Jermain Defoe scored twice and Gareth Bale scored his first League goal at White Hart Lane since last January as Tottenham defeated West Ham United 3 – 1 to end their run of three successive Premier League defeats. Andy Carroll scored a late consolation for the visitors as Spurs once again failed to keep a clean sheet. The win lifts Spurs above West Ham and level on points with Arsenal in 7th (=6th place) on goal difference.
Tottenham Hotspur 3 West Ham United 1
Scorers: Defoe (2), Bale Carroll
Team: Lloris; Walker, Dawson, Caulker, Vertonghen; Sandro (Livermore), Huddlestone; Lennon (Dembele), Dempsey, Bale; Defoe (Sigurdsson) Subs: (unused) Friedel, Gallas, Naughton, Carroll
Andre Villas-Boas selected a team to counter West Ham’s strengths of playing the high ball towards Andy Carroll. Hugo Lloris retained his place in goal after his outstanding display in Rome against Lazio. Michael Dawson started his first League game of the season in place of William Gallas with Jan Vertonghen at left back. Clint Dempsey and Tom Huddlestone started with Mousa Dembele on the bench as he builds on his fitness after five weeks out with injury. Defoe, being Tottenham’s only available striker continued his lone search for goals.
Tottenham made the more positive start with West Ham content to defend and invite Spurs’ pressure. After five minutes, a Sandro pass played Defoe in on the right of the penalty area but the shot lacked power to trouble the goalkeeper. The first booking of the game came a minute later as Gareth Bale turned his man but was brought down by O’Brien. From Bale’s free-kick the ball was cleared to Huddlestone but his shot from distance bounced through harmlessly and wide. West Ham looked to hit Spurs on the break but didn’t cause the home defence any problems.
After 11 minutes, Steven Caulker played the ball to Bale who turned and moving forward got a powerful shot on goal which hit the bar and bounced out to Dempsey who was unable to get any power on his header. A minute later, a Dempsey shot from the edge of the area was saved comfortably by Jaaskelainen. Almost immediately, West Ham conceded possession, allowing Bale to go on a run on the left but he took the ball wide with Defoe free in the middle.
At this point Tottenham lost their fluency and rhythm which allowed West Ham into the game but without really testing Lloris. Spurs continued to dominate possession but were unable to find w ay through the visitor’s well organised defence. With West Ham looking to threaten on the break they lacked the pace to trouble Spurs so after half an hour they introduced Matt Jarvis to try to unsettle the home back line. Lloris was called into action after 33 minutes as he punched clear with Nolan closing in.
Spurs play was rather disjointed at this point and West Ham were quite comfortable and caught Spurs on the break with three minutes to go to the interval but the ball was scrambled clear. Spurs responded a minute later as Bale played the ball to Lennon but his shot was poor. With a minute to go, Defoe broke the deadlock. Kyle Walker found him on the right touchline, Defoe turned, beat his markers and cut into the area to shoot powerfully past Jaaskelainen at his near post. The goal released the tension that had gripped White Hart Lane as the ground erupted with a cacophony of noise.
In the second half, Spurs started with a confidence and fluency that they had gained from the opening goal. An early free-kick from Bale, dipped just over the bar. Defoe played Lennon in but his shot was blocked for a corner. Bale took the corner and when it was played back in, he got a header towards goal. Lloris made a good save from Jarvis to keep West Ham at bay. A Sandro pass to Defoe enabled the goalscorer to strike at goal but it was blocked for another corner. West Ham were now struggling to cope with Spurs passing and pace as Jaaskelainen saved from Bale.
Lloris dived low to claim a cross by Nolan as Jarvis closed in. On 57 minutes, Spurs hit the bar for a second time, on this occasion it was Dempsey after Defoe had found him on the edge of the area. A minute later, Bale added number two as Dempsey played him in on the right to shoot across goal and in off the post. Six minutes, later and Sandro battled for the ball inside the Spurs’ half. It fell to Dempsey who poked it on to Lennon who ran from the halfway line and into the penalty area, through on the goalkeeper. With Defoe to his left he squared the ball for the striker to claim his second into an empty net against his former team.
Two goals in six minutes, saw the tempo of the game slow although Defoe met a Walker cross but could only put the ball up into the air where it was claimed by the goalkeeper. A shot by Dempsey went across goal with Bale stretching to reach it. With twelve minutes remaining, Dembele replaced Lennon and Walker had a shot into the side netting.
With eight minutes left, Carroll scored his first West Ham goal with a header which looped over Lloris from a cross. It was a goal that shouldn’t have happened and greatly annoyed Lloris. Steven Caulker, with Lloris behind him ready to claim the ball, headed a cross weakly to the edge of the area. West Ham played the ball back in and Carroll was able to get in a header to score. Lloris had words with Caulker.
Spurs played out time with Jaaskelainen having to make two good saves, first from a shot by Defoe and then from Bale who met the rebound. In added time, Defoe committed a foul on the left of the penalty area. Having been booked earlier, Spurs’ fans held their breath concerned that Defoe might receive a second yellow card to leave the team without a striker for the next game against Liverpool. He didn’t and in a final flurry, Dawson cleared over the bar from about a yard following a corner and Lloris made a save before Bale and Huddlestone had shots blocked.
Tottenham achieved their goal – a win against a West Ham team who had steadily climbed the table to be two points ahead of them. That achieved, the encouraging point about the win was that it came from Spurs’ best home league performance of the season. They played quick, passing football and dealt comfortably with West Ham’s aerial challenge. Spurs showed patience and did manage to find a way to break through the well organised defence. Next up on Wednesday evening is Liverpool at home and they earned a point from a scoreless draw at Swansea this afternoon.
An encouraging result and performance for Andre Villas-Boas to consider.