SUNDAY 18TH OCTOBER, 2020
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 3(3) WEST HAM UNITED 3(0)
Kane, 8, 16
West Ham scorers:-
Sanchez (o.g.), 85
Referee:- Paul Tierney
Assistants:- Daniel Cook, Ian Hussin
Fourth official:- Robert Jones
VAR:- Peter Bankes
Assistant VAR:- Adam Nunn
Spurs (4-3-3):- Lloris (Capt.); Aurier, Alderweireld, Sanchez, Reguilon; Sissoko, Hojbjerg, Ndombele (sub Winks, 73); Bergwijn (sub Bale, 72), Kane, Son (sub Lucas Moura, 80)
Subs not used:- Hart; Doherty, Davies; Vinicius
West Ham (5-4-1):- Fabianski; Coufal, Balbuena, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Masuaku (sub Snodgrass, 90); Bowen, Soucek, Rice (Capt.), Fornals (sub Lanzini, 77); Antonio (sub Yarmolenko, 77)
Subs not used:- Randolph; Fredericks, Diop; Noble
Booked:- Antonio (foul on Son), Ogbonna (foul on Bergwijn), Soucek (foul on Kane), Masuaku (foul on Lucas Moura), Lanzini (excessive celebration)
The ecstasy and the agony
It wasn’t a game of two halves. It was a game bookended by a blistering start by Spurs, who were three up inside 16 minutes, and an astounding (for Spurs devastating) finish where the “Hammers” scored three goals in the last 8 minutes plus the 4 minutes of added time. Their equaliser was scored with literally the last kick of the game. Harry Kane was clearly man of the match, creating Son’s first minute opener before adding two goals which take him within two of his 200 club goals. Kane could have had the perfect hat-trick hitting the post in the second half. Gareth Bale, about whom there was of course much excitement, was held on the bench and when he did get on he had a golden chance to truly put the game beyond West Ham, but pulled his shot wide. Spurs suffered the three goals as a result of two needlessly conceded free kicks and an unfortunate headed own goal by Davinson Sanchez.
THFC would not allow me the fly the Spurs Odyssey flag in the stadium for these behind closed doors games but it will feature in my match report!
Usually when he plays, Sanchez is the right centre-back, but today he played to the left, perhaps to deal with the threat of Antonio. In truth, Davinson had problems with the West Ham front man, even during the period when we went three up, scoring from our only shots on target.
The strength of Spurs’ squad is indicated by the absence of Dier, Lo Celso, Dele and latest addition Joe Rodon from the squad of 18. The inclusion of Steven Bergwijn, who played on the right, came as a surprise, and it cannot be said he excelled. Nominally West Ham lined up as a 5-4-1. However, Vladimir Coufal was often found supporting the West ham attack, and Harry Kane even made a remarkable block from a Coufal shot inside the Spurs area as half-time approached. Declan Rice captained the visiting side.
West Ham kicked off and attacked the South Stand. They did threaten Spurs too in the 45 seconds before they went behind! Harry Kane was ace provider again, sending a long ball from his own half down the left channel. “Sonny” chased and was faster than Balbuena. Son cut back inside the centre-back and unleashed a right foot shot that beat Fabianski just inside his left post.
To their credit West ham never shied away from anything other than an attacking policy. Sanchez was pulled up for a foul and both Rice and Cresswell stood over the ball. The free kick was taken by Cresswell, but passed over Lloris’s bar. Spurs went on the attack again and Harry Kane was involved at the start and finish of a move when he passed to Bergwijn on the right. His cross reached Son on the left of the area. “Sonny” passed inside to Kane who hit a right footed shot just inside the goalkeeper’s right post. In executing this shot, Harry had Soucek and Rice giving him close attention, but got the better of both.
West Ham continued to offer us problems, and we were thankful when Antonio was flagged offside when receiving Bowen’s pass. Our third goal came inside the 16th minute. Son passed to Reguilon who was to his left. Sergio lifted a lovely cross towards the back post where Harry rose magnificently to head home.
Antonio got the first booking of the game for a foul on Son in the Spurs half. Antonio had a headed chance after a left foot shot by Fornals, but Lloris held the ball. At the other end Ndombele found Aurier with a ice threaded pass inside the West Ham area, but Aurier was blocked and West Ham cleared. Subsequently the “Hammers” struggled to clear their lines and Aurier crossed from deep on the right. “Sonny” had a chance at the near post, but he was smothered by Fabianski.
Spurs made a break out of defence with Son and Kane advancing down the right channel. Son sent a ball forward to Kane, but both knew he was offside. From a central position Kane passed to Sissoko on the left. Moussa passed back inside to Bergwijn, whose looped shot passed well over the target. Super Harry was a defender in first half added time, to great effect!
Within four minutes of the re-start West Ham had a great chance. Antonio got the better of Toby Alderweireld, cutting inside before hitting a cross/shot which Fornals somehow headed over in front of the back post. Hojbjerg is proving a strong player for spurs in the middle and when he fed the ball to Son, whose attempt was blocked, Kane had a left foot shot go over. Harry had another chance as he broke forward down the inside left channel, hitting a right footed shot which was saved at the expense of the first Spurs corner. West Ham had already had several. Another Kane-Son break-out ended with a Son cross which was comfortably picked up by Fabianski.
Gareth Bale was getting ready to come on, and he replaced Bergwijn after 72 minutes. He might have scored from his first touch had he not hit a free kick straight at Fabianski. “Sonny” advanced and fed the ball to Kane, whose left foot shot beat the keeper, but not his right post. Now Son was replaced by Lucas Moura. Winks had replaced Ndombele at the same time Bale came on.
David Moyes had been self-isolating before the International break, and might have wished he had stayed at home until this point. He made a double substitution, one of which was Lanzini for Fornals. The “Hammers” had some hope when they had a free kick on the left (Sissoko’s foul). Cresswell floated the ball in and Balbuena headed home. Three minutes later we had some serious twitching to do. Coufal and the other substitute – Yarmolenko – combined on the right before Coufal entered the area and hit a cross which Davinson Sanchez met with a header which hit the Spurs net.
Masuaku committed (and was booked for) a quite desperate foul on Lucas Moura and he was replaced by Snodgrass as the game entered added time. Bale’s chance to secure the points came from Kane’s pass. Bale took two touches on the edge of the area, but pulled his left foot shot wide.
The final agony came in the 94th minute. This time, Serge Aurier was pulled up (perhaps harshly) and the Spurs defence struggled to clear Cresswell’s kick. In the end, instead of perhaps just booting the ball down the field, Harry Winks tried a clever pass (to himself), which he over-ran to the right foot of Lanzini who beat Lloris in his top left corner with a marvellous last-kick shot.
Spurs would have gone second (for a couple of hours) with a win, and most certainly would have finished the weekend in the top four. As it is we have to brush ourselves down and get on with our programme which continues on Thursday with a Europa League group J game at home to LASK. West Ham’s celebrations at the end of the game reflected (fairly) their achievement and their fans have the bragging rights this time around.
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