Four things we loved about West Ham United's Premier League win over Tottenham
1. Antonio traps Spurs in his Matrix
Michail Antonio LOVES playing against Tottenham Hotspur.
Antonio made it six goals in eleven West Ham United appearances against Spurs with the second-half winner at London Stadium on Sunday.
It was the third time the forward had struck his third winning goal for the Hammers in a 1-0 win over their local rivals, following his header at the Boleyn Ground in March 2016 and his historic strike at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in April 2019.
Antonio marked the occasion with a ‘Matrix’ celebration, mimicking Keanu Reeves’ character Neo in The Matrix movie franchise.
2. Brilliant Ben
Ben Johnson was given another opportunity to impress, in the absence of both Vladimir Coufal and Ryan Fredericks through injury – and he most definitely took it.
The softy-spoken Johnson made plenty of noise on the pitch at London Stadium, making five important tackles, an interception and a clearance to keep Spurs’ talented South Korean forward Heung-min Son quiet.
The 21-year-old also caught the eye going forward from his right-back position, taking on his opposite number Sergio Reguilón on a number of occasions.
Johnson has now started five matches this season – three in the UEFA Europa League, one in the Carabao Cup and Sunday’s Premier League victory – and West Ham have won all five without conceding a single goal!
3. Dec leads by example – again!
Declan Rice was at his imperious best yet again in Sunday’s win, with only Pablo Fornals (8.02) scoring a higher WhoScored rating than the captain’s 7.88.
Facing lively France international Tanguy Ndombele, Rice closed down space quickly, winning a team-high eight tackles along with making two interceptions and a clearance.
Rice was also superb in possession, completing 38 of his 41 pass attempts, including all five of his ‘long balls’ of 20 metres or more, and repeatedly driving at Spurs with the ball at his feet.
Statistically, according to WhoScored, only Michail Antonio, who has scored six goals and registered three assists in just eight Premier League appearances this season, has performed to a consistently higher level than our outstanding England international.
4. The strong start continues
West Ham United enjoyed a record-breaking 2020/21 campaign, ending the season with 65 points and in sixth place.
However, David Moyes’ squad are setting an even hotter pace this season, reaching 17 points from nine matches, when it took the Irons ten games to get to the same tally a year ago.
Factor in a hat-trick of UEFA Europa League Group H wins and victory at Manchester United in the Carabao Cup fourth round and the Hammers have played 13 games this season in all competitions, won nine, drawn two and lost just two, scoring 24 goals, conceding just ten and keeping seven clean sheets.
There is a long way to go in 2021/22, of course, but West Ham have most definitely made a strong start to the campaign.