Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur 3 West Ham United 3

Sunday, 18th October 2020
by Chris Wilkerson

The most remarkable of comebacks saw a stoppage time, last second screamer give West Ham a point having been 3-0 down after 16 minutes.

Manuel Lanzini, much-maligned, on the exit list of many, scored his first goal in months with no time left on the clock, smashing in an almost indescribable 30 yard bullet to take the game to 3-3 and send West Ham fans into ecstasy.

In the 80th minute, it looked the kind of day Spurs fans wouldn't allow people to forget. They had worked out West Ham, finding pockets of space to strike in sudden counter attacking bursts for what looked like a very comfortable victory.

But Spurs aren't that good, and this West Ham side are nowhere near as bad as they were last season.


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45 seconds into the game, the return of David Moyes to the dugout was looking painful. 16 minutes in, his side had conceded three sloppy goals and been very much out-thought by their opponents and Jose Mourinho.

The opener was a sloppy goal too, Kane pinging in a quite fantastic bending pass round the defence from inside his own half. Son got to it and Balbuena chose to show him inside, towards goal and onto the forward's right foot. Son obliged, cutting in and bending it easily into the far corner from inside the area.

The Irons responded well on the ball, it seemed, comfortable in possession and taking control of the ball. But this was misguiding; Tottenham were keen to sit back and sucker West Ham onto them before striking with speed. It did look a little risky, West Ham nearly scoring from a flicked on corner, it deflecting somehow wide from close range.

Into the seventh minute, it was two. This time a break looked to be stopped, but it came out on the edge to Son again and he laid off to Kane. The England captain rolled one, nutmegged Rice and then smashed in from the edge of the area.

Kane was brilliant, finding pockets of space and showing off his range of passing. The frustration was no one changing things to stop it, Rice and Ogbonna in particular seeming to want the other to deal with the striker. It was Ogbonna who stepped out and stepped up, which certainly did help the Hammers gain some control of how Tottenham broke.

He did it too late, however, with Tottenham able to get a third before the change was made. It was from the West Ham right once more, Son finding gaps between Coufal and Balbuena which seemed to confuse them both.


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This time he pulled inside, drawing both defenders in and leaving space for Reguilon to bomb down the left side. He got the ball and crossed to the far post for Kane, who got away from Ogbonna and headed in the perfect cross with an emphatic header. Soon after Fabianski did excellently to smother a big chance for Son from mere yards, a good cross poked at goal and the goalkeeper did excellently to stop.

And as Ogbonna eventually looked to close Kane's space, the game drifted to an easier pace and Tottenham found less space on the break. But a 3-0 half time was daunting, regardless of any small improvements West Ham had made.

When they came out, the attacking threat improved.

First Soucek missed the ball on the volley in the area, then still inside the first five minutes of the half, Fornals headed over from a yard out, following in a deflected Antonio shot. He couldn't react quickly enough to get over the ball, it more hitting his head on the run. Unfortunately, a taller man scores by the virtue of height. Fornals didn't have it.

It was an opening salvo that didn't turn into a half of rousing comeback football. Well, not for another 30 minutes.

The game settled into a harmless rhythm. It was punctuated by the appearance of Gareth Bale, exciting the commentators as if he'd risen at Easter. Moyes made changes too, substitutes coming on early as Yarmolenko and Lanzini made their way on for Antonio and Fornals with 13 minutes remaining.


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It was 77 minutes on the clock when they came on, and five minutes later there was a glimmer of hope.

A freekick from 40 yards out was bent from the left to the far post by Cresswell. At heading height, up climbed Balbuena, getting easily above his marker to head it down and maybe make a game of things.

But there was eight minutes of time left, Tottenham are managed by Jose Mourinho and this is West Ham. Surely you didn't believe? And even if you didn't, the West Ham players did, or at least they had the character to fight until the last kick of the game, hope or not.

That attitude was as vital as anything. Tottenham panicked. That panic paid dividends.

With five minutes left, it was 3-2. Coufal and Yarmolenko did brilliantly down the right to slide the Czech right back into the area. He crossed into the danger zone, the gap between defence and goal, and that idea was enough. Sanchez panicked, ducking down to try head it wide and tucking it away nicely to give real hope now and all the momentum to the team in claret and blue.

Masuaku came off for Snodgrass, presumably for the set piece delivery. It was close to not mattering at all.

The highest profile signing of the window, the return to London of Gareth Bale: the story was set; the headlines were written.


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Having beaten two men, he was in the area and one on one, all he really had to do was choose which side of the goal he scored in. But he didn't. He smashed it wide. There was a minute left of stoppage time, surely not enough for this profligacy to be punished.

How do you describe what happened next? How do you describe that feeling? It was last chance saloon. A Cresswell freekick, way out left, fired into the box. It was the only chance left.

Fired in, a Tottenham head got there first. It dropped down towards Snodgrass, but Winks got there first to try poke it around the midfielder. He poked it back into the middle, turning to chase the loose ball with Ogbonna. Ogbonna saw the man coming, made sure his body was in the way of Winks and then watched.

He watched Manuel Lanzini. The player whose ACL injury in training as part of Argentina's World Cup squad has hampered him ever since and taken something from his game. A player some would happily see leave, but was once chumming around with Lionel Messi and running West Ham games with Dimitri Payet.

With 94 minutes on the clock, he sprinted at a rolling ball 30 yards from goal and hit it. It curled off the outside of his foot and arrowed from the middle to the top corner of the goal, beating Lloris with power, movement and precision to smack the underside of the bar and nestle in the back of the net for an incredible point, an incredible comeback and a quite incredible moment of vindication for that little Argentine jewel.

The whistle blew straight after, Tottenham punished for sitting back and allowing West Ham comfort on the ball and the opportunity to create.

3-3. Somehow, 3-3.


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Player Ratings

Lukasz Fabianski
Not sure he can stop the ones that went in, but he made one quite fantastic stop from Son and another good one from Kane.


Vladimir Coufal
Looked a little lost by the positioning and movement of Son, combined with Balbuena too. But when Kane was stopped, the defence sorted themselves out with the runners he was trying to find. And the goal he created came from classic full back play.


Arthur Masuaku
For a period of the first half, he was the only player Tottenham couldn't a hold of. His influence faded, and his final delivery never really got up to the standards needed, but his use of the ball, play under pressure and dribbling are unique in the side and vital.


Fabian Balbuena
With how poorly he started, and knowing his place is far from secure, he recovered very well to gain composure in defence. And that header was perfect.


Angelo Ogbonna
Criticism and credit for his handling of Kane. He is the senior defender and the senior voice in the West Ham side, what with Noble a squad player now. He should have done something earlier to stop Kane, even if he tried something that didn't work. But when he did, it changed the game, stopped Spurs playing and then helped as Kane moved further forward ad into areas Ogbonna wanted him.


Aaron Cresswell
Not exposed defensively, whilst his set piece delivery caused problems all game. The ball for Balbuena was excellent, and he combined well with Masuaku throughout.


Declan Rice
Better second half, but him and Soucek being in the middle against three, supplemented by the positions Kane took up, made it a very uphill struggle. Will be livid to be nutmegged by Kane leading to a goal. Not as good on the ball as usual, probably due to the numbers centrally.


Tomas Soucek
Lack of pace was an issue at times, but his threat in the area caused Spurs issues all game long, enough for Mourinho to compare him to Fellaini at the end of the game.


Pablo Fornals
There were times he was leading the line up front and times he was the last man back in defence. Another game where his work off the ball will likely go unnoticed but was vital. His movement in the Tottenham half disrupted their counter attack game too.


Jarrod Bowen
Bowen didn't really create today, worked hard as ever but his lack of really blistering pace meant he could never really get round Reguilon.


Michail Antonio
Quiet game and possibly would have been as surprised as the fans at home to be taken off when needing a goal to spark a comeback. It worked though. Antonio did his usual, disrupting the centre backs and giving them a torrid time.



Substitutes

Manuel Lanzini
(Replaced Fornals, 77) A substitute appearance of legend. What a goal. There are few players who deserve that elation and adulation more. 4 in 7 vs Spurs, 10 in 26 London derbies, 11 in 97 against the rest. How does it go in? Why does he try it? Who cares!


Andriy Yarmolenko
(Replaced Antonio, 77) Didn't do a lot, but the intricacy of his play for the second goal was what made it.


Robert Snodgrass
(Replaced Masuaku, 90) Brought on to take set pieces, I assume. But his most telling contribution was being the man Winks poked the ball away from, into Lanzini's path.


Darren Randolph
Did not play.


Ryan Fredericks
Did not play.


Issa Diop
Did not play.


Mark Noble
Did not play.



Match Facts

West Ham United: Lukasz Fabianski, Vladimir Coufal, Arthur Masuaku, Fabian Balbuena, Angelo Ogbonna, Aaron Cresswell, Declan Rice, Tomas Soucek, Pablo Fornals, Jarrod Bowen, Michail Antonio.

Goals: Fabian Balbuena 82 Davinson Sanchez OG 85 Manuel Lanzini 93              .

Booked: None.

Sent off: None.

Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris, Aurier, Alderweireld, Sanchez, Reguilon, Hojbjerg, Sissoko, Ndombele (Winks 73), Son (Moura 80), Kane, Bergwijn (Bale 73).

Subs not used: Hart, Doherty, Davies, Vinicius.

Goals: Son (1), Kane (8, 16).

Booked: .

Sent off: None.

Referee: Paul Tierney.

Attendance: 0.

Man of the Match: Manuel Lanzini.