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AFP
February 22, 2021

West Ham up to fourth as troubled Spurs crash again

Sports

AFP
February 22, 2021

LONDON: West Ham moved into fourth in the Premier League with a 2-1 win against troubled Tottenham on Sunday that left their London rivals’ top four bid in tatters.

Jose Mourinho’s side slumped to a fifth defeat in their last six league games as they paid the price for a sloppy defensive display at the London Stadium.

Michail Antonio put West Ham in front early in the first half and Jesse Lingard doubled the hosts’ advantage after the break.

Lucas Moura reduced the deficit with his first league goal since September, but spluttering Spurs were unable to salvage a point.

West Ham climbed two points above Chelsea into the Champions League spots as their unexpected European challenge gathered pace with a seventh win in their last nine league matches.

It was a first triumph for West Ham boss David Moyes in 16 meetings with Mourinho.

And while Moyes has sparked a remarkable revival at West Ham, who were in a relegation battle when he arrived last season, Mourinho’s Tottenham are in the middle of a woeful campaign.

They are languishing in ninth and trail West Ham by nine points, albeit with a game in hand.

Tottenham have already lost eight league games this season — the second-worst return of Mourinho’s career after losing nine with Chelsea in 2015-16.

Mourinho will have to turn the tide quickly to save his job after Tottenham’s latest flop.

Tottenham had conceded nine goals in their last three games in all competitions, underlining the defensive flaws that have plagued them since they squandered a three-goal lead in the closing minutes of their 3-3 draw with West Ham in October.

Antonio exploited more dismal defending to open the scoring in the fifth minute.

When Son Heung-min’s slow reaction allowed Jarrod Bowen to whip in a cross from the left, Eric Dier and Japhet Tanganga stood flat-footed as Antonio got between them.

Antonio’s initial toe-poked effort was saved by Tottenham keeper Hugo Lloris and the West Ham forward quickly got to his feet to stab in the rebound from close-range.

Tomas Soucek was left with blood streaming down his face after a clash of heads with Tanganga, putting West Ham down to 10 men for five minutes while the midfielder went off to be stitched up.