Tottenham held on to defeat a persistent West Ham side that will feel their efforts deserved a share of the spoils at the London stadium this weekend. Manuel Pellegrini’s side are now just two points above the relegation zone having lost six of their nine games this season.
West Ham started the brighter of the two teams and dominated possession for large periods of the first half. Both sides were wasteful on the counter, misplacing passes frequently in attack. Ukrainian Andriy Yarmolenko was stretchered off with what appeared to be an achilles injury that will be of great concern to Pellegrini, with the winger starting his side’s last five games.
Spurs made the breakthrough in the latter stages of the first half when Erik Lamela, who looked lively throughout, headed home from Moussa Sissoko’s cross. West Ham improved after the interval and looked increasingly dangerous, with Javier Hernández flagged offside as he rolled home from Marko Arnautovic’s pass. Spurs survived a late onslaught of crosses to pile even more pressure on a West Ham side struggling for consistency after recruiting heavily over the summer.
Here are four things we learned from the match.
1. Defensive Frailties Continue to Haunt Hammers
West Ham’s problems at the back have been well documented this season and they were again their undoing on Saturday, with a lapse in concentration allowing Erik Lamela to head home unmarked.
Manuel Pellegrini’s side have managed to keep a clean sheet just once this season, a stat that will alarm the Argentine who will know that for all his side’s attacking thrust, a defence that continues to leak goals will undermine the work of Marko Arnautovic and co.
Pellegrini has switched between a back three and back four this season and must decide on which system suits the players at his disposal best.
2. Felipe Anderson Still Adjusting to New League
Club record signing Felipe Anderson has struggled for consistency since his summer arrival from Lazio for a reported €40million. The wideman has started the majority of games from the left wing and has shown flashes of his ability, though all too infrequently in a Hammers shirt.
The Brazilian’s only goal this season, an exquisite flick past David De Gea, shows he is capable of doing it against the very best though Saturday’s performance against Spurs will definitely be one to forget for the Hammers new boy. It is clear from recent performances that he will need time to adapt to the demands of a new league and new team under Pellegrini.
3. Harry Winks Display a Plus for Pochettino
Harry Winks’ display against West Ham will be a real positive to take from the game for manager Mauricio Pochettino. The England international has shown in recent weeks he is more than capable of filling the shoes of last season’s star performer Moussa Dembélé who has looked out of sorts this season, starting just one of Spurs’ nine games.
Winks’ composure on the ball and energy gives his side increased mobility in the midfield and provides his manager with increased flexibility, with Pochettino switching to a diamond at times this season.
4. Érik Lamela is Playing Excellent Football
Érik Lamela was once again the difference for his side on Saturday as he headed home the game’s only goal shortly before the interval. The Argentine has struggled for form and with injuries since his arrival in north London back in 2013, but was rewarded for his recent displays off the bench with a starting berth at the London Stadium.
In the absence of Dele Alli, goals against Brighton, Liverpool and West Ham will have done little to harm the Argentine’s prospects of increased game time.