or something like that.
Not that long ago, Spurs looked to be hurtling through the phases of Mourinho at record speed – footage of their performance at Lokomotiv Plovdiv has been censored in some countries – but they muddled through and have been much better since, defensive uncertainty offset by devastating speed in attack. And seduced by the sadism of it all, Jo looks an entirely different manager; the smug is back, and football is all the richer for it.
Similarly, West Ham looked a total state … and then the season started. Their last three league games have seen them lose narrowly to Mikel Arteta’s genius before handing absolute tousings to Wolves and Leicester, feats beyond the majority of teams in the world, never mind the country. With Tomas Soucek and Declan Rice sitting in front of three centre-backs, penetrating them is a miserable task, Michail Antonio is a one-man forward line, and David Moyes looks to have found a real one in Jarrod Bowen. If they can refrain from early collapse, they have more than enough to do something in this one.
All of which is to say that we should be in for an exciting and high-scoring game … or with both teams set up to minimise risk while scoring on the counter, the ball spends 90 minutes on the centre-spot. Definitely one of the two.
Kick-off: 4.30pm BST