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Spurs v West Ham, 23.06.20

PREMIER LEAGUE
TUESDAY 23RD JUNE, 2020
(8.15pm)
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2(0) WEST HAM UNITED 0(0)

Scorers:-
Soucek (o.g.), 64
Kane, 82

Attendance:- 0

Referee:- Craig Pawson
Assistants:- Harry Lennard, Dan Robathan
Fourth official:- Simon Hooper
VAR:- David Coote
Assistant VAR:- Stephen Child
Replacement Official: Nigel Lugg

Teams:-
Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Lloris (Capt.); Aurier, Sanchez, Dier, Davies; Sissoko, Lo Celso; Lucas Moura (sub Bergwijn, 72), Dele (sub Lamela, 59), Son (sub Winks, 86); Kane

Subs not used:- Gazzaniga; Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Sessegnon; Ndombele, Gedson Fernandes

Booked:- Kane (foul on Balbuena), Davies (foul on Bowen)

West Ham (4-3-2-1):- Fabianski; Fredericks, Balbuena, Diop, Cresswell; Noble (Capt.) (sub Anderson, 71), Rice, Soucek; Bowen, Fornals (sub Lanzini, 71); Antonio (Armband to Rice) Subs not used:- Randolph; Ogbonna; Wilshere, Johnson, Costa Silva; Ajeti, Yarmolenko

Booked:- Fornals (foul on Aurier), Noble (foul on Lo Celso)

Hero Kane seals the game!

In yesterday’s press conference when responding to comments by Paul Merson, Jose Mourinho referred to Harry Kane as “Hero Kane, a guy that had big surgery, had lockdown and trained only for couple of weeks”. Well “Hero Kane” scored his 137th Premier League goal in 200 Spurs appearances which is the second highest in 200 games after Sergio Aguero who had 138 at that point. It was also Harry’s 30th London derby goal, putting him fourth behind Henry, Lampard and Sheringham. Tonight’s goal sealed an important win for Spurs, who climbed to seventh place and who will consider themselves still in the reckoning for a Champions League place.

THFC would not allow me the fly the Spurs Odyssey flag in the stadium for these behind closed doors games but it will feature in my match report!

THFC would not allow me the fly the Spurs Odyssey flag in the stadium for these behind closed doors games but it will feature in my match report!

There was some post-match discussion about Spurs’ first goal which according to some should have been disallowed under the current rules (it was reviewed and allowed by VAR) because the ball brushed the arm of Davinson Sanchez on its way to West Ham’s Soucek who planted the ball in his own net. Son Heung-min had a late first half “goal” disallowed by VAR for offside. Never mind any controversy. The points belong to Spurs and West Ham remain above the relegation zone on goal difference only.

Jose made three changes with Harry Winks, Steven Bergwijn and Erik Lamela reverting to the bench with starts for Giovani Lo Celso, Dele Alli and Lucas Moura. Gio played beside Sissoko, but clearly had an attacking role. Lucas played towards the right of midfield but was often overlapped by Serge Aurier which left space at the flank for West Ham’s left back Cresswell to exploit. In the early stages the “Hammers” did look positive with balls being aimed at the powerful Antonio, covering as their front man, but ultimately Spurs forced the visitors back and dominated possession without taking advantage until that own goal breakthrough.

Declan Rice had played at the back against Wolves on Saturday, but played in midfield tonight. Jarrod Bowen, signed from Hull in January was lively and hit the woodwork with a second half shot.

There was no minute’s silence/reflection now we have reached the second round of games, and the players’ shirts did bear their names. However, all shirts bore the “Black Lives Matter” slogan, and all players and officials took the knee at kick-off. That kick-off was by West Ham, playing towards the South Stand. There was an early cross by Cresswell and Antonio’s strength enabled the ball to run to Noble who wanted a foul as he ran through the middle of the area, but the ball was picked up by Lloris and no foul was given. A minute later Son had a left-footed shot from the left of goal pushed over by Fabianski for a corner.

After 12 minutes Lo Celso passed to Lucas Moura who fed the ball for Aurier, who won a corner on the right. Fornals took an early booking for a foul on Aurier in the Spurs half. Spurs were getting a lot of possession but at times over-played the ball with both Sissoko and Kane guilty of stray passes in the opposition half. After a floated free kick and a save by Lloris from Antonio’s touch, Bowen tried a follow-up shot but that was blocked. The offside flag had gone up in any case.

Lucas Moura hit a powerful right footed shot from 25 yards which Fabianski pushed over for another Spurs corner. Noble was shown yellow for holding back Lo Celso as he threatened to break clear in the West Ham half as West Ham were left with men short at the back, having been on the attack. In a subsequent move Sissoko pushed the ball to Kane whose right footed shot from 25 yards was held by Fabianski, the busier of the two keepers. Kane passed inside to Dele but Diop intercepted and passed back to his keeper.

After half an hour Lo Celso passed out to Aurier on the right. Serge lifted a cross and Kane headed over. After more good possession by Spurs Lo Celso teed up Dele, but his shot was well over. West Ham were occasionally breaking forward and Lloris had to get down to a cross by former Spurs man Ryan Fredericks. Spurs had three corners in succession and as we approached added time it looked as if we had taken a deserved lead when Lo Celso was again the creator, passing to Son on the left who beat Fabianski inside his right post with a good shot. Sadly VAR decreed (correctly) that Son had been marginally offside. There was still time for Lo Celso to feed the ball to Davies on the left who hit a sharp cross where Lucas Moura pushed a shot wide.

Eric Dier advanced and tried a shot from 25 yards three minutes into the second half, but the ball was wide. Lucas threaded a good ball inside the defence for Aurier to reach inside the area. Aurier crossed and Harry Kane met the ball at the near post forcing a save and then seeing the ball rebound out of play off his legs for a goal kick. Harry got a booking for a high challenge on Balbuena.

Bowen tried a left foot shot at Lloris’s goal but it passed over the target. Then Fornals had a chance, which he spurned, pulling the shot wide after Bowen crossed from the right.

Dele hit a shot pass to his left for Kane, whose right foot shot passed just over Fabianski’s bar. Dele then had a one-two exchange with “Sonny” before hitting a shot wide. Rice got forward and hit a shot from the left of goal which took a deflection and won him a corner. Spurs broke out of their half after this corner and Lo Celso teed up Harry who pulled a left footed shot wide.

Now Dele was replaced by the lively Lamela. Antonio fired over after a pass from Rice. Son threaded a pass for Lamela who got into the left side of the box but hit the back of the side netting with his shot. Spurs took the lead with Soucek’s unfortunate own goal in the 64th minute. At the time there seemed little, if any controversy about the goal, but post-match debate sent some time pulling it apart, I understand.

There was some great play by Lo Celso, displaying some skill in advancing past West Ham players deep in the Spurs half. After the drinks break Lucas Moura was replaced by Bergwijn. David Moyes made his only two substitutions including that of captain Noble. Son and Bergwijn combined to give Aurier a chance to cross or shoot, but he fluffed his chance and Fabianski picked up.

West Ham substitute Anderson hit a shot wide after a Cresswell corner. The “Hammers” had a free kick floated in from the right and Anderson passed back to Bowen whose shot rattled the outside of Lloris’s right post.

The win was sealed when Spurs broke rapidly out of their half. Lamela fed the ball to Son on his left who quickly sent Kane away on a run from just a few yards inside the West Ham half. “Hero Kane” was on his way and picked his spot to beat Fabianski, celebrating emotionally with a dive to the floor. It was after all his first goal this year!

Harry Winks replaced Son late in the game, but Jose still has chosen not to use the five subs available to him. Lloris held another effort by Bowen. In added time Spurs had two more significant chances. One was when Bergwijn hit the side netting after another Lo Celso pass. The other was a low cross by Aurier which just evaded Kane’s advance at the back post. Lo Celso was Sky’s man of the match and I am confident he will win the Spurs Odyssey vote.

This is the first time in 8 games between the two sides that the home side has won. It was Spurs’ first league double over the “Hammers” since 2012-13 when Gareth Bale scored at home and away. His winner in the 3-2 away match was sensational!

Jose Mourinho has never lost in his 14 meetings with David Moyes’ teams. That is Jose’s best record against any manager. This was also Mourinho’s 300th win in English football.

Thanks to Declan Mulcahy for his research here.

Spurs now wait till next Thursday to travel to Bramall Lane for a game which will carry considerable significance. West Ham host Chelsea next Wednesday by which time they could be in the bottom three. Here’s hoping!

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