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West Ham v Spurs (Carabao Cup), 31.10.18


West Ham scorer:-
Perez, 71

Spurs scorers:-
Son, 16, 54
Llorente, 75

Attendance:- 50,270

Referee:- Stuart Attwell
Assistants:- Constantine Hatzidakis and Simon Beck
Fourth Official:- Michael Dean

West Ham (4-2-3-1):- Adrian (Capt.); Fredericks, Diop, Ogbonna, Masuaku; Obiang (sub Perez, 58), Rice; Diangana, Anderson (sub Snodgrass, 46), Antonio; Hernandez (sub Arnautovic, 59)

Subs not used:- Fabianski; Balbuena, Powell, Coventry

No bookings

Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Gazzaniga; Walker-Peters, Foyth, Sanchez, Aurier; Wanyama, Winks; Eriksen (Capt.)(sub Skipp, 84), Dele (sub Nkoudou, 63), Son; Llorente (sub Sissoko, 77)
(Armband to Wanyama)
(Skipp wore number 52)

Subs not used:- Vorm; Eyoma (53), Marsh (47); Lucas Moura

No bookings

Son shines over Stratford!

West Ham - Carabao Cup

Son Heung-min captured the headlines at The London Stadium last night with his first Spurs goals since March, but there was another captivating performance by a member of the Spurs team which merits highlighting. That was 20 year old Juan Foyth, recently selected for the Argentine national squad, but not seen on the field for Spurs since February’s 6-1 Cup win over Rochdale. Foyth was immaculate at the back. His marking was tight. His tackling was sharp and impactive. His ability to run with the ball under close control out of defence was a joy to see. The only disappointment is to wonder when we will see Juan play again. Perhaps it will be in the EFL Cup quarter-final at The Emirates as we were drawn away to the old enemy after last night’s superb win.

It was a joy to see our second win at The London stadium in just 11 days. Of course we haven’t visited this venue in games so close before, and in fact we have never played two away games against West Ham so close together. This now our third consecutive win at this venue, which is more than “The Hammers” have managed so far this season!

Manager Mauricio Pochettino exercised superb squad management this week with only one player starting last night, who had started on Monday night against Manchester City. That was Davinson Sanchez, who partnered Foyth superbly, starting on the left of the two, but by the end of the night being seen to the right of centre. Serge Aurier made a switch too, playing at left back, to allow Kyle Walker-Peters to play at right back. It was Kyle’s first Spurs appearance since the last day of last season. Fernando Llorente made his first start since that 6-1 beating of Rochdale, and capped his night with a first goal since that game too. By the end of the night we even saw Georges-Kevin Nkoudou, and 18 year old Oliver Skipp made his Spurs debut too. The bench included Timothy Eyoma and George Marsh. I understand another youngster – Jamie Bowden – was in the squad of 20.

Spurs were able to field a strong team, which was pretty much as I predicted with the exception of Sanchez for Dier. Harry Kane was one of those rested completely, but Llorente had a strong front three to support him with Eriksen, Dele and Son as formidable a trio as any we can field. Harry Winks in particular and Victor Wanyama were strong in front of the defence, all of whom stood up well to whatever West Ham could throw at them during the game. The “Hammers” did put us under some pressure in the second half, particularly when getting the score back to 2-1, but once 2Sonny” had scored his second to make it 3-1, the West Ham not-so-faithful started to drift away.

West Ham have their injury problems, of course, and they did have their own youngsters on the bench, but they did field a pretty strong side, although Arnautovic only appeared when replacing Hernandez on the hour. Former Spurs Academy product Ryan Fredericks played at right back for West Ham. He had been captured from Fulham on a free transfer in the summer. One youngster who did start was 20 year old Grady Diangana, who had featured in our recent League game here. Diangana impressed down the right wing, and this perhaps was the reason for Aurier’s switch with Walker-Peters.

The match was preceded by a minute’s silence for Leicester Chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and those who died with him in the helicopter crash last Saturday. Wreaths were laid on the centre circle by Tony Cottee for West Ham, and Ledley King on behalf of Spurs. Cottee had of course played for Leicester during his career.

Spurs did have the ball in the net after 8 minutes when Eriksen crossed from the right and Dele converted, but the offside flag had been raised against the Spurs skipper on the night. The best early threat for “The Hammers” was when Diangana got past Aurier and crossed for Hernandez, whose shot was hooked out for a corner by the alert Foyth. Foyth had already been impressing me with his every touch by this time. Spurs took a 16th minute lead after an attack from the left with Llorente feeding Dele, who in turn passed delicately forward to Son, who fired high to the right of Adrian, having wrong-footed the keeper. Son might have scored a quick second but he, Dele and Eriksen each had shots blocked or saved.

Antonio threatened for West Ham, cutting in from the left and hitting a shot towards the far post which was deflected across Gazzaniga’s goal at the expense of a corner, which Spurs cleared. After 36 minutes Antonio threatened again, having the beating of Walker-Peters, but not Juan Foyth who tackled and put the ball out for a corner. West Ham had a free kick on their left , but Gazzaniga was alert and closed down Hernandez before he could shoot. After another (this one clever) free kick by the home side on their left again Diop crossed, Antonio tried, but Hernandez had an effort saved by Gazzaniga. Just before the break, Harry Winks needed treatment after making a vital midfield interception.

West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini replaced Anderson with Snodgrass at the interval, and Spurs were called upon to defend early on. Antonio was threatening again, but Foyth, Sanchez and Gazzaniga were strong. Having weathered the storm, such as it was, Spurs went two up with Son scoring again. This time Masuaku failed to clear Dele’s ball which ran to the advancing Son, who rounded Adrian to score in front of the delighted away support. It was perhaps around this time that we saw the first incursion towards the Spurs support by a home fan, and there were actually two one-man pitch invasions by West Ham fans during the remainder of the game. On Saturday they face Burnley here, which was the game that led to so much home crowd trouble in March. I wonder if West Ham will suffer sanction as a result of their inability to control their own fans again?

Pelligrini made a double substitution (Perez and Arnautovic for Obiang and Hernandez), and their crowd was lifted by their efforts to at least get close to Spurs. Arnautovic did cross dangerously from the right, but Foyth was equal to that effort. Dele Alli was replaced by the rarely seen Georges-Kevin Nkoudou who played down the left flank with Son switching to the right and Eriksen in the middle.

There was a scramble in the Spurs penalty area after 65 minutes, following a West Ham corner, but ultimately Paulo Gazzaniga managed to clear. Refreshingly, Gazzaniga varies his game with long and short clearances. Eriksen released Nkoudou on the left and his cross was cleared to the feet of Son, whose shot went straight into Adrian’s arms. Son went down just outside the box under Ogbonna’s challenge, but there was no foul. A Spurs attack featuring Eriksen and Aurier broke down and West Ham threatened with Foyth again the foil for Arnautovic. West Ham did have a corner though and substitute Perez headed home Snodgrass’s cross at the back post to bring a roar from the home crowd.

Briefly it was “Game on”, but West Ham’s dreams faded and died and their bubbles well and truly burst when Spurs had a corner on the left, won and taken by Eriksen, which was volleyed home in the middle of the goal by Llorente. That was “Game over” and the home fans started to disappear. Llorente was immediately replaced by Sissoko, and it wasn’t long before young Skipp replaced Eriksen. Oliver showed energy naturally in the middle, but he was effective in closing down opponents too, finding time for a decent pass or two.

There were four minutes of added time, but Spurs came closest to scoring and it was Son’s chance of a hat-trick after Winks had put him in with a chance inside the area, but West Ham cleared. Sissoko put Nkoudou through, but he was offside.

Not only had Pochettino managed his squad well, but his team managed this game well. They did not attack as much as did the home side, but they were far more effective as the result shows. Spurs defended well in the middle too, and we can look forward with relish to that quarter-final away to Arsenal in the week before Christmas. What a festive occasion that will be!

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