It was an intriguing affair at Tottenham’s new home stadium and the hosts faced their first defeat against West Ham United at their own den. It was a cagey first half as both teams squandered chances to take the lead. Mauricio Pochettino’s men were wasteful in front of goal and that came back to haunt them as Michail Antonio solitary goal at the 67th minute was enough for the Hammers to clinch the London Derby.
3. Wasteful Spurs lacked the cutting edge in attack
It was Heung-min Son’s low drilled effort which forced a stunning save from Fabianski, while Lucas Moura’s effort was wayward as it went across the face of goal.
Christian Eriksen also challenged the West Ham custodian but he was simply at his best and kept out everything that came on his way. It was an off day for the Lillywhites and this was a long time coming and their 1-0 win over relegation-threatened Brighton last time gave signs that the team are not at their best shape.
Spurs were better side going to the break but their inability to take their chances cost them three crucial points in a tight top four tussle.
2. Michail Antonio- the man of the hour for West Ham
Antonio is known for his agility and raw speed and he gave a tough time to the Spurs defenders in the second half. The English winger teamed up with Marko Arnautovic and made some excellent attacking moves. It was the diagonal long ball strategy which changed the game on its course and at the 67th minute, it was a darting run from Antonio as he got ahead of Ben Davies and finished it off with a stunning finish past Hugo Lloris.
The Hammers came up with a brilliant tactic to get in behind the Spurs defence after the break. Pellegrini’s men used the diagonal long ball and used the pace of Antonio and trickery of Felipe Anderson on either flank. It was a moment of smartness from Arnautovic as he chipped it towards the path of Antonio on the run as he scored the only goal in the game.
1. West Ham finally finds luck on the road
The Hammers had only 16 points on the halfway in the league campaign this time out and the axe of relegation was hanging on their head. Having earned only one point from their last eight away trips there wasn’t much scope for improvement.
It looked like a matter of time for West Ham to concede first as Fabianski was the busier of the two goalkeepers in the first half. But it was tactical brilliance from Pellegrini and a clinical finish from Antonio which earned the rare away win for West Ham.
This defeat comes as a piece of welcome news for Tottenham’s rivals Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea who are just behind the Lillywhites in their bid for the top four finish. The battle intensifies even more as Manchester United locks horn against Chelsea. The winner of the fixture will have an advantage in their race to the top four finish. Arsenal, on the other hand, will take on Leicester City as Unai Emery will look to capitalize on any points dropped by Chelsea who are currently at the fourth position with Arsenal right behind them followed by the Red Devils. Just like the title race the fight for the top four race will be a photo finish for the football fans all over the globe.