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By Ben Pearce, Tottenham correspondent, at White Hart Lane
Sunday, November 25, 2012
Tottenham bounced back from three successive Premier League defeats to beat the Hammers at the Lane, but how did the individual Lilywhites players perform?
HUGO LLORIS 8/10
Kept his place after his heroics at Lazio on Thursday night and barely put a foot wrong. Commanding and vocal, the Frenchman wasn’t forced into any stunning saves but came out smartly and bravely to cut out Kevin Nolan’s dangerous ball across the goalmouth in the second half with the score still at 1-0. Helpless for Andy Carroll’s headed goal in the 81st minute.
KYLE WALKER 8/10
The full-back has struggled to replicate last season’s form, but he grew in confidence with every minute today. There were far fewer of the curious decisions and careless passes which have marred his campaign so far, and he was bombing forward time and again in the second half.
MICHAEL DAWSON 9/10
Recalled to the side to handle the aerial threat of Andy Carroll and staked a big claim for a run in the side at the expense of William Gallas. Dominant in the air, he was also notably more considered in possession than usual, abandoning his trademark, lazy long balls and helping to set up attacks with simple balls through the lines to his midfielders. He will be irritated that Andy Carroll got on the scoresheet in the 81st minute.
STEVEN CAULKER 7/10
Stood up well to a daunting test against West Ham’s battering rams. Partly at fault for the Hammers’ goal after taking the ball away from Lloris, but it would be harsh to overly criticise him.
JAN VERTONGHEN 7/10
Fielded at left-back, the Belgian played intelligent, simple football from the first minute to the last.
Drove forward purposefully in the first half, trying to set the agenda and keep the tempo up, and bravely blocked a Mohamed Diame rocket when the game was still goalless. Adopted a more traditional holding role in the second period and won the ball to start the move for Tottenham’s third goal. Worryingly, he was stretchered off in the 87th minute while being given oxygen.
TOM HUDDLESTONE 7/10
Started slowly and lost the ball on a couple of occasions but began to enjoy himself more as the game went on. Showed off his range of passing with a superb 40-yard ball over the top of the West Ham rearguard, straight onto Bale’s head, and worked hard to close the Hammers down.
AARON LENNON 7/10
Struggled to get the better of George McCartney in the ‘battle of the Beatles’ for an hour but became increasingly dangerous on the counter-attack as the second half wore on and eventually got his reward for a tireless display, breaking through on goal before squaring unselfishly to Defoe to put Spurs 3-0 up.
CLINT DEMPSEY 9/10
Deployed in the No10 role again and enjoyed more space than usual, advancing with intent and getting a couple of shots off in the first 15 minutes. Dropped off the front into the midfield to good effect. Really came to life in the second half, hitting the bar with a curling effort shortly before the hour-mark and then immediately setting up Gareth Bale’s goal with a delightful chipped ball through the defence. Also freed Aaron Lennon for the third goal with a lovely touch. Spurs have needed a link man behind the striker in recent weeks and, while the American has a long way to go to replace Rafael van der Vaart, this was a good step in the right direction.
GARETH BALE 9/10
Survived a nasty challenge from Joey O’Brien early on and, having seen his marker pick up a booking, the Welshman nearly scored a cracking goal, spinning infield and sending a 20-yard effort crashing down off the crossbar, agonisingly close to the goal-line. Intent on grabbing the game by the scruff of the neck, he roamed all over the pitch, with one run starting on the left wing and ending by the right corner-flag. Sent a 35-yard free kick over the bar after the interval and then tasted Jussi Jaaskelainen with a 20-yard strike. Eventually got a deserved goal, running in behind the Irons’ rearguard to gather Dempsey’s pass and slotting past Jaaskelainen via the post.
JERMAIN DEFOE 9/10
Tends to do well against his former club – he now has six goals in seven games against the Hammers - and had a spring in his step before the game had even kicked off. Started brightly, getting in behind on two occasions early on, lashing a 20-yard range-finder high and wide in the third minute and then seeing a deflected effort comfortably saved. Faded for a while and was booked for a late challenge on Winston Reid, but roared back into life in some style at the end of the first half with a stunning goal that started on the right touchline on the halfway line. Got in behind again in the 50th minute and saw a first-time shot deflected wide before scoring the third, keeping up with Lennon’s break and tapping into an empty net. Denied a hat-trick late on as Jaaskelainen saved with his legs.
MOUSA DEMBELE (SUB) 8/10
Not fit enough to start but added his class to the midfield for the final 15 minutes and was soon drifting around players with his usual, effortless gait.
JAKE LIVERMORE (SUB) 8/10
Replaced the injured Sandro and kept it simple, maintaining possession and his position.
GYLFI SIGURDSSON (SUB)
Arrived very late in the day in place of Defoe – so late he may not have touched the ball…