Tottenham Hotspur vs West Ham United. Premier League.
Tottenham Hotspur StadiumAttendance60,733.
Report and free match highlights as West Ham come from behind to beat Tottenham; Second-half goals from Jarrod Bowen and James Ward-Prowse cancel out Cristian Romero's headed opener; Spurs now five Premier League games without a win
Friday 8 December 2023 07:48, UK
West Ham staged a stunning second-half comeback to inflict a third successive Premier League home defeat on Tottenham following their 2-1 victory on Thursday night.
Ange Postecoglou did not compromise on his adventurous footballing philosophy - and his side were rewarded for their bright start when Cristian Romero - on his return to the side following suspension - headed in Pedro Porro's corner after just 11 minutes.
But it would unravel for the hosts in the second period as Jarrod Bowen notched his seventh away league goal in as many games following a mix-up between Romero and Ben Davies (52).
James Ward-Prowse completed the turnaround when he pounced on another defensive error from Destiny Udogie to tuck home after his initial shot had rebounded back into his own path off the post (74).
The Hammers stay in ninth place but move just three points behind Tottenham in fifth following their fourth Premier League away win of the season.
When asked how best to respond to Spurs latest setback, Postecoglou said: "There's no alternative. That's the game we're in. There's only one way to change the circumstance and that is to show conviction in ourselves as a team. Sometimes we can disguise where we're going because we can play some nice stuff. But I want to win. That is the message and that is why I came to the club.
"Days like today give us further evidence and fuel for what we need to do. I was disappointed in the manner we accepted our fate [in the first half], in the sense that we thought 'we're winning 1-0, we're playing well, the result will take care of itself'. We're going through a spell of playing good football, but ultimately that's not what it's about. It's not about putting on a show."
Tottenham: Vicario (6), Porro (7), Romero (6), Davies (6), Udogie (5), Bissouma (6), Hojbjerg (7), Johnson (6), Lo Celso (6), Kulusevski (6), Son (6).
Subs used: Skipp (6), Richarlison (5), Gil (n/a), Sarr (n/a), Veliz (n/a).
West Ham: Fabianski (7), Coufal (7), Zouma (7), Aguerd (7), Emerson Palmieri (6), Alvarez (6), Ward-Prowse (7), Kudus (7), Soucek (7), Lucas Paqueta (7), Bowen (8).
Subs used: Fornals (n/a).
Player of the match: Jarrod Bowen.
Postecoglou feels a responsibility to provide entertainment. He opened his programme notes by paying tribute to Terry Venables.
"Terry believed football is a form of entertainment and that is what this club believes in, too."
Spurs are hellbent on attempting swash-buckling football in the face of adversity, but five league games without a win will now test Postecoglou's principles.
Romero was back here mercifully for the hosts as their only fit centre-back. He needed just 11 minutes to pay back any debt he may have felt he owed his team following his three-game suspension.
The Argentine rose in between Nayef Aguerd and Edson Alvarez to meet Porro's corner to loop his header beyond Lukasz Fabianski on his first Premier League start of the season.
Mohammed Kudus is emerging as West Ham's agent of chaos - especially away from home - and he steered a Vladimir Coufal cross just wide moments later, albeit from an offside position. Kudus was onside when he robbed Udogie midway through the first half only for his deflected shot to find the gloves of Guglielmo Vicario.
Giovani Lo Celso, seeking a third goal in as many games, stung the gloves of Fabianski with a clean strike from Coufal's poor headed clearance. Yves Bissouma lashed over after Dejan Kulusevski's initial shot was charged down - but West Ham ought to have been level before the break.
Kudus was too strong for Ben Davies and when his cross found the unmarked Lucas Paqueta, his header was horribly skewed off target. Kurt Zouma then diverted Brennan Johnson's low cross onto the angle of post and crossbar on the stroke of half-time. The West Ham captain, whose house was broken into last week, deserved his slice of good fortune.
Moyes rollicked his players at the interval and his team were level seven minutes after the restart with Tottenham the architects of their own downfall. Kudus cut inside and after his through ball was intercepted by Romero, his clearance cannoned off Davies into the path of Bowen for a composed finish.
Jarrod Bowen has scored seven goals in seven Premier League away games this season, having netted just four in his first 69 on the road beforehand. No West Ham player has scored more away from home in a single Premier League campaign.
West Ham did not look back. Paqueta's side-footed effort was straight at Vicario. Spurs' mental fortitude on display four days ago at Manchester City evaporated. When Lo Celso was replaced midway through the half, there were even the first murmurings of discontent of the Postecoglou era.
His replacement, Richarlison, ought to have restored Tottenham's lead when he contrived to head wide when he had done so well to readjust his feet from Porro's cross.
Spurs only have one way of playing under their charismatic Australian, and so in searching for three points, they ended with none. Udogie's slack back pass was short for Vicario, who could only palm the ball away from the onrushing Bowen into the path of Ward-Prowse.
His first attempt thudded against the post, but the bounce favoured West Ham again as Ward-Prowse slid the rebound into the unguarded net.
Moyes said afterwards: "I was pretty pleased we weren't more than a goal down. In the second half, I can think of Richarlison missing a good chance but not a lot after that.
"We struggled to put two or three passes in the first half, and we also had a few ricochets that didn't go our way. So at half-time, I knew we were right in the game and we had to stay in it. In the end, we got a bit lucky with the ricochet of the ball going to Jarrod. There were fine lines which went our way tonight."
Tottenham boss Ange Postecoglou:
"It's another game where we've dominated a game of football and we've not turned that into something more tangible. We were really poor in both boxes. Two terrible goals to concede. We had some unbelievable chances. It was a bit like the Aston Villa game. We've got a long way to go as a team and today reflected that.
"Us being good means us being 3-0 up. It's not about just playing well. 1-0 up at half-time was not a good performance from us. 3-0 would be. When you give up goals when you shouldn't, you don't deserve to win. We should've put the game to bed.
"It's about not having the conviction in front of goal to finish things off. I can see we're creating chances, and all our chances in the first half had nothing to do with fatigue. At the moment, we're going through a spell of playing so-called good football. I see us not showing a clear conviction of what we're doing. You need a determination to do that."
West Ham boss David Moyes:
"It was a good 1-0 [at half-time] as Tottenham had been playing really well. I think Tottenham are as good as any side in the Premier League at the moment, so we did a containing job.
"When you look at how we've done and the extra games we've had over most teams, the praise must go to the players. We've chopped and changed and had to given the quality of games. I thought some of the players found it tough to show that resilience to stay in games and it showed them what Premier League games are all about.
"We stepped up in the second half. If we had opened up too quickly, Tottenham can play through you. We had to make it difficult for them to score.
Moyes added on Bowen: "Jarrod was a bit off it last weekend as he was just coming back. But he was moved around in different positions tonight. For as long as he keeps doing it [scoring] he'll stay in Gareth [Southgate]'s mind. As long as he keeps scoring for me at the moment, that's the most important thing."
Sky Sports' Ben Grounds at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium:
West Ham became the first visiting team to win a Premier League game at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in April 2019, but they then lost three of their next four visits across the capital. Here, they celebrated long into the night a victory that at half-time had looked so unlikely.
It is six months to the day since Jarrod Bowen's goal secured the Europa Conference League trophy for the Hammers, but there had been a growing concern over how David Moyes' side is able to battle on multiple fronts this time around.
This was the third of 11 games in a 33-day period, and Moyes' side were behind before they got going on Thursday - seeing just 10 per cent of the ball before Romero's opener.
For Moyes, his remarkable record away to the Premier League's traditional 'top six' would be ended, however. Thirty-nine games without a win and out. How he and West Ham love Thursday nights.
In the end, his side looked fitter and fresher, despite this being their 22nd game already this campaign compared to their opponent's 16th. Spurs have the advantage of not having a hectic schedule given their absence from European competition, but it was evident in the second half how robust this West Ham side are.
It was clear which group of players have become well-versed in playing three games a week. Spurs have now conceded 13 goals in five league matches, which have yielded a single point.
Given the nature of the two goals, Postecoglou used up all his luck last time out at the Etihad, but following up defeat at home to Chelsea with a loss to rivals West Ham will leave the traditionalists questioning the bigger picture when right now, results are needed to stay with the chasing pack.
Tottenham are back on Sky Sports on Super Sunday as they host Newcastle in the Premier League, kick-off 4.30pm. Spurs will then feature on Friday Night Football, live on Sky Sports, when they travel to Nottingham Forest on December 15, kick-off 8pm.
West Ham are back in action on Sunday as they travel to Fulham in the Premier League, kick-off 2pm. They then finish their Europa League group stage at home to Freiburg on Thursday December 14.