I don’t know where to begin, other than to say that there is nothing that compares to Premier League football, and certainly not any variation of a London derby. Of course the Hammers deserved better but at 1-2 so did we. Of course Mike Dean bottled the first two penalty calls—the one against Kane that should have been and the one Janssen probably shouldn’t—but he got it right with Son at the end. And a half hour ago I was contemplating a loss to Ligue 1 first place Monaco and banishment to Europa followed by a probable loss (without Danny Rose, unfortunately) to Chelsea in the Second Battle of the Bridge and consignment to Europa for next year too.
But now we can still dream. Let’s start at the beginning—a typically Spursy first half. William Faulkner at his best a lot of “sound and fury signifying nothing”. All that possession and nary one good chance, whereas the Hammers seemed to have channeled Leicester circa 2015-16 and were marauding down the wings and through space every time they countered. The goal seemed inevitable and Antonio a likely candidate to secure it. I’ll simply say that for all his virtues, Eric Dier simply does not defend consistently well—we need Toby back, the sooner the better.
The effort in the second half was obvious from nearly the start. Winks got his lifetime memory, but really the credit goes to Rose for the run/cross and Janssen for a vicious shot, even if in the first of his two box controversies he might have handled the ball first. And after Janssen continued to press them all over the pitch, becoming our main target man in place of (I thought at the time, as did Lee Dixon in the NBC commentary booth) a curiously silent Kane. Dier could easily have put us ahead but for an amazing reaction save from Randolph on his header, and then when we the surge began to ebb, you knew danger was coming.
But Mike Dean—can we just say that penalty call was marginal, and leave it at that? Janssen was the goat, but hardly a fair assessment—he’ll learn to restrain himself next time. But the Son did rise. Our Korean star was the difference though Kane gets the two goals. His force plus Randolph’s misjudgment set up Kane for the equalizer, and the winner was all Son.
In terms of individuals, Rose and Walker did what they do rolling down both wings, but the crosses were too often mediocre. Vertonghen solid as usual. Dier I think deserves some blame for the first goal. Dembele was a little short on his usual brilliance. I can’t say Wanyama was anything but he always is—solid, tough, fierce, lacking in imagination. Eriksen came inches offside away from an opener and played well throughout though he still gives the ball up in or near the box too much for my liking. Alli and Son provided the needed spark at the death, and the irony of our two strikers is that the one who played best for 70 minutes is obscured by the one who came through in the final five.
And Harry Winks? You’ll always have Paris, son. I presume we will see a return to 4-2-3-1 vs Monaco with Rose in the lineup (since he will miss Chelsea due to suspension) but Tripper perhaps at right back and Alli and Son both in the starting XI in favor of Winks and Janssen. We can hope Alderweireld and Lamela are both fit, though I would suspect Chelsea is a more likely spot for their return.
Nights like this are what makes the world go round. For once the breaks went our way.
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