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West Ham v Spurs, 24.10.21


Antonio, 72

Attendance:- 59,924

Referee:- Paul Tierney
Assistants:- Constantine Hatzidakis, Neil Davies
Fourth official:- Peter Bankes
VAR:- Jarred Gillett
Assistant VAR:- Nick Hopton.

West Ham (4-2-3-1):- Fabianski; Johnson, Zouma, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Soucek, Rice (Capt.); Bowen (sub Dawson (90+1), Benrahma (sub Lanzini, 85), Fornals; Antonio

Subs not used:- Areola; Diop, Ashby, Masuaku; Yarmolenko, Vlasic, Noble

Booked:- Soucek (foul on Hojbjerg), Ogbonna (foul on Ndombele)

Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Lloris (Capt.); Emerson Royal, Romero, Dier, Reguilon (sub Gil, 84) ; Hojbjerg, Skipp; Lucas Moura (sub Bergwijn (90+1), Ndombele (sub Lo Celso, 84), Son; Kane

Subs not used:- Gollini; Sanchez, Rodon, Tanganga, Davies; Dele

Booked:- Romero (Unsporting conduct)

Nuno is not making me feel proud

West Ham v Spurs, 24.10.21

The words of our coach Nuno Espirito Santo upon his appointment, addressed to Spurs fans “We are going to make you proud” are the greatest judgement upon this man I can offer. His team are not making me proud. They depress me. We have now lost four consecutive London Derby matches, and we have seen more bad performances and results in his first 15 games than I can recall in such a spell by any recent Spurs manager. Nuno deserves to be judged upon his decision to leave his “first team” at home while his “second team” lost to Vitesse in a third-rate European competition. Spurs are certainly a “third-rate” team right now. His decision demanded a performance and a result in The London stadium. The team failed us. I would sack Nuno now, before the rot sets in. A truly “big club” would a) not have appointed Nuno in the first place and b) would get shot now. I would try and snatch Paulo Fonseca from under Newcastle’s noses now, despite the fact he turned us down in the summer. Nuno does not fill me with confidence. His comments to the press, before or after any game, do not inspire me. He does not seem to inspire the players.

Three clubs made major statements in the Premier League this weekend – Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool – each of whom had magnificent eye-catching performances and results. Those teams are a league ahead of us. Those below them will fight for the right to be “best of the rest” and win fourth place. With this win, West Ham currently hold that position. Spurs look like slipping away into mid-table oblivion. Next Saturday’s game against Manchester United takes on an extra dimension for clubs desperate to regain their status as top Premier League teams.

It can be argued that Spurs were in control for a lot of this game. They did, after all, have more possession. However, playing towards their own fans they did not have a meaningful shot at goal throughout the second half, playing around and everywhere but in their opponents’ area. Decent crosses were a rarity, if seen at all, and in this regard Reguilon failed dismally. There were good performances, particularly from Romero, Hojbjerg and Skipp. This was a battle and Spurs needed more battlers. West Ham had the edge regarding desire, effort, and strength in the challenge. It truly hurts to write that statement.

Of course, we all knew what the team would be before the game, and David Moyes was able to plan very thoroughly.

Spurs kicked off but West Ham had a corner after only one minute. After seven minutes Eric Dier defended well to keep Bowen at bay but in a subsequent play Fornals forced a decent save from Lloris with his shot. This was arguably Hugo's most meaningful save of the game, most of which was being fought in the middle third. After a Spurs throw-in a shot by Hojbjerg was fodder for Fabianski. Ndombele went down and stayed down in the box and wanted treatment before continuing. Do you remember when footballers used to stand up, shake themselves down and carry on?

Antonio operated on the left at times, and he did cross with some power, with Soucek meeting the ball but firing over. Soucek carries scars from a facial injury at Goodison Park last week but played on Thursday and today – to good effect. The powerhouse that is Antonio was involved in another move which led to a shot by Fornals going wide.

Spurs finally mustered a decent attack after 19 minutes when Son passed inside to Kane, but Kane’s shot was woefully wide. “Sonny” had a shot himself after a pass from Ndombele, but Fabianski was not particularly stretched to make his save. Spurs were finally getting more possession, but without an end product.

Romero hit a long ball for Kane, but West Ham cleared that. Young right back Johnson had a shot on goal after a ball from the left, but he hit that wide. West Ham broke forward and Soucek went very close with a header at the back post going just the wrong side of the post. That was “The Hammers’” best chance to date. Skipp did well at the back and passed to Romero who sent down another decent long ball. Zouma cleared from Kane.

After a foul (and a booking for Ogbonna) on Ndombele and a free kick by Son, Ndombele’s right foot effort took a deflection and won a corner. Following the corner by Son, a shot by Reguilon was well wide of the target. A Reguilon cross was met by a header from Ndombele, straight at Fabianski. Antonio got the better of both Dier and Romero at the other end but shot over the bar. Spurs’ best chance of the game fell to Kane after a decent Reguilon cross. Kane’s header was tipped over the bar by Fabianski. It was also probably our last chance of the game.

West Ham kicked off the second half. Spurs initially showed a bit of desire. Skipp sent a good ball to Ndombele who crossed from the right side to Kane, but Fabianksi collected the ball. Spurs had a corner after Lucas Moura’s efforts, but ultimately a cross by Reguilon came to nothing. “Skippy” made a positive run forward with Kane in the middle. The cross went to Fabianski. Romero made a good break from the back, finally passing to Kane. Harry fed to Son, but his cross also went to Fabianski.

At this stage, you’d even say that Spurs were the better team, but I always felt that West Ham might grab the crucial goal, and so it proved. West Ham were up in arms over a Romero challenge near the touchline and Romero did get a booking, but no foul was given. Cresswell took a West Ham free kick which was half-cleared with Bowen’s follow-up also cleared.

West Ham were now putting Spurs under pressure, but the defence held firm. Rice hit a shot over the target. Lloris was out to clear a long ball and then had to make a good save from a deflected shot by Fornals. The “Hammers” had a corner from their left and I believe that Lucas Moura might have got a headed touch with the ball continuing into the box where Antonio got his foot in front of Kane to score. Antonio has a habit of scoring against us and enjoyed this one too.

Spurs had loads of possession again, but no shots on goal. Nuno delayed making any changes, but took off Reguilon for Gil, with Son helping to cover the left side. Lo Celso replaced Ndombele. The changes had no effect, and I didn’t even notice Steven Bergwijn come on in added time. The walk back to Hackney Wick and on the train was unbearable with the gloating “Hammers”. It’s another day I want to forget. There have been too many of those recently.

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