Premier League: Spurs boss Redknapp goes back to the Hammers
PUBLISHED: 19:53 24 September 2010
TOTTENHAM boss Harry Redknapp returns to Upton Park tomorrow (Saturday) as Spurs tackle West Ham.
HARRY Redknapp may have sealed one of the deals of the summer when he took Rafael van der Vaart from the Bernabeu, but the Spurs boss will still have a case of the green-eyed monster this Saturday as he returns to Upton Park.
Irons captain Scott Parker was one of Redknapp’s main targets in the transfer window, with the Hammers rejecting a £6million bid from their former manager.
Tottenham will hope that the combative 29-year-old has an off day on Saturday but that looks unlikely.
Parker has started the campaign as he finished the last, showing all of the qualities which encouraged Redknapp to bid for his services.
It is often a gross exaggeration to rate a player as a ‘one-man team’ but the statistics continue to support that analysis of Parker’s importance.
After Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Stoke at the Britannia Stadium, the skipper was the most prolific tackler in his side this season, the most successful tackler with 82 per cent, the most creative player (making nine chances), and the top scorer with two goals.
At the moment, they are probably the only numbers that will console Hammers boss Avram Grant, who replaced Gianfranco Zola in June.
Grant inherited a team who finished 17th last season and the Irons already sit rock bottom after five games, with just one point on the board and a goal difference of minus 10 after conceding 13 goals.
Admittedly the Hammers have had a tough start, visiting Aston Villa, Manchester United and Stoke, while also hosting Chelsea. Spurs’ rivals from east London have their excuses but the league table is brutally unsympathetic.
Grant has added a few new faces but his side still look set for a season at the wrong end of the table.
Right-back Lars Jacobsen has arrived from Blackburn Rovers and Portugal Under-21 international centre-back Manuel Da Costa made his debut on Saturday.
West Ham’s three-man midfield has a familiar look but there are two new additions to the forward line.
Spurs fans will remember ex-Portsmouth striker Frederic Piquionne from last season’s FA Cup semi-final, the Frenchman netting the pivotal opener in extra-time after Michael Dawson’s unfortunate slip.
The Hammers have also taken 23-year-old Nigeria international Victor Obinna on loan from Rafael Benitez’s Inter Milan.
Grant is firm friends with Redknapp from their days at Portsmouth but, after a series of difficult fixtures, the 55-year-old Hammers boss could probably do without a visit from his chum this weekend.
That said, the Irons boss may be grateful that he is facing a Spurs side who are currently overloaded with fixtures – and four days before the Lilywhites host FC Twente in a must-win Champions League clash.
Grant will also hope that this London derby and the atmosphere that it is sure to generate at the Boleyn Ground will act as a springboard for his side.
As one supporter said on a radio phone-in: “Hopefully we’ll stay up and beat Arsenal or Tottenham along the way.”
West Ham keeper Rob Green is having the mother of all World Cup hangovers and currently looks like a real liability. Redknapp will certainly instruct his players to give the stuttering stopper a stern examination.
However, the games continue to come thick and fast for Tottenham and this could be another repeat of their trip to West Brom – one eye on the Champions League.
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Welwyn Hatfield Times. Click the link in the orange box above for details.