Tottenham Hotspur went up 3-0 over West Ham at the London Stadium today behind a brace from Harry Kane and a third from Christian Eriksen, but went down to ten men after Serge Aurier picked up a second yellow and nearly blew the game. West Ham got goals from Chicharito and Cheikhou Kouyate, but Spurs were able to hold on for a 3-2 win.
With a midweek match upcoming against APOEL on Tuesday, Tottenham rotated a little bit in anticipation. Ben Davies returned to the side with fullback partner Serge Aurier making his first Premier League start. Mousa Dembele was rested thanks to a minor ankle knock, and likely in anticipation of him playing on Tuesday, so Moussa Sissoko started in central midfield beside Eric Dier. All else was as expected for a Premier League match.
West Ham was without Manuel Lanzini, while Andy Carroll started on the bench. Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez started up top for the Hammers.
West Ham started off the match by trying to press Spurs high, and it was effective for the first 20 minutes of the match. Spurs didn’t seem to anticipate this, and were on the defensive for significant periods of the match, while West Ham tried to break with pace whenever they got the ball.
That nearly paid off for the Hammers in the 17th minute, but Serge Aurier put in a fine low tackle on Marko Arnautovic, saving what could’ve been a West Ham goal.
The turning point of the first half may have come in the 28th minute when Michail Antonio went down with a knock. He was eventually substituted for Andy Carroll, which changed West Ham’s overall shape and allowed Spurs more freedom in the midfield.
Spurs took advantage and opened their scoring in the 35th minute. Christian Eriksen found a surging Dele Alli on the right. His cross found the head of Harry Kane who powered it past Joe Hart into the back of the net.
Just four minutes later, Kane got another! Christian Eriksen had a flicked pass to Jan Vertonghen, who put a nice forward pass to Alli, this time on the left. Alli’s initial shot was blocked, but Kane was open for the rebound effort, and Spurs took a 2-0 lead into halftime.
The second half started with no changes to either side, but West Ham pushing forward in an all-out attack to try and nick an early goal back. Spurs’ defense was mostly able to contain the attacking threat and it led to a couple of half-chances on the counterattack.
Spurs’ third goal came from a free kick from about 25 yards away. Harry Kane’s strike hit the post, but the rebound came to Eriksen who fired a low ball past Hart in the right corner to put Spurs up 3-0. That goal made him Denmark’s all-time Premier League goal scorer, over Nicklas Bendtner.
Spurs never let up on the pressure, and Kane hit the post again a few minutes later, looking to complete his hat trick (and further his Premier League hat trick lead over Didier Drogba). But then things started to turn.
West Ham clawed a goal back in the 65th minute off of a corner kick and some sloppy Spurs defending. A flicked ball found a wide open Chicharito, who headed his first home goal for West Ham past Lloris.
And then it got worse for Spurs after Serge Aurier put a bad challenge on Andy Carroll from behind. Michael Oliver correctly gave Aurier his second yellow card of the match and Spurs were down a man for the last 20 minutes of the game. Mauricio Pochettino responded by bringing in Harry Winks for Christian Eriksen, and a few minutes later subbing Sissoko off for Kieran Trippier to shore up the defense.
Four minutes from time, West Ham really made things interesting. Substitute Arthur Masuaku put a lofted cross into the box to the far post, and Kouyate was there to head home, cutting Spurs’ lead to 3-2.
Mauricio Pochettino brought a newly clean-shaven Fernando Llorente in for Harry Kane to see off the match, and the last four minutes were a scrappy affair, with lots of shoving and Spurs just trying to kill time. Llorente worked hard to win balls and waste time, and despite some scary moments and a few yellow cards Michael Oliver eventually blew for time and Spurs escaped London Stadium with a 3-2 win.
- Sooooo my internet went out in the 91st minute and I didn’t actually see the end of the match, so I’m relying on my colleagues in the writer’s room to tell me how it ended. From what I gathered it was awesome, there was fighting, and Llorente almost punched Winston Reid. Thanks, Comcast.
- This match was every bit as awful as I dreaded it would be. There’s no such thing as an easy blow-out win against West Ham, is there?
- I really don’t know how I’m going to rate Dele on Monday. He was pretty crap for most of the match but ended the game with two assists. Bizarre.
- No question on the red card for Aurier. I think that’s what we’re going to get with him in the side: moments of brilliance but the occasional herp-derp. Ironically, I think that means he’s now playing Tuesday vs. APOEL since he’s suspended for the next league game.
- Fantastic matches for Kane, Jan Vertonghen, Eriksen today. Sissoko did fine in the center of midfield. Harry Winks also had a good shift in midfield in the second half and had a lovely run to the corner at one point.
- Despite the scoreline, Spurs really dominated this match and deserved the win. It was scary, but I’ll take three points West Ham no matter how they come about. And to get one in a cup final makes it even better! ;-)