Before Sunday’s encounter with Tottenham Hotspur in Stratford, David Moyes had never won a match against a team managed by José Mourinho. Well, that particular record has come to an end as his West Ham United side achieved a 2-1 success over their London rivals.
Moyes made two changes from the team that faced Sheffield United six days earlier. Michail Antonio was fit enough to make the squad, while Pablo Fornals came back into the starting line-up. Ben Johnson and Manuel Lanzini dropped to the bench.
The hosts were the side who went into this game with momentum behind them, given that Spurs had lost four of their last five Premier League games and this statistic clearly showed as the Irons were ahead inside the first five minutes.
Tomáš Souček got in ahead of Sergio Reguilón and played a pass to Jarrod Bowen. Antonio arrived on the end of the cross, thus putting goalkeeper Hugo Lloris under pressure and after the Frenchman couldn’t hold on, the prolific frontman knocked the ball into the net.
As he often does, Antonio was once again proving his worth to the home side as he was at the heart of things again just five minutes later. He set up a counter-attack and then played in Jesse Lingard but when the Manchester United loanee tried to return the favour, it didn’t quite work and the opportunity had passed them by.
The match had so far been dominated by the home side but the visitors grew into the game and had their own spell of pressure. Erik Lamela set Harry Kane away but fortunately for the Hammers, the effort didn’t trouble Łukasz Fabiański.
Moyes then saw his side temporarily reduced to ten men when Souček came off worse in a clash of heads with Davison Sanchez but thankfully after seven minutes, the East Londoners were back to their full complement of players.
When Craig Dawson has come up with goals for his team this season, they have often been headers. He nearly claimed another goal here when he met Aaron Cresswell’s set-piece but Lloris dealt with the danger and tipped it over.
Fabianski was the busier of the two keepers as the half drew to a close, given that both Kane and Lamela went close but he denied them meaning that when referee Craig Pawson blew the whistle for the break, the East Londoners were on course to make it two wins in the space of six days.
The loyal fan base watching from afar would have been pleased to see that their team were in front but were even more delighted when Lingard extended their advantage early in the second-half.
It was clear that the on loan winger was desperate to get his name on the scoresheet against the Blades last Monday but he finally made it happen here when he unleashed an unstoppable shot past Lloris.
There was drama to come however, as his teammates had to wait a little longer to see if the effort was going to count. The linesman had thought that he initially spotted Fornals offside but VAR had on this occasion sided with the Hammers and after a lengthy check, the celebrations could recommence.
The hosts were continuing to look comfortable by this point but it was one of Mourinho’s earlier changes that sparked his side into life. During the break, he made a double change by introducing Gareth Bale for Lamela, while Japhet Tanganga also made way so that Matt Doherty could enter the fray.
Bale has often been a threat to West Ham in the past and he proved so again here as he pulled a goal back on sixty four minutes when he took responsibility from a corner which allowed Lucas Moura to then head past Fabianski.
That setback prompted Moyes into his first change of the game as Saïd Benrahma replaced Bowen.
Sixteen minutes later, the Scotsman decided to shuffle his pack again and bring on Johnson for Fornals.
Both teams were continuing to play well but with time running out for the visitors, Spurs were piling on the pressure in order to see if they could take something from the game.
Bale could have got himself a goal when he went ever so close to levelling the scores. He sent an effort goalwards which had Fabianski beaten but the Pole was saved as it hit the bar before Kane shot just wide minutes later.
Five minutes of stoppage time were signalled at the end of the contest and with just one minute of time to play, Mark Noble took Lingard’s place.
The Hammers could have perhaps counted themselves extremely lucky to have held on, as an equaliser could have been found just seconds before Pawson brought an end to proceedings. A clearance from Vladimír Coufal took a deflection off Son Heung-min and spun towards goal but even though Fabianski was beaten, the effort came back off the post.
That was the last action of the encounter, as the final whistle was blown and the home side could celebrate their first win over Spurs since the 2016/17 campaign.
They have an even tougher test ahead of them on Saturday when they travel to The Etihad Stadium to face Manchester City. Having said that, the Citizens do have a UEFA Champions League game on Wednesday so who knows whether Moyes will mastermind another win against one of the Premier League’s big clubs.