Spurs 4-1 West Ham
Report from the Lane
22 November 2015|Tottenham Hotspur
A superb team performance saw us ease past West Ham United on a chilly but glorious Sunday afternoon at the Lane as we made it 12 Premier League matches without defeat.
Harry Kane and Toby Alderweireld netted in the first half to put us firmly in the driving seat, Kane added a second early in the second period and Kyle Walker popped up with a superb fourth as we dominated this London derby, the visitors grabbing a late consolation through Manuel Lanzini.
The Hammers arrived in N17 having beaten Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool on their Premier League travels this term but they simply had no answer to our free-flowing football, which was magnificent to watch at times.
Kane’s double made it eight goals in his last five games in all competitions, while our 12-match unbeaten run matches our best ever in the Premier League.
In terms of the team news, there was only one change from the side which drew at Arsenal last time out, the suspended Erik Lamela being replaced by Heung-Min Son - his first start in the league since we beat Manchester City 4-1 in late September.
While there was plenty of endeavour and commitment in the early stages of the game with both sides looking to get on the offensive there was little in the way of goalmouth action, headed clearances in the opening quarter-of-an-hour from James Tomkins at one end and Alderweireld at the other the only real noteworthy drama.
That all changed in the 21st minute though as we carved out the first opportunity of the contest. A patient build-up involving Son, Walker and Mousa Dembele ended with the latter touching it off square to Christian Eriksen 22 yards out. He took a touch and fired a shot goalwards which flicked off Tomkins, forcing Adrian into a fine diving save to send the ball for a corner.
But while the Hammers keeper did well on that occasion, he had no answer to our opening goal two minutes later. More good work in the visitors' half saw Son slip a pass in to Dele Alli whose shot was also deflected, but this time the ball ran to Kane in the area, he turned Carl Jenkinson and rifled past Adrian.
Suddenly the game came to life and United were almost level on 25 minutes. West Ham broke forwards, Mark Noble drilled in a shot which looped up off a defender and fell to Cheikhou Kouyate. He tried a spectacular scissor kick which beat Hugo Lloris but smashed off the crossbar and Alderweireld cleared away for a corner. From the set-piece, Andy Carroll headed towards goal but Lloris saved.
We doubled our lead on 34 minutes and it was as straightforward as they come. Son won us a corner, Eriksen delivered the perfect cross and Alderweireld rose highest to flick a header past Adrian.
Confidence was oozing through the players by this stage and it was so nearly 3-0 thanks to a fantastic move down the left flank. Eriksen skipped past his man and squared to Alli who in turn found Son. He feined to pass the ball out wide but instead whipped in a shot which Adrian saved well. The rebound came to Alli who looped up a header but that hit the bar and Kane couldn’t get on the end of the loose ball.
And when Kane suddenly found himself through on goal with just Adrian to beat after benefitting from a fortunate rebound on halfway, the Lane held its collective breath expecting the England striker to slot home our third. This time, though, he got it horribly wrong and dragged his shot well wide.
The Hammers kept plugging away looking for openings which were few and far between as we stayed strong defensively, and when Carroll did manage to control a clipped pass from defence on his chest on the edge of our area, he couldn’t keep his shot down and we went in well on top at the break.
Our grip on the game tightened further just five minutes into the second half. Tomkins played the ball out of defence straight to Eriksen who found Kane and he advanced on goal before drilling a low shot which fizzed under Adrian and into the back of the net.
It was almost four within a minute as we broke away again, Dembele doing superbly well bringing the ball out of defence and finding Son down the right. He cut inside and brought a good save out of Adrian, Eriksen volleyed the rebound but the Spanish keeper was there again to keep us out.
Adrian was single-handedly keeping the score down, making another good stop to deny Son as we hit the Hammers on the break yet again and Alli was so nearly in on goal moments later, providing a superb first touch to bring down a long ball but his second touch was too heavy and the ball ran through to Adrian.
Despite the healthy lead, there was no let-up in the pace and passion of the game and there were bookings for both Noble and Alli after an altercation, the latter making way for Ryan Mason on 71 minutes.
The action in front of goal continued as well, with Walker drilling a low cross which evaded everyone in the six yard box, while at the other end Lanzini’s shot deflected off Alderweireld for a corner and Winston Reid headed the set-piece straight at Lloris.
That man Adrian was there again to prevent a fourth, saving Mason’s volley with his legs and then gathering the second attempt as the game entered its final 10 minutes.
But we saved the best until last with a magnificent goal in the 83rd minute. Eriksen took possession midway inside the Hammers' half and casually laid a pass out wide to Walker bursting down the right. The full-back drilled the ball in to Son who held it up just inside the area and then teed up the advancing Walker to curl past Adrian with the outside of his right foot. It was Walker’s first goal for us since netting against Manchester United in December, 2013.
The visitors did pull one back three minutes from time, Lanzini smashing a superb angled drive into the roof of the net, while Mason almost added to our tally but his 30-yard effort clipped the outside of the far post.
Mauricio Pochettino said
“It was an amazing performance and I’ve only one word, 'pride', and that’s pride in the way we played,” said Mauricio.
“The game was brilliant against a very difficult team like West Ham, another derby and I can only say ‘thanks’ to the players and the supporters. I say that first to the players because they showed an unbelievable performance and then to our fans, they supported us throughout the 95 minutes. It was a good opportunity for them to enjoy the game.
“It’s true, I think we can take a lot of positives from today - the energy, the way we played, the key is our mental state. If you are happy in the way you play and you believe in the philosophy then you can see that in a performance like we showed against West Ham.
“We have a good balance in the squad, we are still young and we can grow - time, belief and working hard is the key for us.
“I’m happy, but now we need to look at the next game.”
Spurs (4-2-3-1): Lloris, Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose, Dier, Dembele, Son (Onomah 85), Alli (Mason 71), Eriksen, Kane (Carroll 90+1). Substitutes (not used): Vorm, Trippier, Davies, Townsend.
West Ham (4-1-4-1): Adrian, Jenkinson, Tomkins, Reid, Cresswell, Kouyate, Moses (Zarate 63), Noble (Song 80), Lanzini, Sakho, Carroll (Jelavic 63). Substitutes (not used): Spiegel, Ogbonna, Antonio, Oxford.
Goals: Spurs - Kane 23, 50, Alderweireld 34, Walker 84; West Ham - Lanzini 87.
Yellow cards: Spurs – Alli, Walker; West Ham – Noble, Sakho.
Referee: Anthony Taylor.