Live Commentary: West Ham United 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur - as it happened

Kyle Naughton of Spurs reacts after receiving a red card for handball as Younes Kaboul of Spurs remenstrates with referee Chris Foy during the Barclays Premier League match between West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur at Boleyn Ground on August 16, 2014
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Relive Sports Mole's coverage of a dramatic London derby between West Ham and Tottenham, as Spurs score late to win a 10-a-side opening-day match.

Tottenham Hotspur got their Premier League campaign off to a winning start this afternoon, leaving it late to beat West Ham United 1-0 in an action-packed London derby at Upton Park.

The visitors suffered a blow on the half-hour mark as Kyle Naughton was shown a straight red card for handball inside the box, but Mark Noble rolled the resulting penalty wide.

West Ham were then also reduced to 10 men in the second half as James Collins picked up a second yellow card for a block on Emmanuel Adebayor.

It was another defender who made the difference, however, as Eric Dier rounded the keeper to net the winner in the 93rd minute of his debut.

You can read how an enthralling 90 minutes of action unfolded courtesy of Sports Mole's live minute-by-minute coverage below.


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5pmRight, that is all we have time for this afternoon! Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole for what was an action-packed London derby right to the last. Tottenham emerge victorious in dramatic fashion with a late goal, while West Ham are left devastated. Be sure to stick around for our match report, while we will also have reaction, analysis and player ratings for you shortly. Tottenham's North London rivals Arsenal are in action in the late kickoff as they face Crystal Palace, and you can follow live coverage of that match here. From me, though, it is goodbye for now!

4.58pmIt really was an expert finish from the defender, who had been thrown upfield as a last resort from Pochettino. He raced onto a through-ball, rounded the keeper and slotted into the unguarded net, showing all the composure of a seasoned striker. What a way for him to mark his debut for the club, and what a start for Tottenham. You have to feel for West Ham, however, as they carved out the best chances and should have actually won this match. Still, they weren't lethal enough in front of goal, and Spurs took full advantage.

4.56pmWell, well, well, what a finish to the opening match of the season. Spurs leave it late to steal a 1-0 win over London rivals West Ham in a match that saw both teams have a man sent off and the hosts miss a penalty. It looked for a long time like it would be an entertaining goalless draw, but Eric Dier popped up in the 93rd minute to steal all three points for his side.

90+5 minFULL TIME: West Ham United 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur

90+3 minGOAL! West Ham United 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur (Eric Dier)

90+3 minOh my word, Tottenham have stolen it! Dier, up from the back for the closing stages, shows the touch of a striker as he latches on to a through-ball before rounding the keeper and sliding it into the unguarded net. What a moment for the debutant, who has just won this London derby for his side with one of the last kicks of the match. The Premier League is well and truly back, folks!

90+2 minWe will have four minutes added time at the end of this fascinating match. Can either side find a winner?

90+2 minWe will have four minutes added time at the end of this fascinating match. Can either side find a winner?

90 minSAVE! The ball is played across to Bentaleb, who fires a powerful first-time effort towards the bottom corner. Adrian watches it all the way, however, and makes a fairly routine stop to push it away.

89 minUPDATE: There has been late drama elsewhere as Sunderland have equalised against West Brom through Sebastian Larsson, while Chris Wood has also levelled things up for Leicester against Everton. QPR, meanwhile, have missed a late penalty at Loftus Road and still trail Hull 1-0.

87 minWHAT A SAVE! West Ham should be ahead, but Lloris makes a sensational stop! Nolan flicks a lovely back-heel through for Downing in the area, and the winger beats one man to send him one-on-one with Lloris. The keeper, as ever, is quickly out, however, and spreads himself brilliantly to make a magnificent save.

87 minValencia has made a good start in endearing himself to the home crowd here. He has chased everything and put in a couple of nice touches here and there. A goal would be nice now, but even without that the West Ham fans seem to have taken to their new signing.

85 minWe're set up for a really exciting final five minutes here. Both sides are looking to win this match, which is creating space at either end of the field. It is end-to-end stuff right now.

83 minSPURS SUB: Tottenham respond with their third and final change of the afternoon as Harry Kane replaces Adebayor, who takes his time coming off. Interesting that Kane has been preferred to Soldado there.

81 minWEST HAM SUB: Upton Park rises as one to welcome big-money signing Enner Valencia, who enjoyed a great World Cup this summer. The Hammers reportedly spent £12m on the new striker, and he would go some way to paying that back if he can net a winner here.

79 minSlightly untidy period to the match as West Ham and Tottenham both battle for control of the ball. West Ham's mindset has certainly changed since going down to 10 men.

77 minUPDATE: West Brom have completed the comeback against Sunderland, with Saido Berahino getting his second of the afternoon to make it 2-1. What a start that would be for new boss Alan Irvine.

76 minDecent feet from Diame as he sends his marker the wrong way to create space to shoot. It is a tight angle and a long way out, but that doesn't put the sub off as he goes for goal. However, it is a poor effort as he scuffs his shot well wide.

74 minSAVE! West Ham come forward this time as Noble surges forward from midfield, but Lloris gets down well to make the save.

72 minThe pendulum has certainly swung since that red card. Spurs are on the front foot now and, having been hanging on a little with 10 vs. 11, they now look most like scoring. This one is set up very nicely for the remaining 20 minutes or so.

70 minCLOSE! Again Townsend comes close as he fires a deflected effort narrowly past the post. Adrian was stranded this time and was relieved to see it whizz just past the upright.

70 minSAVE! Cracking save from Adrian as he gets a strong hand to a Townsend strike to tip it over the top. Everything just opened up for the England international, who powered a strike towards the top corner. It was at a nice height for Adrian, but it was still a decent stop.

69 minWEST HAM SUB: Another change for the hosts as Mohamed Diame replaces Ricardo Vaz Te.

68 minI predicted a feisty encounter, and we're certainly getting it! Two red cards already and there are some more handbags here as Adebayor looks to latch onto a dangerous delivery from Townsend. The striker collided with Adrian, who reacted angrily.

67 minKouyate has dropped back into the centre of defence in place of Collins, and it is a position he took up fairly regularly for Anderlecht. He is certainly familiar with it, but he was having a decent game in midfield so will be a loss in that area of the park.

65 minSHOT! From the resulting free kick Eriksen goes for goal, but he fires a powerful, swerving effort over the bar. This is a very different match after that red card. Spurs will certainly fancy their chances once again.

63 minIt is 10 vs. 10! West Ham lose their numerical advantage as James Collins picks up his second yellow card of the afternoon for a block on Adebayor. The striker had burst past the defender, who just stepped across his path. Correct decision from the ref.

63 minRED CARD! James Collins (West Ham United)

62 minWEST HAM SUB: The hosts make a change of their own as Guy Demel trots on in place of O'Brien. That should mean that Cresswell is fully fit to continue, which is good news for West Ham.

61 minSPURS SUBS: Pochettino makes his first changes as Tottenham manager, bringing on two players as Lewis Holtby and Andros Townsend replace Lamela and Lennon.

59 minGood play from Rose as he drives down the left before sliding a dangerous low ball across the face of goal. Lennon is arriving at the back post but Cresswell is the right side of him and makes a crucial interception.

58 minUPDATE: Hull have taken the lead against newly-promoted Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road, with James Chester the goalscorer. Not a great day for the sides coming up from the Championship so far, with Leicester also behind against Everton. Back at Upton Park, meanwhile, Cresswell is back on.

56 minWorrying signs for the Hammers as Cresswell goes down in pain clutching his knee. It was a fairly innocuous one, which can often be the worst. West Ham are struggling for fit defenders as it is, so they will not want to lose the debutant here. He may be able to continue, but he isn't moving too freely right now.

54 minYELLOW CARD! Collins gets his name in the book, and he can have no complaints. Lamela looked to skip past the defender, who levelled the Tottenham man with a hefty challenge.

53 minSAVE! Good stop from Lloris as he gets down well to deny a low strike. The French keeper reacts quickly to get up and get to the rebound as well, denying the Hammers the chance for a second go at goal.

52 minUPDATE: There has been a goal at the Britannia, and it has gone the way of the visitors as Aston Villa take the lead against Stoke. Andreas Weimann is the man on the scoresheet, setting his side on the way to what would be a good start to the season.

50 minWest Ham's best moments have come through crosses into the box so far today, but they have also played some nice stuff in midfield. Downing in particular has spread a few lovely long-range passes to find his man. Perhaps Allardyce plans to turn on the style after all.

48 minLovely feet from Eriksen as he skips past one defender inside the box, creating a bit of space to shoot. However, that space is quickly closed down by Noble, who dives in to deny the Dane.

48 minLovely feet from Eriksen as he skips past one defender inside the box, creating a bit of space to shoot. However, that space is quickly closed down by Noble, who dives in to deny the Dane.

46 minKICKOFF: Spurs get us back underway for the second half as they look to cope with their numerical disadvantage here. Can they hold out, or will the Hammers break through?

4.03pmThe Hammers have been positive since Spurs were reduced to 10 men, however. I questioned whether Allardyce may opt to take a cautious approach despite their numerical advantage, but that hasn't been the case at all. The hosts are looked to commit a lot of players forward and were really pushing for the opening goal before the break. If they can start the second half as they finished the first, they could cause Spurs further problems. For what it is worth, Spurs enjoyed more possession in that first half, but the Hammers had by far the better chances.

4.01pmCrosses have been a major issue for the visitors today, with West Ham bombarding the Tottenham box with good deliveries. Pochettino's men have really struggled to deal with them and it certainly wouldn't be a surprise to see more of the same from the hosts after the break. It may be not the improved style that the board wanted, but it has been effective so far.

3.59pmAside from the penalty, the biggest chance of the match so far feel to Vaz Te towards the end of the half. O'Brien launched a dangerous cross into the box that the West Ham attacker flung himself at, but he nodded the ball too far into the ground, allowing the ball to bounce back up and into the arms of Lloris.

3.57pmThe Hammers created a number of chances before and after the red card, and even without the penalty should be ahead in this match. Vaz Te has been guilty of a couple of missed opportunities, while Carlton Cole has failed to sort his feet out in time on a number of occasions.

3.55pmAs for the penalty itself, the usually reliable Mark Noble stepped up to take the spot kick. The West Ham midfielder appeared to change his mind on the run up and subsequently rolled his penalty wide of the post despite sending Lloris the wrong way.

3.53pmThe big moment of the half came right on the half-hour mark as Naughton was penalised for a handball inside the area, blocking Nolan's goalbound volley on the turn. The Tottenham defender was very close to Nolan and really couldn't do much to get out of the way, but the linesman was correct to award the penalty as it blocked a likely goal. However, the subsequent red card was very harsh and leaves Tottenham are a numerical disadvantage for an hour of this match.

3.51pmMy word, what an interesting start to the season for both of these two sides. The match remains goalless at the break, but that only tells half of the story. Spurs are down to 10 men after Kyle Naughton was sent off, while West Ham have missed a penalty and a number of other chances. We are nicely set up for a very good second half at Upton Park.

45+1 minHALF TIME: West Ham United 0-0 Tottenham Hotspur

45 minThere will be just the one additional minute at the end of this first half. Can West Ham make the breakthrough before the interval?

44 minUPDATE: While West Ham have missed from the spot here, West Brom have been rather more successful from 12 yards at the Hawthorns. They have levelled things up against Sunderland courtesy of a Saido Berahino penalty.

42 minCHANCE! Huge chance for the Hammers to take the lead! Downing gives the ball out wide for O'Brien, who hoists another high, testing ball into the middle. Vaz Te attacks it well and gets the leap on his marker, but heads it into the ground too much, making it easy for Lloris to collect.

41 minSHOT! West Ham look to break quickly but Lamela wins the ball back and Spurs counter themselves. Lamela fires the ball in to Adebayor, who lays it off for Lennon. The winger isn't perfectly set on the edge of the box as he lines up the shot, but manages to dig out a decent effort that goes narrowly over.

39 minWest Ham are causing Spurs so many problems with crosses into the box at the moment - particularly from corners. Tottenham simply don't seem to be able to deal with the hosts' aerial threat, often resorting to panicky clearances.

37 minSHOT! Another half chance for the hosts as Vaz Te slips in the overlapping Cresswell, whose cross finds Cole in the middle. The striker once again has his back to goal and can't turn in time, with his eventual shot being blocked. From the resulting corner the ball drops to Vaz Te, who lashes his shot wide.

36 minThe tide is slowly turning once again as West Ham enjoy a good spell of possession. Vaz Te wastes a good position here though as he fires a long-range effort well over the bar. Poor strike from the attacker.

34 minSpurs have responded well since that flurry of action. West Ham were very much on top in the minutes preceding it, but that penalty miss seems to have shaken them up a little. Very interesting scenario now - do West Ham really go for this or will Allardyce take a more cautious approach?

32 minSpurs will be relieved at being let off the hook with that penalty miss, but they still face the prospect of playing more than an hour with 10 men. It was such a harsh red card, but the referee didn't race into it, discussing it with his linesman, who may have made the final call.

30 minOh huge drama here at Upton Park! The hosts are awarded a penalty as they cause havoc from another corner, with the ball being nodded down to a dangerous area. Nolan goes for goal with a volley on the turn, which strikes the hands of Kyle Naughton. It is certainly handball and the assistant is right to award a penalty, but he is so close to Nolan that a red card seems very harsh. The Hammers fail to take complete advantage of the situation, however, as Mark Noble rolls his penalty wide! So uncharacteristic from the midfielder.

30 minMARK NOBLE MISSES HIS PENALTY!

29 minRED CARD! Kyle Naughton (Tottenham Hotspur)

28 minPENALTY TO WEST HAM!

26 minCLOSE! Downing is really causing problems now. He swings a vicious ball into the area having cut back onto his favoured left foot, and Kouyate does really well to get in front of his man and glance a header just wide. Not far away from a debut goal for the midfielder.

25 minSHOT! Another decent opening for West Ham, whoa re certainly looking most likely to break the deadlock now. Collins again causes problems in the middle, getting on the end of a corner to nod a yard or so over the bar. Much better from the hosts.

23 minCHANCE! The clearest chance of the match so far falls to Vaz Te, but he makes a complete mess of it. A corner was flicked on by James Collins towards the back post, where Vaz Te was unmarked. He went for a first-time volley but couldn't adjust himself in time and sliced it back into the middle rather than at goal. Moments later Downing swings another cross into the box, but Vaz Te glances a header wide.

21 minUPDATE: There has been a goal on Leicester's return to the top flight, but it hasn't gone the way of the newly-promoted side. Everton have taken the lead at the King Power Stadium courtesy of an Aiden McGeady strike.

19 minIndeed, Spurs have had 68% of the ball so far. West Ham are starting to get back into the match a bit more now and Downing is causing a few problems down the right, driving into the box before slipping it to O'Brien, whose cross is cleared.

17 minStill not much action to report from Upton Park as these two sides make a tentative start to the season. Spurs have had the lion's share of possession so far but haven't really done anything with it.

15 minHalf a chance for the hosts as Downing races down the right before squeezing a really good cross into the middle. Cole takes it down in the box but it just doesn't sit up right for him to set up Vaz Te, and Spurs can clear it. That is the most dangerous West Ham have looked so far.

14 minGood play from Lamela as he bounces off one challenge before showing good strength to hold off Kouyate. The West Ham debutant is eventually forced to bring the Tottenham man down, but that was a brief glimpse of what Lamela can do.

12 minSo far, there haven't been many signs of West Ham's new, improved style, but then they haven't had much chance to show what they can do. Tottenham have controlled possession so far and the hosts are struggling to keep hold of it when they do win it back.

10 minVery cool from Cresswell. He looks to have let the ball run too far and out for a throw-in, but then he just keeps it in play before selling Adebayor a dummy and clearing the danger. Not a bad start to life in the Premier League for the former Ipswich man.

9 minSAVE! Lennon drifts in from the flank to collect the ball infield before being fouled by James Collins in a dangerous position. It is a tight angle for Eriksen, but that doesn't put him off as he curls an effort towards goal. It is straight at Adrian, however, and he collects it comfortably.

7 minUPDATE: An early goal has gone in elsewhere in the Premier League, and it has come from an unlikely source. Lee Cattermole has given Sunderland the lead against West Brom at the Hawthorns in a match between two teams who spent last season battling against the drop.

5 minAn early risk from Hugo Lloris as he dwells on the ball for a little too long, inviting a challenge from Cole. The French keeper is comfortable in possession, but he almost got too comfortable there. West Ham are looking to give Spurs very little time in possession.

3 minThe visitors have settled into this one nice and quickly and are taking control of the ball in the opening exchanges. Pochettino's Southampton were very impressive in possession, and already you can see hints of that here.

1 minKICKOFF: Here we go then! West Ham get us underway as Premier League football returns to Upton Park. This is Sam Allardyce's 400th match as a Premier League manager - can he pick up three points against bitter London rivals?

2.58pmThis is, of course, the opening day of the Premier League season and, as such, there are a further four matches kicking off at 3pm this afternoon. You can follow each of them live with Sports Mole by clicking on the corresponding match on the right of this screen, while I will also be keeping you up to date with major events from around the country. We have already had one shock this season with Swansea beating Manchester United 2-1 at Old Trafford in Louis van Gaal's first match at the helm.

2.58pmHowever, Spurs have only lost two of their last seven visits to Upton Park, winning four and drawing one in that time as well. Before last season's results, the North London side had only lost one of their last 12 meetings with the Hammers, so it is fair to say that 2013-14 was a bit of an anomaly as far as this fixture is concerned.

2.56pmWhat's more, Sam Allardyce has never lost against a Mauricio Pochettino side in the three times that they have met. The two men play contrasting styles, but so far it is Allardyce's ugly but effective means that have come out on top. Another win today would certainly go some way to easing the pressure on the West Ham boss.

2.54pmThis is the 142nd meeting between these two London rivals, and as I alluded to earlier it is West Ham that have the better recent record having won all three meetings - two in the league, one in the League Cup - last season. It was the first time they had managed to do that this century, and the Hammers marked the achievement with a 'treble' t-shirt - hopefully with their tongues firmly in their cheeks.

2.52pmSo that's my prediction, but take a look at how the other members of the Sports Mole Sofa predict this game going. Not much support for the Hammers...


2.50pmPREDICTION: Right, we're 10 minutes from kickoff now, so it is about time for my prediction! It is sure to be a fiercely contested match and West Ham will be buoyed by their results over Spurs last season, but this is a new-look Tottenham set-up and they should have enough about them to get the three points. The visitors have had the better preparation and need to step up if they are to challenge for a Champions League place. I'll go for a 2-1 win for Tottenham, and a winning start for Pochettino.

2.48pmUp front, it is Adebayor who gets the nod ahead of Soldado, who also struggled to make an impact last season. Adebayor showed flashes of his best in the last campaign and it isn't a surprise to see him start again today, but Soldado will be chomping at the bit to get on and prove that he is worth the big money spent on his last summer.

2.46pmThe midfield is arguably the most intriguing section of the Tottenham side, with a couple of players going into this season with points to prove. Capoue was solid, but not spectacular last season, while Lamela was a huge flop in his debut campaign. The £30m man has been in good form during pre-season, though, and if he can find form this season then he could be like a new signing for Spurs. Aaron Lennon is also back after struggling with injuries at times last season, while Christian Eriksen will be hoping to carry his form from the end of last term over into this one.

2.44pmTheir sole debutant comes in defence where, like West Ham, Tottenham find themselves short of numbers. A number of players who featured at the World Cup are not yet ready to return to action, while Walker, Dawson and Chiriches are also struggling with their fitness. Dier won't be expecting an easy baptism against a physical side like West Ham, and it will be interesting to see how he holds up today.

2.42pmAs for Spurs, the goalkeeper position is a very interesting one this season. Lloris is expected to be the number one, and indeed does start today, but with Vorm coming into the club and Friedel still involved, there is certainly healthy competition for the gloves at White Hart Lane. Lloris will know that a bad run of form could see him lose his place.

2.40pmWith Carroll out and Valencia not at 100%, Cole is the only real option to lead the line for the Hammers today, and he will be keen to stake a claim for a regular spot. It is interesting to see Valencia on the bench, and Allardyce could be thinking about giving him half an hour or so at the end to improve his match fitness, but you have to assume that he would have been in the starting lineup if he was fully fit.

2.38pmThe hosts' other debutant Kouyate starts in midfield alongside battle-hardened duo Mark Noble and Kevin Nolan, both of whom are always among West Ham's most important players. That will be the case again today, although they may have a slightly different role than normal if Allardyce is to heed the owners' calls for more attractive football.

2.36pmSo, what can we make of those two teams? Well, there aren't many surprises as far as the hosts are concerned, with injuries and fitness issues forcing Allardyce's hand to some extent. He is struggling for fully-fit defenders, but still manages to name a familiar-looking backline plus the new boy from Ipswich Aaron Cresswell. Cresswell was widely regarded as the best player in his position in the Championship last season, so it will be interesting to see how he handles the step up to the top flight.

2.34pmTOTTENHAM SUBS: Friedel, Davies, Dawson, Holtby, Townsend, Kane, Soldado

2.34pmTOTTENHAM STARTING XI: Lloris; Naughton, Dier, Kaboul, Rose; Bentaleb, Capoue; Lennon, Eriksen, Lamela; Adebayor

2.32pmWEST HAM SUBS: Jaaskelainen, Zarate, Demel, Diame, Poyet, Valencia, Burke

2.32pmWEST HAM STARTING XI: Adrian; O'Brien, Reid, Collins, Cresswell; Nolan, Noble, Kouyate; Downing, Cole, Vaz Te

2.30pmTEAM NEWS: Right, the team news is in from both sides, and there are a few debutants on show. For the hosts, Aaron Cresswell and Cheikhou Kouyate both make their bow in front of the home crowd, while Eric Dier will feature for Tottenham for the first time. Full team news for both sides coming right up...

2.28pmThey are not exactly early starters, however. Spurs scored just one goal in the opening 15 minutes of a match last season, and that came in the final game against Aston Villa. They also managed just nine goals in 10 London derbies throughout the campaign, so will be looking to vastly improve their record against the fellow capital clubs. They don't generally make great starts to a season either, having won just four and lost eight of their last 16 opening weekend fixtures.

2.26pmAs well as changing things from last season, Pochettino will be eager to keep some things the same. They ended the 2013-14 campaign with just one defeat in six matches - incidentally to West Ham - and boasted 10 away victories in the league over the whole season. Only North London rivals Arsenal could better that tally, a Pochettino will be desperate to maintain such an impressive away record.

2.24pmPlenty for the new manager to do, then, but the early signs have been good for the North London outfit. They enjoyed an impressive pre-season campaign, remaining unbeaten in their five outings and winning four of them. The problems of scoring goals appear to be behind them as they netted 16 goals in that time, although their seven goals conceded will be a concern.

2.22pmProblems at both end of the pitch need to be addressed if they are to be among the teams battling for a top-four spot this season. Spurs scored just 55 times last season - the lowest tally in the top seven. They also conceded 51 times, which was more than any other team in the top eight. Their biggest problems came in matches against teams who were also vying for a Champions League place as they were thrashed on a number of occasions, and that is another issue Pochettino will need to fix this season.

2.20pmThe 2013-14 campaign was a rather strange one for Spurs. It is widely regarded as a disappointment as they finished in sixth place, a full 10 points behind Arsenal in the final Champions League spot. However, they equalled their tally of most wins in a single Premier League season with 21, while Sherwood was sacked having posted the highest win percentage of any Tottenham manager in Premier League history. The teams around them all improved significantly, however, and Pochettino will be tasked with keeping up with those above them.

2.18pmNear the top of the list of Pochettino's priorities will be to get the most out of last season's big-money signings. Spurs spent £110m in an attempt to replace Gareth Bale last year, but the likes of Lamela and Soldado struggled to adapt to the Premier League. A season's experience could do them the world of good this time around, however, and the new manager will be relying on them to improve having only brought in four new faces so far this summer.

2.16pmIf it does, Spurs will be looking to take full advantage. Mauricio Pochettino drew many admirers during his time in charge of Southampton, and hopes are high that he can get the best out of a talented but underachieving bunch at Tottenham. Today will be the new manager's first game in charge of the club after they dispensed of both Andre Villas Boas and Tim Sherwood last season.

2.14pmThings weren't so positive at the other end, however. The Hammers posted the worst shot accuracy in the league last season, hitting the target with just 37% of their efforts. Their total of 40 goals scored was by no means the worst in the league, but at just over one per game it was nothing to be feared either. More attacking football has been the call from the owners, but could that have an impact at the other end of the field, where the team are strongest?

2.12pmThe common consensus is that things need to change from last season, despite a decent enough finish. West Ham's final total of 40 points was actually less than they amassed when they were relegated in 2003, and a similar tally this season could well leave them on the verge of the drop. One area that they did impress last season was in defence, however, as they conceded just 51 goals - a tally only Crystal Palace could better in the bottom 12. They also kept 14 clean sheets - an impressive number for a team that struggled for large periods.

2.10pmDespite the new signings, pre-season has been disappointing for the Hammers. They have only managed to win one of their seven outings, although that victory did come in their last match as they beat Sampdoria 3-2. You can only read so much in friendlies, but defeats to the likes of Wellington Phoenix and Sydney FC have only served to increase the pressure already on Allardyce's shoulders.

2.08pmAllardyce has been busy this summer, bringing seven new faces into the squad and letting six leave either permanently or on loan. The biggest money was spent on striker Enner Valencia, who was impressive at the World Cup, but he is short of match fitness so does not feature today.

2.06pmEven so, Allardyce has been ordered to play more attractive football this time around, so it will be interesting to see how they perform this afternoon. It seems unlikely that such an order would be playing to Allardyce's strengths, but the big manager could well prove his critics wrong and produce a free-flowing outfit at Upton Park. That could be a dangerous game against a side with the counter-attacking capabilities of Tottenham, however, and Allardyce is likely to revert to his normal style if it is a choice between winning and losing.

2.04pmOne of the big issues last season was the style with which the Hammers played. They played a league-high 17% of their passes long, which many old-timers at the club believe is not befitting of their rich history. It is fair to say that Allardyce's tactics aren't the easiest on the eye, but they are effective and West Ham may well have been relegated last season with a different man at the helm.

2.02pmThe Hammers finished last season fairly comfortably clear of the relegation zone which, having flirted with the bottom three on a couple of occasions, should go down as a successful campaign. However, many of the fans were unhappy with how the team performed and it certainly isn't a completely content club right now. Manager Sam Allardyce begins the season already under pressure, and a poor start could see him become the second manager out of the door in 2014-15 after Tony Pulis's shock exit.

2pmGood afternoon! The Premier League is back, ladies and gentlemen! Manchester United and Swansea have already got us started at Old Trafford, and the main bulk of fixtures are now just an hour away. Here, I will guide you through what promises to be a typically feisty and entertaining London derby as West Ham United host Tottenham Hotspur at Upton Park. Let's start with a look at our hosts today...

Manager Mauricio Pochettino of Southampton on the touchline during the Barclays Premier League match between Southampton and Norwich City at St Mary's Stadium on March 15, 2014
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