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West Ham v Spurs, 23.11.19


West Ham scorers:-
Antonio, 73
Ogbonna, 90 (+6)

Spurs scorers:-
Son, 36
Lucas Moura, 43
Kane, 49

Attendance:- 59,930

Referee:- Michael Oliver
Assistants:- Stuart Burt, Simon Bennett
Fourth official:- Robert Jones
VAR:- Andre Marriner
Assistant VAR: Andy Halliday.

West Ham (4-1-4-1):- Roberto Jimenez; Fredericks, Diop (sub Sanchez, 64), Ogbonna, Creswell; Rice; Yarmolenko (sub Fornals, 56), Snodgrass, Noble (Capt.), Anderson (sub Antonio, 46); Haller

Subs not used:- Martin; Balbuena, Zabaleta; Ajeti

Booked:- Diop (Handball), Fredericks (foul on Son), Snodgrass (Unsporting conduct)

Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Gazzaniga; Aurier, Sanchez, Alderweireld, Davies (sub Rose, 75); Winks, Dier; Lucas Moura (sub Sissoko, 82), Dele (sub Eriksen, 79), Son; Kane (Capt.)

Subs not used:- Austin; Walker-Peters, Foyth; Lo Celso

Booked:- Davies (foul on Antonio), Kane (foul on Snodgrass)

Back on the right track, baby!

West Ham v Spurs, 23.11.19

Dismiss, if you will for a moment, the two late goals by West Ham. The second came with in literally the last moment of six minutes of added time. The scoreline flatters West Ham, who lost at home to Spurs for the fourth consecutive time. Focus on the fact that in Jose Mourinho’s first game, Spurs dominated the first 60-70 minutes and had gained a more than justified 3-0 lead. West Ham might have been bad, or were Spurs just that good? Reserve goalkeeper Roberto Jimenez has been a weakness in the “Hammers”’ side since he had to replace the injured Fabianski, and he should have stopped Son’s opener. Such is the weakness of Roberto that he gets ironic cheers from his own fans when he does manage to do even the simplest things right. Spurs had won their first away game in the Premier League since January. “How s**t must you be? We’re winning away!” sang the travelling fans.

Let there be no doubt that the Spurs side had been re-invigorated by their new leader. He chose to start Lucas Moura on the right and we had an attacking front four who sought to take the “Hammers”’ defence by the throat at every opportunity. Sissoko was cast aside to the bench and Eric Dier returned, playing beside Harry Winks in front of the back four. Both Winks and Dier got forward to good effect, and whilst it might not have been the old high press there is no doubt that the Spurs front six spent most of the first half in their opponents’ half. After the initial “Blowing Bubbles” song (have they got any others?) the home fans were silenced. Some of them even left after the third goal went in on 49 minutes, and many more home fans did not see their side’s late revival. With this win, Spurs leapt back into the top half. With this defeat, West Ham are in familiar territory – close to the relegation zone.

Tanguy Ndombele was unavailable through injury. Ben Davies got the nod at left back ahead of Danny Rose, but no doubt there will be changes for Tuesday night’s Champions League game. There was an aggression to Spurs’ game with players being closed down in all areas. This was much different to our last game against Sheffield United. I felt that Aurier had a very good game at right back. Significantly, there was no pussyfooting about with the ball at the back, and we set about moving forward with pace and not a little skill.

Spurs kicked off and had the ball in the net after two minutes. Davies had passed forward to Dele, who immediately fed Kane, who hit the ball into the roof of the net with his left foot. The offside flag had been correctly raised though. After 7 minutes, former Spur Ryan Fredericks crossed from the right and Haller challenged for the ball getting a header which rebounded at short range off Sanchez. Gazzaniga was well positioned and held the ball confidently.

One thing that was noticeable today was an additional aggressive streak by Harry Kane and Diop was probably unlucky to be booked for handball after Kane had manhandled him in the preceding challenge. Winks took the free kick and Davinson Sanchez challenged, heading wide, but he too had been offside. There was a nice sequence of play after 19 minutes when Son hit a right footed shot from left of centre. This was punched away by Roberto, before Son had another go from right of centre. This shot was heavily deflected and looped to Lucas Moura who tried a headed, but was well off target.

After 25 minutes Anderson was onto a long forward ball by Noble down the left wing, but his pass intended for Haller ran behind the centre forward and Spurs cleared with ease. Spurs had three successive corners around the half-hour mark, all taken by Harry Winks with varying degrees of success. The third one led to a shot by Toby Alderweireld being blocked.

After 33 minutes, all sections of the crowd joined in a one minute’s applause for recently deceased “Hammers”’ fan Lily Harris. Dele Alli took advantage of Diop’s failure to deal with a lofted ball by Dier and this move ended with Son passing towards Dele and Kane on the left of the area with Declan Rice getting the better of Kane. West Ham failed to clear beyond their half though, and Spurs made them pay. Winks fed the ball forward to Dele, who quickly passed to Son on his left. “Sonny”’s shot was from the left of goal and passed Roberto’s left side at close range. Within a minute of the goal, Dele had a shot which passed wide of the keeper’s right post.

Fredericks was booked when he took out Son on the Spurs’ left flank, and Son needed treatment. 10 years ago Harry Kane was playing in the same Spurs Academy side as Fredericks, and I noticed he shared a comment with the West Ham full back. After the free kick the ball was half cleared to Dele, whose shot was saved by Roberto as he ran back to regain his ground. Spurs had a two-goal lead before the break and the goal came in great style. Dele managed to keep the ball just in play on the left touchline after Dier’s pass. Dele (who was on his backside at the time!) then managed an audacious back-heel flick forward of the ball into the path of the advancing Son. Son’s ball across the area was converted by Lucas Moura at a stretch at the back post.

West Ham tried to get one back before the break. Snodgrass had a long range shot pass wide. There were two minutes of added time, during which Spurs had another corner, taken by Winks. This was half blocked but still looped to Lucas Moura who chipped the ball forward with Davinson Sanchez’s header being pushed over by Roberto.

Michail Antonio could be seen warming up at half time and he replaced Anderson. Antonio hadn’t played since August and was deemed not fit enough to start this game. He’s scored three times before against Tottenham, including their winner at our new stadium in April. He does make a big difference to the “Hammers” side.

First though it was back business for Spurs who should have two early second half goals instead of just the one. Antonio had been fouled by Sanchez, but Spurs broke clear from the free kick with Aurier feeding Lucas Moura who advanced in tandem with Son. “Sonny” teed up Lucas for the final run at goal but with only Roberto to beat he hit a poor shot wide across the goal. All was well though as within a minute Serge Aurier crossed from the right and Harry headed home with ease. It was a downward header that bounced up into the goal, and was Harry’s 175th Spurs goal, making him number three in our all-time goal-scoring charts. That’s number three and rising, of course!

Fornals replaced Yarmolenko after 56 minutes. Both West Ham’s ineffective wingers had been replaced. Gazzaniga held a shot by Antonio after 60 minutes. Harry Kan e had a run versus Diop, but Diop was the winner of this particular battle. Diop was then replaced by Carlos Sanchez, who took up a midfield position with rice falling back into defence.

Did Spurs’ energy levels drop, or did they decide to fall back and defend their substantial lead? Whatever the case, we saw more West Ham possession in the last half-hour. Davies got booked for bringing down Antonio, an d probably injured himself in the process, as he was later replaced by Rose. Harry Kane blocked Creswell’s free kick with his head, and the home fans cheered the fact that our Harry was on the ground injured. The captain recovered, but Antonio got one back for the “Hammers” after Noble passed short to him and he fired home from 15 yards inside Gazzaniga’s right post. That was goal number four then for Antonio against Spurs, who had struggled to clear their lines against this attack.

Davies went off, and subsequently Dele was replaced by Christian Eriksen, who now needs to prove his use to the new manager. I’m afraid he did little to help his cause in this game. A free kick by Kane was held by Roberto to more of those ironic cheers by home fans. Lucas Moura was replaced by Sissoko, and it wasn’t long before he went down injured. It looked as if Spurs might be down to ten men, but Sissoko battled on. While he was down Harry Kane was in a spat with Snodgrass which led to both of them getting booked. Kane had been frustrated at the failure of the home side to respond to Sissoko’s injury.

West Ham did have the ball in the net after a corner in the 89th minute, but VAR disallowed the “goal” for offside against “scorer” Declan Rice. Had that “goal” stood, Spurs might have succumbed, but the final consolation goal for Ogbonna came when he poked in another corner in the very last throes of the game.

It wasn’t the perfect start, and Jose will recognise plenty for him to work on, but it was a great first hour and a win is a win. I’ve seen enough to say that we are back “on the right track baby!”

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