Match Report: The Hammers 2 Spurs 1 (we are descending down the greasy pole).
At the end of Pochettino’s reign, I was critical of him and thought changes were inevitable. But Mourinho’s tenure has been a rollercoaster of ups and downs on the greasy pole. I put it closer to the TV series of the 50s and 60s, the Twilight zone (paraphrasing); There is a fifth dimension beyond ordinary Spurs supporters. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between Levy and the Tottenham Fans, between money on the one hand and the Glory’s of football on the other, and it lies between the pit of Spurs fans fears and the summit of Mourinho/Levy’s knowledge. This is the dimension of the gulf between both antagonists. It is an area which we call the Mourinho-Levy/Supporters’ Twilight Zone.
In my preview of this match, I ended with optimism and a score of 4-2 to us. The reality was something totally different. We came, we saw, and they scored two goals to our one. To paraphrase again, “Spurs fans think it is all over, it may be for Mourinho”. We are 9th in league with Arsenal, Wolves, Leeds and probably Southampton, all within striking distance of trambling us under their boots.
The top four is becoming a distant dream, while a Europa league placing is slipping beyond our grasp. The season might end with two options that might rescue Mourinho: beating City to win the league cup and winning the Europa league’s final to be in the European Champions League next season.
I feel like quoting Alice in Wonderland here: “When I used to read fairy tales, I fancied that kind of thing never happened, and now here I am in the middle of one!” I think that is appropriate for where we are with Spurs! Or use another one when thinking of Mourinho and where we are now: “I don’t see how he can ever finish, if he doesn’t begin.” But back to reality… or a more profound step into Alice’s rabbit hole.
To the match:
Thanks to us, those who love blowing bubbles have now moved into the Premier League’s top four. If anything, we’ve become obliging of late to inferior clubs.
Their Michail Antonio gave out a perfect start for the Clarets, poking home after Hugo Lloris fumbled in his own goal area. And then, before the half-time whistle is even blown, Jesse Lingard’s third goal in four league games.
Then the break came, and everybody was off the pitch to listen to Mourinho’s words of wisdom in how this deficit could be overturned. Break over and Bale on. He who registered a goal and an assist in our Europa League win at Wolfsberger on Thursday. And what a good half time substitution it was, as he set up Lucas Moura to give us hope before hitting the top of the crossbar with a fierce strike 10 minutes later. Were we about to see the winds of change? Like fuck! However, Son also struck the woodwork in stoppage time. Then the whistle went, and my thoughts turned to Alice in Wonderland and the Twilight Zone. And trust me, not a drop touched my mouth… but the day is still young.
That win was David Moyes’ first-ever win over Jose Mourinho in 16 attempts and it lifts the bubble blowers two points clear of Chelsea in fifth, while we remain in ninth.
I give you my thoughts as I make side-ways glances at my revolver and an acholic beverage beside me.
Let us start with the reports in some of the Sunday papers suggesting that Mourinho’s job could be at risk if we failed to beat West Ham; well, he could hardly have made a worse start at the Meccano stadium. No doubt Levy will weigh up the cost of sacking Mourinho and the money we could lose if we slid further down the greasy pole.
I have no doubt that Mourinho will have been enraged at the manner of the Spammers’ opener, as Eric Dier failed to clear Bowen’s in-swinging shot before Lloris’ blunder allowed Antonio to shoot home. That goal seemed to have bled the buoyancy out of our players. After that, I thought that we looked desperately short of ideas until Kane tested Fabianski’s reactions late in the first half.
I did think that the introduction of Bale as a half-time replacement for Lamela soon paid dividends, but in the end, we got what we deserved.
As for Kane, well, he went close from the edge of the box, and Son almost salvaged a draw in peculiar circumstances, but it was not to be.
Unless we win trophies at the end of the season and are in Europe, I think this will be the last season for Mr Kane. I think he would have had enough of all the bullshit from Levy and Mourinho about Glory’s in his sights.
We have now lost five of our last six league games (W1), only picking up points in a 2-0 home victory against West Brom in this time. Our eight league defeats this season are Jose Mourinho’s most since 2015-16 with Chelsea, when he was sacked after nine league defeats.
Mourinho took charge of his 50th Premier League game with Tottenham (W23 D12 L15). The 81 points we have picked up under him is 14 fewer than he’s managed with any other side throughout his first 50 league games in charge (Man Utd, 95).
West Ham will spend a night in the top four places in a top-flight campaign after at least 25 matches have been played, for the first time since 1985-86, when they finished the season in third.
West Ham’s Michail Antonio has scored 42 Premier League goals, and they have all come from inside the box. In the competition’s history, only Tim Cahill (56), Javier Hernandez (53) and Gabriel Jesus (45) have scored more, with all of them coming from inside the box.
Antonio has scored five Premier League goals against us, his best return against any single side in the competition.
Jesse Lingard has scored three goals in four league games under David Moyes for West Ham, as many as he netted in his 36 total league appearances under Ole Gunnar Solskjær at Man Utd.
As for what excuses Mourinho said to the press:
Jose Mourinho speaking to the BBC: “The way we finished the game showed it was not a physical problem that stopped us having a result. I think we did [have enough to win]. Losing 1-0 at half-time, you have to lift the players and play better in the second half, which we did. “You are playing against a team that fought in the second half. They defended – we attacked and created and were unlucky.”
So, there you go, the bleeding bloody obvious… and he could have added, “and no good.” But that is for you to decide, now where did I put that drink and revolver? Oh, yes…
What’s next for us?
We host Burnley on Sunday, the 18 February (14:00 GMT). I can just see another Claret team smiling as they contemplate their three points.
Be safe and be positive… we all will soon have the vaccine, then we can go to the pub and drown our sorrows, instead of being alone at home and drowning them. Glenn