The scenes of disturbance were all the more disappointing given the concern over the rising number of Covid cases
Five people were arrested following violent clashes between Tottenham and West Ham supporters before Wednesday night’s Carabao Cup quarter-final.
Several clips emerged on social media of fans fighting along the Tottenham High Road with one supporter appearing to be knocked unconscious.
Police separated the rival fans with officers drawing their batons as they broke up the ugly skirmishes. There were a large number of West Ham supporters with the club taking up its allocation of close to 5,800 tickets. The scenes of disturbance were all the more disappointing given the concern over the rising number of Covid cases.
The fans had also clashed during the Premier League fixture between the two sides at the London Stadium in October and the rivalry between the clubs has become increasingly fierce.
There were also clashes within the stadium on Wednesday night. The arrests were for violent disorder, actual bodily harm, drunk and disorderly behaviour and assaulting an emergency worker.
One fan was also arrested on suspicion of invading the pitch.
Metropolitan Police said a "robust and proportionate policing plan" was in place for the match and that officers were required to respond to "sporadic" fighting outside the stadium.
5,800 West Ham fans made the journey across London
🚨⚽️ | NEW: West Ham fans being escorted down Tottenham High Road pic.twitter.com/YumCswNYXf
— Football For All (@FootballlForAll) December 22, 2021
Spurs’ reward for winning the tie is another London derby, with them drawn to face Chelsea, the former club of their head coach Antonio Conte. “It would be good to play against Chelsea, for me,” Conte said. “I spent two amazing seasons with Chelsea and I enjoyed, a lot, everything there. But now I am the manager of Tottenham and I am ready to give everything for this club.”
The Italian admitted that, with the semi-finals still expected to be played over two legs in early January, he would prefer a one-off tie given the Covid situation.
“Maybe if I had to decide it would be to play one game and not two games especially with the situation we are living. But we have to respect the rules,” Conte said.
"It’s good for Tottenham to reach the semi-finals of this competition. You can see the names of these teams that have reached the semi-finals – Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal with us – so every side wants to try to lift this trophy. When I was at Chelsea this trophy was not second, but we used to play young players that did not start in the XI. Now I’m seeing in England to win a trophy is very difficult. We have had to beat an important team like West Ham and they eliminated [Manchester] United and [Manchester] City. In England it’s very difficult to win something.”
Spurs have players returning having tested positive for Covid and Conte said this affected their performance. “Many players today who played had had Covid and at one point the intensity dropped,” he explained. “It is why I made the (five) substitutions. I see the positive because in this situation I am giving the players the chance to show they deserve to play for Tottenham and to stay here.”
West Ham’s David Moyes blamed his side’s defeat on “a couple of defensive lapses in the first half [giving] away some relatively easy goals” and also pointed out that with so many players missing his squad is severely stretched. Michail Antonio was out – after testing positive for Covid. “We were also missing Aaron Cresswell, Kurt Zouma, Angelo Ogbonna, Vladimir Coufal,” he said. “It was not down to one, we missed a few.”