Hammers Finish Good Week with Spurs Defeat
West Ham United went into the game at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium level on points with their London rivals but after that memorable night against Sevilla, they were unable to give another winning performance, as Spurs beat them 3-1.
David Moyes made two changes to the side that booked the club’s place in the UEFA Europa League quarter-final just three days earlier, as Łukasz Fabiański returned in goal taking the place of Alphonse Areola and Arthur Masuaku made his first start since the 3-2 home defeat to Southampton on Boxing Day, as he was preferred to Pablo Fornals. Aaron Cresswell retained his place, meaning he was able to make his 500th appearance for the Irons, while youngster Sonny Perkins was the only Development Squad player to feature on the bench.
Tomáš Souček scored the opener in the 2-0 victory on Thursday night and he had a chance to grab an early goal here when he sent over a right-wing cross and although defender Ben Davies thought he would be able to clear, he didn’t do well enough and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris came to his rescue.
After that scare, Spurs soon clicked into gear and went ahead in the ninth minute when Harry Kane played in Son Heung-min and the ball ended up in the back of the net. It was rather unfortunate for West Ham though, as Kurt Zouma appeared to get the final touch.
The Hammers almost equalised straight away through Michail Antonio. The former Nottingham Forest player took possession from Kane and tried his luck but the effort went narrowly wide.
Antonio Conte’s side then applied the pressure and were close to putting their opponents out of sight but fortunately for the visitors Son Heung-min saw his second effort hit the post, following a cross from Dejan Kulusevski.
The striker wasn’t finished there however and netted again on twenty four minutes after latching onto a perfect ball from Kane. By this point, it didn’t look as though it was going to be a good afternoon for the visitors!!!
The travelling support needn’t have worried though because on thirty five minutes, Matt Doherty gave away a preventable corner which Cresswell sent into the box and Craig Dawson headed down for Saïd Benrahma to send a clever volley beyond Lloris.
Referee Anthony Taylor blew the whistle for the break and the East Londoners went down to the dressing rooms, having given themselves a lifeline. Could they build on it in the second-half?
The former Brentford winger was trying to create a further opportunity just minutes after the game had restarted but unfortunately the Spurs’ defence were alert to the danger.
Moyes’ side had a lot to do but were still in with a chance of getting something. On fifty six minutes, they went close again when a great team move involving Masuaku, Manuel Lanzini and Cresswell was passed up when the defender played a great ball into Antonio’s feet. All the frontman needed to do was keep his composure but instead, he shot wildly over the bar.
That was to be the last involvement for both Masuaku and Antonio as Moyes then made a double change with Fornals and Andriy Yarmolenko coming on.
Just four minutes after entering the action, the pair linked up well when Fornals set up the Ukrainian for what would have been his third goal in a week. The frontman was unable to hit the target on this occasion when he only succeeded in finding the side netting.
Tottenham wanted to try and kill West Ham off as the game entered the closing stages. They had a number of chances but just couldn’t find the all-important touch needed to achieve it. Both Kulusevski and Kane had good chances but they were unable to make either of them count. Finally, Rodrigo Bentancur got in on the act and he sent his attempt wide, to the relief of those in the away end.
With six minutes of normal time to play, a third and final change was introduced for West Ham with Lanzini being withdrawn and Nikola Vlašić coming into the action.
Since Moyes returned to the East London club in December 2019, West Ham have been renowned for their deliveries from corners and this latest one nearly caught Spurs out. Cresswell again took responsibility and it was hooked back into the area by Benrahma. Although Souček was stationed at the back post with Zouma waiting to turn the ball goalwards, the chance came and quickly went again.
That miss proved costly for West Ham as Spurs went on to clinch the three points with a third goal. A long kick from Lloris found Kane, who then headed the ball forward for Son Heung-min to pick up possession and beat Fabiański.
It wasn’t quite the perfect end to the week that West Ham fans were hoping for as they brought March to a close with just a solitary Premier League win. They will return to action on April 3, following the international break, when they welcome Everton to Stratford with the Toffees now under the stewardship of new Head-Coach Frank Lampard.