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John Ellis comments on West Ham v Spurs, 24.10.21

West Ham 1-0 Tottenham Hotspur
John Ellis's view

West Ham v Spurs, 24.10.21

If there was a trophy for passing sideways and backwards, Spurs would clean up.

Whilst management could rightly argue Spurs created the most openings in a poor football match, their play was for the most part dire. After conceding a very poor goal, the performance lacked urgency, creativity, movement, desire, energy and intent. It was turgid, pedestrian, boring and at times drivel.

In his programme notes in the last home game of last season, Daniel Levy promised the fans, he would return the club to its DNA of entertaining football.

We are a long, long way from that and arguably even worse than under Mourinho which in itself is some statement. Statistics don’t lie. Nine games into the new season have reaped the paltry total of nine goals.

Four London derby defeats with a goal difference of 1-10 tells its own story.

The strategy of wholesale changes in midweek which delivered an embarrassing defeat didn’t work today either. West Ham played a much stronger side Thursday night, won handsomely 3-0 against much stronger opposition and yet looked livelier and hungrier in the final third of today’s game than Spurs.

The number of disgraceful performances individually and collectively are starting to mount.

Other than the opening game of the season, the other four wins have either been against teams towards the bottom of the table or for the most part in poor form.

Watching other premiership games, teams break with purpose and go for goal. Tottenham get to the final third on the break and then look backwards and sideways for “safe” possession-based passes which allows the opposing defence to get its shape back. Free kicks won in the opposing half are invariably played as short passes sideways or backwards rather than towards the opponents box. It makes a mockery to the clubs much fabled motto.

Kane and Son were poor today. Where once they showed bundles of energy and exuberance linked with effervescent on the move, down the channels football, they now stand in the attacking third waiting for space to be created down the flanks for the full backs to cross a usually poor ball into the box. Often the ball has in any case been lost well before then.

There needs to be a serious review as to the direction of this football club from top to bottom otherwise the downward spiral will continue unabated towards the football wilderness of mid-table mediocrity.

It seems almost ludicrous to write but Levy has proven himself to be ruthless in the past. Too much more of this style of football and too many more defeats will see him with his finger poised over the trigger for yet another failed managerial appointment.

The goal typified the current Tottenham. Slack work from Reguilon to lose possession close to his own goal to be rescued by a good save from Lloris for Kane to lamely lose his man off the corner to concede a soft winning goal. Yet another set piece goal let in…

Holjberg and Skipp played well but the standout player on the pitch was Declan Rice who seemed to be everywhere. Moyes has drilled his team into a functional unit which defends well, attacks on the break with purpose and is good at making the most of set pieces. He makes the best of the resources he has available to him. Sadly, although early in his tenure…. Nuno doesn’t.


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