Match: Saturday 16th August 2014.
Competition: Premier League.
Venue: Upton Park.
Result: West Ham 0-1 Tottenham.
Tottenham GoalScorer: Eric Dier 93′.
Sending off West Ham: James Collins 63′.
Sending off Tottenham: Kyle Naughton 29′.
We’ve got our first win on the board and did it in typical Tottenham fashion. Keeping you on the edge of your seat 24/7 and giving you absolutely no inkling into what is going to happen. In Mauricio Pochettino’s first game in charge, to get the win is the main thing, how we played is not what we need to focus on. With this win so much pressure has been lifted off Pochettino’s shoulders, off our shoulders and the player’s shoulders. 1 game, 1 win. That’s all that is important.
In the first half, we started well, put some good passes together and looked slightly threatening, but quite jittery at the back. West Ham were doing well to cull our attacks, and offensively themselves, they did well to put us under pressure. They then bombarded us for 10 odd minutes, corners, free kicks and everything inbetween and got their reward with a penalty, Kyle Naughton handling the ball in the area and then receiving a red card, which was very harsh. A penalty? Yes. A red card? Not a chance. Mark Noble stepped up, famous for his clinical nature from penalties, but dragged it wide to all of Tottenham’s relief. We dragged ourselves through to half time. They had chances, went close, but it was 0-0 at the break and we were grateful for that.
In the second half, we were better. On the ball, much more sharp and organised after a talking to from Mauricio Pochettino. The introduction of Andros Townsend and Lewis Holtby gave us much more impetus and attacking threat, in particularly Andros Townsend who was providing crosses and shots that were testing the West Ham defence. We worked the ball much more in the final third but were still restricted to longer range shots. Frustrating. The momentum turned in our favour and with that, on the 63rd minute, James Collins of West Ham got his second booming of the day and was sent down the tunnel. 10 vs 10. 30 minutes to go. It was in our hands to win. We continued to push. In particular with Townsend and now Harry Kane. We continued to push, but West Ham were still getting chances. In the 88th minute they had a big chance, Hugo Lloris spectacularly stopping Stewart Downing’s effort. As good as a goal from Hugo. Then, after our endeavour, we finally broke the deadlock. In the 93rd minute Harry Kane released Eric Dier, who broke the offside trap, rounded the goalkeeper and finished with ease to give Tottenham victory. Fantastic.
Eric Dier, on his Premier League debut, in a London derby, played a very, very good game. Defensively he was solid, on the ball he was composed and then at the end he scored the winning goal. He worked so hard for the team, filled in at right back when we needed it, at centre back and then up front! Man of the match without doubt. Hugo Lloris was also fantastic; he’s World Class and he showed again why he wins us at least 10-15 points a season, maybe even more. As a collective the performance wasn’t amazing, we can admit that. West Ham probably deserved more from the game but football is a cruel game and after a red card that shouldn’t have been, maybe Karma was on our side. A brilliant three points to kick-start our season.
What a three points! A last minute winner against West Ham is always really nice, especially on the first day of the season and Mauricio Pochettino’s first game in charge. It’s important we push on after this win and now try to improve ourselves in the way we play, defensively and offensively. Next up, Europa League play-off action as we travel to Cyprus to face AEL Limassol at the Antonis Stadium on Thursday 21st August. We return to Premier League action against QPR, our first Home game of the season on Sunday 24th August. Follow @AddictedToSpurs for it all… COYS!!
Player ratings for the team that faced West Ham at Upton Park:
Naughton – 3.
Dier – 9 – Man of the Match.
Kaboul – 4.
Rose – 6.
Capoue – 5.
Bentaleb – 7.
Lennon – 5.
Eriksen – 6.5
Lamela – 5.
Adebayor – 5.
Townsend – 8.
Holtby – 6.
Kane – 7.
Mauricio Pochettino post match press conference:
Mauricio Pochettino post match reaction:
Eric Dier post match reaction: