West Ham dent Spurs title bid with derby win
Tottenham go down 1-0 at the London Stadium as Irons raise their game for rivals
05 May, 2017 — By Dan Carrier
WEST HAM UNITED 1, SPURS 0
TOTTENHAM’S slim hopes of catching league leaders Chelsea hit the rocks tonight (Friday) as they stumbled to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of West Ham.
Last season, Spurs had travelled to Upton Park needing a victory to take them above Leicester in the final weeks of the season but found a Hammers team which raised their game for the occasion – and it was an almost a carbon copy of those proceedings a year later. A 65th minute winner by the Irons’ Manuel Lanzini means the title is all but Chelsea’s.
It was Tottenham’s first defeat in 10 league games, and leaves them four points off the leaders, having played a game extra. Chelsea now need just six points from four remaining games to seal the title.
Speaking after the match, Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino said: “We are feeling disappointed. We had the opportunity to reduce the gap but it was not our day. The way we conceded was poor – and it is difficult now. We tried and I am very proud of my team – but it was a game that was difficult.”
He added he felt his side had learned and improved from last year, but they needed to show they were worthy of being champions, adding: “Today was one of those key moments. If you want to be a champion, today was a game we must win. We will try to move on and finish the season the best way and still fight.”
It took 20 minutes for Spurs to register their first shot on goal at West Ham’s cavernous London Stadium – and then three came along in the same move. Harry Kane struck one effort that Hammers goalkeeper Adrian did well to block, Dele Alli nearly turned home the rebound, and then Kane was given a second opportunity which Adrian again got to. From the resulting corner, Eric Dier saw his goalbound header also palmed away.
Spurs had a couple of scares, the biggest when Lanzini broke and Hugo Lloris had to race off his line to clear – but otherwise it was mainly Spurs looking to find a way through and some harum-scarum defending from the home side to keep things even after the first 45.
With West Ham fighting for every ball, roared on by an aggressive home support, Spurs were hustled into errors and found it hard to find the killer pass. Midway through the second half, in what was West Ham’s first attack, Lanzini scored after some scrappy, goalmouth pinball.
Spurs battled to find a way back, but were given a fright when the home team nearly doubled their lead on 75 minutes. It took an exceptional save from Hugo Lloris from close range to keep Lanzini out. Spurs immediately headed up the other end and it took a last ditch block to stop Heung-Min Son finding Harry Kane.
But with West Ham content to defend deep, Spurs needed to find that last extra push – and it just wasn’t coming. Waves of attacks broke down as Spurs couldn’t find the vital last touch – and once again, Tottenham’s title challenge looks like it has been buried in east London.
SPURS: Lloris, Walker (Trippier, 80), Alderweireld, Vertonghen (Dembele, 67), Son, Wanyama (Janssen, 73), Dier, Alli, Eriksen, Davies, Kane.
Subs not used: Vorm, N’Koudou, Sissoko, Wimmer.