West Ham beaten again as Tottenham show decisive cutting edge
PUBLISHED: 14:40 23 November 2019 | UPDATED: 14:40 23 November 2019
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The Hammers late comeback can't deny Jose Mourinho's opening win for Spurs
West Ham United 2 Tottenham Hotspur 3
The self-proclaimed Special One returned to the dug-out to make it a miserable one for counterpart Manuel Pellegrini at the London Stadium.
Jose Mourinho kicked off life at Spurs with victory as Heung-Min Son, Lucas Moura and Harry Kane sent his side into a three-goal lead within 50 minutes, before fit-again Michail Antonio - a half-time substitute - and Angelo Ogbonna added just a hint of late respectability to a score-line that now leaves Manuel Pellegrini's West Ham United without a victory in their last eight matches.
Kicking off in 16th spot - two places and one point below the visitors - the Hammers boss made two changes to the side that had lost at Burnley before the international break as Ogbonna and Andriy Yarmolenko replaced substitutes Fabián Balbuena and Pablo Fornals, who joined Antonio on the bench.
And with just three minutes on the clock, only an offside flag against Kane prevented the England skipper from getting Tottenham's newly-installed Portugeezer off to a flying start.
Indeed, following the sudden dismissal of Mauricio Pochettino on what proved a terrible Tuesday for the Argentinian, all eyes were on Mourinho and his Spurs side that had arrived in the East End, having lost 19 of the 46 matches that they had played, to date, during 2019.
And in an effort to kick-start some life into his freshly inherited Spurs - without victory in their last five Premier League starts - the new incoming Head Coach immediately made three changes as Moura, Harry Winks and Toby Alderweireld each came in for Tanguy Ndombele plus substitutes Moussa Sissoko and Giovani Lo Celso.
Clearly, Pellegrini also needed wobbling West Ham to find some form pretty quickly but when Ryan Fredericks floated over an inch-perfect, right-wing cross on eight-minutes, Sebastién Haller could only send his six-yard header into the gloves of Paulo Gazzaniga.
Having had that early effort ruled out, Kane then found himself tussling with Issa Diop, who harshly collected his fifth booking of the season from referee Michael Oliver - a yellow card that now sees the Frenchman suspended.
On 20 minutes, Son's curling 20-yarder was parried aside by the flying Roberto, who then saw Moura head beyond the far post, while at the other end, Felipe Anderson broke clear from half-way but his square pass proved too awkward for the supporting, £45million Haller and a golden chance was squandered.
With Spurs enjoying the lion's share of possession but failing to deliver the final ball, Declan Rice was fortunately on hand to deny Son eight yards out and, shortly afterwards, the Hammers defender also robbed England team-mate, Kane inside the danger-zone.
West Ham were certainly living dangerously and, on 36 minutes, they inevitably fell behind to yet another goal that will again make uncomfortable viewing for the jittery Roberto.
Dele Alli cleverly played Son into the Hammers area, where the South Korean jinked and jostled with Diop before blasting an eight-yarder through the poorly positioned Spanish 'keeper to break the deadlock.
And just six minutes after claiming his ninth goal of the campaign, Son - who had also seen Fredericks unluckily booked for a sliding tackle on him - then turned provider with a low left-wing cross that flashed to the far post, where Moura beat Aaron Cresswell to slide Tottenham into a two-goal interval lead.
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Davinson Sánchez had also forced Roberto to tip his point-blank header over the bar in the dying moments of an awful opening 45 minutes for Pellegrini, who responded by pitching on Antonio for the restart in place of Anderson.
The Hammers substitute had, of course, become the first visiting player to score at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium back in April, when West Ham became the first away team to secure victory at Spurs' new home but all hopes of talisman Antonio engineering an unlikely comeback soon evaporated into the damp Stratford skies.
Almost immediately, Moura nearly added to his third goal of the campaign, however he dragged his angled shot beyond the far post but, on 49 minutes, the visitors did find the net for the third time, when Serge Aurier sent a right-wing cross towards the edge of the six-yard box, where Kane outmuscled Diop to firmly head past Roberto.
That was Kane's 175th goal in Spurs' colours and it sent him beyond Martin Chivers into third-spot in the club's all-time scoring charts.
Antonio forced a save out of the virtually redundant Gazzaniga before Pellegrini then pitched on Fornals for Yarmolenko, ahead of sacrificing Diop for Carlos Sánchez as Rice reversed into the back-four formation.
By now, though, the Claret and Blue fans in the crowd of 59,930 were trickling away while those that remained were holding their breath whenever the ball came anywhere near to their confidence-sapped 'keeper.
But with a quarter-hour remaining, the Hammers did finally find the net following some penalty area pinball that eventually saw Mark Noble collect a blocked clearance and Antonio - who else? - squeezed between Ben Davies and Alderweireld before burying an unstoppable 15-yarder beyond Gazzaniga's outstretched right glove and inside the left-hand upright.
By now, though it was job done for Mourinho and his men and the closing stages merely saw a mild skirmish between the consequently booked pairing of Kane and Robert Snodgrass, the award of the Hammers first corner of the afternoon with just two minutes remaining and VAR ruling out a Rice header.
And although Ogbonna met Snodgrass' low corner with a first time, ten-yard shot deep into stoppage time it was far too late to prevent Mourinho from savouring victory and both managers headed down the tunnel having either enjoyed or endured vastly different afternoons.
HAMMERS: Roberto. Fredericks, Cresswell, Diop (Sánchez 64), Ogbonna, Rice, Noble, Yarmolenko (Fornals 55), Snodgrass, Anderson (Antonio h/t), Haller. Unused subs: Martin, Balbuena, Zabaleta, Ajeti.
SPURS: Gazzaniga, Aurier, Davies (Rose 75), Alderweireld, Sánchez, Winks, Dier, Alli (Eriksen 79) Moura (Sissoko 82), Son, Kane. Unused subs: Austin, Walker-Peters, Lo Celso, Foyth.
Booked: Diop (11), Fredericks (39), Davies (69), Kane (87), Snodgrass (87).
Referee: Michael Oliver