Tottenham Hotspur made their second trip of the year to London Stadium to take on West Ham. Spurs made sure that the result was the same, advancing to the quarterfinals of the Carabao Cup with a final score of 3-1.
True to his word, Mauricio Pochettino rolled out a heavily rotated side, making ten changes from the Manchester City match. The only holdover was Davinson Sanchez, who started alongside of Juan Foyth. Serge Aurier returned to the Starting XI after an injury and it was good to see him back and healthy, along with Eriksen, Dele, and Son whom all started in the attacking band with Fernando Llorente. West Ham countered with a very strong lineup, though they opted to sit Marko Arnautovic and go with Chicharito up top. Mark Noble missed the match for West Ham due to suspension.
The first ten minutes of the match saw Spurs controlling most of the possession and attempt to make incisive runs behind the West Ham defense. The result? Three offside calls and a weak low shot by Eriksen. Not exactly a great return on investment, but Spurs looked to be better side.
Spurs’ early dominance was finally rewarded in the 17th minute. After a couple of good passes, a timely little deflection on a Dele Alli pass saw Son Heung-Min in on net. Sonny wasted no time and blasted a shot past Adrien to make it 1-0 Spurs.
There were a couple of decent chances for Spurs immediately after the goal but nothing terribly threatening. The two sides settled in for long runs of possession before West Ham managed to get on the break in the 36th minute. Antonio, who always seems to have a great match against Tottenham, tried to go top shelf on Paulo Gazziniga, but the keeper was up to the challenge and saved the shot out to touch.
West Ham had a late opportunity in the first half to draw level off of a set piece. To be fair, it was a clever little play as instead of playing in a long free kick, the Hammers worked out two quick passes and found a chipped pass heading for Antonio’s head. Gazzaniga managed to read the play and snuffed out the final pass to keep his clean sheet in tact. That is how the first half ended with Tottenham up 1-0.
The second half started brightly for West Ham, getting on the attack with Antonio breaking against Juan Foyth in the 48th minute. It should have been a foul for a shove on Antonio, but the referee swallowed his whistle, giving Antonio a chance. Gazzaniga was up to the challenge and made a crucial save.
West Ham continued to push with a couple of half chances, but a dreadful mistake by West Ham defender Arthur Masuaku left Sonny all alone on the break, one on one with Adrien. Sonny took his time, rounded a flailing Adrien, and coolly slotted it into the corner. Sonny had his brace and Spurs were up 2-0.
It didn’t take long for West Ham to get back on the attack. A dangerous corner headed for Issa Diop managed to get past a diving Gazzaniga, but thankfully Foyth cleared it high and out of danger. Spurs cleared the ensuing corner to get some breathing room. With half an hour to play, Spurs still had their 2-0 lead but we saw this movie last year and the ending was awful.
There was really good reason to be worried that we were going to see a repeat ending as the Hammers had a few solid chances after Georges Kevin N’Koudou came on for Dele Alli. The exchange included a couple of half-missed clearances, a missed punch by Gazzaniga, and a low driving shot that eventually led to Gazzaniga needing to make a low save that was eventually ruled offside. Yet again, Spurs managed to escape an attack unscathed.
Eventually, Spurs couldn’t keep West Ham out of the net. In the 71st minute, after a fantastic tackle by Foyth to save a two on one that led to a corner kick, Walker-Peters got lost on the set piece, leaving Lucas Perez open on the far post. His header was down and powerful, leaving Gazzaniga diving at air to cut the lead in half.
The celebration from the home fans was short-lived, though. An Eriksen corner kick found the perfect area for Fernando Llorente to run into, using a stiff arm to keep his defender at bay. His volley went top shelf over Adrien to get the two goal lead back at 3-1.
Spurs calmed the match down after that. They controlled the pace of play, made a couple of substitutions including bringing on youth academy prospect Oliver Skipp for the final ten minutes. West Ham, even with a late penalty shout, simply looked defeated and were unable to muster up anything more than a couple of crosses into the box. After four added minutes that saw Sonny go for his hat trick but get tackled at the last second, the whistle was blown to bring the match to an end.
Thoughts on the match
- After just 48 hours of rest following the loss to City and rotating everyone except Sanchez, this was welcome. It’s always good to advance in cup competitions. It’s even better to shove it in West Ham’s faces.
- What a sight for sore eyes to see Son, Eriksen and Dele, together on the pitch. What a difference they made.
- Sonny looked like his old self, bagging a brace and coming close to getting his hat trick.
- We didn’t hear his name much, but Serge Aurier had himself a quietly good match. He was asked to not only kick the rust off but to play out of position at left back. He did both, and he played well.
- Kyle Walker-Peters had an up and down day. He got beat a couple of times and got lost on West Ham’s goal in the box. I still think his future is bright, but it was a tad rough for him today.
- Harry Winks was magnificent today. Him and Wanyama paired up and controlled the midfield for most of the match.
- Juan Foyth also had a good one today, save for one really bad pass.
- Oliver Skipp got to play for about ten minutes! The club is very excited about him and it was good to see him on the pitch.
- This was looking like last year all over again, but thank you to Fernando for getting free in the box and blasting that third goal home. It took the air completely of the stadium.
- Spurs are through to the quarterfinal. The draw is upcoming.