West Ham United's Michail Antonio haunts Tottenham Hotspur again!
Michail Antonio returned to haunt Tottenham Hotspur yet again as West Ham United roared back into the Premier League’s top four at a sold-out London Stadium.
Antonio’s third matchwinner against Spurs following his memorable deciders at the Boleyn Ground in 2016 and Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in 2019 settled a competitive, if not classic, derby in the Irons’ favour.
The goal arrived 18 minutes from the end, when the No9 stole a march on Harry Kane to volley home Aaron Cresswell’s left-wing corner and secure a victory that took the Irons above their opponents, Brighton & Hove Albion and Manchester United in the table.
West Ham now have 17 points from their opening nine matches and have won nine of their opening 13 games in all competitions, losing just two.
Concentrating on Sunday’s game, after the drama of the historic comeback at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and the euphoria of a home win last season, this was a far cagier affair, in the main.
And it says everything about David Moyes’ West Ham that they negotiated it and made it three wins and three clean sheets in the space of eight days, following a 1-0 Premier League victory at Everton and 3-0 UEFA Europa League Group H win at home to Belgians KRC Genk.
In truth, the first half failed to live up to lofty expectations, as both teams struggled to gain the ascendancy for long, resulting in a bitty, low tempo opening 45 minutes.
That said, it still featured 15 goal attempts, including a handful of clear-cut chances at both ends.
The first arrived on eight minutes, when Pablo Fornals took to the air to meet Jarrod Bowen’s cross, but Hugo Lloris was equal to the effort low to his right.
From then on, the sides traded opportunities, with Tomáš Souček, Fornals, Michail Antonio and Ben Johnson all firing efforts off target for the home side, while Łukasz Fabiański dealt with shots from Pierre-Emile Højbjerg and Son Hueng-min and a Tanguy Ndombele header at the other.
West Ham’s clearest opportunity of the first half went to Souček ten minutes before the interval. The Czech rose high above Sergio Reguilón to Fornals’ cross at the far post, but uncharacteristically powered his header a yard the wrong side of the upright.
Reguilón then turned provider at the other end, hanging up a centre for Harry Kane to attack with a header of his own, but Fabiański was positioned perfectly to claw the ball over the crossbar to safety.
The second half started at a higher pace than the first, with both defences immediately more stretched as a result.
Saïd Benrahma and Bowen both saw shots blocked as again West Ham started the brighter, while Ben Johnson produced some encouraging runs down the right touchline, but Spurs closed down space well whenever the home side got within view of Lloris’ goal.
While the game was bubbling under, what it really needed was a moment to really get the crowd going, and it was provided by Spurs defender Cristian Romero, who was booked for needlessly taunting Fornals after making a challenge on the Spaniard.
The melee that followed brought the Claret and Blue Army into things and, with the volume levels rising, West Ham went on the offensive.
It was Fornals himself who led the charge, winning the ball back deep in Tottenham territory before seeing his shot flick off Dier and out for a corner.
And it was from that set piece that the deadlock was finally broken. Runs from Rice and Souček created space at the near post and when Cresswell delivered the ball, there was Antonio to hold off Kane and volley powerfully into the bottom left-hand corner.
Having seen his side fall behind, Nuno Espírito Santo sent on Bryan Gil, Giovani Lo Celso and Steven Bergwijn, but neither they, nor Harry Kane or Son Heung-min, could find a way through this outstanding, resilient West Ham rearguard.
Next up for Moyes’ men is a mouth-watering Carabao Cup fourth-round tie with Manchester City at London Stadium on Wednesday evening. You can be part of a record-breaking attendance in that competition by securing your seat now!
West Ham United: Fabiański, Johnson, Zouma, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Rice ©, Souček, Bowen (Dawson 90), Benrahma (Lanzini 84), Fornals, Antonio
Subs not used: Areola (GK), Ashby, Masuaku, Diop, Noble, Vlašić, Yarmolenko
Booked: Souček, Ogbonna
Goal: Antonio 72
Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris ©, Emerson Royal, Dier, Romero, Reguilón (Gil 84), Højbjerg, Skipp, Lucas Moura (Bergwijn 90+1), Ndombele (Lo Celso 84), Son, Kane
Subs not used: Gollini (GK), Tanganga, Davies, Sánchez, Rodon, Alli
Referee: Paul Tierney