A victory against West Ham in their ‘cup final’ is always enjoyable

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On a day when Manchester City reasserted their dominance for all to see and Chelsea showed they are far from a title contender and instead a clear target for their London rivals, Spurs won the type of professional victory a side needs that is chasing greatness. We weren’t spectacular, we weren’t flawless, we weren’t dynamic against a West Ham defence that seemed to be parking the bus from the get-go. All we did was take the three points and set up another London derby to come to exact some revenge for the early Carabao Cup elimination a year ago.

There were three standout performers. Davinson Sanchez had one of his most assured performances of this or last season, and he mixed it up with Marco Arnautovic to boot. Harry Winks was a mini-dynamo in midfield, rarely making a misstep, and executing some Scott Parker-esque 360 turns that probably had fans from both clubs nodding their heads in memory of their shared midfielder. And Hugo Lloris came up big three times, the last two from Arnautovic, saving a win that could have been a draw and continuing his revival that also helped lead France past Germany this week.

Yet none of the others had bad games. Erik Lamela was active per usual, and his glancing header made the difference. It came from a nice cross by Moussa Sissoko, who had one of his better games in a Spurs kit, only occasionally producing the type of head-scratching moments we have grown accustomed to. Lucas Moura was buzzing all over the pitch and but for a couple of missed connections or selfish decisions from his teammates could easily have scored.

Eric Dier was stalwart in the middle, as was Toby Aldeweireld and with Vertonghen out for at least another month and no sign of Victor Wanyama, they will have to repeat that solidity in more crucial games to come. I thought both Kieran Trippier and Ben Davies were a bit uneven—as Tripper was the greater threat going forward but Davies the more assured in the other half. Harry Kane was fairly quiet—winning some balls with his typical stellar hold-up play, but missing some opportunities when he decided to play 1 v 3 hero ball rather than swing the ball to one of his flanking teammates. This after an absolutely brilliant half of football in Seville v Spain, so I guess we can excuse him.

Next is the attempt for Champions League Group Stage survival at PSV Eindhoven, where a defeat could even produce the ignominious but perhaps not unwanted failure to even qualify for Europa knockout play. Frankly with KDB back a week from Monday I can’t imagine a result v City—this game and the Cup fixture back at London Stadium would seem to be the priorities. Slowly and surely the walking wounded will return—Eriksen today, Rose and Wanyama perhaps next, Dele in another couple of weeks. Seven wins in nine games with six of them away because of the stadium issues ain’t so bad.

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