West Ham defender revels in 14th clean sheet
15:00 06 May 2014
PA Wire/Press Association Images
Hammers centre back James Tomkins was delighted with another victory over Tottenham
However you may reflect on the ups and downs of this West Ham campaign, two statistics stick out as quite remarkable.
The first is that the Hammers have beaten Tottenham three times in one season for the first time in their history and the second is that despite all the injuries they have suffered, all the reshuffles and all the pressure they have found themselves under, this West Ham team have kept 14 clean sheets in the Premier League in this campaign.
Only Chelsea, Arsenal and Southampton have managed more shut-outs this season and the Hammers have matched the likes of Manchester City and Everton with 14, with one game to go in this season’s Premier League.
Saturday’s clean sheet against Spurs was their first since the 2-0 win over Norwich City in February, but for defender James Tomkins it was the fact that the team had ended a run of four straight defeats that was the most important thing.
“It feels like it has been a long time coming with those four defeats,” said the central defender. “But to end it at home against Spurs with a victory, our third one this season against them, will give the fans something to take away and be happy about from this season.”
West Ham steamrollered Tottenham from the start of Saturday’s game, but Tomkins saw the pivotal moment being the dismissal of Younes Kaboul for his downing of Stewart Downing on 25 minutes.
“I think we started well, but we have in the last few games and haven’t got the results,” reflected the 25-year-old, who recovered from the bang on the leg which forced him off against West Brom to take his place against the old enemy.
“It was just the fact that one but of skill from Stewart Downing drew the defender’s foul and he has been sent off and from that point on we were thinking we could win this. It is hard against 10 men as we know, but scoring two goals in the first half, I think killed them off.”
It certainly seemed to kill off all but Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris who stood firm to deny West Ham a thumping victory.
“It definitely could have been five or six out there,” said Tomkins, who has made 30 Premier League appearances this season. “Their keeper played really well, but it was nice at the other end to keep another clean sheet, I think that is 14 this season which is certainly a positive not.
“I thought I played well. When went down to 10 men they brought a striker away, which meant less work for us to do, which is always nice, but I think we defended well as a team.”
They did and with 14 clean sheets to their name, it just shows that with a bit more strength in depth in this squad at the back, it could have been a few more along the way.
What chance number 15 at Manchester City on Sunday? Don’t be too hopeful on that one.