Spurs deserved the victory but there were three entities in that game: West Ham, Tottenham and Bale. It hardly seems fair on the opposition.
Full-time: Spurs are up to third. AVB hugs Scott Parker on the sideline. God knows what he'll do to Gareth Bale. "Do you allow swearing on mbm," asks Tony Nolan. "Because my vocabulary doesn't allow me to say anything else other than that was a [BAD WORD} ridiculous goal." We don't allow that word, no.
90min+4: West Ham stumble their way towards full-time. I'm not sure you ever recover from a goal like that.
90min+3: "WHAT. A. PLAYER," cap locks Seamus Devlin. He's not talking about Andy Carroll.
90 min+2: The brilliance of Bale makes it hard to figure out exactly how good Spurs are. He's so integral to everything they do, I've no idea how the rest of the players would react if he wasn't there. They'd probably have a wee cry.
90 min: Four minutes of added time.
GOAL! West Ham 2-3 Spurs (Bale 89)
Oh. Bale's my man of the match now. Bale is ridiculous yards out and curls it away from the keeper into the far corner. Sometimes he doesn't make the game very fair.
89 min: Jaaskelainen clutches the ball to his chest - he's my man of the match, which I'm sure will thrill him.
88 min: Cole's cross nearly drops into the net after looping over Lloris. Livermore is on for Parker. Who is 80% booed and 18% applauded by the home fans. Two percent have gone home.
86 min: Another goalmouth scramble, in the Spurs area this time. But the visitors manage to, erm, scramble it away. This is a good game, did I say that. Very little skill now but a very jaunty affair.
84 min: With Jaaskelainen in brilliant form, West Ham have decided to have a nice lie down and let him get on with it. Spurs have had 70% possession in the last 10 minutes. Diame comes off for Collison.
82 min: Jaaskelainen makes another good save, this time from Bale. And another one! This time from a close-range header courtesy of Adebayor. It's like we're in Bolton in 2007. "The Pogatetz sub has to qualify as one of the worst subs of the season, says Lou Roper. "Dude's gotten filleted over there repeatedly in under ten minutes and gave away the free kick that led to the goal. Well played, Big Sam."
80 min: Tom Carroll's shot sails wide. Just like an Andy Carroll shot. "East 17," tootles Matt Turner. "The great forgotten band of the 90s! Who else could sing 'I'll butter the toast, if you'll lick the knife' with a straight face (and somehow make it work, kinda)."
78 min: That goal was coming too. Who needs a Bale screamer when you can have a good old-fashioned poke home after an Adebayor air-kick. That Lloris save looks very valuable now. Here's Gary Naylor: "Mr Copestake may be familiar with Woody Allen's short story The Whore of Mensa in which, for a price, a man can have Chomsky explained by a Brown postgraduate research student with long straight hair and glasses."
GOAL! West Ham 2-2 Spurs (Sigurdsson 76)
A horrivle goalmouth scramble and after much chopping and hacking Sigudrsson stabs home from 0.0008 yards out.
75 min: Tom Carroll comes on for Dembele. Bah! That's at least three extra letter I need to type every time a Carroll touches the ball. .
74 min: It's been nearly all Spurs since the West Ham goal. Lennon tricks past Pogatetz but a Spurs attacker - missed who it was - leaps too early. Lloris then makes a magnificent save to deny Taylor one-on-one.
72 min: O'Neil is booked. And Bale has a, yup, free-kick. It pootles wide. Pogatetz jogs on for Demel. "2 Become 1 was alright but, considered as part of the sensitive-sex-song-by-all-ages-90s-pop-band genre, it surely pales beside East 17's Deep," sighs Ryan Dunne, his heart a-flutter.
70 min: Right. Jaaskelainen is keeping West Ham in this - he tips Bale's dipping shot over the bar. "Has no one commented on the photograph you've supplied of Sergei Rebrov scoring a goal for Spurs," says Lou Roper. "What archives did you have to plumb to find that rarity?"
68 min: Caulker v Jaaskelainen Part III: and the keeper saves again. I'm not sure what's worse: the fact that West Ham don't bother to mark him at corners or the fact that he should have scored at least once.
67 min: Parker lays it off to Sigurdsson and wins a corner with a deflected shot. "Re: Women with oversize glasses," says Ben Fitzpatrick. "If Rashida Jones in ‘Ouir Idiot Brother’ is anything to go by, Ian Copestake’s friend is onto a winner." Rashida if you are reading, I can send your details to Ian.
64 min: Diame is booked – and Spurs win a free-kick. Bale prepares his run-up ... Oh. It's disappointing when he doesn't score every time he touches it these days. Joe Cole for PFA Player of the Year!
62 min: It's Spurs's corner this time. Caulker sneaks into the box unmarked, you'd think it would be a good idea to have someone on him but it's cleared anyway. "Hmm, if Ben Affleck was a footballer he would surely be David Beckham - underrated as an artist due to his good looks, guilty of a few poor choices, but invariably has the last laugh," says Ryan Dunne. They've also both been in relationships with purveyors of substandard pop. Apart from 2 Become 1. 2 Become 1 was good.
GOAL! West Ham 2-1 Spurs (Cole 58)
A chipped ball forward, Cole beats the offside trap, controls the ball and slots the ball past Lloris. Brilliant skill.
58 min: Sigurdsson hits the post with his first touch! Adebayor follows up the rebound but he's not sharp enough and Jaaskelainen – an odd combination of shaky and inspired tonight – gets to the ball first.
56 min: Sigurdsson is on for Holtby.
55 min: Another West Ham corner. It's looped up to Carroll, who heads across for Collins. His shot is cleared. "Re: League MVP," says Andy Clark. "Surely if making the biggest difference to your team is the criteria then Torres would win." Ah, it's been too long since a Nando joke.
52 min: A good spell for West Ham. Taylor takes the corner, the ball bobbles in the area but Diame can't get a decent shot away. "It's a misnomer to think that women do not find geeks attractive," declares Ian Copestake. "Just ask my friend who uses a popular dating site on which women with oversize glasses lust after them." Are the women wearing the glasses while they do the lusting?
50 min: Free-kick for West Ham on the edge of the area, Taylor will take. It's curled in but Lloris does well to gather the ball – not that any West Ham players bothered to challenge for it.
48 min: Vertonghen plays a tame ball into the area but it gets a late touch and Jaaskelainen has to scramble to his right to turn it away from a corner. The keeper then makes his second good save from Caulker this evening.
46 min: We're off again. An overhead shot of Upton Park. I can just about see my house a few miles in the distance. It appears I forgot to take the recycling out. This is why the environment is going to pot.
Scott Parker thoughts:
"Is there a better player at running round in a tight circle than Scott Parker?" says Michael Hood. "Think he was trying to bore a hole in the ground to escape the damn bubbles."
"I thought Scott Parker's talent lay mainly in his hair. But then again I am someone who is unable f to take Ben Affleck seriously," says Ian Copestake.
45 min +1: Collins takes out Holtby with a body check. Bale takes the free-kick around 35-yards out. It's not up to his usual standa... actually it dips late but goes just wide. And that's half-time.
45 min: Two minutes of added time. West Ham win a corner. Cole takes. Spurs clear.
44 min: Is there a better player at running round in a tight circle than Scott Parker? No. It eventually leads to a pass to Holtby, who wins a corner. Caulker gets the header on target and Jaaskelainen is forced into a good save.
42 min: West Ham have definitely been the best side since their equaliser. Diamé undermines my case slightly with a wild shot into the stands. West Ham win a corner a minute later but Spurs clear.
40 min: Cole plays a beautiful chipped pass into Jarvis's feet, it beats Walker who recovers to fling himself in England's Brave John Terry style in front of the ball. Shot blocked.
38 min: Diame brushes Dembele aside and as he strides away, the Spurs player stops it with his hand. The free-kick is gathered by Lloris. "Never having played Football Manager, is it really that good?" asks Ryan Dunne. Hmmm. It's addictive but you may not leave your house for a few months. "I always got the impression that it was a bit geeky and women-repelling." And you're right on the last two.
35 min: Nolan, who I managed to call Noble earlier – but who needs facts? – is off and Taylor replaces him. "According to the Wikipedia god of all knowledge, the finger originated in ancient Greece, where it represented the phallus and was used in a similarly threatening manner to today," copies and pastes William Marzouk. "From there it became popular throughout the Mediterranean, especially Rome. It's thought Italian immigrants brought it to America."
33 min: Jarvis has been a threat all evening and skims down the wing, beating Walker again, but his cross eludes his team-mates.
31 min: Vertonghen grabs his knee after a challenge on Demel but is OK to continue. "Re: self destructive tendencies," says Stefan Volkmann. "I've just started a new Football Manager game the night before the first of a fairly scary batch of exams. But it's fine I'll only play for 20 mins." See you in June 2015, Stefan!
28 min: Carroll had been very quiet until that point but he won the penalty and dispatched it nervelessly. "It didn't feel right when David Ginola won Footballer of the Year ahead of Manchester United's Champions League winners in 1999, but Gareth Bale should really win it this season," says Gary Naylor. "He surely makes more of a difference to his team than anyone else - even Vidic. And it must be a helluva thrill watching him run with the ball live."
GOAL! West Ham 1-1 Spurs (Carroll pen 25)
And Carroll steps up, he plants the ball high to Lloris's left.
Webb points to the spot after Carroll is caught by Parker.
23 min: Corner to Spurs, Walker has his second go at Being Bale this evening and Is Kyle Walker - the ball flies over the bar.
21 min: Bale misplaces a pass. Told you he was rubbish. "I haven't seen a V-sign in action for ages - well, I hadn't, until yesterday's Cup Final when Bradford managed something or other and the director cut to the crowd," says Charles Antaki. "There in the centre of the picture, surrounded by temporarily pleased Bradfordites, was a lone gent of a certain age, turned towards the Swansea fans and furiously pumping his arm up and down in the time-honoured way. I imagine it will have helped."
18 min: Cole sprints on to a long ball but Lloris is out of his area very quickly to hoof the ball clear.
16 min: West Ham had been the better side until then. The goal owed a lot to how quickly Bale released his shot, Jaaskelainen had no time to set himself. Walker tries his own version of Bale-manship but his shot flies over. Nolan is hobbling around after a clash with Parker.
GOAL! West Ham 0-1 Tottenham (Bale 13)
Lennon's shot is blocked by Collins, West Ham don't quite get it clear and the ball eventually comes to Bale on the edge of the area and he unleashes an low shot – the result is predictable.
11 min: West Ham have had the better of the play so far and Jarvis nearly opens the scoring. He finds himself on his own in the area and shoots between Dawson's legs: Lloris gets down quickly to save. He holds on to it too. "Who's to say that the one-finger salute is more rude than the two," says Carlos Hone. "I would always say that the 'American' way was always a watered down, British two finger salute." Oh no, I'd be far more offended by the one-finger than the two-finger. There's something gently comedic about the two-fingered one. Unless it's unleashed by a massive skinhead, shortly after hurling a brick at your head.
8 min: Walker beats a few men, although bizarrely he does it while heading for his own goal and nearly gets Lloris in trouble with a backpass. Dembele is booked for a lunge at Noble.
6 min: Parker gets a mild booing as he gets his first touch of any note – collecting the ball in the centre circle and laying the ball off after a neat turn. Then Bale has his first serious contribution, drifting to the left outside the area and unleashing a fierce shot wide.
3 min: West Ham have the first serious attack. Jarvis gets around Walker and crosses but Dawson heads clear.
1 min: And we're off, the crowd lift tiles to spell out Moore's name in the stand after named him. "Have some important writing to do for tomorrow, which means only one thing - wild horses couldn't drag me away from this MBM," says Phil Podolsky, nervously eyeing a group of stallions with baseball bats. At least, I think they're baseball bats. "Is any of today's teams similarly self-destructively inclined?" Well, West Ham have Marouane Chamakh in their squad so that's not a great start. Anyone out there fancy confessing to their self-destructive tendencies? But in a light, chatty way not in an actual self-destructive way that will upset me or the rest of the readers.
There will be a minute's applause for Bobby Moore before tonight's game to mark 20 years since his death. Click here for some tributes to England's World Cup winning captain.
"On Sky, Gary Neville has just given a brilliant, forensic examination of Man Utd's second goal against QPR on Saturday and the problems faced by the Villa right back against Arsenal," says Simon McMahon. "If there is the equivalent of an Oscar for football punditry he should win one. He also uses words like 'unexplainable' which makes me like him even more." And he was brilliant in The Sessions this year too.
So Scott Parker makes his first return to Upton Park since leaving West Ham, while Michael Dawson, Steven Caulker and Hugo Lloris are back after sitting out the Europa League tie with Lyon. For West Ham, Mark Noble is out with an arm injury but James Collins and Joey O'Brien strengthen their defence.
If Spurs win tonight, they're up to third in the table and André Villas-Boas can stick two fingers (or four if he uses both hands, or three if he makes one hand ruder than the other) at his former employers, Chelsea, who would drop to fourth.
West Ham: Jaaskelainen, Reid, Nolan, Jarvis, Carroll, O'Brien, Collins, Demel, Diame, J Cole, O'Neil. Subs: C Cole, Collison, Vaz Te, Taylor, Pogatetz, Chamakh, Spiegel.
Spurs: Lloris, Not Bale, Not Bale, Not Bale, Not Bale, Not Bale, Bale, Not Bale, Not Bale, Not Bale, Not Bale. Subs: Some people who areNot Bale.
Oh, OK then:
Spurs: Lloris, Vertonghen, Lennon, Parker, Adebayor, Bale, Dembele, Dawson, Holtby, Walker, Caulker. Subs: Gallas, Naughton, Sigurdsson, Friedel, Livermore, Assou-Ekotto, Carroll (Tom rather than Andy)