Hammers hand Spurs a touch of Déjà vu

Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United – Premier League – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium – Report

Tottenham Hotspur 1-2 West Ham United

There’s an old saying that suggests fortune favours the brave. However, I wouldn’t mention that too loudly in front of Ange Postecoglou after, yet again, his Tottenham Hotspur side, as easy on the eye as they are, somehow managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Old adversaries, West Ham United benefitting from a job half-done.

Without a win in four and sporting a lengthy injury list, Postecoglou was quizzed about the character and mentality of his squad during a challenging spell: “It’s fair to say not by design but you’re tested by all these things through tough periods and we’ve been through one and in many respects going through it now,” he explained. 

“I’ve been really pleased with the players’ application and commitment to what we’re trying to do. Some players have got an opportunity they probably wouldn’t have got otherwise and I thought the level in the last four games has been pretty good, probably Wolves aside, in terms of the football we want to play.

“Obviously, results haven’t so there’s an area we need to improve. You learn things and from my perspective, we’ve been pleased with the application and determination of the players to keep going.”

West Ham made the short trip to N17 unbeaten in three and all together providing a more cautious approach. David Moyes admired the work of his contemporary: “Right now, I think Tottenham Hotspur are as good as any side in the Premier League at the moment,” the Scotsman said.

“It’s not going to be an easy game. It will be an incredibly tough game. We want to challenge the best teams in the league and we want to try and push ourselves in amongst the top sides.

“Ange Postecoglou has done remarkably well. Tottenham are a really, really good side and he’s made a big difference to what they’re doing and how they play. He’s made a big difference to the atmosphere there too.

“I’m a bit surprised really about how surprised everyone is at how well he’s doing, given how well he did at Celtic too. To manage Celtic is enormous, and there is a lot of pressure in that job, and Ange was able to cope and deal with that.” 

West Ham United’s Lukasz Fabianski punches clear from Tottenham Hotspur’s Cristian Romero and Ben Davies (Rob Newell CameraSport)

It was one-way traffic from the off and it came as little surprise when Cristian Romero’s header looped over Lukasz Fabianski to hand Spurs an eleventh-minute lead following Pedro Porro’s flag-kick.

Vladimír Coufal thwarted Brennan Johnson, while Heung-min Son fired directly at Fabianski as Spurs continued to launch wave after wave of attacks.

The Hammers’ Polish stopper was certainly earning his corn. Giovani Lo Celso and Brennan Johnson’s efforts were rebuffed, while Yves Bissouma fired over. Meanwhile, Lucas Paqueta’s header was horribly off-target after Mohammed Kudus had fashioned a rare opening for the East Londoners.

But recent history has a habit of repeating itself where Spurs are concerned. Kudus’s strike deflected kindly to Jarrod Bowen, who rifled beyond Guglielmo Vicario. Hammers level, quite literally, without lifting a finger!

The agitated N17 audience had seen this before. In the blink of an eye, their side looked nervy. Passes went astray, and momentum was lost. Vicario saved from Paqueta. Postecoglou shuffled the pack, with Lo Celso and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg replaced by Oliver Skipp and Richarlison. The latter, heading wide from close-in within seconds of arriving into the action.

Porro forced Fabianski into a flying save as Sours looked to steady the ship. However, they were taking in water. Destiny Udogie’s poor backpass left Vicario in trouble. James Ward-Prowse profited, rolling the ball into an empty goal after his initial effort came back off a post.

Son limped out of the action late on as Tottenham’s troubles continued to mount. As entertaining as they are, Spurs have now picked up a single point from the last fifteen on offer. While the Hammers supporters celebrated getting one over their nearest and dearest, their Tottenham counterparts headed for the High Road wondering how exactly it had gotten away from them, again!

Tottenham Hotspur return to Premier League action on Sunday, December 10, when Newcastle United are the visitors to N17 (2pm). At the same time, across the capital in West London, West Ham United face Fulham at Craven Cottage.

West Ham United manager David Moyes celebrates his sides’ Premier League victory at Tottenham Hotspur (Rob Newell CameraSport)

Tottenham Hotspur: Vicario, Pedro Porro, Romero, Davies, Udogie, Bissouma (Bryan 84′), Hojbjerg (Richarlison 67′), Lo Celso (Skipp 67′), Kulusevski, Son (Capt) (Veliz 88′), Johnson (Sarr 84′) Subs not used: Forster (GK), Royal, Dorrington, Donley

Booked: Porro (foul), Romero (foul)

Goals: Cristian Romero 11′

West Ham United: Fabianski, Coufal, Zouma (Capt), Aguerd, Emerson, Alvarez, Ward-Prowse, Bowen, Soucek, Paqueta, Kudus (Fornals 88′) Subs not used: Anang (GK), Cresswell, Mavropanos, Ings, Ogbonna, Benrahma, Kehrer, Mubama

Booked: Emerson (foul), Ward-Prowse (foul), Alvarez (foul)

Goals: Bowen 52′, Ward-Prowse 74′

Referee: Michael Salisbury

Assistants: Adam Nunn and Richard West

Fourth Official: Andy Madley VAR: John Brooks

Assistant VAR: Neil Davies

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Brian Jeeves

Email: sport@yellowad.co.uk