PUBLISHED: 12:30 29 April 2019
: Michail Antonio of West Ham United celebrates his goal during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United
2019 West Ham United FC
Hammers become first away team to win at Tottenham Hotspur stadium and it is fully deserved
When West Ham became the first team to win at the Emirates back in 2007, it is fair to say that they had plenty of luck.
Rob Green made over 30 saves against Arsenal that day, while Bobby Zamora’s winner was certainly fortunate.
Saturday’s win at Tottenham, the first team to score at the new stadium and the first to win there, was not a lucky one.
West Ham were the better team on the day, they thoroughly deserved this victory and in reality it should have been by a few more.
The Hammers have been threatening this in recent games. The second half at Chelsea, the clash at Old Trafford and the home draw with Leicester City had all suggested that they were finding some decent form.
They didn’t get the rub of the green in those games, but it all came good here.
It is a fabulous stadium, the envy of the Premier League. A fantastic, noisy atmosphere and a superb open end-to-end match with both teams giving everything.
But it was West Ham who were the fresher, sharper team. They defended superbly with Ryan Fredericks, Fabian Balbuena and Issa Diop in great form, while Lukasz Fabianski made two vital saves in the first half.
Declan Rice was vital in midfield, while two players stuck out as outstanding.
Michail Antonio looks back to his best. When he is fit and on top of his game, he gives the team something completely different.
His pace was exceptional, he took his goal brilliantly and he should have had at least one more.
But perhaps the man of the match was skipper Mark Noble. He ran the game, prompted all the best attacking moves and was always available.
Those that have suggested he doesn’t deserve his place in the team, should be made to watch this performance, it was astonishing.
Manager Manuel Pellegrini was left purring after the 1-0 win.
“I feel that we played a big game because we defended well, because we attacked well, because we played in a way I always say this team needs to play, as a big team to go to every stadium and try to win the game,” he said.
“That was what we did and especially for the fans we know Tottenham is our major rival, so the fans must be very happy.”
Pellegrini gets it. David Moyes and Sam Allardyce would have tried to sneak a win and certainly would have settled for a draw.
This boss wants to make the Hammers the equal of teams like Spurs and he appreciates what the fans desire.
“We were a complete team,” he said. “we tried to score more goals, you saw the characteristics of our players and I’m happy about that.”
There were some memorable moments in this game, not least the winning goal which came from a superb dinked cross by Marko Arnautovic.
Diop’s lung-busting run down the length of the field deserved a goal at the end of it; Felipe Anderson’s stunning trick which took him away from two players; Fredericks superb last-ditch tackle on Ben Davies and Balbuena’s injury-time goalline clearance to hold on for the win.
West Ham have the bragging rights over their rivals, they have taken the gloss off their new stadium, but perhaps most importantly, they have shown that they can compete with the top sides in the Premier League.
Now they have to find their consistency.
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