West Ham United ended a disappointing week with a 4-0 defeat away at Tottenham Hotspur in the London derby on Sunday afternoon.
Dimitar Berbatov took the game out of the reach of Alan Curbishley's men with two close-range headers inside the first ten minutes, both from Tom Huddlestone free-kicks. The task at White Hart Lane became even more difficult on the stroke of half-time when Luis Boa Morte received a second yellow card. Despite the ten-man visitors battling valiantly after the break, Tottenham were able to add two more late on through Gilberto and Darren Bent.
United had gone into the contest with high hopes, with a 4-4-2 formation that saw Dean Ashton and Bobby Zamora come into the attack and Carlton Cole making way. Mark Noble also dropped to the bench with Scott Parker returning for his first game since 29 December. It was to be Parker's more defensive-minded midfield colleague Hayden Mullins who had the first effort, flashing a shot wide inside the first minute.
The visitors seemed in determined mood, summed up on five minutes when Freddie Ljungberg had Paul Robinson sprawling. The Sweden captain fierce shot meant the England keeper was only able to push the ball into the on-rushing Ashton's path. Robinson recovered well though to save Ashton's effort and, when the ball broke to Boa Morte, the Tottenham defence had regrouped.
On eight minutes, Tottenham were awarded a free-kick for a foul by Jonathan Spector, in for the injured Matthew Upson, on the right wing. From it, Huddlestone picked out Berbatov in a central position and he was able to head in. It was soon two, with Huddlestone again finding Berbatov from a free-kick, this time from the left after a Ljungberg foul, and again Green could do little about it.
Tottenham looked menacing from every attack, with Aaron Lennon picking out Huddlestone for a chance that he could not keep down before Boa Morte earned a 22nd-minute caution for a challenge on Alan Hutton. As the half-hour mark came and went, the game had descended into a series of misplaced passes from both teams. On 33 minutes, Steed Malbranque was picked out by Berbatov but his low shot sailed wide. Green had to be alert soon afterwards to save from Berbatov when the striker was found by Huddlestone.
With two minutes to go until half-time, things got even tougher with Boa Morte being sent off after picking up another yellow card, this time for a challenge on Lennon. The second half began with Tottenham again on the offensive, notably a 49th-minute left shot from Huddlestone that just cleared the bar. Ashton, operating in isolation up front with Zamora's switch to cover the left wing, then worked a good opening up the other end that finished in similar fashion.
After a Robbie Keane half-chance, West Ham United produced some good football on 54 minutes, with Ljungberg and Ashton combining well on the right wing before the move ended with a half-chance for Lucas Neill that never troubled Robinson. Spurs soon broke up the other end with a saving clearance by Anton Ferdinand proving timely after Lennon had pushed the ball goalwards from a tight angle. Tottenham then made two changes on 58 and 68 minutes with Malbranque making way for Gilberto before Keane went off for Bent.
The latter change coincided with Ljungberg getting a caution for dissent and it was to be his last contribution as John Pantsil entered the fray on 70 minutes. The replacement made an instant impact, picking out Ashton for a half-chance that was only just cleared for a corner. The tireless Parker was replaced five minutes later after an impressive return to action - Noble coming on to the scene of his first Premier League start back in November 2005 before Cole replaced Ashton.
Berbatov had another chance for his treble on 83 minutes but could not keep his 20-yard free-kick on target. Tottenham got their third two minutes later though, when Gilberto was able to roll the beyond Green after Pascal Chimbonda's pass. Spurs were looking for a fourth and Berbatov could have added it as 90 minutes came and went before Bent completed a miserable afternoon with virtually the last kick.
Official team sheet