Premier League
West Ham United 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur 

Tuesday, 2nd April 2024
by Chris Wilkerson

In the pouring April rain, West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur played out an excellent 1-1 draw at the London Stadium this Tuesday evening. In a breathless encounter, both teams started fast and barely took their foot off the gas as each side strived to find a winner.

After a disappointing and infuriating weekend, the Hammers made one change to the side that were robbed at St. James' Park on Saturday, with Fabianski replacing the injured Areola. It meant Moyes could pick his attacking quartet of stars, with Antonio fit enough to play twice in a short space of time after his substitution on Saturday.

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It was not a game that gave itself 10-20 minutes to settle. Like any derby should be, this was thrilling straight from the off, with both teams looking forward quickly and thinking only of how they could score with every spell of possession.

Considering the two sides, one unable to defend, the other who try to never do it, chances were to be expected.

And the way the first goal was scored was a great snapshot of the game. Spurs may have opened the scoring, but they were lucky not to concede about 30 seconds before that after a low Kudus cross from the right missed Antonio but came to Bowen six yards from goal. But the forward wasn't quite set, missing his shot and seeing it cannon wide off his shin.

Spurs went straight up the other end and fashioned their own chance a few yards from goal, but their winger was prepared and tapped into an empty net. It was too easy, Werner shown down the line by Coufal, but the German's pace was too much for the full back, Werner skipping into the space he was shown and then clipping a low ball across the face of goal as Coufal did nothing to pressure the cross.

Johnson stepped across his man, and as it rolled past Fabianski, the young Welsh winger got his feet together fast to flick the ball in and open the scoring inside five minutes.

The ground went silent, shock quickly spinning through the crowd that would have known that this defence in its current form were bound to give up chances to a team that attacks at pace and in numbers.

It may have made it 11 games without a clean sheet in the league for West Ham, but amongst all the angst of the defeat to Newcastle, it shouldn't be forgotten how easily the players brushed off conceding early in that game.

It was much the same here. Whilst you don't want a side to get so used to conceding that they seem unperturbed by it, there is clearly a good mindset, good mental strength in the squad, because they again managed to brush it off and not let it stop them playing the game they had set out.

They won a corner quickly from kick-off, and whilst Vicario won the ball to punch out, he only pushed it down into the area, but Kudus flick at goal was deflected wide. However, the chaos in the Spurs area and the shaky punch from the goalkeeper will have given West Ham hope that corners would be a great avenue of attack.

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It seemed to open up almost like a youth game down the park on a Sunday, with the teams taking it in turn to launch attacks, pushing forward and playing it direct, at goal. There were few of those lulls where one side looks to keep possession and shift the defence around, or keep possession to keep control of the game.

Tottenham throw men forward, with Udogie and Porro basically wingers. There is no sense in slow attacks if you commit numbers, so Tottenham look to make things happen quickly.

Equally, Moyes's West Ham have rarely been a team that look dangerous for holding the ball. It is about taking advantage of the space afforded by their shape and discipline in defence that allows them to absorb pressure. But it wasn't a game where West Ham only looked to absorb, which have been the ones that cause fans to react with frustration.

West Ham were as much a part of this as their opponents, especially with Kudus, Bowen and Paqueta taking advantage of the space being created by another all-action Michail Antonio performance. They were able to push Tottenham back and get the team up the pitch, never looking overwhelmed by their opponents.

They were just two well-matched teams, with the one major head-to-head battle that caused problems coming down the Tottenham left, as Werner had a first half where he skipped by Coufal with ease on too many occasions.

Swinging back and forth, the game felt precarious for The Hammers, knowing that a two-goal lead would be hard to reverse. But just before 20 minutes were up, Moyes's side levelled as the threat from corners paid off.

There was nothing much to it. From the right, Bowen curled in that customary ball into and around the six-yard box as West Ham crowded the goalkeeper. Vicario got caught up in frustration at Antonio's bulk in front of him, all whilst Kurt Zouma jogged unmarked from the back post to the near, rising up to flick it on into the far corner from a few yards out without any hindrance.

It was as simple a goal as you're likely to see from a corner, the defender just left unmarked to wander into space and to the ball. And it was another goal that just didn't seem to change the game. There was something quite pure, a throwback match, where antics were at a minimum, the teams were well matched, and both were playing their own games, testing each other out.

One second Son was forcing a save from Fabianski with a curling effort, the next Ward-Prowse was testing Vicario with a freekick from range.

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Paqueta was excellent in midfield, proving his ability to play with discipline and responsibility in that area, which was much required with Alvarez missing the last game of his two-match suspension.

It started to spread out a bit, pressure now coming in waves, a spell of Spurs attacking suddenly halting and being replaced by a spell of West Ham on the front foot, rather than the end-to-end affair it had been, and the game came to half-time with both sides reasonably happy with what they had offered and how they were playing.

The Hammers came out for the second half with fire, immediately forcing the visitors back and working hard in their half to put them under pressure on the ball. Antonio could have done better after Ward-Prowse had won possession on the edge of the box, but his left-footed smash at goal was comfortably saved.

He then looked like he had missed the sitter of the season from the resulting corner, and so much so that it took attention away from a glorious chance for Mavropanos. The centre back met the ball well to head down at goal, but too close to Vicario, who just pushed it away on the line. He diverted it towards Antonio, but the striker missed it with a complete air shot. Thankfully for him, he was offside anyway.

Paqueta was next to try, slapping one wide when focusing too much on power as he spun around his man on the edge of the box and attempted to curl one into the far corner.

It was a five-minute burst that Spurs then followed with their own, their best moment coming when Johnson made himself space and curled a cross behind the defence and across the face of goal. Coufal was alert, beating Werner to the ball at the far post as the German tried to profit. To Coufal's credit, he got to grips with Werner and shut down his threat completely in the second half.

For all the attacking intent, it was starting to look like a game that could be decided by one more goal. That goal should have come on the hour-mark for the Hammers.

A forward ball over the defence on the counter had Antonio a couple yards ahead of the quick Spurs centre backs. He pushed on to the area, seemingly losing it as Van Der Ven got back to steal it off the striker's toes. But he slipped, and now Antonio had only the goalkeeper to beat from 12 yards out.

With a little time to think, he composed himself and then dragged a shot too weakly and too centrally, giving Vicario an easy save down to his right. It was a golden opportunity. And it looked like the last of West Ham's legs went with it.

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For the last 25 minutes, West Ham faded, and Tottenham came on strong. Their bench helped, and there was never a starker contrast between the progress of both clubs than when Postecoglou used his bench.

The Australian turned to Hojbjerg, to Kulusevski, Sarr and later Richarlison, and even Lo Celso as he searched to find the way to unlock West Ham's defence. Moyes, on the other hand, warmed Danny Ings up in the final 10 minutes, and even he didn't get on the pitch. With the changes, the visitors found the energy to push on and try find that winner.

But for all their pressure, chances were few and far between. Son blasted over in a bit of space after Emerson stopped a great Johnson run straight into the box, and Coufal was again perfectly placed and prepared to clear once again after another fantastic cross from the right, this time from substitute Sarr, curled around the defence and would have left Werner with a tap-in.

As West Ham faded, the manager shuffled his pack on the pitch rather than from the bench. It was great to see the flexibility in midfield between Paqueta and Ward-Prowse, with the Brazilian shifting deeper as the game went on and Ward-Prowse becoming that proactive '10' where he's played most of this season, pushing up high to bring energy into the defensive work.

As the last 10 minutes came, Antonio's energy levels were near to empty, so the manager moved him to the left wing, and then seemed to give Kudus and Bowen central striker roles to help the counter-attacking threat, pushing Paqueta wide to something close to a 4-4-2.

It nearly all counted for nothing as a late move in the dying embers of stoppage time set Udogie up for the perfect chance. But Udogie wasted his window of opportunity. A long move of pass after pass was eventually crossed, but fell to the edge for the full back. With a bit of time and a bit of space, all he could do was fire right at Fabianski.

It looked the last action of the game, but there was still some chaos in the Spurs box to get through. Kudus held possession in the area, and it was clipped to the left where Bowen beat Vicario to the ball, but couldn't make anything of it. Paqueta tried a clever clipped pass, but Antonio was a broken man, trying to work out how to shift his body in a way similar to one-legged Marlon Harewood late in Cardiff.

He couldn't get to it, nothing worthwhile could be created, and the final whistle blew on a pulsating affair to give both teams their fair share of the points.

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Manager's Rating

David Moyes 8/10: Lovely little tweaks with his players on the pitch, and he just nullified whatever Angeball thinks it is. But this time, he did it whilst having his team comfortable pushing Spurs back or sitting in themselves, whereas the away game was much more sit and counter, smash and grab. Postecoglou brings ??100m+ of talent off his bench, Moyes would just shifts his players about. Had his side conceded, he may have got pelters for that, but it was justified and smart.

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Player Ratings

Lukasz Fabianski
Dealt with the shots on goal with ease, but possibly could have done more on those low crosses from the right that went across goal.

Vladimir Coufal
After a shaky start, really recovered to completely nullify Werner. It's a shame it came after being exposed by his pace a couple times, but that should have been the way of it throughout, yet he managed to make the German a non-factor.

Emerson Palmieri
A couple of breaks forward, but dealt really well with the pace of Johnson on that right. Not sure you can fault him too much for not stopping the run for the first goal, the central space could have been marshalled better, and he made at least one very key tackle to stop a good run.

Kurt Zouma
A much better display. The side did not just sit in and defend, so it cannot be said his task was made simpler. They did push up, even if the retreat was quick into shape. Good goal, the simplest of movement enough to get him space.

Konstantinos Mavropanos
Another strong display at the back. He has the pace and physicality to go into the midfield and snuff things out, but he is looking better now he's used to the backs to the wall stuff. It seems to have limited the aberrations in possession. Should have scored.

Tomas Soucek
Without really doing anything spectacular, Tomas was again excellent in midfield. His form at the moment cannot be knocked, he's performing different roles in that midfield pair and doing them well, without fuss, and does so much to make life easier for the centre backs.

James Ward-Prowse
A really interesting player for what he offers a team tactically. How do you value the ability he has to fill different roles and switch places with the likes of Paqueta to enable him, and do the hard running high up the pitch when others tire? Decent freekick, couple good corners, created a chance for Antonio with good defensive work.

Lucas Paqueta
A joy to watch again in the middle, where that street fighter energy is much more on show. Made the most tackles in the game, a good share of fouls, too, and is a disruptive force in the middle, whilst having better passing angles.

Jarrod Bowen
A threat, whilst being very disciplined to do his defensive work. For him and Kudus on the wings, there was probably more pressure to be diligent than be at the Spurs defenders, but they both managed to balance it pretty well. Great corners.

Mohammed Kudus
Teams are scared of him carrying the ball. He's forcing fouls and bookings because teams would rather take him down before he gets going. He does appear to lose a little bit of goal threat by operating on the left, but he's also picking it up deeper and carrying far, and that allows Bowen to just get up into the business end.

Michail Antonio
Another really good solo striker performance, if not for the parts where he has to score a goal. Tires defenders, just constantly challenging them to feet and with his physicality, or stretching play going long, whilst he's also happy taking it down and running with it if given the space.


Joseph Anang
Did not play.

Ben Johnson
Did not play.

Aaron Cresswell
Did not play.

Angelo Ogbonna
Did not play.

Kalvin Phillips
Did not play.

George Earthy
Did not play.

Maxwel Cornet
Did not play.

Danny Ings
Did not play.

Divin Mubama
Did not play.

Match Facts

West Ham United: Lukasz Fabianski, Vladimir Coufal, Emerson Palmieri, Kurt Zouma, Konstantinos Mavropanos, Tomas Soucek, James Ward-Prowse, Lucas Paqueta, Jarrod Bowen, Mohammed Kudus, Michail Antonio.

Goals: Kurt Zouma 19                  .

Booked: Michail Antonio 0          .

Sent off: None.

Tottenham Hotspur: Vicario, Porro, Romero, Van der Ven, Udogie, Bissouma (Højbjerg 82), Bentancur (Sarr 70), Johnson (Lo Celso 90), Maddison (Kulusevski 70), Son, Werner (Richarlison 82).

Subs not used: Austin, Drăgușin, Davies, Emerson Royal.

Goals: Johnson (5).

Booked: Van de Ven, Bentancur, Johnson, Romero.

Sent off: None.

Referee: John Brooks .

Attendance: 62,469.

Man of the Match: Lucas Paqueta.