FRIDAY 5th MAY, 2017
WEST HAM UNITED 1(0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 0(0)
West Ham scorer:-
Referee:- Anthony Taylor
Assistants:- G. Beswick & M. Perry
Fourth official:- B. Madley
West Ham (3-4-2-1):- Adrian; Fonte, Reid, Collins; Byram, Noble (Capt.),Kouyate, Cresswell;Ayew (sub Snodgrass, 84), Lanzini (sub Fernandes, 90+3); Calleri (sub Fletcher, 89)
Subs not used:- Randolph; Nordveit; Feghouli, Rice
Booked:- Noble (foul on Dier), Reid (foul on Wanyama), Lanzini (excessive celebration), Byram (foul on Son)
Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Lloris (Capt.); Walker (sub Trippier, 80), Alderweireld, Vertonghen (sub Dembele, 67), Davies; Dier, Wanyama (sub Janssen, 73); Eriksen, Alli, Son; Kane
Subs not used:- Vorm; Wimmer; Nkoudou, Sissoko
Booked:- Walker (foul on Lanzini), Trippier (foul on Fletcher)
They won their cup final. Spurs lost the league.
Spurs lost only their fourth league game of the season tonight at the London Stadium where West Ham have underwhelmed all season. Losing away to Chelsea, Man Utd and Liverpool in league games is at least bearable, but to lose this game, and at this time when we were chasing Chelsea for the Premier League title is unacceptable to those fans who travel to see their team play.
Already I have seen sympathetic comments from some who watched the game from the comfort of their armchairs, but I can assure you that to be in the presence of gloating West Ham fans,who chanted "It's happened again" is neither bearable or acceptable. West Ham won their "Cup Final" tonight; ensured their Premier League survival, and secured the gloating rights over the team they love to hate, until we next meet.
To be honest, Spurs have already exceeded my expectations for the season by all but securing Champions League football (one more point required for second place),but it certainly was not easy to watch this game tonight.
As we all know, the "London Stadium", formerly the Olympic Stadium was not built for football. My view in row 16 of the lower tier here was not too bad. Those away fans in the upper tier probably needed binoculars, not because of height, but because of distance from the pitch. Mind you, there wasn't much great football seen here tonight.
How did "The Hammers" win tonight? Essentially, I would say that Slaven Bilic used the tactics that had so much success for him in the early part of last season. He played a 3-4-2-1, which looked like a 5-4-1 whenever Spurs were on the ball, which was for the majority of the game. Their problem was a failure to effectively penetrate the West Ham blanket defence. When breaking forward, West Ham did offer a threat, and Spurs were never comfortable on the ball.
I expected a similar formation from Pochettino, if not a similar style, but we played 4-2-3-1 with Kyle Walker given a start, and Eric Dier - not Dembele - beside Wanyama.
Spurs kicked off playing towards the Bobby Moore Stand, and after just three minutes, Harry Kane tried a shot from distance outside the box which passed wide. West Ham responded with a ball from the right which gave Lanzini a chance at the far post, which he fired wide across goal. Wanyama had a speculative effort which was held by Adrian.
Kyle Walker took an early booking from referee Anthony Taylor for a foul on Lanzini. After the West Ham free kick, Lloris held Kouyate's header. West Ham skipper Mark Noble, always an inspiring player for "The Irons" also took an early booking for a foul on Dier. Much of the play was in midfield, with few clear chances, and little in the way of excitement for the paying crowd.
Toby Alderweireld hit a good ball which Son managed to head into Kane's path. Harry hit a shot which was saved and won a corner. Harry had another attempt at the near post also saved, and Spurs had won three consecutive corners, from which they achieved nothing in the end.
Hugo Lloris had to do his "sweeper keeper" act to thwart the breaking Lanzini, and Kouyate put his follow-up shot wide. At the other end, Kane pushed a ball out to Walker, who was fouled, and after Eriksen's free kick, and a touch by Dele Alli, Toby Alderweireld had a decent attempt on goal go wide.
There were plenty of midfield battles and Victor Wanyama won one of these against Ayew, without conceding a foul. Eriksen had a decent attempt on goal but fired wide across the target. A mistake by Eric Dier let in Kouyate, but he fired wide. Dele Alli showed skill on the left side, and got the ball to Eriksen in a more central position, but the ball was cleared.
After the break, a sharp cross by Wanyama won a corner, taken by Ben Davies, but cleared for a Spurs throw. West Ham made a break from their own half and Calleri and Ayew threatened the Spurs goal.
A decent pass inside by Kyle Walker gave Eriksen a chance in a good position, but he failed to exploit the opportunity. Eriksen did bring a decent save from Adrian after receiving from Son after another Walker pass. Adrian had to make his best save diving to the right to push out Son's shot after Eriksen and Kane had fed him the ball.
Sadly, after a failed Spurs corner, West Ham made a break down the left side and Cresswell crossed deep where Ayew returned the ball to the centre where Lanzini made no mistake.
Mousa Dembele came on, mysteriously for Jan Vertonghen, with meant that Eric Dier slipped into the back four. Lanzini had another shot on goal after Kouyate's pass, but this was wide. Now Wanyama went off for Janssen, but I don't remember Vincent touching the ball.
Toby Alderweireld made an uncharacteristic mistake which gave Calleri a chance, which Lloris saved at the expense of a corner.
Spurs' final substitution was Trippier for Walker, but the West Ham team,and their fans were busy running down the clock. Bilic made three late substitutions and soaked up much of the five minutes added time. Eriksen had one attempt on goal in the late stages, but that was also wide.
This win takes West Ham to 42 points and safety, so they live to play another "cup final" against Spurs next season. Spurs are not mathematically out of the title race, but effectively have surely handed the trophy to Chelsea, who after all, have been favourites for most of the season. We just need to make sure we secure that one point from our final three games to ensure our best Premier League finish, and complete what will be our best ever Premier League season. It's just that losing this of all games hurts so, so much.
P.S - This Spurs defeat could not prevent us winning this season's London League with 22 points from our 10 games. The best Chelsea can do if they beat Watford is to draw within one point of us.
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