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West Ham United 2 Tottenham Hotspur 3
Saturday, 23rd September 2017
A crushing 2-3 defeat by London rivals Tottenham sends West Ham back into the relegation zone.
Despite enduring a three goal deficit, the Hammers fought back audaciously, only to fall short at the final whistle and walk away with nothing.
As you would expect, West Ham initially committed to the game plan that had won them three points back in May against their London rivals. They were compact in defence and pressurised in moderation, keeping Tottenham on their toes.
As a consequence the away side failed to find their rhythm and the hosts made the most of it with two early chances.
First Javier Hernández ambitiously tried to beat Spurs 'keeper Hugo Lloris with a long range shot after Cheikhou Kouyate had intelligently won back possession in the opposing half.
Shortly after Mark Noble found Marko Arnautovic on the counter who managed to skip past two defenders and go through on goal, only to be disspossessed by a last ditch tackle by Serge Aurier.
West Ham's flurry of chances soon came to an end and Tottenham started to look convincing going forward. They went close with a succession of quick passes that picked the Hammers' defence apart, yet Serge Aurier's cross found Harry Kane in an offside position; nonetheless he pushed his effort wide despite being a yard out with Joe Hart nowhere to be seen.
It was a sign for things to come and just ten minutes later, a loose ball from Andy Carroll - who had just replaced Michail Antonio due to a groin problem - found its way to Christian Eriksen, who spotted Dele Alli on the right, who delivered the perfect ball for Harry Kane to head it into the net.
Spurred on by their fans, Tottenham didn't take long to double their lead and less than three minutes later, Harry Kane got his second.
A relatively poor clearance by Joe Hart went straight to Jan Vertonghen and dragged two of West Ham's centre-backs out of position, hence Dele Alli had little to do before taking on Hart who had charged out to challenge the winger.
His effort was well saved, but the rebound fell straight into Kane's stride who knocked it into an empty net to really drain the life out of the West Ham players who walked into the tunnel at half time feeling hard done by after a gutsy performance.
In the early exchanges of the second half, it was the complete opposite to the first. The Hammers were dominating the ball but had little clue about what to do with it whilst their opponents sat back and soaked up the pressure.
Spurs handled it well and went extremely close on a couple of occasions with Harry Kane rattling the woodwork from a free kick before Christian Eriksen's clean strike from outside the box off a deflected cross seemed to all but secure the three points for Tottenham.
However West Ham rallied and never gave up, and though they did get a little help from the fact that they were up against ten men after Serge Aurier's dismissal, they were up for the challenge.
Chicharito got the comeback going just before Aurier's sending off with a trademark goal when he was first to react to Jose Fonte's glancing header off a corner.
The flow of the game swayed into the home side's favour and they took advantage of their one-man advantage by introducing Arthur Masuaku into the game who offered much needed width to get in behind their opponents.
And that's exactly what they did in the 86th minute when Masuaku neatly linked up with Aaron Cresswell and beat Harry Winks on the left. He subsequently delivered the perfect cross that found Cheikhou Kouyate who powered his header home to put West Ham right back into the thick of it.
However, despite the Hammers' valiant efforts, time was against them and they failed to complete their comeback leaving the derby empty-handed.
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Barely had a save to make all day! However he did show good distribution which has been a factor that has been flimsy in his game the past few years.
Getting forward quite often and tracking back well.
Becoming too predictable. Always looking to cross it with his left foot and when he did manage to do so, he often got it wrong.
Always there when needed. Did make a few mistakes on a couple of occasions.
Was playing with an injury for the majority of his spell on the pitch, but got the basics right.
Was solid in defence and enjoyed a lot of time on the ball making some good long passes.
Came up wirh the only chance that made the game worth watching. Always knows what to do with the ball before receiving, often ending up in quick one-touch football that speeds the game up. A consistent performance from the Spaniard, but still letting sloppy mistakes creep into his game.
Quite a clumsy player but provides the strength and grit in midfield.
At times seemed like the only player interested in going forward and threatening the opposition. Always making the most of his raw strength and speed.
When playing out of position it's ubderstandable to see that his performances have been below par in the last few games. Has quality on the ball and an eye for goal which should incite the manager to play him down the middle as opposed to on the wing.
Always winning flick ons but never has team mates running onto them. Was just a nuisance for defenders up front.
Created next to nothing and had no impact on the game. Must show his potential and the reason why the Club spent so much money on him.
Didn't get on the ball much when he was introduced but tried his best to make something happen.
Adrian San Miguel Del Castillo
Did not play.
Did not play.
Did not play.
Injured during warm-up.
West Ham United:
Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta, Aaron Cresswell, Winston Reid, James Collins, Jose Fonte, Pedro Obiang, Cheikhou Kouyate, Michail Antonio, Javier Hernandez, Andy Carroll.
Lloris (C), Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Sanchez, Aurier, Dier, Eriksen (Winks 73), Davies, Alli, Sissoko (Trippier 78), Kane (Llorente 89).
Subs not used:
Vorm, Son, Nkoudou, Walker-Peters.
Kane 34, Kane 38, Eriksen 60.
Aurier, Llorente, Dier.
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