Back on track? Let's go with back on track. Tottenham Hotspur came up against the king of the scrappy road draw on Sunday, without key attacking players, and displayed more flair than they had in any other match to this point under Andre Villas-Boas in a 3-1 win over West Ham.
Things got off to a brilliant early start, with Gareth Bale hitting the crossbar from outside the penalty area. He made a brilliant turn and surge away from his defender to set himself up with the chance, but looked to throw it away with a very heavy first touch. Incredibly, he recovered with a long stretch towards the ball that resulted in a vicious shot that bounced off the underside of the bar.
Spurs got a bit pedestrian as the half wore on, but Jermain Defoe fired them to life with an outstanding individual goal just before the stroke of halftime. He picked the ball up in an uncharacteristic position, far away from goal and out on the right, but he made the most of what he was given and drove away from the West Ham midfield, moving forward towards the defense. The entire Hammers defense failed to get in his way, and he turned Mark Noble inside-out before firing a perfect 20-yard shot past Jussi Jaaskelainen.
That goal produced some momentum that Spurs would carry into the second half, where Clint Dempsey upped his game and put together by far his best half of play in a Tottenham shirt. He hit the woodwork with a great shot in the 57th minute, and set up a goal for Bale a minute later. The two combined on a beautiful move, with Dempsey playing Bale in on goal with a chipped ball into the box. Bale didn't have much time to strike, but improvised beautifully with an unorthodox shot, placed at the far post.
Dempsey was at it again in the 66th minute, helping in the build-up to Tottenham's third and final goal. Sandro started the attack by winning the ball in midfield and hitting it into the path of Dempsey, who released Lennon into space with a great pass. Defoe made an intelligent run to the back post and Lennon found him with a squared pass, setting up an easy tap-in on a two-on-zero break.
Andy Carroll pulled one back for West Ham, heading in a Joey O'Brien cross, because Spurs are allergic to clean sheets. Spurs had another scary moment late when Sandro was forced off the pitch, but Villas-Boas said after the match that he is not injured.
This should be a nice boost for Spurs, heading into a tough mid-week match, as Storey noted.