clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

West Ham 3-2 Tottenham: Spurs fall in high-octane first friendly Down Under

The offense was impressive. The defense... well.

The Big Ange Era is officially underway! Tottenham Hotspur played their first friendly of the preseason against London rivals West Ham at the Optus Stadium in Perth, Australia today. It was the Hammers’ third match of the preseason, while Spurs were rolling out for the first time under a new manager and with drastically different tactics.

It had the possibility to look a little rough out there, and it did. Spurs looked hilariously open in a back four and conceded two first half goals to the Hammers, and despite numerous chances went into the first half down two goals.

But with an entirely new XI in the second half, Spurs roared back to level the match behind goals from Giovani Lo Celso and Destiny Udogie. West Ham’s Gianluca Scamacca got in behind Spurs’ back line to fire home a late goal past Brandon Austin to give the Hammers the win, but Spurs looked decidedly more impressive at times, despite the scoreline.

Lots to unpack from this one! Here are some of my match reactions.


First Half

  • Three major omissions from the starting lineup — Son Heung-Min, Tanguy Ndombele, and Eric Dier. Dier is still not fit after having surgery (though he’s still training), Sonny just arrived a couple of days ago, and Tanguy apparently picked up a knock yesterday.
  • Wow, what a first half. Spurs were, as promised, super progressive and attacking right from the opening kick. Ange started with a back four, with Bissouma dropping deep to receive possession from the CBs, Reguilon and Pedro Porro making overlapping runs, a high press, and lots of pushing forward at pace. This is definitely NOT Antonio Conte’s Tottenham.
  • Speaking of Manor Solomon... the dude is smol but he’s fast. Got in behind the back line several times in the opening 15 minutes and ripped a shot that Fabianski saved smartly. Also got fouled on another saved shot in the box that should’ve been a penalty (but we’re playing under friendly rules). It’s early but... I might have been wrong about him?
  • But the defense? Whoof. This isn’t the back line that will start the season (hopefully) and Tanganga actually played pretty well, but the defense was very susceptible to the counter and both West Ham goals were from bad defending on set peices. It’s like a football reverse mullet — party at the front, open at the back. And bring back Gianni Vio!
  • Yves Bissouma looked great in midfield. It was like the shackles were finally off
  • I have no idea what the xG for that half was and I’m desperate to know.

Second Half

  • Ange opted to entirely change the lineup for the second half. Davies, Sanchez, Emerson, Sarr, Devine, Lo Celso, Perisic, Hojbjerg, Udogie, Richarlison, Austin.
  • The players all changed, but the attacking principles remained. Richarlison in particular looked comfortable in the front three along with Perisic and Devine.
  • And Alfie did not look at all out of place in that forward line, putting in a couple of good cutbacks in the box and forcing at least one save. IDK if there are enough minutes to warrant keeping him around instead of sending him out on loan, but I liked what I saw.
  • When the goals finally came, boy did they come! Spurs’ first goal was very much deserved after a lot of good interplay in and around West Ham’s box. Gio was the recipient, but honestly Spurs probably should’ve scored at least four before that. (Gio’s price just went up by €10m.) Udogie’s goal was off of a set piece and it was just a lovely flicked header. Guy wasn’t even looking at the goal!
  • West Ham’s third was just again bad defense, this time from Davinson Sanchez who kept Scamacca level and mistimed stepping up to cover him. Easy finish for Scamacca past Austin.
  • I feel like I didn’t really get a good grasp of Udogie’s game in the second half, but what I did notice is that he is extremely fast. That flicked header was just lovely, too. I can’t wait to see a lot more from him.
  • Fun facts: Tottenham outshot West Ham 30-4, had 71% possession, at at LEAST 35 crosses and lost the match 3-2. As annoying as it is to get football’d by a geriatric Lukasz Fabianski, I had a lot more fun watching that preseason match than I did any Spurs match in the last six months.
  • I have no idea if Spurs are going to be good this season, especially with the current state of the defense. But after that match I’m pretty convinced that if nothing else they’re going to be FUN.
  • Enjoy your lunch!