A first half goal from Michail Antonio was enough to see off Tottenham in their first loss in six Premier League matches.
Thankfully for Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester City also lost on the day, so their position in second place in the table is secure for the time being. Still, it’s difficult not to feel discouraged considering the fact that Tottenham could have gone top of the Premier League with a win over their east London rivals.
If there is something slimly encouraging about this performance, it’s that, in truth, this wasn’t so much a poor performance from Tottenham as it was a spectacular performance from West Ham. Slaven Bilic’s side were simply the better of Tottenham, particularly in the first half. They pressed and hassled and countered in a way that was reminiscent of Spurs themselves. Even if they couldn’t sustain that level of action for the entire match, they did just enough to keep Tottenham out of the game for long stretches.
That said, there weren’t exactly any stellar performances among Tottenham’s matchday squad. No one that could overcome West Ham’s fine play and at least secure a point. Let’s take a look at who did what best.
Hugo Lloris – 7.0
You can’t fault Lloris for Antonio’s goal, and the Frenchman managed to keep Tottenham in the game later when West Ham continued to be a threat. One particularly great save from a Mark Noble effort was classic Lloris.
Ben Davies – 6.5
West Ham’s width kept the Welsh left-back isolated and ineffective in an attacking sense. Tottenham needed a presence on that side of the pitch, and Davies just didn’t seem to be up to the occasion.
Kevin Wimmer – 6.5
No one in Tottenham’s defence responded well to being aggressively closed down by West Ham’s attack. While Wimmer didn’t get caught out often, he seemed to be frazzled by having to stay off the shoulder of Emmanuel Emenike for most of the match. His yellow card, for the record, was laughable and should not have been given.
Toby Alderweireld – 6.5
Again, Alderweireld’s yellow card was very harsh. Otherwise, he seemed more composed than his partner in the center of defence.
Kieran Trippier – 6.0
Kyle Walker would have been the better choice here. The benefit of having Trippier on the pitch is that he can get forward and act as a winger in attack. Here, though, he was pinned back and his defensive frailty threatened to be exposed several times.
Ryan Mason – 7.0
It was a bit of a thankless task, but Mason’s efforts to attempt to move play up field were as admirable as they were ineffective. West Ham’s crowding of midfield made passing lanes rare in the first half, and the depth at which the defence sat in the second didn’t make it any easier.
Eric Dier – 7.0
Similarly, Dier constantly had to deal with the ebb and flow of West Ham’s midfield press and couldn’t therefore find any way to contribute in a positive way in Tottenham’s considerable moments of possession.
Erik Lamela – 8.0
Arguably the best Tottenham player on the pitch. Dropped deep to retrieve the ball, drove it forward and combined well with Christian Eriksen. It’s a shame that he wasn’t able to translate any of those positives into shots or anything productive.
Christian Eriksen – 7.0
West Ham correctly identified Eriksen as the creative hub of Tottenham’s attack and closed him down early and often. The Dane still managed to break through now and then, but overall this was a blunted performance.
Nacer Chadli – 6.0
The Belgian is a great player for the right situation, and a very ineffective one for the wrong one. Pochettino would have been better off fielding a more overall player like Heung-min Son over Chadli.
Harry Kane – 6.0
Looked lost without his customary lack of service, and West Ham frequently crowded him out of advantageous positions.
Dele Alli – 6.0
Came on in the 60th minute for Chadli but wasn’t able to build any momentum to change anything for Tottenham. It’s good that the 19-year-old was rested after his injury scare, but his absence from the start was palpable.