SATURDAY 20th OCTOBER, 2018
WEST HAM UNITED 0(0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1(1)
Referee:- Martin Atkinson
Assistants:- Stephen Child & Peter Kirkup
Fourth official:- David Coote
West Ham (4-1-4-1):- Fabianski; Zabaleta, Balbuena, Diop, Cresswell; Rice; Yarmolenko (sub Diangana, 40), Noble (Capt.) (sub Antonio, 72), Snodgrass, Anderson (sub Hernandez, 57); Arnautovic (Armband to Zabaleta) Subs not used:- Adrian; Ogbonna, Fredericks, Masuaku
Booked:- Noble (foul on Lamela), Arnautovic (foul on Trippier), Snodgrass (foul on Sissoko)
Spurs (4-3-3):- Lloris (Capt.); Trippier, Sanchez, Alderweireld, Davies; Sissoko (sub Eriksen, 89), Dier, Winks; Lamela (sub Dembele, 76), Kane (sub Llorente, 86), Lucas Moura
Subs not used:- Gazzaniga; Aurier, Walker-Peters; Son
Spurs hang on to what they got!
As good a view as an away fan can hope for at the London Stadium
It wasn't an easy game to watch for the travelling fans, with few chances created at either end in the first half, and next to nothing created by Spurs in the second half, but Spurs clung on to the slender lead given them by Erik Lamela's glancing header in the 44th minute. West Ham piled on the pressure in the second half with Hugo Lloris making three great saves from Arnautovic, but Spurs successfully defended their lead and took a precious three points which puts them back in the top four (at least until Monday night) and only two points behind joint leaders Manchester City and Liverpool.
This was the first time since the Double season of 1960-61 that Spurs have won five successive London Derby league matches (winning at Chelsea in April obviously helped there!) (also note that Watford are not included in this statistic), and this is now our best 9-game Premier League start. With a side that was missing Dele Alli, Mousa Dembele and Christian Eriksen, plus our player of last season Jan Vertonghen, that is quite an achievement, and in a situation when the result is paramount our situation is more than satisfactory.
Mauricio Pochettino chose a 4-3-3 formation today with Sissoko, Dier and Winks behind Lamela, Kane and Lucas Moura. Sissoko's name was chanted during the game, and when he was replaced late on by Christian Eriksen. Sissoko, Lucas Moura and Lamela gave us drive when going forward. Lamela put in that extra half-yard of effort, and Lucas Moura gave us the release of many forward runs. Harry Kane was double marked most of the time and did not see much of the ball.
At the back, for the last two games, Toby Alderweireld has had to take up the left-hand centre back position, as it seems Sanchez is the least comfortable with that side. Kieran Trippier was exposed several times on his flank, but Spurs have kept a clean sheet and secured all three points.
Spurs kicked off, playing away from their fans. Sanchez won an early battle with Arnautovic on the right flank and sent a long ball to Kane, who fed Erik Lamela playing down the left channel. Erik hit the side netting with his shot. Arnautovic threatened at the other end, having been put in by Mark Noble, but Lloris was comfortably equal to the Austrian's shot.
Snodgrass picked up an errant ball by Toby Alderweireld and advanced down the left flank, but his cross was also held by Hugo.
Sissoko had a shot deflected which looped over the bar for a corner, after a three-pronged move featuring him, Lamela and Lucas Moura.
One thing Spurs do too often is concede free kicks in dangerous positions and this happened when Dier was penalised after 19 minutes. Snodgrass crossed and Arnautovic headed this one over.
Good play by Lamela, in his own half, led to a move with Lucas Moura feeding Kane, whose shot also took a deflection and went over for a corner. After Toby Alderweireld had headed the corner over, Kane had another chance, created again by Lucas, but this one was blocked. Spurs were in control at this stage, but had nothing to show for their efforts.
Yarmolenko, usually to be seen on the right, beat Trippier on his flank and passed to Snodgrass, whose shot took a deflection for a corner. From that corner, Yarmolenko went down clearly injured, and was stretchered off by a mobile cart. "Is that your caravan", chanted Spurs fans, but many did generously applaud the clearly injured Ukrainian, as they had a West Ham fan who was remembered after 26 minutes. Yarmolenko was replaced by 20 year old Grady Diangana.
With a minute of the first half remaining, and following one piece of good play on the right by Sissoko, Sissoko again made headway towards the bye-line and his cross was headed home by Lamela beyond Fabianski. Erik couldn't help celebrating in front of the home fans!
In first half added time, it could have been 2-0 after a free kick on the right, with Trippier and Lamela combining. I thought that Lucas had one effort blocked, but Sanchez had his shot on goal saved.
West Ham came out with purpose in the second half, and Noble sprayed a ball to Arnautovic who had a shot blocked. Arnautovic then had a good header pushed around the corner by Lloris after a cross from the left by Cresswell.
Spurs responded with a great run by Lucas Moura from the left channel in his own half towards the middle. Lamela was with him, but when it came to the crunch, a poor pass let us down here. Kane and Lamela got into a strong position centrally only about 25 yards out, but failed to take a shot on goal. That is almost the last attacking move I can recall from Spurs, who spent most of the rest of the game on the back foot, either because of West Ham's pressing play, or because they persisted in passing backwards!
It was only West Ham players who took the bookings though, and the first of these went to skipper Noble for preventing Lamela breaking out of his half. Arnautovic had another shot well saved by Lloris after a free kick by Noble, taken on the right. At the other end, after a corner by Trippier, Sanchez did have a good chance, but headed over,
Noble was replaced by Antonio and the armband was given to veteran right back Zabaleta. Lamela was replaced by Dembele, but he couldn't stem the incessant tide towards the Spurs goal. West Ham did have the ball in the net following a Hernandez-Arnautovic move, but the assistant referee's flag had clearly been raised before the ball was even struck. That didn't deter home fans letting off a claret and blue flare which clearly was meant to indicate they had actually scored a goal. Their timing had failed dismally!
Harry Kane was replaced by Llorente and after a driving run by Dier and a cross by Lucas Moura from the right, Llorente's effort seemed to have been blocked, but a goal kick was the decision by referee Martin Atkinson. Mr. Atkinson generally tried to let things go, which worked to the advantage of both sides at times.
In added time, Hugo made another great save advancing to the feet of Arnautovic. The last threat to Spurs' goal came from Antonio, but he put his shot well wide of the right post to ensure that it was Spurs fans who went home happy. We will, of course, be back here in 10 days' time for League Cup action, but before then we have crucial games against PSV in the Champions League, and then at home to fellow title chasers Manchester City. West Ham lost their "Cup Final" and find themselves still at the wrong end of the table on 7 points - no less than 14 behind us!
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