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Spurs v West Ham, 22.11.15

BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE
SUNDAY 22ND NOVEMBER, 2015
(4pm)
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 4(2) WEST HAM UNITED 1(0)

Spurs scorers:-
Kane, 23, 50
Alderweireld, 33
Walker, 83

West Ham scorer:-
Lanzini, 87

Attendance:- 35, 968

Referee:- Anthony Taylor
Assistants:- S. Long & A. Garratt
Fourth official:- R. East

Teams:-
Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Lloris (Capt.), Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose; Dier, Dembele; Son (sub Onomah, 85), Alli (sub Mason, 71), Eriksen; Kane (sub Carroll, 91)

Subs not used:- Vorm; Trippier, Davies; Townsend

Booked:- Alli, Walker

West Ham (4-2-3-1):- Adrian; Jenkinson, Tomkins, Reid, Cresswell; Noble (Capt.) (sub Song, 80), Kouyate; Sakho, Lanzini, Moses (sub Zarate, 63); Carroll (sub Jelavic, 63)
(Armband to Tomkins)
Subs not used:- Spiegel; Ogbonna, Oxford; Antonio

Booked:- Noble, Sakho

It's quite a team we've got here!

It has certainly been quite a day here at White Hart Lane, and there will be plenty of superlatives dished out about our beloved Tottenham Hotspur, who achieved their biggest win over local rivals West Ham since March 2008 (4-0).

Those superlatives will be well deserved too, as Mauricio Pochettino's side presented a fast and slick brand of football that will have plenty of people salivating over their performance. In winning so convincingly and impressively, Spurs made their hold on fifth place more secure with a goal difference only excelled by third placed Manchester City, who are only two points above us. We are now three points and a better goal difference clear of West Ham, who will be overtaken tomorrow night if Palace beat Sunderland.

Harry Kane scored two goals, bringing his Premier league total to 8, and has now scored in four consecutive league games. He's chasing Jamie Vardy! There were other great performances by Spurs players today, not least those of Mousa Dembele and Dele Alli, who continues to shine in his first Premier League season. Unfortunately, Alli picked up his fifth domestic yellow card of the season, and will have to miss next week's home game against Chelsea.

Spurs were without the suspended Erik Lamela, who was replaced by Heung-min Son. Once again, whilst the initial team announcements suggested Alli would be playing next to Dier, it was Dembele who took the "defensive" role with Alli in front of him, but also seen in a box to box role. To call Dembele defensive is a mis-nomer, as he probed and promoted plenty of attacking moves. Dembele has been quoted this week as saying that Spurs are playing their best football since he arrived three years ago. Well, he too is playing his best football for the team.

Alli's position ahead of Dembele may have confused West Ham skipper Mark Noble at the start of the game. I suspect that Noble had been allocated the task of keeping Alli quiet. He didn't do a great job!

The "Hammers" were missing their top scorer Dimitri Payet, and also Enner Valencia. Perhaps we should call them "The Borrowers" as they have a leased stadium to move into next year, and two of their regular team members (Jenkinson and Moses) are loanees from Arsenal and Chelsea respectively.

The increased security levels had been well advised, but the queue to get in at the north-east corner was so slow that I missed the emotional playing of "La Marsellaise", and just made my seat for kick-off. This was despite my best efforts to arrive early.

At the outset, it looked as if the game would be tight, with West Ham closing us down in every quarter, and actually winning a couple of early corners, without bothering Hugo Lloris to a great degree. The West Ham fans were feeling cocky and confident, but would be leaving in droves, like sheep, long before the end of the game. Only a few hundred remained in the ground to see Lanzini's consolation goal. Spurs fans had enjoyed the ascendency for quite a while but had already acerbated the pain of the visiting fans with chants of "Why the f*** are you still here?" !

Danny Rose successfully tackled Jenkinson to concede a corner, having made a lot of ground to do so. Following the corner, an attempt by Moses was cleared by Dier. Cresswell had a shot blocked after another corner, and Lloris also picked up comfortably when Kouyate tried to break through.

Spurs then became the dominant side, playing some very slick passing football. Son and Dembele fed the ball across from the right, and Christian Eriksen hit a powerful left footed shot, which Adrian pushed out for a corner, diving to his right. After more slick football, again featuring Dembele towards the right, Dele Alli had a shot partially blocked, and deflected into the path of Harry Kane, who fired home and ran off to celebrate with the Park Lane Spurs fans.

West Ham nearly equalised, but only because the assistant referee missed a blatant offside when Noble's shot was deflected and fell for Kouyate, who hit an overhead kick onto the top of the bar. West Ham won a corner, but Andy Carroll's header was held by Lloris. A later effort by the former England striker was closer to row Z.

Son won a corner for Spurs, and Eriksen took it from the left. Toby Alderweireld met the ball perfectly inside the 6 yard box to head home across goal for his second league goal of the season. West Ham fans became quieter. Spurs fans chanted "2-0 in your cup final".

More great football by Spurs followed, and I don't believe I have ever seen Eriksen run so fast, as he chased the ball down the left wing, passing inside to Kane, who fed the ball to Son. Son's shot was saved, and Dele Alli's follow up header hit the bar.

Lloris was comfortably onto Sakho's effort from just outside the left of the area. Spurs broke forward with Alli's challenge in the middle winning him the rub of the green, and the ball, allowing a pass to Harry Kane. Kane was in the clear, and should have scored from the one on one against Adrian. Harry pulled a shocking left footer miles wide of the beckoning target. Spurs could have been 4-0 up at half-time.

West Ham were getting riled at the start of the second half. No foul was awarded when Alli was surely a victim, but referee Anthony Taylor did not hesitate to punish Kyle Walker's strong revenge challenge upon Winston Reid. No card was shown though.

Harry Kane was fouled not far outside the box, and the free kick was taken from further away by Eriksen. From this kick, when the ball was half cleared, Kane tried an overhead kick, but Adrian saved.

Spurs were on fire and went three up after a poor defensive ball fell for Eriksen left of Kane. Eriksen passed inside, and Kane, who currently has all the confidence in the world, used half a pace to make room for his right footed shot which went beneath Adrian. Around this time, the Spurs fans chanted to West Ham fans, "You're f***ing s**t" ad infinitum.

In truth, at this stage, The Hammers had no response to Spurs, whose fitness, energy and effort to chase, challenge for, and to win the ball could not be faulted. Skill levels were very high too! Dele Alli with a deft touch so nearly created a goal-scoring chance for himself from Dier's long ball, but his shot was too easy for the busy West Ham keeper.

Spurs were working so hard for each other. Dembele put in particular effort before sending a great ball to Son on the right. Son had a shot well saved, before Eriksen's follow up was also saved. Kane hit a great cross-field ball from the left to Kyle Walker, who passed inside to Son. His shot was deflected for another Spurs corner.

Slaven Bilic had three strikers on the bench, and made a double substitution on 63 minutes with Zarate and Jelavic replacing Moses and the ineffective Carroll.

The fresh legs gave West Ham some impetus and after a melee just inside the West Ham half, Alli and Noble were booked.

Danny Rose gave Kane an opportunity from distance, but the shot was easy for Adrian to pick up. Having picked up his booking, Alli was replaced by Ryan Mason, and may now have "won" himself a midweek trip to Azerbaijan as he has next Sunday off!

Following a West Ham corner, Kouyate threatened goal with a header, but Lloris saved. Another melee followed in front of the visiting fans after Walker fouled Sakho, and this time Walker was booked, with his victim also seeing yellow. Noble was replaced by former gooner Alex Song, who got the traditional welcome from the home fans, who had now found another course anti-Hammers song to the tune of "Hey Jude"

Ryan Mason had a shot and a follow-up saved by Adrian, after Danny Rose's pass from the left. Then, after being fed by Eriksen, Walker exchanged passes with Son, before hitting a rasping drive into the net. Unfortunately, Kyle felt the need to put the Spurs defence under pressure with an under-hit pass, which led to Lanzini's consolation goal, cheered by the remnants of the West Ham crowd.

Spurs hadn't finished as Dier raced down the left to chase down a ball, which he passed back to Eriksen. Eriksen passed inside to Ryan Mason, whose right footer hit Adrian's left post.

Spurs had won well, and it could have been more. If we can beat Chelsea next week, who knows what we could achieve this season. The dream of top four is most definitely on. Dare we dream of more?

Personally, I'd like to see a reserve team, including Alli, make the long haul to Azerbaijan, allowing most of today's heroes to prepare for Chelsea, who are bound to get back their mojo before long. I hope it's not next week!

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