Tottenham Hotspur narrowly took all three points from the London Stadium in their sixth league away match of the season.
It was a positive start to the London derby, with both teams looking to attack early on, and creative passes all over the pitch made it look like a goal would not take long to arrive.
The game began to weigh in West Ham’s favour as the clock reached twenty minutes, with an array of corners threatening Tottenham’s penalty area. The defence held firm, however, and did well to launch the away team on a counter attack on a few occasions.
One of the main talking points of the first half came when Yarmolenko went down injured without any heavy contact with a Tottenham player. It looked like the Ukrainian tried to turn too quickly and unfortunately had to be driven off on the stretcher.
Just before the end of the first 45, Erik Lamela found the game’s only goal to put Tottenham ahead. Sissoko picked out the Argentinian’s clever run and a glanced header left Fabianski with no chance.
Sissoko himself could have doubled Spurs’ win before the whistle went. Lamela’s shot was parried straight to the Frenchman, who shot directly at the floor-bound Fabianski.
West Ham came out of the blocks much the faster side in the second half. Arnautavic’s placed header was sailing into the top corner if not for an excellent diving save from Lloris.
As the game continued, West Ham became more and more determined for the equalising goal. As has been a theme this season, the Lilywhites couldn’t put the game to bed, and fans watching on were forced to the edge of their seats.
Then in stoppage time, Lloris saved his side with a tremendous block to deny Arnautovic from point blank.
In the 85th minute, West Ham had a goal ruled out for a marginal offside, and the away team made their way back to North London with the three points.
Spurs’ best ever Premier League start
This may come as a little hard to believe given some of the criticism that Pochettino and his team has received in the early stages of the season. But this win now signifies their best ever points tally after nine games – twenty-one points taking them to third position prior to Liverpool and Arsenal’s matches.
It’s fair to say that some of Spurs’ wins this season have been slightly unconvincing, not asserting dominance like they have done in previous seasons. However, their defence has excelled and this has played a huge part in helping the team come away with three consecutive clean sheets.
It’s thanks to this that Spurs still find themselves in and amongst the title favourites, who have played with style and assurance. With five teams potentially reaching the 20-point mark so early on (a win for Arsenal on Monday would make this happen), we could have a tight season ahead of us.
A long time coming for Lamela
One player who has had a tough ride in terms of injuries is Erik Lamela. The Argentinian took up the central attacking role in today’s game, filling in for the injured Dele Alli. The 26-year-old excelled in that position, picking up a deserved second goal in three games.
Lamela arrived from Roma back in 2013, and was immediately an exciting prospect in North London. But a succession of frustrating injuries meant that the midfielder was ruled for long spells and hasn’t really been at full fitness since.
In recent games, however, Lamela has shined for Spurs, and has found himself on the scoresheet on a number of occasions. He was one of the stars of the show at the London stadium today and seems to have secured a spot in the starting eleven.
West Ham unable to make use of their second-half dominance
The Hammers were slightly unfortunate to gain nothing from the match, especially after the effort they put in to try and draw level in the second half, not to mention some showstopping saves from Hugo Lloris.
If Lamela hadn’t scored just before half-time, it could have been a very different story. West Ham were the more promising side in the second period and easily could have scored one or two on another day.
The Hammers find themselves firmly in the bottom half of the table, but today’s match will leave them determined to acquire some winning consistency in the coming weeks.
Man of the Match – Hugo Lloris
The Tottenham keeper ultimately secured the three points with some match winning saves to deny West Ham’s top scorer Marko Arnautovic multiple times. After some niggling injuries in the last month or so, the Frenchman will be extremely proud of his performance today.