Before tonight, Spurs had been perfect through the festive fixtures in the Premier League. A win in the latest London Derby would’ve put them just one point off the top four, but it wasn’t to be.
Tottenham and West Ham played to a 1-1 draw at Wembley Stadium on Thursday, with both goals coming from astonishing long-range efforts. Spurs dominated the game and will be disappointed that they only came away with a point.
xG map for Spurs - West Ham. So that happened. pic.twitter.com/zMp7nIbu4k— Caley Graphics (@Caley_graphics) January 4, 2018
Despite Tottenham playing against Swansea only two days ago, Mauricio Pochettino picked a largely unchanged lineup. Moussa Sissoko came in for Erik Lamela, Harry Kane replaced Fernando Llorente, and Serge Aurier was rotated back in for Kieran Trippier. The FA Cup tie against AFC Wimbledon this weekend will give Poch an opportunity to rest key players.
West Ham were missing quite a few players due to injury. They had a sloppy start in allowing Spurs to come close a few times, and then the Hammers proceeded to sit back and absorb 45 minutes of constant pressure.
Possession was overwhelmingly in favor of Tottenham, who controlled a 73% stake in the first half. When David Moyes’ men did touch the ball it was almost immediately taken back by a Tottenham player.
Harry Kane had a few chances, but his touch let him down in a crucial moment. Jan Vertonghen sprang Aurier with an incredible ball over the top, but Kane couldn’t control Aurier’s cross to the middle of the box.
The best chance of the half came right before the break. West Ham had a rare moment of possession, but they lost the ball and allowed Spurs to break forward in numbers. Christian Eriksen had a shot from about 22 yards that was deflected and tipped over by Adrián.
Things looked quite similar in the second half. Spurs kept up their pressure, but just couldn’t get past West Ham’s last lines of defense. The Hammers did especially well to get bodies back to block shots in their own box.
Dele Alli seemed to have a decent shout for a penalty when he was taken out by Adrián in the 67th minute, but Mike Dean rejected the appeals.
Then, despite all of Tottenham’s dominance they were pegged back by a moment of magic.
Pedro Obiang unleashed a candidate for goal of the season as he blasted one past Hugo Lloris from 30 yards away. It was the Hammers first shot of the match.
Wembley was shocked, but Spurs eventually caught their breath and responded well. Adrián was forced into a couple saves, and then Tottenham produced their own wonder-goal.
The Hammers had led for 14 minutes when Son Heung-min brought the ball forward and decided to have a try from about 35 yards out. The Lilywhites had settled for long-range shots with little success before then, but Son uncorked one that cut away from Adrián and into the net.
The equalizer had the home fans at Wembley thinking they could go on and get a winner, but all they got was a frustatingly hectic finish.
Lloris was forced to deny Andre Ayew from giving the visitors another late lead, and then Tottenham again had their penalty claims rejected by Mike Dean.
The final whistle sounded and the points were shared. Spurs moved to within 3 points of fourth place Liverpool, but could’ve only been behind by a single point had they won today.
Points dropped here only ramps-up the importance of Tottenham’s upcoming gauntlet of tough games. Their fortunes this season will largely be determined by how they handle that upcoming fortnight of matches against Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, and Juventus.