Match: Saturday 22nd February 2015.
Competition: Premier League.
Venue: White Hart Lane.
Result: Tottenham 2-2 West Ham.
Tottenham goalscorers: Danny Rose 81’, Harry Kane 96’.
West Ham goalscorers: Cheikhou Kouyaté 22′, Diafra Sakho 62’.
Well, Tottenham don’t half like to play with your heartstrings, do they? We have to be honest and admit that we played a poor game, our passing was sloppy, we didn’t create enough clear cut chances and the energy that is so often a major part of our game simply wasn’t there, we lacked that intensity and drive from West Ham’s first goal until our first goal. West Ham were comfortable and it looked for all the world like they would cruise to a 2-0 victory having got their game plan spot on, suffocating our midfield and starving Harry Kane of service. Their tactical game was brilliant and on any other occasion it probably would have seen them through to victory, but despite lacking in quality throughout the game, our spirit was still there, and we didn’t give up, which credits the mentality instilled by Mauricio Pochettino once again. We did look drained, and out of sorts, and could possibly lay blame to the Europa League game in midweek, but when you see the side come to life late on in a game when 2-0 down, it makes me think that it simply was a bad day at the office that we were lucky to drag ourselves out of. Improvement is needed from that performance, on Thursday and then the Cup Final on Sunday, where we need to be at our best. I’m not happy with the point, we should have done better and performed better, but when you’ve played a bad game, and gone 2-0 down, you have to be satisfied that we got it back to 2-2, we’ll take the point, say thank you very much and then move on to what is a humungous week in the world of Tottenham Hotspur.
We did start the first half quite well, we had some shots that went close from Nabil Bentaleb and Ryan Mason, as well as a brilliant straight ball from Danny Rose that Harry Kane latched onto, and scissored towards goal, past Adrian, but finding the bottom of the post, unluckily for us. But it was West Ham who got the breakthrough, sloppy play from Mousa Dembele on the edge of our box, which then fell to Aaron Cresswell who curled a beautiful cross into the box, inbetween our two centre backs for midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate to power his header past Hugo Lloris on 22’ minutes for the Hammers to lead. We didn’t react to the goal very well, we were still sloppy in possession, West Ham smothered any space that we came across, and we didn’t have many ideas in the final third for Harry Kane to receive service to affect the game; unfortunately the West Ham game plan made it extremely difficult for us to bring our star man into the game. West Ham deserved their lead at half time, but it could have been a different story should we have taken the small amount of chances that we did get.
The second half was our chance to turn it around, insert some energy into our game and find our groove once again, but unfortunately we didn’t come out of the gates flying, instead we looked the same as in the first half; pedestrian and out of ideas, which gave West Ham the opportunity to find spaces for themselves, but not allowing the space to be given to us, hence was their organisation as a team. It was frustrating, infuriating not to have enough clear cut chances to make an impact on the game, West Ham’s tactics were spot on, and on the counter attack they were effective, and caused problems for our defenders with Enner Valencia and Diafra Sakho using their pace and strength to affect the game. In midfield, they had the extra man, and it made it impossible for us to get a foothold in the match and strut our stuff, and then, West Ham doubled their lead through Diafra Sakho, who took advantage of Danny Rose appealing for offside to sneak in behind and find the net for 2-0, and it looked like game over at 62 minutes in. The game looked to be fizzling out, West Ham had control, and were passing the ball well, but a big incident was Mark Noble, who was already on a yellow card, lunging in on Nabil Bentaleb for what was a stonewall second yellow and red card, but John Moss bottled the decision and at that moment I though for all the World it wasn’t our day, but the never say die attitude of the side thought otherwise. We introduced Nacer Chadli into the game and 1 minute later, from a short corner, Erik Lamela whipped a cross into the box, which was half blocked and then cleared, but only as far as Danny Rose who scuffed a shot into the ground, but the bounce seemed to deceive Adrian in the West Ham goal and settled into the back of the net on 81 minutes to give the Tottenham faithful hope. Our brightest spell of the game is often in the last 10 minutes, and that was no different in this game, and after getting the goal back, we continued to press, with Kyle Walker, Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela creating chances, as well as Roberto Soldado who had a powerful effort well saved by Adrian. Then, with the added 5 minutes of time coming to a close, the ball found its way to Harry Kane’s feet, who took a touch, and felt contact from Alex Song and went to ground as John Moss pointed to the spot. It wasn’t that straightforward though, as Harry Kane’s penalty was saved, but it fell to Kane on the rebound toscore for 2-2 with the last kick of the game. Relief.
Well, we got a point!! A very nervy and frustrating game that ended in pure relief. Now, we have to travel to Florence to face Fiorentina in the second leg of the Europa League round of 32, then it’s the biggest game of the season on Sunday 1st March with the Capital One Cup Final against Chelsea, it’s set to be a massive week for Tottenham Hotspur, and hopefully it is a joyous week for us all. Follow me on twitter for it all, here: @AddictedToSpurs, and let me know your thoughts on the game! Up the Spurs! COYS!!
My player ratings for the side that faced West Ham at WHL:
Lloris – 8
Walker – 7
Dier – 7
Rose – 8.5 – Man of the match.
Bentaleb – 8
Mason – 7 (Chadli 80’ – 5)
Lamela – 6.5
Dembele – 4 (Eriksen 45’ – 6.5)
Townsend – 6 (Soldado – 61’ – 6)
Kane – 7.5.
Mauricio Pochettino reacts to the draw with West Ham:
Harry Kane post match reaction:
Match highlights of our 2-2 draw with West Ham: