West Ham United claimed a hard fought Premier League victory over London rivals Tottenham Hotspur on Thursday night after coming from behind to win 2-1.
An early header from Cristian Romero looked as though he might have set an initially dominant Spurs on the way to ending a run of win-less league games at four.
But Jarrod Bowen’s 50th goal for a resilient Hammers side that played with far greater energy after the interval brought things level, before James Ward-Prowse won it in slightly fortuitous circumstances.
How the game unfolded
West Ham had barely touched the ball by the time Romero found the top corner with a header in the 11th minute. Spurs controlled possession majestically and all the visiting Hammers seemed able to do for a sustained period was clear their lines and wait for the next wave.
It was no surprise it couldn’t last and the resistance was broken when an unmarked Romero rose highest in the middle of the box to direct Pedro Porro’s corner beyond the reach of Lukasz Fabianski.
West Ham initially responded well to the setback, playing with a little more adventure, but Spurs soon reapplied a relentless stranglehold of the ball that was almost impossible to break.
The frame of the goal came to Kurt Zouma’s aid when he stretched with every sinew to cut out a potentially dangerous cross from Giovani Lo Celso on the left, ricocheting off the woodwork. The chance had been engineered by great interplay from Dejan Kulusevski and Yves Bissouma.
It took until the closing moments of the first half for West ham to carve out a genuine chance, but after excellent work from Mohammed Kudus on the right to cross towards the far space, Lucas Paqueta’s attempted header in acres of space was somewhat pathetic.
Even with all the ball, the home side weren’t doing enough to add to their led, with most of the shots peppered at the West Ham off-target and those weren’t straightforward for Fabianski. They were punished for that when Bowen got a break out of nowhere, presented with the ball and the goal gaping when Kudus’ shot doubled ricocheted off Romero and Ben Davies.
The goal gave the Hammers a bit more belief than they’d had all night and it was the first time Tottenham had been under any real pressure. It wouldn’t have counted because of an offside flag, but Guglielmo Vicario even had to pull off a spectacular one-handed save from Tomas Soucek.
Fabianski had strong palms to parry a driven effort from Spurs right-back Pedro Porro, while substitute Richarlison missed the target by mere centimetres with a header.
But West Ham’s vigour forced the go-ahead goal as the game approached the final quarter. Pressure on Destiny Udogie let to a short back-pass to Vicario that was chased down by Bowen, with the Spurs goalkeeper only able to push the ball straight out to Ward-Prowse. The initial shot struck the post but fell straight back to the Hammers midfielder with the open goal at his mercy.
GK: Guglielmo Vicario – 5/10 – Couldn’t do much with either West Ham goal.
RB: Pedro Porro – 7/10 – Delivery made the early goal and often played like an extra winger the amount that Spurs had the ball. Put in some really dangerous balls.
CB: Cristian Romero – 6/10 – Jumped highest to break the deadlock, albeit unchallenged. Couldn’t deal with Bowen snapping at his heels after half-time.
CB: Ben Davies – 6/10 – It was a mix-up that gifted West Ham’s equaliser but there wasn’t much else he could have done about it.
LB: Destiny Udogie – 5/10 – Played with real vigour up and down the left flank. But his underhit back-pass ultimately gave West Ham their second goal.
CM: Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg – 6/10 – A comical fall in the first few minutes as he swung for the ball and missed didn’t define his night but it was funny to watch.
CM: Yves Bissouma – 7/10 – Basically controlled the game in the first half.
RM: Dejan Kulusevski – 6/10 – Looked dangerous when making darting runs either with or without the ball. Just lacked the quality in the key moments.
AM: Giovani Lo Celso – 7/10 – Took up good positions throughout the first half and almost forced an own goal fro Kurt Zouma just before the break.
LM: Brennan Johnson – 6/10 – Started brightly but definitely faded.
ST: Son Heung-min (c) – 6/10 – Impact was bizarrely minimal given how Spurs dominated.
SUB: Richarlison (67′ for Lo Celso) – 6/10
SUB: Oliver Skipp (67′ for Hojbjerg) – 6/10
SUB: Bryan Gil (84′ for Johnson) – N/A
SUB: Pape Sarr (84′ for Bissouma) – N/A
SUB: Alejo Veliz (88′ for Son) – N/A
Subs not used: Forster, Royal, Dorrington, Donley
Ange Postecoglu – 5/10 – Spurs players sometimes seemed a little too attached to the blueprint rather than reacting to the moment.
GK: Lukasz Fabianski – 8/10 – Helped by wayward Tottenham shooting but made decent saves when he was called upon, including just before West Ham took the lead.
RB: Vladimir Coufal – 7/10 – Didn’t have too much of the ball but hardly let Johnson past him.
CB: Kurt Zouma (c) – 7/10 – Nearly scored an own goal with an interception that stopped a dangerous cross getting into the box. Probably the luck he deserved.
CB: Nayef Aguerd – 7/10 – Will think he could have done more to stop Romero getting a free jump to score the early Spurs goals, but so solid after that.
LB: Emerson Palmieri – 8/10 – Put in an excellent defensive shift.
CM: Tomas Soucek – 8/10 – Disciplined out of possession and made it difficult for Spurs to turn their possession into anything more meaningful.
CM: James Ward-Prowse – 7/10 – Got the winner and gave his usual threatening delivery.
CM: Edson Alvarez – 7/10 – Similar to Soucek, he shut Spurs down in the key moments.
RW: Jarrod Bowen – 9/10 – Hardly had a sniff before his goal, taking his first real chance of the game like a seasoned ‘number nine’. The best player on the pitch in the second half.
ST: Mohammed Kudus – 8/10 – Even for large periods where the Hammers weren’t doing a lot, he still looked like he could be a threat and was involved in most of what his team did.
LW: Lucas Paqueta – 6/10 – Squandered a glorious chance at the end of the first half. Grew into the game as it progressed.
SUB: Pablo Fornals (88′ for Kudus) – N/A
Subs not used: Anang, Kehrer, Mavropanos, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Benrahma, Mubamba, Ings
David Moyes – 9/10 – The Hammers were disciplined when under relentless first half pressure and played in their manager’s image. The second half then saw much more intesnsity at the right time.