Opinion: Player Ratings: Tottenham Hotspur 3-3 West Ham

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Jose Mourinho
JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur fell to a late draw at home in unbelievable circumstances yet again in the Premier League, this time against West Ham. Spurs had a 3 goal advantage after 15 minutes but West Ham managed to score 3 goals in the last 10 minutes to take a point away from the hosts.

The game started superbly for Tottenham who found themselves up 1-0 after 45 seconds with Kane and Son combining yet again. The Korean controlled Kane’s brilliant long-range pass and found the back of the net after cutting inside from the left. Then the next 10 minutes turned into the Harry Kane show with the striker scoring a brilliant goal outside of the box after nutmegging Rice, and a powerful header from a pinpoint Reguilon cross. It seemed like the game was over after the opening 15 minutes, especially since West Ham managed to create pretty much nothing going forward, and Spurs were looking dangerous with each counter attack. 

However, it was also notable that the game was being played in a friendly match tempo from start to finish, with many Spurs players jogging around in and out of possession. The counters were still looking dangerous but not being able to control the possession against a deflated West Ham side and allowing them to enter into the attacking third with ease signalled danger, especially in the second half. 

Tottenham still managed to control the scoreline somehow even after a few spells of possession from the visitors, and could have scored a few more but first Son couldn’t direct an Aurier cross goalwards. Then Kane hit the post with a ridiculous curling shot with his left foot from outside the box. 

In the 70th minute, the anticipation of every Spurs fan became a reality as Bale finally returned to the pitch as a Spurs player when he replaced Bergwijn. But the Welshman’s highly awaited return turned into a nightmare as Tottenham defenders started to crumble against the West Ham pressure. In the 82nd minute, Sissoko allowed Balbuena a free header in the box from a free kick and the comeback was on. Not even 3 minutes later, Davinson Sanchez scored an own goal from close range while being pressured by no one.

Bale could have killed the game off in the 92nd minute when he showed off some silky footwork to enter into the box before hitting his shot off the target. And that miss proved to be a costly one as Spurs gave away yet another free kick from the left to the visitors, and after failing to clear their lines allowed Lanzini a shot from outside the box which the Argentine smashed in. 

This will be a very hard punch in the gut for Spurs who looked to be cruising and asserting themselves in the title race. But now they stay sixth, 5 points away from the top spot. This should have been the start of a great run of games to collect maximum points before the tough games start rolling in, but now it’s back to the drawing board for Mourinho who needs to figure out this defence very quickly if he wants any part of the title race.   

Player Ratings

Hugo Lloris – 6 – Not much to say about the captain’s performance as he was not called into action many times even though West Ham were in the Spurs half quite a lot. He made some routine saves before the floodgates opened in the last 10 minutes. He was so close to saving Lanzini’s effort as well, but it wasn’t to be. 

Serge Aurier – 5 – A poor game from the Ivorian after the performance he put in against Manchester United. He wasn’t as aggressive going forward, and settling for slow build-up and safe options all game which took away the attacking potency of his team. He was also constantly challenged defensively, with a number of errors resulting in dangerous attacks for the visitors. His foul at the end resulted in the equalizer. 

Davinson Sanchez – 4 – It’s so frustrating to see Sanchez who came to Spurs with a lot of potential not improve one bit ever since his arrival three years ago. He is still challenged on the ball, which means the team is so slow and predictable in the build-up, and he’s still giving goals away with simple mistakes at the back. He was actually alright dealing with Antonio for much of the game but you can’t give away easy goals at this level and expect to play. He had no excuses putting the second goal into his own net, and he was probably the main culprit for the result. 

Toby Alderweireld – 6 – Better of the two centre-backs in the game, although I was still not convinced with his game on the ball or some of his defensive actions. On the plus side, he finished the game with 7 tackles but it also shows the pressure he was under. I believe his passing could have been much crisper and his tempo was slow from the start, it really could have changed the game to keep more of the possession and create more from the build-up. 

Sergio Reguilon – 5 – The full-back has so much potential as an attacking option with his technique and pace, and he showed that with a great overlap and a pinpoint cross for the third goal. But defensively, I’m getting some bad signals from him. West Ham targeted his side constantly with Coufal getting behind him with ease and putting crosses in. The second goal came from him not being able to deal with the through ball played in behind. 

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg – 6 – It was a strange game for the Danish midfielder as he started the game brilliantly with some good defensive work and nice passes but he faded out very quickly. His tempo slowed down considerably and his passes became very predictable. The problem with his actions in the build-up were especially problematic since he invited the pressure onto his defenders. He was still very good defensively, but it should have been a better performance all-round.

Moussa Sissoko – 6 – He was one of the best players on the pitch before the last 10 minutes. 5 tackles, 3 interceptions, 91% pass accuracy, 2 blocked shots, 7 duels won are amazing stats to show for but he ruined all his good work in the last 10 minutes. He gave away the free kick for the first goal and didn’t even challenge Balbuena, and completely lost his composure at the back before the free-kick for the third goal. There are still encouraging signs for the midfielder in his partnership with Hojbjerg and Ndombele though.

Tanguy Ndombele – 8 – If he played for 90 minutes, Spurs would have walked away with the 3 points today. The midfielder was amazing today, showing his creativity in the build-up, and putting in a shift at the back. He controlled the game really well in the midfield, and did exactly what was needed from him. Although his tempo could have been higher as well, and some fatigue could be the reason he was taken off. 

Steven Bergwijn – 4 – It was Stevie’s opportunity to put in a good performance for all the Spurs fans who were expecting Bale to start, but the Dutchman completely failed to do so. He looked like the odd man out in the front three with Kane and Son playing at another level to him. A number of attacks died down after the ball came to him, and his ideas never materialized. 

Heung-min Son – 8 – Another world-class performance from the Korean winger who is looking unstoppable at the moment. He scored after 45 seconds, had an assist before the 10th minute, completed 3 key passes and 2 dribbles before he was taken off. He just oozes class at the moment and every time he touches the ball the tempo of the team switches up a gear. When his teammates find him in the attacking transitions, he creates a dangerous attack almost every time.  

Harry Kane – 9 – Man of the match yet again, and deservedly so. The man is in the form of his life, and he is looking to break records this season. Yet another assist to Son and two goals to add to his tally. Both goals were of the highest quality and showed his immense skill set. The great thing about him is that he’s not only so good on the ball, but also very intelligent off it. He constantly attacked the space West Ham defenders and midfielders left in between them. It’s a shame Spurs are kind of wasting the great form of Kane and Son at the moment, hopefully they both continue at the same rate with Bale joining them soon.

Subs

Gareth Bale – 5 – It would have been a dream return for him if he scored, but he couldn’t. It wouldn’t have mattered in many other circumstances, but West Ham scored shortly after. It’s a shame for sure, but the potential of this team with him in it is mouth-watering. He was clearly not match-fit though, so hopefully he’ll get there soon.

Harry Winks – 4 – On the pitch for 17 minutes, and at fault for two goals, one being the all important equaliser. He has turned into a niche player where he shines only in games where he can complete 100 passes and the opposition doesn’t cross the halfway line. His lack of defensive ability is making me nervous every time he’s on the pitch.

Lucas Moura – N/R 

Manager

Jose Mourinho – 4 – I want to sympathize with Mourinho as his team was up 3-0 after 15 minutes and looked to be cruising but I was not at all convinced about the performance. Yes, the attacking transitions were great and entertaining but the complete lack of ideas in the build-up was very concerning. Davinson Sanchez at LCB was a defensive minded decision to nullify Antonio, but it also killed build-up from the back. The team constantly put themselves under pressure, and the manager didn’t make any adjustments to fix the possession issue, ease the pressure on the full-backs or strengthen the back line. This feels like a huge missed opportunity, and hopefully we’ll some adjustments at the back next time.

 

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1 COMMENT

  1. Once again a fair and thorough assessment by Ulas. Taking off Tanguy and have Sissoko Winks and Hoj was not creative enough to put pressure on their defence. Too much of the game after 60 minutes was played in their half. Don’t know what to make of Sanchez, we need his pace/mobility but he is often at fault and Toby is slowing and Dier is slow..

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