Dembele badly needed for Arsenal clash: Five things we learned from Tottenham 0 West Ham 1
By Editor Wayne Veysey
Dynamic duo sorely missed
There was a clear creative deficit in the Spurs team for the first hour of the match as they laboured without Rolls Royce duo Mousa Dembele and Dele Alli. The more prosaic qualities of the likes of Eric Dier and Ryan Mason provided little in the way of invention or spark as the visitors struggled to create chances. Spurs have coped well without Dembele over the past fortnight but the return of the key midfielder from a groin injury cannot come soon enough. He is badly needed to face Arsenal on Saturday.
Spurs remain in title hunt
The good news for Mauricio Pochettino’s team was that their fourth league defeat of the season coincided with losses for title rivals Arsenal and Manchester City. With Leicester only securing a point 24 hours earlier, Spurs’ defeat against a fine West Ham team has not put as big a dent in their title hopes as it might have done. They remain in second place and just three points behind Leicester.
Hammers start to dream
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The supporters of Leicester and Spurs are not the only ones fantasising. West Ham fans can dare to dream after this mighty impressive derby victory lifted Slaven Bilic’s well-marshalled side to within one point of a Champions League place.
Antonio is the real deal
For the fourth home match in succession, the West Ham fans were treated to a goal celebration from the extensive repertoire of Michail Antonio. Following his Homer Simpson impression at the weekend, the winger appeared to mimic a man playing a fiddle after powering an early header past Hugo Lloris. It was the Antonion’s eighth Hammers goal of the season, and his 10th in total. He is emerging as not only a cult hero but the real deal.
Vertonghen’s quality is missed
Kevin Wimmer has slotted in almost seamlessly alongside the outstanding Toby Alderweireld since Jan Vertonghen was sidelined with knee ligament damage in January. But the Austrian does not possess the silky smoothness of his fellow left-footer, either in possession or in defence. It would be hyperbolic to say the cracks have started to appear at the back, but Vertonghen is clearly an upgrade on Wimmer.