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West Ham v Spurs, 21.02.21

PREMIER LEAGUE
SUNDAY 21ST FEBRUARY, 2021
(12 noon)
WEST HAM UNITED 2(1) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1(0)

West Ham scorers:-
Antonio, 5
Lingard, 47

Spurs scorer:-
Lucas Moura, 64

Attendance:- 0

Referee:- Craig Pawson
Assistants:- Harry Lennard, Richard West
Fourth official:- Graham Scott VAR:- Darren England
Assistant VAR:- Andy Halliday.

Teams:-
West Ham (4-2-3-1):- Fabianski; Coufal, Diop, Dawson, Cresswell; Soucek, Rice (Capt.); Bowen (sub Benrahma, 65), Lingard (sub Noble, 90+4), Fornals (sub Johnson, 82); Antonio

Subs not used:- Randolph (GK), Martin (GK); Balbuena, Alves; Lanzini, Odubeko

Booked:- Soucek (foul on Kane), Diop (foul on Lucas Moura), Antonio (preventing free kick being taken), Fornals (foul on Ndombele)

Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Lloris (Capt.); Tanganga (sub Doherty, 46), Sanchez, Dier, Reguilon (sub Dele, 77); Ndombele, Hojbjerg; Lucas Moura, Lamela (sub Bale, 46), Son; Kane

Subs not used:- Hart; Alderweireld, Davies; Winks, Sissoko; Vinicius

Booked:- Lamela (foul on Diop), Hojbjerg (foul on Lingard), Reguilon (foul on Bowen)

The familiar ring of defeat

It's the familiar ring of Premier League defeat for Spurs, I'm afraid. We've now lost five of our last six league games, and of course the worst thing about today's result is that it was against West Ham. The "Hammers" have taken 4 points of us this season and they are a full 9 points ahead of us. I truly cannot imagine the last time that occurred.

Why did we lose? The stats certainly don't tell the story as we had 69% of the possession and 20 shots on goal, compared to 4 for West Ham. Both sides had four shots on target. Spurs lost because they had serious lapses of concentration early in each half when they conceded the goals, and of course we did not do well enough with our opportunities.

The game was preceded by optimism with the inclusion of Reguilon at left back, whereas Mourinho had suggested he had no chance of playing before Wednesday. That’s as far as his mind games got us really, as many Spurs fans would have been concerned about the remaining three of the back four. Those concerns would relate to the inexperience of Tanganga and the liability of Sanchez and Dier. West Ham had a strong 11 on the pitch with some good reserves, but David Moyes was clearly short of some resources as he named two goalkeepers among his subs and an 18-year-old rookie attacker Ademipo Odubeko.

West Ham kicked off but Spurs had the first attack of note when Son crossed from deep on the left and Lucas Moura returned the ball inside for Lamela. West Ham skipper Declan Rice blocked and cleared the shot. Then “The Hammers” took us by surprise in only the fifth minute. The ball was quickly released to the right flank where Coufal’s attempted cross was half-cleared to the feet of Bowen. Bowen crossed into the 6-yard box. Hugo might have expected Dier to have gone for the ball, but it looked as if Fornals got a touch and Hugo could not hold the ball, which fell to Antonio who snapped up the opportunity to score at close range with glee. This goal was scored in front of the away stand too – fortunately empty, of course.

There was more pressure by West Ham, this time from the left with Cresswell crossing for Bowen, but Spurs managed to clear. Reguilon was getting forward a lot and his pass inside for Lamela was cleared. West Ham were successfully getting men back in numbers, but also proving capable of breaking with speed and movement. Spurs on the other hand were too often slow in their build-up. Hojbjerg was not his usual reliable self and when he failed with a short pass, it was not his only shortcoming of the day. Lingard had a chance from the left of goal, but fired wide across Hugo’s area. Both Bowen and Fornals found space on the right flank.

After 12 minutes, Lamela made a great and a strong run from half-way, brushing challenges aside before releasing the ball to Kane who hit a right foot shot over the target from 20 yards. Spurs had a corner after 15 minutes and after a couple of headers inside the box, one of which by Tanganga should have been aimed at goal, Kane had another shot blocked. The second header had involved a clash between Sanchez and Soucek, who had to leave the field temporarily for treatment, which presumably included a stitch or two. West Ham survived his absence.

A Kane header after Reguilon’s cross probably took a touch from Diop and Looped up and down into Fabianski’s arms. A long crossfield pass reached Son who crossed hard and low with Lucas Moura just failing to get a touch in the middle. Son gave Lamela a chance with a short ball in the middle just outside the box, but that shot was well blocked too. Bowen handled an attempted cross by Reguilon and Son took the free kick which was easily cleared.

Spurs had a free kick five yards inside the West Ham half but passed this backwards to a position 20 yards inside our half. This tendency frustrates me so much, and we ended up outing ourselves under pressure, as was also often the case in poor attempts to play from the back. Ndombele was playing the deeper role and he too was taking too much time on the ball sometimes.

A silly foul by Sanchez just outside our area thankfully came to nought, but it need not have happened. There was a severe lack of confidence by Spurs in key areas in their own half at times. Lamela was booked for a needless foul on Diop. Hojbjerg and Reguilon went into Mr Pawson’s book before half-time, and this too was needless added pressure.

Cresswell won and took a corner on the left and a header by Craig Dawson was pushed over the bar by Hugo Lloris. Ndombele found Son with a good pass and Son passed inside to Reguilon, but the left-footed player needed a right foot to manage a shot. Reguilon passed across the edge of the area to Lamela whose shot was well saved by Fabianksi, diving to his right, holding the ball at the second attempt. West Ham had an attacking throw which they threw forward. That was novel! Sanchez was not exactly wise to it either.

In first half added time Hojbjerg gave Harry Kane a short pass and Kane hit a right foot shot which was saved. Spurs had a corner taken from the right and met before the near post by the head of Eric Dier, whose attempt was well off target.

Jose’s half-time substitutions were a mixture of protecting one of the three yellow cards his team had suffered and finding more in the way of creativity. He did both really with Doherty replacing Tanganga and Bale on for Lamela. We certainly attacked more down the right-hand side and there were occasions when the two subs combined well together. Un fortunately though we fell foul of early second half lapse of concentration as west Ham attacked the left channel and the ball reached Lingard via Fornals. Lingard scored with a shot from the left across Lloris and inside the far post, after which the assistant raised a yellow flag. VAR reviewed the goal and correctly decided it was a good. Lingard had got past both Sanchez and Dier before scoring his goal, which was his third in his short West Ham career.

There was good strong play by Harry Kane in the middle after 52 minutes. Harry sent Lucas Moura away and he passed to Bale who crossed with Kane winning a corner. That was taken by Son, but held by Fabianski.

Soucek was shown “The Hammers”’ first yellow card as he fouled Harry Kane who was on the run forward. After the free kick, Sanchez, who had come forward, hit a poor effort way too high. Harry Kane took a free kick after a foul on Ndombele, but this passed just wide of Fabianski’s left post. Fabianski dived and stretched forward to retrieve a good cross by Kane from the right after Doherty’s pass.

After 61 minutes a midfield ball broke kindly for Spurs. Gareth Bale came in side and hit a shot from 25 yards, but Fabianski held. Bale was integral to the goal Spurs did get in the 64th minute. He had won the corner on the right and took the kick himself. This was met at the near post by Lucas Moura, whose header went into the goal off the post. This was only Lucas’s second Premier League goal of the season, and his first since September.

Bale passed inside to Kane whose cross/shot passed wide of the far post, eluding all those in the danger zone. Lucas and Bale combined before Bale sent a ball to Son on the left. Lucas could have passed earlier. Son passed inside to Lucas, whose right-footed shot was well over the target. Lucas teed up Kane to his left but Harry’s left-footed shot was just wide.

Dele had been getting ready and he replaced Reguilon, who had not been getting forward so much in the second half with more focus on the right via Doherty and Bale. Spurs gambled on a back three of Doherty, Sanchez and Dier. Gareth Bale had a great shot from over 20 yards which went out of play off the top of Fabianski’s bar. Bale had one cross returned to him before passing to Bale.

Fornals was replaced by 21-year-old full back Ben Johnson, who is Ledley King’s cousin. Moyes was now determined upon retaining the lead. Both Fabianski and Coufal needed treatment after a clash of heads when they challenged for Bale’s ball, intended for Son. Dele teed up Dier, but his attempt was way too high.

There were 5 minutes of added time. Spurs’ best chance in this period wasn’t even intentional as Bale crossed and Kane got the ball to Son to his left. The ball really rebounded off Son’s body before floating back across the area, beating Fabianski but bouncing back into play off the far post. West Ham managed the remainder of the game and took all three points.

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