And now, it's Spurs' turn

Dimitar Berbatov (left) of Tottenham Hotspur heads his first goal against West Ham during their English Premiership match.-AP Dimitar Berbatov (left) of Tottenham Hotspur heads his first goal against West Ham during their English Premiership match.

The match was in effect over in 10 minutes after two almost identical goals from Dimitar Berbatov. The first came in the eighth minute and the second two minutes later. Paul Weaver reports.

Alan Curbishley's features have long been an incongruous combination of the boyish and the crumpled. He looks like a middle-aged actor playing an adolescent. These days, however, he is more worried about being typecast as a losing manager.

Consecutive 4-0 defeats by Liverpool and Chelsea - what, one wonders, would Barnsley pile up against them - was followed by another beating by the same scoreline at the hands of a Spurs side who showed little sign of being distracted by the UEFA Cup second-leg tie against PSV.

West Ham have conceded 12 goals and scored none in three matches in nine days. It is the sort of slump Charlton supporters used to associate with Curbishley during his generally impressive career at The Valley. It would be harsh to say his job at Upton Park is on the line. Last season he pulled them out of a steep dive towards relegation and before the EPL match the club had taken 40 points from 28 games, double the number that had been won from the same number of matches last season.

The worry about curbishley runs deeper than the desperate results of the recent past. He has accumulated a large squad of long-toothed players and too many of them spend too much time in the treatment room.

When those players return from injury they are not match fit and, more worrying, they tend to get injured again. Scott Parker, who can be pivotal in midfield, made his first appearance since December while Bobby Zamora started a game for the first time since August. Both were horribly off the pace. The questionable quality of Curbishley's purchases is a more considerable concern than the recent run of results.

There was also a problem with Luis Boa Morte who was sent off for the seventh time in English football for wild lunges at Tom Huddlestone and, just before half-time, Aaron Lennon.

"We've had a dreadful week," said Curbishley afterwards. "We've managed to shoot our goal difference to pieces. We've been good, defensively, all season and in one week that's been blown apart."

The match was in effect over in 10 minutes after two almost identical goals from Dimitar Berbatov. The first came in the eighth minute when Huddlestone took a free-kick deep on the right and floated it on to the Bulgarian striker's head.

"I was very disappointed with the free-kick," said Curbishley. "He (Berbatov) chested the ball down and fell down in three stages."

The second came two minutes later when Huddlestone, this time on the left, took another free-kick and Berbatov rose to beat Robert Green on his right side with another precisely directed header.

Anton Ferdinand was the forward's marker but the pair were esand tranged from each other like sulking lovers.

"You're shit if it's not 4-0," chanted the black-humoured West Ham supporters but before the end it was. When Pascal Chimbonda crossed from the left and Lennon dummied, Gilberto made it 3-0 just before the end of normal time and in the minutes added on Darren Bent made it 4-0 from Alan Hutton's cross. "The sending-off killed us off a bit," said Curbishley. "I knew Luis was on thin ice but he's a very experienced player and he only had to get through to half-time. What could go wrong for us is going wrong for us at the moment. We've got to regroup get on with it. We need some clean sheets.

"Our aim is to finish in the top-half and as high up as we can and we can still do that. We came into this game after two wallopings and I asked for a bit more aggression and application. We've let ourselves down.

"I've invested in players but they are yet to perform and it's there for everybody to see - Parker, Zamora, Kieron Dyer, Craig Bellamy and Julien Faubert have played 20 games among them. I can't rotate or rest players." Curbishley certainly cannot rest himself.

THE RESULTS

March 9: Sunderland 0 lost to Everton 1 (Johnson 55). Half-time: 0-0; Tottenham 4 (Berbatov 8 & 10, Gilberto 85, Bent 90) bt West Ham 0. Half-time: 2-0; Wigan 0 drew with Arsenal 0.

March 8: Blackburn 1 (Pedersen 59) drew with Fulham 1 (Bullard 89). Half-time: 0-0; Liverpool 3 (Pennant 43, Torres 45, Gerrard 51) bt Newcastle 0. Half-time: 2-0; Reading 2 (Long 62, Kitson 88) bt Manchester City 0. Half-time: 0-0.

March 5: Liverpool 4 (Torres 8, 61 & 81, Gerrard 83) bt West Ham 0. Half-time: 1-0.