Hammers edge tight game at the London Stadium - report and reaction
West Ham 1-0 Spurs
Sun 24 October 2021, 15:52|Tottenham Hotspur
A solitary goal from Michail Antonio was enough to settle our London derby against West Ham United at the London Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
We enjoyed the better of the first half, played in an unusually subdued atmosphere for a derby, with our best chance coming from a Harry Kane header which Lukasz Fabianski tipped over the bar, while the Hammers had earlier tested Hugo Lloris with a volley from Pablo Fornals.
There wasn’t a lot between the sides in the second period as the intensity increased but had we been more clinical with our final ball in attacking areas, we might have taken the lead. Instead, it was West Ham who broke the deadlock in the 72nd minute, Antonio poking home Aaron Cresswell’s corner from close range.
The pattern for the remainder of the game saw us probing for a way through the Hammers' defence as they sat in and defended their lead, but we couldn’t fashion a clear opportunity and didn’t once trouble Fabianski, suffering our fourth league defeat of the season, all coming in London derbies.
No way through against organised hosts
Looking for our third straight win in the Premier League, which would have moved us into the top four, we enjoyed a solid first half, but couldn’t build on that after the interval. Our seven shots – four of which were on target – all came in the opening 45 minutes when we quietened the crowd after West Ham’s bright start and dominated the half. We couldn’t maintain that though as the home side rallied after the break, got the all-important first goal and were able to hold on to that lead.
Both sides had early sighters at goal, Fornals hitting a 15-yard volley which Lloris parried away down at his near post on eight minutes, while moments later at the other end, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s 30-yard drive was straight at Fabianski.
The home side were in the ascendency during the early stages but we slowly started to take the sting out of the atmosphere and the Hammers’ domination and for the rest of the first half, we enjoyed a measured control of the game. On 20 minutes, Harry Kane’s ball set Heung-Min Son away and although two West Ham defenders closed him down inside the area, the ball squirted out to Lucas Moura but his shot on the turn was well over. And five minutes later, Tanguy Ndombele this time sent Son in on goal but the angle was quite tight and Fabianski saved before gathering the loose ball.
The hosts were sitting in and hoping to catch us on the counter and had an opportunity 10 minutes before the interval when Fornals’ cross from the left was met by Tomas Soucek but he headed wide from close range, when he probably should have done better. The half ended with Fabianski making two saves from headers, the first a comfortable one from Ndombele but the second a minute before half-time was a fine stop. Some quick passing from Son and Lucas moved the ball out to Sergio Reguilon, who stood up a cross to the back post which Kane met well, climbing above Cresswell but Fabianski produced a fine stop to tip his effort over the bar.
The intensity and atmosphere picked up in the second period, much more characteristic of a London derby and we were close to opening the scoring on a number of attacks but the final ball was just lacking each time.
The Hammers almost broke the deadlock on 71 minutes when Fornals dispossessed Reguilon and hit a shot which deflected up off Eric Dier and needed a good tip over from Lloris, but from the resulting corner, Cresswell whipped a ball into the six-yard box and Antonio stuck out a boot to poke it into the back of the net.
For all our possession in the final stages, it was the hosts who came closest to adding to the scoreline when Antonio slid a ball in for Said Benrahma but Lloris was quick off his line to smother his shot.
Team news saw Nuno Espirito Santo field an unchanged starting XI for the third successive match in the Premier League. Nine of the players who started against Vitesse in midweek were named on the bench while Kane became the seventh player to make 250-plus appearances for us in the Premier League.
Reaction on Spurs TV
'A moment where maybe we lacked a bit of focus'
"I thought we were better throughout the game, we played better, controlled the game, had possession," reflected Nuno. "In the first half we had chances that we need to be more accurate on. All the game was under control, just a moment on a set piece where maybe we lacked a bit of focus - we need to be more aggressive in that moment - and we conceded. After that, until the end, we tried to achieve the goal we deserved."
Highlights on Spurs TV
West Ham 1-0 Spurs
West Ham (4-2-3-1): Fabianski, Johnson, Ogbonna, Zouma, Cresswell, Rice (c), Soucek, Bowen (Dawson 90+1), Benrahma (Lanzini 85), Fornals, Antonio. Substitutes (not used): Areola, Yarmolenko, Vlasic, Noble, Diop, Masuaki, Ashby.
Spurs (4-2-3-1): Lloris (c), Royal, Dier, Romero, Reguilon (Bryan 84), Hojbjerg, Skipp, Lucas (Bergwijn 90+1), Ndombele (Lo Celso 84), Son, Kane. Substitutes (not used): Gollini, Tanganga, Rodon, Sanchez, Davies, Dele.
Goal: West Ham – Antonio 72.
Yellow cards: West Ham – Soucek, Ogbonna; Spurs - Romero.
Referee: Paul Tierney.
Venue: London Stadium.
Weather: Light cloud, gentle breeze, 15 degrees.