Premier League title chasers Tottenham have been dealt a rare defeat at West Ham on Wednesday night with Antonio’s early goal separating the two sides at Boleyn Ground.
Slaven Bilic’s men have put in a commanding display to earn the well-deserved three points, leaving Tottenham three points away from the Premier League leaders Leicester City.
Having in mind that Foxes were held to a 2-2 draw by WBA at home on Tuesday and that Arsenal have lost 2-1 to Swansea, Mauricio Pochettino’s charges have missed a great opportunity to level the tally with Leicester City and hit the Premier League summit.
On their own part, Hammers did great to make an additional push for the European places with an effective performance and dominant display against the Spurs.
Off to a flying start, it took the hosts just seven minutes to get on the mark with a wonderful header from Antonio.
Dimitri Payet took a corner with a pass that met Michail Antonio’s head near the penalty area for a fantastic powerful shot into the top right corner.
The home team were unwilling to pull back and guard the lead as Slaven Bilic ordered full attack to his men, who could have scored plenty more and in the first half as well.
Ten minutes after the goal Mark Noble tested his shot from a long distance, but Hugo Lloris produced a fantastic save to deny the West Ham player’s brilliant effort aiming for the top right corner.
Michail Antonio could have gotten on the scoresheet again after 36 minutes when he made a good run into the box to collect a fantastic pass, but his powerful shot was blocked with an amazing side tackle from a Tottenham’s defender.
It wasn’t the end of excitements in the first half as Cheikhou Kouyate’s goal was disallowed due to an offside position.
Home side have had the total of eight efforts in the first part of the match to Tottenham’s total of zero attempts, which spoke volumes of West Ham’s impressive performance on Wednesday night.
Tottenham managed to pick up their game in the second half and it was the Spurs who first got into the scoring opportunity after the interval.
Christian Eriksen’s effort at the hour mark was met with Adrian’s great save and the West Ham goalkeeper prevented the ball from hitting the roof of the net.
Following their six-match winning run in the Premier League, Tottenham have put in perhaps their poorest performance this season at West Ham. Slow build-up, uncharacteristic lack of pace and creativity were all on the menu for tonight’s match against impressive and fully inspired Slaven Bilic’s men.
It appears that Spurs’ long season is slowly catching up on them as Pochettino’s men looked jaded and leggy, without proper edge against the sharper and more concrete rivals.
Ever since their defeat to Leicester City midway through January, Tottenham have been impressive in the league going on to beat Sunderland, Crystal Palace, Norwich, Watford, Manchester City and Swansea.
Largely uneventful second half brought no real excitement at both ends with teams vying in the middle of the park without proper finish, which was not what Tottenham fans are used to seeing this campaign.
Tottenham’s first defeat in over a month and a half came at the worst moment possible as Pochettino’s men have missed a great chance to benefit the set-backs of other title contenders.
Pochettino will need to assess his options up front as Kane looked isolated for most of the game against the three-man defence line, while the Spurs manager will also need to take care of the mental aspect of his team’s play. Faced with an opportunity to go top of the league for the first time in years. Tottenham failed to deliver dramatically.
With Saturday’s north London derby lurking around the corner, Tottenham will need to pick up the pieces and reaffirm their title credentials when it matters the most.
Pochettino wanted to rest a couple of names for the Saturday’s match, but was forced to make changes in the second time, but it yielded no result as Spurs were left stranded and scratching their heads.
WEST HAM: Adrian 7 – Ogbonna 7.5, Collins 7 (Oxford 6.5), Kouyate 7 – Cresswell 7, Noble 7.5, Obiang 7.5, Lanzini 7 (Sakho 6) – Antonio 8, Emenike 6.5, Payet 7.
Unused subs: Randolph, Song, Carroll, Henry, Oxford, Dobson.
TOTTENHAM: Lloris 6.5 – Trippier 7, Alderweireld 6.5, Wimmer 6.5 (Carroll 6) Davies 6.5 – Dier 7, Mason 7, Chadli 6.5 (Alli 6), Lamela 6.5 (Son 6) – Eriksen 7 – Kane 6.
Unused subs: Walker, Rose, Vorm, Onomah.
REFEREE: Andre Marriner
Other results this evening
Arsenal 1-2 Swansea
Stoke City 1-0 Newcastle United
Liverpool 3-0 Manchester City
Manchester United 1-0 Watford