West Ham United 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur
West Ham United’s remarkable Premier League campaign continued as chief-rivals, Tottenham Hotspur became the latest victims of David Moyes’ in-form outfit, who moved up to fourth as a result.
For the first time in an eternity, many experts suggested West Ham headed into the game as favourites. Indeed, Tottenham’s recent form was cause for concern, nevertheless, David Moyes remained cautious.
“I don’t think for a minute I’ve ever doubted the attacking threat Tottenham have got or the qualities Tottenham have got,” the Scotsman explained.
“They’re a top team and one of the best teams in the country, so we know we’re going to have a really hard game.
“We’re going well ourselves at the moment, but the opposition we’re playing is tough and Tottenham are one of the toughest.”
Opposite number, Jose Mourinho, sprung a surprise, including Sergio Reguilón in his starting line-up – the Spaniard returning from a muscular injury that had sidelined him for several weeks. But it was a familiar face returning to the Hammers side who made an immediate impact.
Michail Antonio reacted quickly to net from close range after Hugo Lloris had clawed out his initial header from Jarrod Bowen’s troublesome centre – Vladimir Coufal and Tomas Soucek also involved in the build-up.
Harry Kane was off target after Eric Lamela had wriggled clear and played the England skipper in, then Kane was again thwarted – this time Craig Dawson putting his body on the line following a goalmouth melee which saw Soucek leave the field for stitches after a clash of heads with Japhet Tanganga.
Lloris tipped over Dawson’s powerful header as West Ham almost exposed Tottenham’s set-piece Achilles heel again. Meanwhile, Łukasz Fabiański dived low to his right to keep out Lamela’s speculative effort and then an angled drive from Kane as the half drew to its conclusion.
Rattled and under pressure, Mourinho threw Gareth Bale and Matt Doherty into the fray after the restart. But Spurs were to be stunned almost immediately.
Jesse Lingard drilled past Lloris – VAR had a lengthy look after an assistant raised his flag – the goal eventually allowed to stand – Mourinho unimpressed.
Kane’s dead-ball attempt whistled the wrong side of an upright, while Bale drilled into Fabianski’s midriff. But shortly after the hour, Tottenham reduced the arrears – Lucas Moura arriving unmarked to head Bale’s flag-kick high beyond Fabianski.
Tottenham’s tails were up. Mourinho’s charges pressed menacingly with Kane firing wide after a move involving Lucas Moura and Doherty, then Bale clipped the frame of the goal after Declan Rice had cut out Kane’s low centre.
It was a case of ‘all hands to the pump’ for the home side as Spurs forced them deeper and deeper. A ricochet off Son pinged agonisingly off a post with Fabianski scrambling helplessly across his goal. Fortunately for West Ham, the South Koreans next attempt was high and wide – the chance, and subsequently the match, was gone for the agitated North Londoners who have now lost five of their last six league outings.
West Ham United return to Premier League action on Saturday, February 27 when they take on Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium (12:30pm).
Spurs face Wolfsberger at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Wednesday, February 24 in a UEFA Europa League Round of 32 second-leg tie (5pm). They return to Premier League action on Saturday 28 when Burnley visit N17 (2pm).
West Ham United: Łukasz Fabiański, Vladimir Coufal, Craig Dawson, Issa Diop, Aaron Cresswell, Declan Rice (Capt), Tomas Souček, Jarrod Bowen (Said Benrahma 67’), Pablo Fornals (Ben Johnson 81’), Jesse Lingard (Mark Noble 90+2’), Jarrod Bowen, Michail Antonio Subs not used: Darren Randolph (GK), David Martin (GK), Ryan Fredericks, Fabian Balbuena, Manuel Lanzini, Ademipo Odubeko
Booked: Tomas Soucek (foul), Issa Diop (foul), Pablo Fornals (foul)
Goals: Michail Antonio 5’, Jesse Lingard 47’
Tottenham Hotspur: Hugo Lloris (Capt), Japhet Tanganga (Matt Doherty 46’), Eric Dier, Davinson Sánchez, Sergio Reguilón (Dele Alli 77’), Eric Lamela (Gareth Bale 46’), Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, Tanguy Ndombele, Lucas Moura, Heung-Min Son, Harry Kane Subs not used: Joe Hart (GK), Toby Alderweireld, Ben Davies, Harry Winks, Moussa Sissoko, Carlos Vinícius
Booked: Erik Lamela (foul), Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (foul), Sergio Reguilón (foul)
Goals: Lucas Moura 64’
Referee: Craig Pawson
Assistants: Harry Lennard and Richard West
Fourth Official: Graham Scott
VAR: Darren England
Assistant VAR: Andy Halliday