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...but then again too few to mention, particularly after this game.
Let's get the traditional gripe about the ref out of the way first: inconsistent, spoiled the flow of the game, missed some very dodgy fouls, failed to punish worse/persistent offences. I note with interest that the first review of refs' performances has been completed and they're not relegating any of them. While I'd hesitate to suggest that he was remotely as bad as Rob Harris, Mr Taylor from Cheshunt seemed happy to let Kanoute catch the ball on his arm for the entire game and when he finally got round to stopping play to book a West Ham player, it was 2 minutes from the end and with Leeds in a position of clear advantage and then he didn't book another Hammer for booting the ball away. However, he also denied West Ham a penalty right in front of us when Lucas clipped Kanoute - a borderline case, but I've seen them given. And Alan Smith's reaction to the foul that earned Lomas his booking was probably worthy of a card in itself.
And having whinged a bit, let's give credit where it's due: to West Ham's combination of OAPs and youngsters in the defence that provided a solid wall to blunt our attacks and a platform for theirs. Michael Carrick in particular makes me think that we're offering them £15 million for the wrong player. Rio played reasonably, but it was the two Pearces - Stuart and Ian - and Nigel Winterburn who used their experience to take home a win from Elland Road for the first time in 22 years.
The West Ham goal was embarrassing - a Winterburn header after the 37-year-old had outpaced our defence to the ball on the stroke of half-time. But it had been coming long before that, with Lucas Radebe - apparently carrying an injury - having more trouble with Kanoute than he'd had with JFH last Sunday. Danny Mills was pretty solid alongside him, but our fullbacks once again found themselves out-manoeuvred - not as positionally sound as they need to be defensively, but not getting forward to help the midfield either. In fairness, just about the closest we got to a goal was from a cracking volley from Ian Harte that just crept past the post.
Eirik Bakke was replaced by Forrest at half-time - we thought it was a tactical switch, bearing in mind the scoreline and Bakke's recent below par showings - but we now hear he's picked up a knock that might keep him out of the Madrid game. After a majestic start to the season, Olivier Dacourt's dominance of the midfield is fitful at best, and but for the tireless running of Lee Bowyer we'd be dead in the water.
There was very little atmosphere - and it seemed that half the ground had been given over to kids (in my bit at least). For some reason, they can't sit still for 45 minutes (I blame TV), but at least they could be synchronised! Must have been up and down 20 times during the game, and only twice because we were attacking and looking strong.
Smiffy and Marko did what they could with the possession they got, but found themselves crowded out and without the options too often. Three more points gone, the top slots looking an ever more remote possibility and the certain knowledge that we'll play three times better on Wednesday night against Real Madrid. It's bloody frustrating at times... and to make it worse, I've temporarily lost bragging rights over my West Ham supporting chums - we need to give them another 5 goal tonking at Upton Park so I can walk tall again.
There's only one thing wrong with football.
All week we look forward to our fortnightly trip to Elland Road, to see our lads pull on the white shirts and to play beautiful winning football.
We dream of slick attacking, tricky wing-play , blistering pace, deft touches, spectacular finishing and no little commitment and passion.
Unfortunately, and this is the problem with football, there are 11 players on the opposite side who are trying like buggery (not a particularly pleasant simile!) to stop you playing and to spoil your party.
Copy from Football Unlimited of 20/11/2000.
Anything West Ham can do Real Madrid, the current champions of Europe, can do better. It is a worrying thought for Leeds after a performance that will have left the Spanish spy at Elland Road filing a most encouraging report to his bosses.
West Ham were without their most difficult yet productive talent, Paolo di Canio, who was apparently excused duty because he developed a stomach bug just as the squad were about to journey north. In the Italian's absence Redknapp's team were still committed and clever enough to outwit their leaden hosts.
David O'Leary denied this was a "foot-off-the-pedal job" - a mere warm-up for Real on Wednesday. "We looked tired today," he added and for once he was not offering a thin excuse for his cherished young ones. His team clearly did not have the wit or energy to break down a simple system.
Copy from The Independent of 19/11/2000.
A solitary, but precious, collectors' item of a goal from the cropped head of Nigel Winterburn yesterday carried West Ham to their first victory at Elland Road since 1978 and consigned Leeds' jaded and injury-hit team to a demoralising home defeat which leaves them struggling for form in advance of Wednesday night's Champions' League visit from the holders Real Madrid. Meeting an accurate cross from Trevor Sinclair, the 36-year-old former Arsenal left-back produced a downward bouncing header after 45 minutes to decide a contest in which the visitors fully deserved only their second triumph in west Yorkshire since 1953.
Adopting a 3-5-2 system, in which Frédéric Kanouté was outstanding as a roving sole central striker, to cover for the absences of Paolo di Canio and Joe Cole, Harry Redknapp's team soaked up Leeds' early pressure, defended in depth, broke with intelligence and merited a result which extended their resurgence to four matches without defeat.
Di Canio, out with a stomach upset, was hardly missed and, after being entangled in a public disagreement in the week over his opinion of team- mate Rio Ferdinand's readiness for England selection, was not lamented either. "Not everyone in your team wants to come to Leeds, do they?" joked Redknapp, having explained the Italian had been concerned his delicate stomach might have been aggravated by a long coach journey north.
The West Ham manager was delighted with his team's work-rate and determination and, in particular, praised the contribution of Kanouté, who led the battle-hardened Lucas Radebe a merry dance. "He's got the lot," Redknapp said. "He's six-foot-four, incredibly strong, with pace and skill and he can chest balls others try to head. He was a real threat."
David O'Leary, a known admirer of Ferdinand, was of the same opinion about the French under-21 striker whose movement and potency kept Leeds' rearguard stretched throughout while, at the other end, England's central sweeper in Turin looked as comfortable against Mark Viduka as he had for most of last Wednesday's defeat by the Italians. "I think he's a good player, but I don't know where the £15m [bid] has come from," said O'Leary with typical Irish understatement. "West Ham have got a lot of good players."
Since Viduka is the scorer of Leeds' last eight Premiership goals, it was a feat for Ferdinand to quell his threat while the remarkable Stuart Pearce, 39, muzzled Alan Smith, just 20, with equal panache. Rarely can the Leeds front pairing have felt so frustrated and helpless, a situation which will vex O'Leary as he absorbs the fact that Erik Bakke, who picked up a calf injury, and the suspended Olivier Dacourt will be absent on Wednesday, joining a long list of wounded.
"We're running out of players and it is a big test on Wednesday," he said. "But, then, it's only Real Madrid." His good humour was laudable, too, given that despite expending all of their energy in now-customary style, his team was restricted to long-range shots and free-kicks with Dacourt and Ian Harte causing Shaka Hislop most concern with powerful swerving efforts that he handled impeccably.
Paul Robinson, maintaining the form that is marking him out as the outstanding young English goalkeeper of his generation, produced a first-half close-range save that foiled Kaba Diawara (making his first start for West Ham as a left-flank forward) and later parried a powerful drive from Kanoute, who should have earned a penalty when he appeared to be cut down by Radebe in the first half, but who also wastefully fired high when put through by a defence-splitting Sinclair pass. On another day, the former Olympique Lyon striker might have scored a hat-trick.
Raul, Luis Figo and Fernando Morientes are unlikely to be so generous or as inaccurate.
Copy from Football Unlimited of 19/11/2000.
West Ham's squad were about to board their bus to Yorkshire when Paolo Di Canio complained of a stomach bug, perhaps feeling nauseous at the thought of carrying team-mates he doesn't rate. Had he made the journey he would have eaten a few choice words. An accomplished performance from what Harry Redknapp described rather parsimoniously as '11 players willing to work' earned a triumph which was as impressive as it was important. That spell at the foot of the Premiership is well behind West Ham now.
So effective was the new look front line of Frederic Kanoute supported by Kaba Diawara that Di Canio - and fellow injured absentee Joe Cole - cannot be certain of waltzing back into the side. 'It's very hard to change the team, I couldn't fault any of them,' added Redknapp.
David O'Leary would love to be in a position to shuffle his pack and lamented the fact that it is nigh impossible to sustain a dual domestic and European challenge with an injury ravaged squad. 'That was a tired performance,' he said.
Copy from SportLive of 18/11/2000.
SportLive is no longer operational. Should it return to the web, this report will be removed and the link restored.
Nigel Winterburn was the unlikely source to earn West Ham their second league win at Elland Road for 70 years.
The veteran defender headed a 45th-minute winner which enabled his side to leapfrog Leeds in the Premiership table as David O'Leary's men entered an important spell of the season in the worst possible way.
Real Madrid are due to visit on Wednesday, followed by Arsenal on Sunday, and Leeds will have to improve on this lacklustre performance to have a say in those matches.
They are bound to be difficult tests for Leeds' tired legs, with little sign of the injury crisis abating, and the manager was forced to name the same starting 11 who drew with Chelsea last week, four days after the emotion-sapping draw in Milan that earned his side a place in the second phase of the Champions League.
O'Leary feels his young side simply cannot cope with such a schedule, and yesterday he called for the top flight to lose a club or two.
"It is time for the Premiership to be reduced in size," he said. "We want to compete against the best clubs in Europe and we know that our fans want us to do well.
"But we are not meeting them on an even playing field because we are expected to play far more games than they do."
It became increasingly clear that this was the sort of game Leeds did not seem to keen on playing. West Ham, without the temperamental Paolo Di Canio, out with a stomach bug, showed from the start that they were determined to improve their abysmal record.
Di Canio missed an impressive display from Rio Ferdinand, who kept Mark Viduka quiet throughout, which showed Di Canio's comment that the defender was not yet good enough to play at international level was, perhaps, a bit harsh.
At the other end, Danny Mills and Lucas Radebe looked much less comfortable, particularly against the pace and strength of Frederic Kanoute. Mills was shown a yellow card for a foul on the Frenchman as the striker threatened to run through on goal in the 32nd minute, and he was lucky not to concede a penalty against the same player five minutes later when referee Paul Taylor was perhaps dissuaded from pointing to the spot by Kanoute's determination to milk a good claim to the full.
The best chance of the first period fell to Kanoute's strike partner, Kaba Diawara, after a mix-up at the heart of the Leeds defence.
Dominic Matteo lost control of the ball and then Radebe was tackled by Michael Carrick whose through ball gave Diawara a great chance to mark his first start for West Ham with a goal only for Paul Robinson to make an important save. Nigel Martyn's deputy had little chance with Winterburn's opener on the stroke of half-time, however.
The former Arsenal full-back beat Gary Kelly to Trevor Sinclair's cross and scored with a downward header.
The match officials changed shirts at half-time, from the confusing black that clashed with West Ham's dark away kit to a more distinctive green.
A more significant change, however, was forced upon O'Leary who had to withdraw the hobbling Eirik Bakke and replace him with Darren Huckerby.
Unfortunately for the home side, O'Leary's decision to adopt a 4-3-3 formation did little to change their fortunes, and Kanoute continued to look the most likely to score.
Twice in the five minutes leading up to the hour mark Kanoute left Radebe for dead only to blaze over the bar both times and although Leeds started to enjoy more of the possession, they struggled to convert their domination into clear-cut opportunities.
Smith came close to an equaliser after 74 minutes when his curled effort went just wide.
Ian Harte nearly redeemed a poor performance from Leeds with a free-kick that flashed inches wide four minutes before the end but despite the pressure Leeds maintained in the closing skirmishes, O'Leary was left to assess how much the glory of the Champions League is costing him.
LEEDS (4-4-2): Robinson 7; Kelly 6, Mills 6, Radebe 5, Harte 5; Bowyer 6, Bakke 5 (Huckerby 46, 5), Dacourt 7, Matteo 6; Viduka 6, Smith 6. Booked: Mills.
WEST HAM (3-5-2): Hislop 6; I Pearce 6 (Potts 72, 5), Ferdinand 8, S Pearce 7; Sinclair 6, Lampard 6, Lomas 6, Carrick 7, Winterburn 7; Kanoute 8, Diawara 6. Booked: Lomas. Goal: Winterburn 45.
Copy from Yorkshire Evening Post of 20/11/2000.
THE old-boy reunion between David O'Leary and Nigel Winterburn, once twin pillars in an unyielding Arsenal defence, was hardly a convivial affair.
O'Leary is naturally intent on instilling excellence in his rearguard and that Winterburn, hardly noted for his goalscoring prowess, should pop up with the match-winner made this a bitter pill to swallow for the United manager.
The veteran's first goal for the Hammers in first half stoppage time was, however, just reward for a team who came to Elland Road with a battle plan, stuck to it and rarely looked in danger of defeat by a Leeds side which was way below par throughout.
Strangely subdued and uncharacteristically wayward with their passing, shooting and distribution, Leeds reeled to their third home defeat under the weight of a crowding-out in midfield and left O'Leary lamenting: "I like a lot of the West Ham players. I wish I had a few of them."
And you just knew that, given the chance, he would have kidnapped Rio Ferdinand, tied him to a chair until the Hammers team bus was halfway down the M1 and refused to release him until he had signed a contract.
There were others who commanded admiration. Frank Lampard and Michael Carrick shone in that midfield battle zone and up front the young Frenchman Frederic Kanoute positively sparkled, scything down everything in his path and giving United captain Lucas Radebe, in particular, a thoroughly miserable time.
This chronic Leeds performance - West Ham were winning at Elland Road for the first time in 22 years and only the second in seven decades - left them requiring to crank up several notches if they are to live with Real Madrid in the Champions League on Wednesday.
United lost midfield man Eirik Bakke at half time with a calf injury and O'Leary said: "We looked a tired team. It wasn't a case of us having one eye on Real Madrid - it would be unfair on West Ham to claim that - but when teams are defending deep against you, you need someone with a bit of magic to open them up and we did not have that."
Hammers boss Harry Redknapp was on sufficiently good terms with himself to reveal that he had just bought a racehorse, named it Di Canio and was promptly having it gelded.
Given the events of last week at Upton Park, when his star Italian player upset the entire camp with comments about the abilities of a couple of his colleagues, and withdrew from this game because of "something he had eaten", joker Harry proved in another way that he is never one to miss an opportunity.
United started brightly enough, their best player Dacourt burning Hislop's fingers with a rasping drive in the first minute and following up with an edge-of-the-box shot which screwed wide.
But United had a scare when Diawara only just failed to put the finishing touch to Sinclair's tantalising cross. Radebe got in a vital challenge on Kanoute and, at the other end, Ferdinand performed a definitive stopping job on Bowyer.
Viduka climbed well to head Bowyer's cross back across goal and Smith, lurking at the far post, scrambled his shot over.
Mills blocked Kanoute's shot at the expense of a corner and Stuart Pearce's long-range shot was also deflected as United stood firm.
Carrick robbed Radebe in midfield in the 24th minute and set loose Diawara one on one with Robinson, but the big keeper spread himself to make a fine save.
Leeds came back and Bakke was pulled down in front of goal, 30 yards out, but Dacourt's free kick was straight at Hislop.
Bowyer caught Hislop unawares with his snapshot from distance, but it flashed wide.
And it was United's turn to hold their breath when Radebe appeared to floor Kanoute in the box seven minutes before the break, only for referee Taylor to wave aside frantic appeals for a penalty.
As this low-key affair trundled towards the interval Dacourt once again had a shooting chance but was appreciably too high.
Then West Ham stole into a shock first half injury-time lead, Sinclair's cross evading Kanoute only for the evergreen Nigel Winterburn to head home, with a single bounce into the far corner.
Leeds needed to rouse themselves if they were to get anything from the match and O'Leary was forced to switch things around at the start of the second half, introducing a third striker in Darren Huckerby in place of the injured Bakke.
Panic in the Leeds defence led to Radebe needlessly conceding a corner and O'Leary's charges were looking decidedly ragged.
Kanoute, having turned Radebe in spectacular fashion, hammered in a telling shot which had Robinson at full stretch to beat out.
And when Carrick's finely measured pass through to Kanoute set the Frenchman clear it looked curtains for Leeds, but his shot whistled over the bar.
Huckerby's cross looked tailor-made for Viduka until Ferdinand roared in with a fine clearing header, then Ian Pearce came to the rescue for the Hammers with an excellent tackle as Viduka shaped to shoot.
Harte thundered in a 30-yarder which Hislop calmly collected and, when West Ham came back, Mills was in with an important challenge on the ever-dangerous Kanoute.
Smith was narrowly wide after Dacourt had battled well to set him up with a shooting opportunity in the 74th minute, but then Bowyer was ludicrously wide with his direct free kick.
Robinson saved bravely at the feet of the foraging Kanoute before Smith won a free kick on the edge of the area under a heavy challenge from Ferdinand. Dacourt's unexpected sidefoot from the free kick was heading for the far corner, but Hislop dived well to save.
Sinclair's barge into Huckerby brought another direct free kick chance four minutes from the end and this time Harte's effort was only marginally wide of the target.
But the Hammers comfortably held out to inflict United's third home defeat of the season, leaving O'Leary to complain: "You can't run a Premiership and Champions League campaign with 12 players."