Tottenham Hotspur kept working until they found a deserved breakthrough in a 2-0 win over West Ham United on Tuesday at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
A Tomas Soucek own goal was joined by Harry Kane’s 12th goal of the Premier League season to give Spurs a first win in five PL outings.
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Tottenham rises seventh, a point back of fifth-place Manchester United and six behind Chelsea.
West Ham’s 27 points is a point ahead of 18th place Bournemouth, who has a match-in-hand. The Irons goal difference is now just one better than the Cherries.
Three things we learned
1. Sputtering Spurs attack set right by subs Lamela, Bergwijn: Heung-min Son had the ball in the back of the net before VAR intervened and Harry Kane had a moment or two, but both underwhelmed and were joined by a rusty Dele Alli in producing very little real danger for an hour.
There will be those who rely on the storyline of Jose Mourinho not setting up the players to succeed, but this match feels like the wrong occasion to make that point. The finishers didn’t perform, and it was fitting that an own goal got the North London side on the board.
No sooner had Mourinho lifted Dele for Lamela that the game took steps in Spurs direction. Lamela broke up two West Ham plays, the second springing Kane for a much-needed breakaway goal (off a Son pass nonetheless). The finish was quality and a very-relieved Kane and Son will hope the play is a springboard to a hot streak.
2. Sissoko, Lo Celso deserve better: Jose Mourinho loves his defensive or holding midfielders to drive play and deliver the ball to the danger men. Giovani Lo Celso and Moussa Sissoko did that again and again on Tuesday, the former dealing out a couple of absolute dimes while Sissoko was credited with three key passes.
3. Bowen impresses but Irons in trouble: The NBC broadcast team said before the game that West Ham’s best chance to stay up is if three other teams manage to be worse than them. Straightforward but true, David Moyes men had little hope aside from Jarrod Bowen’s peskiness on and dangerous work on the right flank. Declan Rice was pretty good at defensive mid, but the Irons look rudderless at the moment.
Fun fact: Moyes is now 0W-5D-9L in his career against Mourinho.
Man of the Match
Lo Celso. He had two key passes and carried the ball fluidly through the midfield. The Argentine converted three of four dribbles and won 6-of-11 ground duels (SofaScore). He had two inteceptions and a tackle and certainly showed some naivete at times, but overall it was another step in a starring direction for the 24-year-old.
Tottenham – West Ham recap
Mark Noble wanted a penalty after he couldn’t quite keep hold of a clever Michail Antonio set-up in the second minute.
Serge Aurier darted down the right of the box to cross a Lucas Moura pass into the mix, but the Irons pawed it out for a corner.
Heung-min Son nearly snapped a ho-hum game to life with a terrific finish just before halftime, but VAR spied the South Korean forward as offside en route to the goal.
Spurs had six of the match’s seven shots. Would a change help them get on the board?
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Eric Dier led a 49th-minute charge up the heart of West Ham’s midfield before curling a shot just wide of a diving Fabianski.
West Ham had a nice mini-period culminating with Pablo Fornals flubbing Jarrod Bowen’s cross in the 54th minute.
Spurs broke down the field with vigor in the 59th, and Giovani Lo Celso sent an assist-worthy pass that Kane dragged wide of the goal.
Michail Antonio fired a chance over the Spurs goal at the hour mark with everything still very much in the balance.
Tottenham sub Erik Lamela cut into the 18 but was flummoxed by well-positioned Issa Diop and fired into the outside of the goal.
Of course it took an own goal to get a finish for Spurs, Soucek unable to see the ball before a corner kick clattered off his leg and behind Fabianski.
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