Football Features

Tottenham 0-1 West Ham: Key winners and losers as Antonio opens up race for third

By Harry Edwards

Published: 14:33, 27 April 2019

West Ham United became the first team to win at Tottenham Hotspurs’ new stadium thanks to a 1-0 win.

Michail Antonio scored the only goal of the game midway through the second half with a well-taken finish as Spurs stuttered up front.

But who were the big winners and losers?

Winner: Issa Diop

At the start of the month, West Ham fans were happy to see Issa Diop dropped for their 2-0 defeat away to Chelsea, as the 22-year-old centre-back had been on a poor run of form. But on Saturday, Diop reminded everyone just why he was called a “monster” by Jose Mourinho earlier in the season.

The 22-year-old was rock solid at the back in the first half against Tottenham and looked ready to single-handedly stop every attack that come his way. Diop was there to block shots and crosses, cut out passes and generally frustrate Son Heung-min and Lucas Moura.

Though the West Ham defence still did look shaky when Tottenham pushed, with Diop at the heart of the back line the Hammers rarely looked like conceding from inside the area. Spurs’ best chances were either easily saved from close range by Lukasz Fabianski, or came from outside the area.

The centre-back made more clearances than any other West Ham player on Saturday afternoon with seven – joint-most with Ben Davies across both teams. He also made more interceptions than any other player (six).

Diop even went close to scoring a wonderful goal late on, running through the Spurs defence with only Lloris to beat. But his finish was that of a centre-back and tipped around the post by his compatriot.

Loser: Son Heung-min

Son Heung-min is a wonderful footballer and is easily one of Tottenham’s top two players this season alongside Moussa Sissoko. But even the best can have off days, and that was the case for the South Korean against West Ham.

Unavailable to play in midweek against Ajax due to suspension, this was Son’s chance to all-but secure Tottenham’s place in next season’s Champions League, leading the line alongside Lucas Moura.

But, while Son has brilliantly filled in for Harry Kane in the past, he failed to make a telling impact. That’s not to say he was bad, as the South Korean constantly looked to hurt the West Ham defence and did link up well with Lucas and Christian Eriksen.

But Son failed to live up to the high standards his performances have brought this season, with shots not troubling Fabianski and uncharacteristically poor dribbling.

He even let is frustration show in the first half, going in late on Robert Snodgrass, stamping on the Scot’s foot – though it was not deemed a foul.

With Son off colour on Saturday, it begs the question whether Spurs can compete against Ajax without him in midweek.

Winner: Marko Arnautovic

You could be forgiven for forgetting that Marko Arnautovic was playing in the first half at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. But it wasn’t his fault.

 

The Austrian has come in for a lot of criticism since his failed move to China in January, with many West Ham fans unhappy with Arnautovic’s perceived level of commitment to the club.

On Saturday, the forward barely had a chance to remind fans of what he is capable of, managing just seven touches in the first half – fewer than any other player on the pitch. But his team-mates need to share some of the blame.

They were far too slow in attack at times, not reading the Austrian’s off-the-ball runs, or wasting key opportunities. The biggest moment came 20 minutes in when Felipe Anderson raced his way into the area, with Arnautovic in a good position. But instead of passing, Anderson sent a weak shot straight into Hugo Lloris’ arms.

Arnautovic cut a visibly frustrated figure and didn’t shy away from making it clear to his team-mates.

But then something changed at half-time. The Austrian was moved out wide and seemed to have recovered all of his powers, causing Tottenham serious problems.

He was linking up better with his team-mates, going close with crosses, and provided an exquisite assist for Antonio’s goal, curling the ball into the middle of the box just over Toby Alderweireld’s head.

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Loser: New north London stadiums

If you’re from north London and you want to keep an unbeaten streak at a new stadium, don’t invite West Ham around to play.

Tottenham had looked invincible at their new stadium to date, winning their first four matches across all competitions without conceding. Crystal Palace, Manchester City, Huddersfield and Brighton had all left the ground without success and many expected West Ham to join the list.

But the Hammers had other ideas.

It wasn’t pretty, with West Ham having to rely on some resolute defending and wastefulness in front of goal from their hosts, but the Hammers did it.

They proved the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium may not be the fortress everyone expected – and it’s not the first time they’ve done this in north London.

Hark back to April 2007 when Arsenal were near the end of their first season at the Emirates. The new stadium had proven fruitful with the Gunners unbeaten, until West Ham came to town.

Then, it was a Bobby Zamora goal which ended Arsenal’s unbeaten start at the Emirates, and the Gunners have looked fragile at home on many an occasion since.

Winner: Michail Antonio

Like Arnautovic, Antonio looked to be in for a poor afternoon in north London, struggling to break down a tough Tottenham defence.

But the Englishman was on hand to give the Hammers the lead and shock the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Though the goal may be remembered more for Arnautovic’s wonderful cross, Antonio still had work to do, chesting the ball down before coolly finishing past Hugo Lloris.

It was the first goal Tottenham had conceded at their new stadium in their fifth game there, something not many would have expected to happen this weekend.

Prior to Saturday’s kick-off, West Ham had managed just two goals away from home in the Premier League in 2019 – the fewest of any other team, even Huddersfield.

But their third of 2019 was so sweet, getting one over London rivals with a win which could help shape the Premier League top four.

And it will also be remembered for Antonio’s bizarre celebration, which he explained after the game, telling Sky Sports: “This one, there’s a guy I follow on Instagram called DanRue and he does loads of crazy dance moves.

“I saw it the other day and I was like, ‘I’ve been busting it out in a couple of clubs, so you know what, I’m going to have to do it on the pitch’.”

Winners: Chelsea and Arsenal

Well, well, well. It appears we may just have a battle for third place opening up. Saturday was Tottenham’s chance to all-but secure third, moving six points clear of Chelsea and seven of Arsenal with two games remaining and their London rivals having tough games on Sunday.

But Chelsea could now draw level on points with Tottenham should they beat Manchester United at Old Trafford, putting pressure on Spurs in the fight to be London’s best this season.

And Arsenal, who have not finished above Tottenham for the past two seasons, will be keeping a keen eye on third when they face Leicester City, knowing a win would move them to within a point.

The pressure is on.

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