Thursday, September 20, 2018

West Ham 2-3 Tottenham: Spurs edge out a nervy win in London derby

Dan Steeden in Editorial, English Premier League 23 Sep 2017

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West Ham welcomed rivals Tottenham to the London Stadium for another feisty London derby. Spurs were looking to bounce back from a 0-0 draw at home to Swansea last weekend, but the Hammers had won this fixture in both of the last two seasons with Manuel Lanzini getting the winner last year.

This time around Mauricio Pochettino’s men managed to just about enact their revenge, and Harry Kane returned to scintillating form to give Spurs a much-needed and hard-fought derby win.

A tentative start in a feisty fixture

Tottenham kicked off in a noisy London Stadium where the West Ham fans treat this game as almost equivalent to a cup final. Both teams looked tentative going forward early on, and it was Javier Hernandez who provided the first shot of the game with a speculative effort that never really troubled Hugo Lloris. West Ham started to sit deep almost from kick-off and Spurs struggled to break down the home side in the opening exchanges.

The Hammers looked for their pacey forwards as often as possible with searching long balls on the counter. One of these counter attacks put Marko Arnautovic through and only a brilliant last-ditch tackle from Serge Aurier prevented a certain West Ham goal. The Ivory Coast international was heavily involved in the first 20 minutes, getting caught out of position on various occasions. The right back was also lucky not to be carded after a few late challenges.

The Hurri-Kane returns

It took until the 20-minute mark for Mauricio Pochettino’s men to put any sort of cohesive attack together. Harry Kane flashed a shot wide from three yards out, sending alarm bells ringing through the West Ham defence, but the striker was saved from much of the ensuing embarrassment thanks to the offside flag. Unfortunately for the home side Michail Antonio went down with an injury, and Andy Carroll came on to replace the winger after just half an hour.

Tempers began to flare after Mark Noble and Moussa Sissoko squared up to one another, and this injected some much needed energy into the game. It didn’t take long for Christian Eriksen to look up and find Dele Alli open down the right wing. The Englishman proceeded to place a simple cross right onto the forehead of Harry Kane, who buried the ball in the bottom left corner for his first away goal against West Ham in the Premier League.

The goal seemed to knock the stuffing out of West Ham and moments later Jan Vertonghen slipped in Dele Alli. Alli’s shot was stopped well by Joe Hart, but the ball fell to the feet of Kane who doubled Tottenham’s lead, and doubled his own tally in the game with a simple finish into an empty net. It was all the Hammers could do to keep the score at 0-2 going into the halftime break, giving them a chance to regroup.

Spurs punish toothless Hammers

It was West Ham who started the second half quicker as they again achieved success down the left-hand side against Aurier, but none of their crosses could find the head of Carroll. The Hammers had 73% possession in the opening 10 minutes of the second half, but Spurs’ regimented defence held firm with new signing Davinson Sanchez looking impressive.

Tottenham soon punished the Irons for failing to capitalise on their early second half dominance. Kane almost earned his hat-trick after his brilliant free kick struck the post, but it was Eriksen who pounced on a deflected Aurier cross to coolly slot home Spurs’ third. Kane almost added another just minutes later but his shot once again hit the post due to a good fingertip save by Hart.

West Ham’s comeback falls just short

With all of Tottenham’s dominance and class the game looked to be out of sight for Slaven Bilic’s side. However a simple corner routine saw Jose Fonte flick the ball on at the near post for Hernandez to head home past a helpless Lloris, and a glimmer of hope spurred the home side on. The Hammers were given even more hope when Aurier stupidly scythed down Carroll and received his second yellow, meaning Spurs would play the last 20 minutes with ten men. Unsurprisingly West Ham started to dominate possession, but they again lacked a huge attacking threat.

There was a definite shift in West Ham’s tempo with the introduction of André Ayew and Arthur Masuaka, and Hernandez stung the palms of Lloris with a fierce shot that exemplified his side’s efforts late in the game. As the final whistle loomed Masuaka whipped in a sensational cross and Cheikhou Kouyaté connected with a bullet header that cannoned into the top of the goal. Five minutes of added time gave West Ham their final chance to get an equaliser, but when it didn’t come a few tempers flared and it was an ugly end to an otherwise hugely competitive and enjoyable game.

Final Thoughts

This was a vital win for Tottenham in a game that has given them a lot of difficulty in recent history. With the Manchester clubs starting so strongly in the league this season Spurs needed to bounce back from their 0-0 draw against Swansea last week, and this hard-fought victory will come as a huge relief for Pochettino and his players.

West Ham gave it their all in the final minutes to salvage something from the game but they fell just short. This was the Hammers’ fourth league loss of the season in what is a very worrying start, and Bilic could be preparing his players for a relegation battle if results don’t improve soon.

Match Report

West Ham: Hart; Cresswell, Fonte (Masuaka, 74’), Reid, Ogbonna, Zabaleta; Kouyaté, Noble; Antonio (Carroll, 28’), Hernández, Arnautovic (Ayew, 66’)

Tottenham: Lloris; Davies, Alderweireld, Sánchez, Vertonghen, Aurier; Sissoko (Trippier, 78’), Dier; Eriksen (Winks, 73’), Alli, Kane (Llorente, 89’)

Goals: Kane (0-1, 34’), Kane (0-2, 38’), Eriksen (0-3, 60’), Hernandez (1-3, 65’), Kouyate (2-3, 87’)

Referee: Michael Oliver

Yellow Cards: Aurier (64’), Hernandez (81’), Ayew (90+4’), Reid (90+6’), Llorente (90+6’), Carroll (90+6’), Dier (90+6′)

Red Cards: Aurier (70’)

Player Ratings

West Ham: Hart 6; Cresswell 6, Fonte 7 (Masuaka 8), Reid 6, Ogbonna 6, Zabaleta 7; Kouyaté 7, Noble 7; Antonio n/a (Carroll 7), Hernández 8, Arnautovic 6 (Ayew 6)

Tottenham: Lloris 7; Davies 7, Alderweireld 7, Sánchez 8, Vertonghen 8, Aurier 5; Sissoko 7 (Trippier 6), Dier 7; Eriksen 9 (Winks 6), Alli 8, Kane 9 (Llorente n/a)


Dan Steeden

Dan is a recent graduate of the University of Birmingham and an often frustrated Wigan Athletic fan. When not despairing at events unfolding at the DW Stadium he can be found fangirling over Antoine Griezmann or staying up into the early hours of the morning to cheer on the Seattle Seahawks.



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