A superb second half sees Tottenham top West Ham, return to top four

(Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images) /
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The up-and-down nature of Tottenham Hotspur’s season continued on Sunday as Spurs topped a tumbling West Ham 2-0 at home and returned to the top four.

Tottenham Hotspur, who beat Manchester City a couple of weeks ago, could not be found against Leicester, was back at N17 on Sunday. Playing what we know is a problematic London derby, Spurs did what they needed to, beating a bottom-half West Ham side behind a big second-half surge moving back into the Premier League top four and a future Champions League place; here is how.

Almost behind early, Tottenham was on the front foot throughout against West Ham

In many ways, West Ham is a mirror image of Tottenham on the pitch, with the 3-4-3 formation and a willingness to let the opponent hold possession. Of course, this strategy works even better when playing from a lead, which West Ham almost was.

The Hammer’s best chance of the match was in the opening minutes, after a poor giveaway by Tottenham.

Richarlison – who started in the front three instead of Heung-min Son – tried to play a back pass to Ben Davies – who started at left wing-back – but the two Spurs players were not on the same page, and West Ham had a throw, which they took quickly. The quick throw allowed Tomas Soucek to get behind Spurs’ left-side volleying a cross into Jarrod Bowen. Bowen struck the ball cleanly, but it went sailing wide as Fraser Forster went flying.

That moment in the first minute of the match was the moment for West Ham. Had Bowen hit the target, Forster would never have had a chance, and West Ham sitting back would have been different. Instead, Bowen missed the target, and Tottenham could grow into the game and eventually dominate.

While Spurs’ season has been up-and-down, West Ham’s has just been down, and Tottenham made sure that was the case in the final 45 minutes.