Spurs Burst Hammers Bubble
By Tom Dowsett
Sunday 24 Sep 2017 14:54:00
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Since being appointed manager of West Ham United Slaven Bilic has had a 100% home record against Tottenham Hotspur. Well, that is now over after the Hammers were narrowly defeated 3-2 in Saturday's early kick-off.

Three alterations were made from last weekend's team selection at West Bromwich Albion. Angelo Ogbonna and club captain Mark Noble came into the starting line-up for the injured James Collins and Pedro Obiang, while Marko Arnautovic made his full Premier League home debut in place of Andy Carroll.

As they looked for another home win over Mauricio Pochettino's men, the hosts started brightly and could have gone ahead as early as the eighth minute when Michail Antonio had Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris worried when he unleashed a 30-yard shot but unfortunately for the majority inside the stadium, it hit the bar.

The East Londoners progressed through to the Carabao Cup fourth round with a 3-0 win over Bolton Wanderers on Tuesday night and they were understandably keen to build on that success.

They had another great chance to grab an early goal when Arnautovic worked away through only for a superb tackle by Lloris to stop him.

Spurs were showing signs of getting back into the game and they could have gone in front on 24 minutes, as a great team move set up Harry Kane but he could only send the ball wide. To top it off, he was also offside.

After West Ham had survived that particular scare, there was to be another just four minutes later when Antonio picked up a groin injury and Bilic decided to throw Carroll into the action.

On reflection, it may have been wiser for the Hammers' boss to introduce André Ayew, as it meant that the Irons had lost their early shape.

Despite plenty of promising play coming from the home side, it was Tottenham who opened the scoring on 34 minutes.

Great play again from the visitors set up Kane, who was able to pick his spot and help the ball beyond Joe Hart.

The visitors weren't going to stop there as within minutes, they had doubled their advantage through Kane's second of the match.

Hart did well to deny Dele Alli but the ball deflected into the path of the prolific striker who made no mistake, giving Bilic's men a mountain to climb.

The East Londoners went into the break needing something special if they were going to produce a repeat of last year's victory.

However, hope of that was dashed on the hour mark, despite making a similar start to the second-half.

Kane's freekick hit the base of the post and when summer signing Serge Aurier sent the ball back into the box, it dropped to the feet of Christian Eriksen who beat Hart for a third time.

West Ham found a way back into the match on 65 minutes when a corner from Arnautovic was met by the head of Javier Hernández, who claimed his first ever goal against Spurs.

Setting up the goal proved to be the last action for Arnautovic as a he was replaced by Ayew.

The Mexican was keen to add to his tally and almost had a second just three minutes later, as a superb ball from the skipper found him in space but unfortunately, his header was straight at Lloris.

The home side really started to believe that they could salvage something from the game that had looked out of sight. 

With 20 minutes left on the clock, Aurier was shown a second yellow card after a foul on Carroll, giving referee Michael Oliver no choice and Spurs were down to ten men.

On 73 minutes a final change was made by Bilic when he took off José Fonte and sent on Arthur Masuaku.

Five minutes later, Hernández raced into the box and let fly with a powerful effort but Lloris was equal to it.

With time running out, the home faithful were cheering again. three minutes of normal time remained and the arrears were reduced even further, as Cheikhou Kouyaté was first to Masuaku's inviting cross to plant a header past Lloris.

There was no third goal but, that wasn't the end of the drama as deep into the four minutes of injury time that were signalled, Carroll was elbowed in the face. The West Ham players were incensed but both protagonists only received yellow cards.

The final whistle blew and after the days other results, the East Londoners are now back in the relegation zone making next Saturday's visit of Swansea City a crucial encounter.

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