Tottenham welcomed West Ham United to White Hart Lane in a match that has importance, but unfortunately came in the middle of a brutal stretch of crucial games for Spurs. Spurs put in a very disappointing shift, but somehow managed to nick an undeserved point after a Harry Kane penalty in the 95th minute.
Mauricio Pochettino again put out a slightly rotated side, resting Christian Eriksen and preferring Danny Rose to Ben Davies, but otherwise fielding a first-choice lineup.
The match started out very open and end-to-end, and Tottenham had the best of the early chances. Nabil Bentaleb had a rocket of a shot from 25 yards just pushed wide by Adrian, and a few minutes later Harry Kane was onto goal from a beautiful through ball from Danny Rose, but his shot went off the bar. Ryan Mason and Danny Rose also had decent chances on goal.
And then in typical Spurs fashion, poor defending did them in. Off a cross from Aaron Cresswell, Cheikhou Kouyate got in between Spurs' central defenders and put a header past Hugo Lloris to put the Hammers up 1-0. The match descended into a sloppy, turgid mess after that and ended by the same scoreline.
Pochettino responded by subbing Eriksen on for Dembele to start the second half but without much effect. Despite a few long-distace attempts from Ryan Mason, Spurs never really looked much like scoring. Roberto Soldado came on in the 59th minute for Andros Townsend.
Then the wheels completely fell off -- Danny Rose was caught ball watching on a Mark Noble cross and Diafra Sakho headed the ball past Lloris to put West Ham up 2-0. 30 seconds later, Noble cut Nabil Bentaleb down for a hard foul but referee Jonathan Moss declined to give Noble his second yellow card.
Spurs did have some chances: Harry Kane had a goal called back for offside, Danny Rose pulled a weird goal back for Spurs, and Tottenham's intensity picked up as they pushed for the equalizer, But then Harry Kane was brought down in the box in the fifth minute of extra time. Kane's penalty was blocked, but he followed up with a rebound goal with the last kick of the game to get the draw and the point.
It was pretty much an undeserved point as Spurs were pretty terrible, but a point's a point, and every point is needed at this stage of the season.
- This was an awful, awful match, and it's hard to say that despite the two late goals that Spurs were better than West Ham. They weren't. But I'll still take the point, thanks.
- While Andros Townsend did offer some directness in attack early, he offers nothing in defense and left Kyle Walker out to dry on several occasions in the first half. He completely failed to track back in the build-up to West Ham's first half goal. Frankly, I'm tired of that crap from him, but that's just the player he is now.
- Mousa Dembele had a shocking first half, but it wasn't helped by the fact that Spurs clearly weren't pressing with the same intensity as they have in past matches. Why was he in the game when Spurs weren't relentlessly pushing forward?
- Winston Reid did a great job of defending Harry Kane. If the rumors of Spurs signing him to a pre-contract this summer are true, I might not mind so much.
- After the first West Ham match Pochettino quipped that there was no point to press when your opponent would just lump it over the top. West Ham didn't do that in this match, but Spurs STILL didn't press with the same intensity, and I can't figure out why.
- West Ham's second goal was almost entirely Danny Rose's fault. While he did pull a goal back for Spurs late in the match, why he continues to get starts over Ben Davies is beyond my ken.
- Once again, Big Sam got his tactics right against Spurs and this time Pochettino completely whiffed.
- Kane scored his 24th goal of the season with that penalty follow-up. Despite being marked out of the match he still managed to influence the final score. Harry Kane, everyone.
- Now let's put that match behind us and concentrate on beating Fiorentina in Italy.