PREMIER LEAGUE: Misfiring Tottenham held by West Ham

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp would be scratching his head after watching his side spurn chance after chance against West Ham United this afternoon.
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Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp would be scratching his head after watching his side spurn chance after chance against West Ham United this afternoon.

Spurs dominated proceedings on a lovely sunny day at White Hart Lane but could not find the back of the net, despite having more than 30 shots on goal, with multiple attempts going wayward or being kept out by Hammers keeper Robert Green.

Both sides have now taken 12 points from their last seven outings but it was a missed opportunity for Tottenham who could have joined fourth-placed Chelsea on points as the Hammers would have been pleased to get a point with a resilient effort which lifted them out of the drop zone.

The East London club have not won at the venue since 1999 but managed to stop a four-game losing streak their against Spurs who again performed under par following a midweek Champions League game.

Tottenham Hotspur: 0
West Ham United: 0

Venue: White Hart Lane, North London
Crowd: 35,000
Referee: Mike Dean
Yellow cards: TOT - nil
WHU - Scott Parker 45’, Mark Noble 49’, Carlton Cole 57’, Matthew Upson 68’

Gareth Bale returned to the Spurs’ starting line-up for the first time since he injured his back against Newcastle United on January 22 whilst Rafael van der Vaart was playing his first Premier League game since the start of February.

In the West Ham camp, French striker Frederic Piquionne is out injured with Gary O’Neil making up a three-man attack which features Carlton Cole and Demba Ba, who has scored four goals in four league appearances for his new club.

Spurs started brightly and were almost in the lead in the 4th minute when Michael Dawson curled his shot onto the crossbar from edge of area after being found by a neat pass from Luka Modric.

Two minutes later, Jermain Defoe was inches away with a flick-on from a low Gareth Bale cross as the home side produced a vibrant opening. It seemed just a matter of time until they would score.

West Ham had a nervy beginning but soon came into their own with Carlton Cole providing the danger up front for the visitors.

Modric struck wide in the 16th minute as Spurs continued with their attacking pressure before he teed up van der Vaart from a corner with the Dutchman slamming a fierce shot on the bounce just past Robert Green’s right post.

Down the other end, Cole had perhaps the best chance of the first half when he was played through but he was unable to find the back of the net with only Heurelho Gomes to beat but the Brazilian made a vital save.

Modric continued to look extremely dangerous for Spurs and came close with a solo effort just after the half-hour mark, beating Green but not the post, about five minutes before Aaron Lennon hit the other post after cutting in on his right foot. The winger had made a brilliant run down the left before advancing into the area but his shot across goal struck the woodwork with Defoe missing a sitter from close range on the rebound to end a half of wasted chances by Harry Redknapp’s men.

Five minutes into the second half, Defoe had another chance to grab his 100th Tottenham goal when Modric found him close to goal but his little goalward dink was kept out by Green as it was beginning to look like one of those days for Spurs.

Avram Grant’s charges kept about their business with a defensive frame of mind as it appeared they would be happy with a draw but Ba had other ideas when he slashed a mean shot on goal in the 64th minute but Gomes was equal to the task, producing a top-shelf save to keep scores level.

Hammers midfielder Mark Noble made a meal of his 71st minute effort as the visitors went on the attack before the contest petered out slightly with both managers making changes in a bid to grab an elusive goal.

Tottenham sub Roman Pavlyuchenko fired on goal as the 80-minute mark ticked over but Green made the block before Bale’s 86th minute free-kick almost found the corner of the net but only for the West Ham keeper’s outstretched left glove which denied the home side, forcing a scoreless draw on a beautiful day for football in London.

Starting Line-Ups

Tottenham
Heurelho Gomes (gk) – Vedran Corluka (Hutton 78’), Michael Dawson, William Gallas, Benoit Assou-EkottoAaron Lennon, Sandro, Luka Modric, Gareth BaleJermain Defoe, Rafael van der Vaart (Pavlyuchenko 72’)

Subs - Stipe Pletikosa (gk), Roman Pavlyuchenko (72’), Alan Hutton (78’), Sebastien Bassong, Jermaine Jenas, Niko Kranjcar, Peter Crouch

West Ham
Robert Green (gk) – Lars Jacobsen, Manuel da Costa, Matthew Upson, Wayne Bridge – Scott Parker, Mark Noble, Thomas Hitzlsperger – Gary O’Neil, Carlton Cole (Obinna 78’), Demba Ba

Subs - Ruud Boffin (gk), Victor Obinna (78’), Danny Gabbidon, James Tomkins, Luis Boa Morte, Zavon Hines, Fred Sears

 
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