West Ham survive onslaught to take the points - report and debrief
West Ham 2-1 Spurs
Sun 21 February 2021, 14:09|Tottenham Hotspur
A late second-half fightback fell just short as we went down to a 2-1 defeat to West Ham United at the London Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Having conceded an early goal in each half to Michail Antonio and Jesse Lingard, we gave ourselves a lifeline through Lucas Moura’s 64th-minute goal and had wave after wave of attack in search of an equaliser, hitting the woodwork twice but ultimately unable to find an elusive second goal.
The Hammers struck an early blow with the opener after just five minutes when Jarrod Bowen’s inviting cross from the right evaded Eric Dier and, although Hugo Lloris made a smart close-range stop to initially deny Antonio, the West Ham forward was quick to tuck home the rebound.
Our first shot on target came in the 43rd minute when Erik Lamela’s left-foot drive from the edge of the area brought a diving save out of Lukasz Fabianski and our second followed soon after, the goalkeeper saving from Harry Kane.
Despite having the majority of possession in the first half, we fell further behind two minutes after the interval as Lingard flashed an angled left-foot drive past Lloris. The assistant’s flag did go up for off-side in the build-up, but a VAR check showed there was no infringement and the goal stood. We responded well though, Kane’s 25-free-kick just skimming past Fabianski’s far post and half-time substitute Gareth Bale firing an effort straight at the keeper before we pulled one back on 64 minutes, Bale’s corner from the left glanced in by Lucas.
The chances kept coming for us as we went all out for an equaliser, going so close twice in a 78th-minute counter-attack. First Kane broke free down the right and his low cross looked like substitute Dele Alli was going to prod home but for an incredible intervention from Declan Rice. His clearance went back to Kane, who found Bale on the edge of the area and his rocket crashed against the crossbar with Fabianski beaten.
We hit the woodwork again in the 92nd minute, this time somewhat fortuitously as Vladimir Coufal’s clearance inside the area looped up off Heung-Min Son, over Fabianski but bounced back off the post and was cleared – and that was that.
This was the 50th Premier League meeting between the two sides and also Jose Mourinho’s 50th game in charge of us in the competition, but it didn’t prove to be a celebratory half-century.
In the return fixture earlier this season, we led 3-0 before the Hammers hit back to earn themselves a point in the dying seconds but this time it was us trying to do a recovery job and we were unable to complete the task.
We had responded quite well to Antonio’s early opener and Lamela produced a superb 50-yard driving run through the heart of the midfield before laying off to Kane to his right but the striker’s shot just faded away from goal. Lloris made a smart stop to palm over Craig Dawson’s header from Aaron Cresswell’s out-swinging corner, while we finished the first half the stronger side with Fabianski saving from Lamela and Kane, spilling the ball on the latter but Issa Diop cleared the danger as Lucas and Son were about to pounce.
Lingard’s fine finish two minutes into the second half meant we had a mountain to climb against an in-form Hammers side but to be fair, we did give it a go and probably deserved a share of the spoils for our second-half showing. Bale and Matt Doherty replaced Lamela and Japhet Tanganga at half-time and Bale, in particular, had a big influence on the game, always looking for the ball from the right flank and trying to make things happen.
After Lucas scored with an excellent glancing near-post header, we were the dominant side for the rest of the game and it was virtually one-way traffic towards the Hammers’ goal. Lucas blazed well over, Kane was just wide again on the stretch before Rice somehow denied Dele and Bale’s controlled half-volley crashed against the crossbar.
When Coufal’s clearance looped off Son onto the post, we just knew it wasn’t going to be our day and went down to our fifth league defeat in six matches, ending a run of three straight away wins at West Ham.
With the Hammers’ victory, it means they have won 16 of the 50 Premier League meetings between the sides, while we have been victorious 24 times with 10 draws. Jose’s 50-game stats reveal we have won 23, drawn 12 and lost 15 times.
Meanwhile, the Head Coach made seven changes to the team that started against Wolfsberger in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday night. Kane started after being rested for the midweek trip to Hungary while Sergio Reguilon was also back after missing our last seven matches in all competitions. He came in for Ben Davies, who had started and completed 480 minutes in our last five matches in 14 days. Tanganga, Davinson Sanchez, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Tanguy Ndombele and Lucas also returned in place of Doherty, Toby Alderweireld, Moussa Sissoko, Harry Winks and Bale.
'We deserved a different result'
Jose told Spurs TV: "The result is there, they have the points and we have the sadness and the frustration. The good feeling is the way the team played, especially in the second half. No doubts the team wanted to win, no doubts the team was fighting together for a different result, and I believe we deserved a different result. They didn’t play in the second half, they just fought and defended. We played, we created chances, we scored a goal, should score more, hit the post twice, had fantastic crosses across the face of goal waiting for a touch, even sometimes an own goal. We had great positions from the edge of the box, shots that normally you think that Sonny, Harry or Lucas are going to score, so, also not lucky. But we cannot forget that the score was 1-0 and somehow after a couple of minutes in the second half it was 2-0."
West Ham 2-1 Spurs
West Ham (4-2-3-1): Fabianski, Coufal, Diop, Dawson, Cresswell, Soucek, Rice (c), Bowen (Benrahma 65), Fornals (Johnson 81), Lingard (Noble 90+4), Antonio. Substitutes (not used): Randolph, Martin, Balbuena, Alves, Lanzini, Odubeko.
Spurs (4-2-3-1): Lloris (c), Tanganga (Doherty 46), Sanchez, Dier, Reguilon (Dele 77), Ndombele, Hojbjerg, Lucas, Lamela (Bale 46), Son, Kane. Substitutes (not used): Hart, Alderweireld, Davies, Sissoko, Winks, Vinicius.
Goals: West Ham – Antonio 5, Lingard 47; Spurs – Lucas 64.
Yellow cards: West Ham – Soucek, Diop, Antonio, Fornals; Spurs – Lamela, Hojbjerg, Reguilon.
Referee: Craig Pawson.
Venue: London Stadium.
Weather: Light cloud, gentle breeze, 15 degrees.