Friday, March 31, 2023

Tottenham 2-0 West Ham: Son back on song as Spurs move into Champions League places

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 19 Feb 2023


Son Heung-min returned to scoring form to help Tottenham claim a 2-0 victory over West Ham, propelling them into the Premier League’s top four.

With Antonio Conte back in Italy recovering from emergency gallbladder surgery earlier this month, stand-in head coach Cristian Stellini was again charged with leading Spurs at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Stellini made it two wins from two games in temporary charge as substitute Son sealed the points with his first league goal since January 4 after Emerson nosed Spurs ahead in the 56th minute.

West Ham’s defeat leaves them in the bottom three while Spurs, who lost heavily to Leicester City last week then went down to Milan in the Champions League, leapfrogged Newcastle United into fourth place.

There were warning signs for Spurs when Jarrod Bowen blasted wide in the opening minute, though a refereeing decision was the main talking point from a sluggish first half.

Eight days on from Tomas Soucek getting away with a similar incident against Chelsea, team-mate Thilo Kehrer was perhaps fortunate not to concede a penalty when Richarlison’s pass struck his outstretched arm.

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Richarlison were denied by Lukasz Fabianski before Cristian Romero headed over, with Spurs keeping up the pressure after the restart when Harry Kane went close.

That pressure told before the hour – Emerson coolly slotting into the bottom left corner after combining with fellow wing-back Ben Davies.

Bowen almost found an immediate response for West Ham but Fraser Forster was equal to his snapshot.

And West Ham’s hopes of a comeback were all but dashed when Son, who had lost his place in the starting XI to Richarlison, finished calmly after linking up with Kane.

What does it mean? Spurs move back into Champions League places

After following up a stunning win over Manchester City with a pair of poor performances and defeats at Leicester and Milan, Spurs looked pleased to be back on home turf as they earned a fully deserved win to take advantage of Newcastle’s defeat to Liverpool.

They shaded a poor first half, but came flying out of the blocks after the break and were full value for the three points as they totalled 16 shots to West Ham’s six, while restricting the Hammers to just one shot on target.

Emerson and Son ruthlessly finished their chances as Spurs scored twice off an accumulated xG (expected goals) of 1.48 to West Ham’s 0.48.

Super-sub Son

Son has been far from his brilliant best this season, and Stellini responded by handing Richarlison his first Premier League start since November.

But Son made an impact when introduced and has now scored four Premier League goals as a substitute this season, twice as many as any other player despite only making two appearances off the bench.

Though he could not quite replicate his sublime hat-trick after coming on against Leicester City, Son still created two chances and got the vital second goal to put the game to bed.

Antonio draws another blank

West Ham have failed to live up to the high standards of last season, when they finished seventh in the Premier League and reached the Europa League semi-finals, largely due to their poor performances in front of goal.

Only three teams have scored fewer Premier League goals than the Hammers this season, and with Gianluca Scamacca struggling for fitness, Michail Antonio continues to struggle up front as his wait for a first league goal since October 9 goes on.

Antonio failed to register a shot before he was replaced by Danny Ings in the 72nd minute, while winning just one of his aerial duels as David Moyes’ men severely lacked an attacking threat aside from Bowen.

Key Opta Facts

– Tottenham picked up their 26th Premier League victory against West Ham, only winning more times against Everton (29) and Man City (28).
– West Ham have failed to win any of their last 10 away games in the Premier League (D3 L7) – their longest winless run on the road in the top flight since May 2015 (12 games).
– Tottenham are unbeaten in their last 23 Premier League matches against West Ham when they have opened the scoring in the game (W19 D4).
– No side has won fewer away points in the Premier League this season than West Ham (six), averaging 0.5 points per game in 2022-23 compared with 1.3 per game in 2021-22.
– Kane and Son have now combined for a Premier League goal on 45 occasions, extending their record as the duo who have assisted one another for the most goals in the competition’s history (the next highest pair are Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba, 36).

What’s next?

Both teams are in Premier League action again next weekend, with West Ham hosting Nottingham Forest in a huge clash at the bottom of the table while Spurs have another London derby at home to out-of-form Chelsea.


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