Premier League, Upton Park – West Ham 1 (Antonio 7) Tottenham 0
Tottenham Hotspur's English striker Harry Kane (2nd L) and teammates react at the final whistle in the English Premier League football match between West Ham United and Tottenham Hotpsur at The Boleyn Ground in Upton Park, in east London on March 2, 2016.
Michail Antonio scored the only goal of the game, as West Ham moved to within striking distance of the top four with a 1-0 win over Tottenham at Upton Park.
The pre-match talk was all about Tottenham's opportunity to move to the top of the Premier League table following leaders Leicester's draw at home to West Brom on Tuesday, but Mauricio Pochettino's side fluffed their lines as they were outrun and outfought by the Hammers on a rainy night in East London.
Antonio opened the scoring on seven minutes with a close-range header from Dimitri Payet's corner, and the Hammers then provided a text-book display of how to close out a game as they restricted Tottenham to half-chances and long-range efforts.
Harry Kane scuffed a couple of opportunities, while Toby Alderweireld forced a save from Hammers' goalkeeper Adrian with a long-range effort, but that was about it from the visitors, who seemed uncomfortable and unwilling to mix it with Bilic's pumped-up West Ham.
Tottenham remain in second place in the Premier League table, three points behind Leicester and with a north London derby to come against Arsenal on Saturday at White Hart Lane.
Sixth-placed West Ham lie just one point behind fourth-placed Manchester City, who have a game in hand, and fifth-placed Manchester United, and will meet Everton next on Saturday at Goodison Park.
West Ham players celebrate Michail Antonio's opening goal during the English Premier League football match between West Ham United and Tottenham Hotpsur at The Boleyn Ground in Upton Park, in east London on March 2, 2016
Is a high-pressing game the way to beat Tottenham? Slaven Bilic's gameplan was for West Ham to put pressure on the two Tottenham centre-halves and prevent Mauricio Pochettino's side building from the back. It worked a treat in the first half, with Hammers' centre-forward Emmanuel Emenike putting in a selfless performance up front, harrying Toby Alderweireld and Kevin Wimmer to distraction while Michail Antonio and Manuel Lanzini ensured that full-backs Kieran Trippier and Ben Davies were pegged back in their own half.
Denied time on the ball, Tottenham were unable to get their flair players Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela into the action in the final third of the pitch. Tottenham have recovered 17 points from losing positions this season, and the question was whether West Ham could keep up such a high-tempo game for the full 90 minutes. They did, with ease, as Cheikhou Kouyate and Mark Noble produced immense performances at the heart of the Hammers' midfield.
Tottenham Hotspur's English midfielder Dele Alli (L) and Tottenham Hotspur's English midfielder Ryan Mason appeal to the assistant referee during the English Premier League football match between West Ham United and Tottenham Hotpsur at The Boleyn Ground
Image credit: AFP
MAN OF THE MATCH
Cheikhou Kouyate (West Ham): The Senegal international was quite brilliant in limiting space to Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela, and Tottenham were in consequence limited to long-range efforts despite dominating possession in the second half at Upton Park. West Ham's home record in 2016 has been superb, and Kouyate has been a big factor in his side's upward curve.
Tottenham's Harry Kane in action with West Ham's Cheikhou Kouyate