Football Features

Tottenham 3-3 West Ham: Historic Harry Kane feat in the first half, historic collapse from Spurs in the second

By Chris Smith

Published: 18:50, 18 October 2020

Tottenham Hotspur snatched a point from the jaws of victory on Sunday, throwing away a three-goal lead to draw 3-3 with West Ham United.

Jose Mourinho’s side raced into a 3-0 lead within 16 minutes as Harry Kane once again set up Son Heung-min to open the scoring before going on to net another two himself in a world-class first-half performance.

That looked to be enough to seal the victory for the Lilywhites but David Moyes’ men mounted a remarkable comeback in the final 10 minutes, pegging Spurs back through Fabian Balbuena and a Davinson Sanchez own-goal before Manuel Lazini unleashed what is arguably the goal of the season so far to steal a point.

So, after all the drama, here are five things we learned from the match.

1. Kane the world’s best?

After Kane delivered a wonderful ball behind the West Ham defence to set up Son for yet another goal — the sixth he’s assisted the South Korea international for in the Premier League this season — Sky Sports commentator Jamie Carragher declared the England striker as “one of the best passers in world football”.

It didn’t take long for Kane to prove he’s still up there with the likes of Robert Lewandowski among the world’s best finishers, too, netting twice himself to put Spurs 3-0 up inside 16 minutes.

This leaves Kane on five goals and seven assists so far in the 2020/21 Premier League season, making him the first player to be directly involved in 12 goals in a club’s opening five fixtures of the competition, breaking the previous record of 11 (four goals, seven assists) set by Thierry Henry for Arsenal back in 2004/05. Furthermore, no player in Europe’s top five leagues can match his combined goal and assist output right now.Β 

The list of incredible stats could go on, but it’s also important to admire the grace and brilliance of Kane’s performance on Sunday. The 27-year-old played the “nine-and-half-role” to perfection, dropping between the lines and getting plenty of service from the likes of Sergio Reguilon before turning and playing defence-splitting passes to Son or combining with Steven Bergwijn, who often drifted centrally.

As always, when Kane picked up the ball at the top of the box himself, he was a constant goalscoring danger — as evidenced by his first goal, while that striker’s instinct to pop up at the far post served him well for his second. He even had time to make a goal-saving block to deny Vladimir Coufal just before half-time!

Kane is the Premier League’s best forward right now, that much is clear. Where does he fall among the list of world superstars? He can’t be far from the top on current form.

2. Don’t forget Son

While Kane rightly stole the first-half headlines, it’s important to remember just how important Son — and their partnership together — is to Mourinho’s side.

As it has been for teams all season, the 28-year-old’s pace behind the defence was a constant menace to the Hammers, who seemed terrified to push their line forward in fear of Son strolling in on goal. Given the range of passing Kane displayed to find Son, that is understandable.

By constantly asking questions of the last defender, Son was also able to give the likes of Kane and Bergwijn far more space to operate in, allowing Spurs multiple options to attack through and, ultimately, making them unpredictable.

Son is now on seven Premier League goals this season — level with Dominic Calvert-Lewin at the top of the charts — but with Mourinho’s attacking machine purring like this (we’ll talk about the defence soon), who knows what he could end up on.

3. West Ham exploit Spurs’ weak underbelly

As much as Spurs are a force of nature going forward, there are still many who doubt their ability to defend well enough to be serious title contenders and West Ham magnified their backline weaknesses fully in the final 10 minutes on Sunday.

The defending for the Hammers’ first two goals was truly woeful from Tottenham, with Moussa Sissoko being beaten far too easily by Balbeuna at the far post, while Sanchez will be having nightmares about that disastrous own goal for weeks to come.

Even Lazini’s rocket in second-half stoppage time — likened by Carragher to Andres Iniesta’s famous Champions League strike for Barcelona against Chelsea in 2009 — could have been stopped, with Harry Winks failing to clear the ball, letting it out of his control and into the Argentine’s path.

Mourinho is famously a stickler when it comes to his team’s defensive output. Oh to be a fly on the wall of the Spurs dressing room at full time.

4. Bale homecoming doesn’t quite go to plan

For the first time in 2,709 days, Gareth Bale took to the pitch in a Tottenham shirt, replacing Bergwijn in the 72nd minute to truly begin his loan spell from Real Madrid — partnering Kane up-front, no less.

The Wales international probably had dreams of announcing his return in style last night, scoring a trademark long-range thunderbolt or overhead-kick to put the cherry on top of a wonderful Spurs win. In truth, it just didn’t transpire that way.

Bale’s first meaningful contribution was a dipping free-kick from distance just after coming on, an effort easily saved by Lukasz Fabianski. Then the 31-year-old fluffed a wonderful chance to re-announce himself, skewing a shot wide from inside the box in second-half stoppage time after receiving the ball from Kane and turning Angelo Ogbonna inside-out.

At the other end, Bale was punished for his miss with Spurs falling apart and conceding three late goals as West Ham awoke as if from nowhere to put their London rivals’ backs against the wall.

Not the homecoming Bale or Spurs had in mind.

5. A dramatic dugout return for Moyes

After missing West Ham’s last three games — including wins over Wolves and Leicester — Moyes returned to the dugout on Sunday only to witness his side completely fall apart in the opening 16 minutes.

Sure, it’s unlikely you can level much blame at Moyes himself for the Hammers’ early collapse, but that won’t have stopped the Scotsman offering some choice words to his players at half-time.

David Moyes | West Ham | Premier League

West Ham United manager David Moyes

But of course, Moyes will be much happier with his side’s second-half showing, where West Ham largely limited Spurs to long-range opportunities and completed an incredible comeback in the final 10 minutes.

This was a brilliant display of character from West Ham — coming from three goals behind in a Premier League game for the first time since 2011 and only the second time in their history. Any questions as to whether or not Moyes is the right man to carry them forward may have just been answered.