Spurs thought they had sewn up a routine victory after they went 3-0 up after an hour but Serge Aurier’s red card set up a nervy finish as Javier Hernandez and Cheikhou Kouyate scored headers for the Hammers.
Here’s what we learned from the London Stadium.
In 2017 Harry Kane has scored 25 goals. In Europe’s top five leagues only Lionel Messi has scored more (34).
Earlier this week Kane was the only Englishman to be named among the 55 nominees for the FIFPro World 11 for 2016-17. It’s easy to see why.
His first goal was a diving header, instinctively glanced into the far corner. His second was about being in the right place at the right time to slot home. He hit the post twice in the second half and could have easily had a hat trick.
Aside from his finishing and his hot streak (six goals in his last four games for Spurs and eight in his last six if you include his goals for England earlier this month) his vision and ability to drop deep, bring others into play and link up the game set him apart.
Kane is not a true predator like Sergio Aguero. He is not a forward who always scores spectacular goals like Alexis Sanchez or one who usually does his damage just in the box like Romelu Lukaku. He has it all.
Harry Kane is the complete forward and at the age of 24 it is hard to spot a weakness in his game.
AURIER AN ISSUE
Serge Aurier arrived at Tottenham with plenty of baggage off the pitch but on it he’s proving a real Jekyll and Hyde character.
The Ivory Coast right back made one superb covering tackle in the first half to deny Marko Arnautovic in the box but then also wandered out of position on multiple occasions and didn’t exactly bust a gut to get back into position.
His two silly challenges in the space of six minutes in the second half summed up his play. Aurier bundled into Andy Carroll needlessly and followed that up with a wild lunge on Carroll and got his marching orders.
That sending off rattled Spurs who could’ve easily coughed up a three-goal lead and let two points go.
Mauricio Pochettino knew he had plenty on his plate when he signed Aurier from Paris Saint-Germain on transfer deadline day. This performance showed he is perhaps not worth the risk, at least right now, and either Kieran Trippier or Kyle Walker-Peters deserve a chance at right back.
The 3-2 scoreline doesn’t tell the story of this game.
Sure, West Ham scored twice in the final 25 minutes and rallied to try and grab an improbable point, but that papered over the cracks.
Slaven Bilic‘s future is still not decided and that uncertainty is ripping the team apart.
With players not knowing if Bilic will be in charge beyond the next few months, let alone the end of this season when his current deal runs out, it feels like West Ham are at a real crossroads.
With the owners so far unwilling to give Bilic a new deal, performances like the one his side dished up from minutes 20-65 on Saturday won’t help his cause. The Hammers started well but fell apart when Michail Antonio went off injured and was replaced by Andy Carroll.
Bilic was backed with a new additions of experienced international as Marko Arnautovic, Hernandez, Pablo Zabaleta and Joe Hart arrived in the summer but there doesn’t seem to be a real long-term plan at West Ham. That showed in their performance on Saturday as they battled back from 3-0 down which put a brave face on yet another jumbled display.
West Ham United had a chance to add two of the more surprising and potentially underrated signings of the summer, but manager Slaven Bilic turned them down.
That’s according to West Ham joint-chairman David Sullivan. Sullivan told Sky Sports that Bayern Munich’s Renato Sanches and Paris Saint-Germain’s Grzegorz Krychowiak were both offered to the club, but Bilic decided against bringing the pair in.
Krychowiak ended up at West Bromwich Albion while Sanches was reunited with former Bayern assistant coach Paul Clement at Swansea City on a season-long loan.
“Grzegorz Krychowiak and Renato Sanches were both offered to the manager before their switches elsewhere, but he told us that he is happy with the squad he has,” Sullivan said. “As a Board we are behind Slaven, and he believes he has the tools to turn around our form and rectify our disappointing start to the season.”
West Ham is winless to open the Premier League season and are currently bottom of the league after three games. The club brought in Pablo Zabaleta, Joe Hart, Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, Marko Arnautovic and Sead Hakšabanović this summer but it hasn’t brought the desired results yet.
Sullivan wasn’t finished though. He commented that the club had made a record bid for Sporting CP’s William Carvalho but that it was rejected, only for Sporting to try and revive the deal at the last minute on deadline day.
“Late last night Sporting Lisbon made contact to accept the original offer, but unfortunately it was just too late in the day, and we simply did not have enough time to put the player through a medical,” Sullivan said. “We were not prepared, as a club, to buy a player for that amount of money without him having gone through adequate medical checks.”
That forced Sporting CP to respond, with communications director Nuno Saraiva calling Sullivan a liar in a Facebook post.
The translation reads: “David Sullivan lies. At Sporting Clube de Portugal, as has already been said by its president, no proposal has been made by the player William Carvalho. The football industry is not the set of an adult film in which all obscenities are allowed. So the boss of a club demands a lot more than this intellectual pornography.
“Mr. David Sullivan has a duty to prove what he says. That is why Sporting Clube de Portugal challenges him to publicly show the proposals he claims to have been made as well as the evidence that Sporting CP received them.
“One thing is certain: Sporting CP, as it has already been said, does not cut legs to its athletes. But we have nothing to do with the performance of entrepreneurs or relatives who live at the expense of players and who are offering them a club at a club price, without a mandate, as if they were cheap supermarket merchandise. Athlete and the club, and creating regrettable situations that have already forced the sporting club of Portugal to take drastic measures to defend these characters who parasitize the lives of some players.”
Summer transfer window grades: How did each club do?
Below we give all 20 PL teams a grade and sum up their summer window.
Manchester United – A
Their business was done early and properly with Romelu Lukaku and Nemanja Matic starting off superbly and Victor Lindelof will settle in. Smart business by Jose Mourinho with his squad now looking like a much stronger unit overall. Didn’t need a new wide player in the end because his team started the season so well.
Manchester City – A- Pep Guardiola did plenty of business early in the window and he addressed his needs superbly with Kyle Walker, Danilo, Benjamin Mendy and Ederson improving their defense. Bernardo Silva is a luxury signing and Alexis Sanchez would have been something similar but City couldn’t get it over the line. Very solid window but one more center back would have given them an A.
Tottenham Hotspur – B+
Spurs had a really strong finish to the window, adding Davinson Sanchez, Serge Aurier and Fernando Llorente. That gives them more cover in defense and an extra option off the bench with Llorente happy to back up Harry Kane. Selling on Kyle Walker for over $65 million made sense and Mauricio Pochettino will be happy with his summer window after keeping hold of Dele Alli, Eric Dier, Kane and Danny Rose.
West Brom – B+
The Baggies had a really decent window and pulled off a big shock with silky midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak arriving on loan from Paris Saint-Germain. Jay Rodriguez, Kieran Gibbs and Gareth Barry are all solid additions who will start and Tony Pulis managed to keep hold of his skipper Jonny Evans despite interest from Man City and Arsenal.
Leicester City – B+
Decent window for the Foxes as they managed to keep hold of Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy and although it seems likely they lost Danny Drinkwater to Chelsea, they added some deadline day deals in Aleksandar Dragovic and potentially Adrien Silva. Early additions of Harry Maguire, Kelchi Iheanacho and Vicente Iborra seem to have strengthened the overall squad too.
Liverpool – B Mohamed Salah and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are both key additions in the window and sealing the deal for Naby Keita was a big one for next summer. However, not adding a top-class center back (the Virgil Van Dijk pursuit was doomed from the start) was a big letdown and there is still an issue with the goalkeeping department. Some issues not addressed but Philippe Coutinho seems all but certain to stick around, so that’s a positive.
Huddersfield Town – B David Wagner added more new players than any other team and Huddersfield have looked the part early on. Steve Mounie is a powerful forward with an eye for goal, grabbing Aaron Mooy on a permanent deal was superb business and goalkeeper Jonas Lossl has settled in well. Unlike the other promoted teams Huddersfield did their business early and were rewarded.
Swansea City – B
They held out and got a huge sum of $57.6 million for Gylfi Sigurdsson which they then spent wisely on re-signing Wilfried Bony and adding Renato Sanches on loan in a stunning deal from Bayern Munich. They did lose Fernando Llorente too, but Tammy Abraham seems like a steal on loan and the Swans will be hopeful their young squad can surprise opponents. Decent window all things considered.
Burnley – B
They lost Michael Keane and Andre Gray but did recoup over $60 million for the duo and spent it wisely with Chris Wood, Jack Cork and Jonathan Walters coming in. Plenty of experience added by Sean Dyche and the Clarets will once again be tough to break down. Solid window.
Watford – B Marco Silva added some decent signings from Udinese around deadline day and brought in Andre Gray and Richarlison to strengthen their attack. Nathaniel Chalobah and Will Hughes will add energy in midfield and overall an inventive window, once again, from the Hornets.
Stoke City – B
The Potters did some really good business late in the window which saved them. Jese and Choupo-Moting look lively up top and Kurt Zouma, Kevin Wimmer and Bruno Martins Indi will improve them defensively. Darren Flecther is another solid buy but another striker would have been ideal for Mark Hughes.
Southampton – B-
They kept hold of Virgil van Dijk which was the main aim and added Mario Lemina in midfield and center backs Jan Bednarek and Wesley Hoedt. Saints really could have done with freshening up their attack but it didn’t seem like they were close to key forward additions.
Chelsea – B-
A really weird window for Chelsea who kept seeing players turn them down. From Romleu Lukaku to Oxlade-Chamberlain and Llorente to Ross Barkley, Antonio Conte couldn’t get deals over the line and Chelsea’s squad isn’t looking as strong as it did at the end of last season. Selling Nemanja Matic to Manchester United was a bad decision and the situation surrounding Diego Costa’s future was handed poorly. Alvaro Morata will be a star and both Bakayoko and Rudiger are also good additions, but not a great window at all for the Blues.
Bournemouth – C+
Adding experience was the main aim and Bournemouth did that early with Asmir Begovic and Jermain Defoe coming in. Nathan Ake should be a solid buy too but Eddie Howe‘s attack is looking a little lackluster after the opening weeks of the season.
West Ham United – D
It looked like decent business on paper but three of their four buys in the window look like they could be ill-advised. Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez will score goals for fun but Pablo Zabaleta and Joe Hart look low on confidence and Marko Arnautovic already has a red card and some poor displays against his name. Not a great window for the Hammers.
Crystal Palace – D-
Yes, they may well add Mamadou Sakho, but apart from that it has been a disastrous start to life in the Premier League for Frank De Boer. With three defeats he needed to add another two defenders and another striker to help ease the load on Christian Benteke. Palace have some big squad issues with a new playing style not suiting many of their players.
Brighton – F
Numbers have arrived but real quality hasn’t for the Seagulls. It is early days but you have to think more firepower was necessary for them to have any chance of staving off relegation. Davy Propper could be a good buy and so too could Jose Izquierdo but apart from that an underwhelming window. If they manage to add Vincent Janssen it would improve their grade, but not by much.
Arsenal – F
My goodness. What happened? From still having Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil around, to losing out on Thomas Lemar on the final day and selling Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Arsene Wenger has a nightmare. They added Alexandre Lacazette but did they really need another striker? Yet another window has come and gone without Wenger addressing the glaring problems in central midfield and defense. They way this situation has been handled from the top of the club is shambolic.
Newcastle United – F Rafael Benitez and his owner Mike Ashley have been airing their dirty laundry in the media and Benitez has not got the deals he wanted. Joselu could score some goals but overall it was a really poor window for Newcastle, a team who should be challenging for a top four finish considering their stadium and fanbase. This window suggests they will be battling relegation.