Tottenham kicked off the Premier League season with a dramatic late win at West Ham.
It was a good start to the game, with Spurs dominating the possession with 62% at around the 17th-minute mark. However, it was clear to see that West Ham were having more chances and spending more time camped in Tottenham’s half.
On the 18th minute, there was another panic in the box, but Rose made up for previously letting his man go and brought the ball out, and was then fouled. A throw in a minute later caused some trouble. West Ham’s physical presence seemed a problem for the defence. Rose cleared the ball as it came to the back post.
By the 23rd minute, West Ham were definitely getting the better chances. They won many corners and they continued to show their physicality. Tottenham were started to get nervy and more crosses entered the box, a header from Kouyate did not trouble Lloris. Rose once again had to head away a free-kick he gave away.
Then, a huge decision was made. Kyle Naughton blocked a shot clearly with his hands just outside the 6 yard box. The ball struck him at point blank range onto his hands. It was not a deliberate handball, but a penalty seemed to be a harsh but fair decision. However, no one saw the next event happening. Chris Foy drew a red card for Naughton after a discussion with the linesman. In this rather unfortunate situation for Tottenham, they received a moment of fortune when Mark Noble missed the penalty. It was a huge let off.
Even a man down, Bentaleb kept Tottenham playing some good football. After being strong on the ball, he exchanged passes up the field with Eriksen to finally put the ball through to Adebayor. There wasn’t enough power on the ball to reach Tottenham’s Togolese Talisman unfortunately. Bentaleb later crossed to find Adebayor who could not convert the service. Eric Dier was solid at right back, after being switched after Naughton’s sending off.
Vaz Te’s shot in the 35th minute was the 8th shot West Ham took compared to Tottenham’s one.
Towards half time the pressure continued, but West Ham could not finish. A header from Vaz Te was easily dealt with by Lloris. Lamela lost the ball in midfield, flicking the ball carelessly to West Ham’s players on many occasions. There was good defending from Tottenham in the 43rd minute where Eric Dier stayed on his feet and made sure no cross came in. Even though Spurs were a man down, they still had more possession, 55% coming into half time.
The second half started as it left off, Tottenham under pressure but dealing with it well. Kaboul headed away a cross in the 46th minute after Eriksen pressured high up the field. There were some good moments for Spurs when Eriksen got a shot on target. Lloris was called into action twice in a short period of a few minutes, making two good saves. Lamela won another free-kick through some skilful dribbling again.
Around the 60th minute, Tottenham managed to get two crosses in, but on both times there were no players to convert the crosses. Holtby and Townsend were then brought on in place of Lamela and Lennon, a good set of substitutions.
The second red card was shown in the 62nd minute after Collins blocked Adebayor who had easily beaten him. This was a second yellow card after Collins had previously fouled Lamela. The free-kick was in a good position, and it looked as though Eriksen might just perform one of his spectacular efforts once again, but the attempt was over the bar.
The introduction of Holtby was a good one. He was getting involved with the play, tackling and getting around the pitch. His energy and commitment was superb. Townsend brought a whole new dimension to the attack as well. Within 2 minutes, Townsend has crossed to Adebayor, and taken two shots separated by a corner. The first was a venomous effort that Adrian of West Ham did very well to keep out.
With the ball back in West Ham’s half, Lewis Holtby made 3 consecutive tackles and found a pass. However, this attack fizzled out. Four minutes later, Hugo Lloris makes the most important save of the game. It was after a lucky back heel trickled past two of the Tottenham defenders. Stewart Downing tried to take it past Lloris, but failed. It was tremendous goalkeeping from Lloris.
Tottenham won the game in the 92nd minute. Harry Kane slots a beauty of a through ball to new signing Eric Dier, who does well to stay onside and receive the ball. The young defender then rounded Adrian and finished well. The Spurs fans were jubilant, Pochettino celebrated. Spurs had won the game with a marvellous piece of play.
Lloris: Brilliant. Made lots of saves, keeping us in the game. (Excellent)
Naughton: Okay up till the red card. Incredibly harsh decision. (Average)
Rose: Good. Although he did make some mistakes, he made up for them. (Good)
Capoue: Was a rock in both midfield and defence. (Good)
Kaboul: A few mistakes, but strong in the air and made some good tackles. (Good)
Dier: Match winner. Fantastic debut, plenty of other good moments other than the goal. (Excellent)
Eriksen: Didn’t seem to be on top form, some good passing, took some shot. (Good)
Bentaleb: Kept the ball well, showing a mature and cool head. (Good)
Lamela: Good dribbling, won freekicks. Lost the ball a few times though. (Good/average)
Lennon: Did his best. Played okay. (Average)
Adebayor: Didn’t pose many threats to West Ham’s goal. Still contributed. (Average)
Holtby (Sub): Committed, passionate and mixed this with ability. Great sub. (Good)
Townsend (Sub): Extra dimension in attack. Direct, got shots away, won corners. (Good)
Written by Declan Wiseman