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Premier League
Thursday, 4th January 2018

Tottenham Hotspur 1
West Ham United 1

by David Fletcher


A resolute and compact West Ham side stand firm and take away a valuable point from Wembley as they play out a draw with London rivals Tottenham, despite taking the lead deep into the second half.

From the first minute, the pattern of the encounter was clear. Tottenham dominated possession and tried to break down a robust and stubborn West Ham defence.

Despite West Ham's numbers in the penalty area, Spurs were able to carve out a few opportunities in the early exchanges. Heung-Min Son's slip when attempting to cross the ball defflected off Pedro Obiang straight into the path of Harry Kane who volleyed it goalwards, and though it beat 'keeper Adrian, Declan Rice was on hand to clear the danger. In the resulting corner, Tottenham went close again as Cheikhou Kouyate, victim of Adrian's poor handling, inadvertently headed the ball to Davinson Sanchez whose kick was blocked by Rice.

The Hammers survived the first quarter of an hour relatively unharmed and were determined to reach half-time with a goaless scoreline. It wouldn't be an easy task though, as Tottenham continued to push forward and find pockets in West Ham's clustered penalty area.

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Just shy of the half hour mark Tottenham turned up the pressure. Firstly, Harry Kane managed to receive the ball in space and he tried to curl one into the far corner but Adrian comfortably pushed the ball out of harm's way. Then a minute later, Ben Davies and Son combined but Adrian was on hand to save it again.

The West Ham defence was very nearly breached when Jan Vertonghen delivered a great long ball catching Arthur Masuaku out. Aurier received it in space and immediately squared it to Kane whose heavy touch saw the ball go out of play.

But the closest Spurs came to nudging themselves in front was on the stroke of half time when Christian Eriksen countered into space, squared the ball to Dele Alli who returned it to the Dane having nutmegged Pedro Obiang, his shot deflected off Ogbonna forcing Adrian to correct his position and impressively tip it over the bar.

Though West Ham kept their shape and discipline, the game inevitably opened up a bit in the latter stages of the second half. The Hammers became slightly more eager to push forward and Spurs were ready to pounce on mistakes in order to counter and take advantage of the open spaces.

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Even so, chances were few and far between, but when they came, they were more than worth the wait.

First to step up was Pedro Obiang. After a controlled and composed spell of possession, Andre Ayew was looking for support, he found it in the shape of Manuel Lanzini, the Argentine played it to Masuaku and then to Obiang who was allowed a little too much space and he really took advantage of it. The Spaniard unleashed a thunderous strike into the top corner leaving 'keeper Hugo Lloris with no chance whatsoever.

Spurs stunned as to what had just hit them, had no option but to keep pushing men forward as they had up until then with no result, and just salvage a point, nevermind take all three.

They could have even been two goals behind when Obiang, feeding off the scraps of a Lanzini free kick, put a decent ball into the six-yard area finding Kouyate, despite the away fans pleading for him to shoot, he didn't get the neccesary contact with the header and his effort went wide.

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A moment of inspiration from Son was the only thing that could save Spurs from another embarrasing West Ham home defeat, as he let fly from thirty yards out from a square pass by Lamela.

Though Tottenham weren't resting on their laurels following Son's wonder goal, they were caught out by a moment of brilliance by Masuaku who completely bamboozled two defenders with a ridiculous piece of skill, nutmegging Eriksen and finding Ayew in the box who was unable to beat Lloris and restore West Ham's lead.

From then on in, West Ham put everyone behind the ball and forced out what was to be a well-earned point against a Tottenham side that were lacking a meaningful gameplan.



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Player Ratings

Adrian San Miguel Del Castillo
Kept everything out bar a wonder strike from Heung-Min Son. Produced some wonderful acrobatic saves and also kept his cool with the basic efforts too.


Pablo Zabaleta
Put in a good shift. However he was spotted as the weakest link by Tottenham to attack. Heung-Min Son in particular was a great source of crosses after beating the Argentine.


Arthur Masuaku
Composed and brave enough to get West Ham on the counter as opposed to just clearing his lines. Sometimes even a bit too eager to get forward. His amazing skills singlehandedly set up Ayew who nearly put West Ham in front just after conceding.


Angelo Ogbonna
Got in the way of absolutely everything putting his body on the lines with his countless blocks.


Declan Rice
An incredibly mature performance from the youngster. His decision-making was spot on and produced numerous crucial blocks and accurate tackles.


Winston Reid
Got on the end of many Tottenham crosses clearing them with his diving headers. A few slips kept his defensive team mates on edge, but overall it was a very consistent performance.


Pedro Obiang
Aggressive in his defending and kept a cool head on the ball in midfield delivering very accurate short passes and long balls. Not to mention his absolute stunning long-range strike.


Cheikhou Kouyate
A mighty presence in the air and chipping in very well in defence and in attack.


Manuel Lanzini
Very decisive on the ball, able to beat defenders and get himself out of tight sutuations with his quick feet.


Mark Noble
Wore his heart on his sleeve and kept the team focused throughout the ninety minutes. A bit clumsy with his tackling and too agitated when on the ball.


Javier Hernandez
An obsolete figure up top. Failed to hold the ball up well when in possession.


Substitutes


Andre Ayew
(Replaced Hernandez) Maintained possession very well and barely lost the ball. Also got into some good positions when going forward.


Andy Carroll
(Replaced Lanzini) Picked up a needless booking in his five minute spell on the field.


Andre Ayew
(Replaced Antonio) No comments.


Nathan Trott
Did not play.


Ben Johnson
Did not play.


Domingos Quina
Did not play.


Anotnio Martinez
Did not play.



Match Facts

Referee: Mike Dean.

Attendance: 0.

Man of the Match: Declan Rice.

West Ham United

Adrian San Miguel Del Castillo, Pablo Zabaleta, Arthur Masuaku, Angelo Ogbonna, Declan Rice, Winston Reid, Pedro Obiang, Cheikhou Kouyate, Manuel Lanzini, Mark Noble, Javier Hernandez.

Goals: Pedro Obiang 70                  .

Booked: Andy Carroll  Mark Noble         .

Sent off: None.

Tottenham Hotspur

Lloris, Aurier, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Davies (Llorente 82), Eriksen, Dier (Wanyama 74), Sissoko (Lamela 74), Alli, Son, Kane.

Substitutes: .

Subs not used: Vorm, Trippier, Dembele, Winks.

Goals: Son (84).

Booked: .

Sent Off: .

 

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David Fletcher's Man of the Match: Declan Rice


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