West Ham United 2 Tottenham Hotspur 1
This was a first victory for David Moyes over Jose Mourinho, but, far more significantly, it was a win that moved West Ham United nine points ahead of their London rivals Tottenham Hotspur.
West Ham are top dogs in the English capital, having overtaken Chelsea in fourth place, with Tottenham and Arsenal languishing well off the pace for Champions League qualification in mid-table.
Goals from Michail Antonio and on-loan Jesse Lingard condemned Tottenham to a fifth Premier League defeat in six games, as pressure continues to build on Mourinho, who had been hired for his ability to produce winners rather than entertainers. Spurs have been neither far too often of late, although they performed well for the majority of this game and could justifiably feel hard done by not to have claimed at least a point, having twice hit woodwork.
But that will be little consolation to supporters who may soon have to hope that Mourinho can somehow win the Europa League for a third time in his career to secure Champions League qualification.
Substitute Gareth Bale almost inspired a comeback, as he set up Lucas Moura’s goal and hit the crossbar, but, thanks to Declan Rice and the inside of a post, West Ham hung on. This was Bale’s best 45-minute performance since returning on loan, but it was familiar problems that ultimately cost Mourinho’s side.
Terrible starts to both halves left Spurs with a mountain to climb and Mourinho was once again left to curse his team’s defending.
In just the fifth minute, Tomas Soucek bullied Sergio Reguilon to win the ball and play it to Jarrod Bowen. Son Heung-min made a half-hearted attempt to close down Bowen, who shifted the ball on to his left foot and delivered a delicious in-swinging cross into the area.
Antonio got the faintest of touches with his outstretched leg and Hugo Lloris made a good save, but the West Ham striker recovered quickest to stab the ball home.
Trailing at the break and sending on Bale, Mourinho also replaced makeshift right-back Japhet Tanganga with Matt Doherty, but it was from down that side that West Ham quickly doubled their lead.
Pablo Fornals stabbed the ball through to Lingard, who took it in his stride and fired a superb shot into the corner of the net. The flag was up for offside, but a Var check confirmed that the goal stood.
In between the goals, Tottenham had enjoyed most of the possession, but could easily have conceded more than once in the first half.
Lingard squandered an excellent opportunity and Bowen failed to control the ball in front of goal from a superb pass over the top by Rice.
Harry Kane fired a 13th-minute shot wide for Spurs following great work by Erik Lamela. Lamela and Kane both had shots well saved by Lukasz Fabianski, while Eric Dier missed with a header from a corner.
Bale helped to get Spurs back in the game. The Welshman delivered a corner to the front post, where Moura got ahead of Aaron Creswell and headed brilliantly into the net.
Tottenham pinned the hosts back then and should really have found an equaliser.
Moura wasted a good chance by shooting wide from Son’s pass, but a better one arrived in the 79th minute and West Ham had Rice to thank for keeping his team ahead with an incredible interception. Bale played in Kane down the right and his cross looked set to be tapped in by substitute Dele Alli at the back post. But Rice got himself between player and ball to save the day.
West Ham failed to clear their lines properly and Bale’s shot from the edge of the area hit the top of the bar with Fabianski beaten.
Fabianski took out his own player, Vladimir Coufal, when he punched the ball away from Alli after a ball over the top from Bale.
Coufal was able to continue after treatment and the right-back suffered a huge scare in stoppage time. As Spurs pinned West Ham back in their own penalty area, Coufal’s attempted clearance deflected off Son and the ball hit the inside of a post before the hosts scrambled it clear and held on.
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