The HamburgHammer Column
YEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!! Indeed, it’s happened again! We were all having another party on Saturday when Tottenham f***ed it up.
Are we becoming a bit of a bogey side for Spurs ?
No matter what you may think about our season as a whole, winning away at Spurs always adds a bit of spice to proceedings.
But this one was even a little bit more special. We scored the first goal that Spurs ever conceded in the young history of their shiny new stadium. Coupled with the fact we managed to keep a clean sheet as well we also presented Tottenham with their first ever defeat in that shiny new stadium.
I’m sure t-shirts spelling out that fact will be available in the West Ham club shop fairly soon. And coffee mugs. And framed pictures of Antonio’s weird but wonderful goal celebration.
That was some house-warming party over there in North London, but not one the homeowners/hosts will have been too happy about. Traditionally, in the olden days before central heating, guests for housewarmings used to flock to a dwelling that had just been built or moved into by a family and bring with them some firewood as a gift and thus help making a fire in every available fire place within that house to get it all nice, warm and comfy in there, hence the term housewarming.
In plenty of European countries, including my own, guests also brought as gifts bread and salt, representing good fortune for the lodgers or homeowners and also the hope they’d always have food on their table in their new home.
Well, there was certainly salt involved in our derby win, in the form of tears for the home supporters. Yes, Spurs had a few injured players, but so did we. Did they maybe hold back in their performance, with one eye already on their CL game tomorrow ? Maybe.
But as an opposition team you can only put a shift in when the first whistle goes, work your socks off and hope for the best in order to beat what’s in front of you.
And that’s just what West Ham did. I cannot single out just one player for West Ham here as it was pretty much a complete performance from everyone. Diop got MotM and indeed he had a glorious game. Personally I was incredibly impressed with Noble, Fredericks, Balbuena, Antonio and the second-half version of Arnautovic.
It was always going to take a complete performance like this, a big team mentality and effort galore in order to even earn a point away at Tottenham, nevermind all three! But make no mistake, this wasn’t simply a case of Spurs having a bad day at the office, and if it was, then the main reason for it was our players being in the same office with them at the same time, being a constant nuisance, dropping all their paperclips on the floor, hiding their staplers, breaking their photocopier and shutting down their phone lines and computers.
To let you into a slightly spooky secret: Aside from the notorious matchday screwdriver, there is another routine of mine when we play. I have an old West Ham poster calendar gracing my living-room wall (I won’t throw it away as long as some players pictured in there still play for us), it’s so old it has pictures of Zaza, Ayew, Payet and James Collins in it. Before every game I change the calendar to show a picture of a player who is in the starting line-up for us and who is also in a good run of form. Or who I have high hopes for doing something special for us on the pitch in the upcoming game.
In recent weeks it always was Ogbonna, but he didn’t start against Spurs, so guess who I happened to choose to replace him on my wall for the derby on Saturday ?
Yep. No other than Antonio, the first player scoring an away goal at the New White Hart Lane (or whatever it’s called now). But don’t ask me now about the lottery numbers for next week. Or horses, I know sweet FA about those! :-))
I’m sure you’ll all agree that we’d love to see the same kind of effort and determination from our lads in every single game instead of just a few big day occasions like derby games against Spurs.
This was always going to be a transitional season. It’s rare for a new management team to come into a club and hit the ground running. It’d be nice though if we could finish the season on a high note, ending up in the Top 10 of the table as this would also improve our chances to keep players at West Ham and also convince prospective targets to join us in the summer.
No doubt there will be a significant number of players leaving and joining the club, but as long as we end up with a better team overall at the start of next season compared to the end of this season, I won’t be complaining. As for the win against Spurs I have to praise the entire team and Pellegrini as well, he got the tactics spot on and it’s no mean feat to keep a clean sheet against Spurs at their place, regardless of Kane playing or not.
On a quick personal note, plse keep your fingers crossed for my brother later today, around noon. He’ll be under the knife at his local hospital (again) as they found something on his adrenal gland during a recent scan that doesn’t belong there.
They are not sure what it is and after his recent bout against cancer they are not prepared to take any chances. They will cut out whatever it may be and then they will know (or find out quickly) what it actually is. Indications are that it is not related to his previous cancer. It’s also unlikely it is a new form of cancer as they didn’t spot any blood vessels on the scans and cancer cells apparently tend to have blood vessels around that area. So hopefully it’ll be something benign or just some internal bruising due to him falling on the stairs at his house recently, hitting the floor hard.
So forgive me if our win against Spurs hasn’t put me in a complete state of unfettered joy and happiness…
Plse also keep in mind that our U23s are playing tonight. They have to beat table toppers Everton if they want to have any chance of staying up (and sending Spurs U23s down in the process). A double over Spurs within a matter of days ? Sounds pretty great to my ears…COYI!!!
Hamburg football update:
St.Pauli came from behind to beat Regensburg at home, the win keeping alive their mathematical chances to get 3rd place which would give them a two-leg playoff promotion final against the 16th placed team from Bundesliga 1.
Hamburg SV are officially in crisis mode, losing 0:2 at Union Berlin.
For the first time in ages they now find themselves in unfamiliar territory, just outside the promotion places. This will go to the wire.
Concordia’s first team, meanwhile, already seem to be on a beach in Spain or Thailand already, losing 0:4 at Barmbek on Friday evening. It has been a shocker of a season for them and they can only be grateful there are some really crap teams in the same division this season. That alone will save them from relegation this year.
The U23s won in a fierce and dramatic contest, 2:1 away at Wentorf (three red cards in total, most of them for verbal dissent) to keep their slim promotion hopes alive.
The Cordi Women’s team virtually secured their promotion with a 26:0 defeat against nine (!!!) very brave opponents from Bramfeld. Instead of not even showing up, the away side tried their best, but as a team, quality-wise, they never stood a chance against Concordia, even if it had been 11 against 11.
Cordi needed to score plenty to make up an inferior goal difference to keep their promotion rivals at bay. With one game to go they are three points ahead, and also have superior goal difference now (by 9 goals), so promotion is almost in the bag. Nearly there…