The Argentine met Moussa Sissoko’s cross and glanced the ball beyond Lukasz Fabianski just before half-time. Erik Lamela scored the decisive goal as Tottenham made it four successive Premier League wins with victory over West Ham at London Stadium.
West Ham forward Marko Arnautovic forced Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris into three excellent saves as the hosts chased an equaliser, with Lloris denying the Austrian in the closing stages as Mauricio Pochettino’s men hung on.
West Ham’s Andriy Yarmolenko was carried off on a stretcher with an ankle injury in the first half, while Javier Hernandez had a goal ruled out for offside in the closing stages.
Tottenham have now won nine of their last 11 league games as they climb to third in the table, while Manuel Pellegrini’s side remains 15th after back-to-back defeats.
Lamela and Lloris the difference as Tottenham do enough
A 3-0 win at Manchester United in August aside, Tottenham’s title challenge has gone largely under the radar despite Pochettino’s side equalling their best start to a Premier League season with victory over Cardiff before the international break.
But the lethargic nature of that 1-0 win prompted Pochettino to demand they “improve a lot” if they are to challenge for the top honour.
Spurs – now level on points with second-placed Chelsea – did find a way to win once again – but only just – to record successive away wins over West Ham for the first time since August 2009. The visitors had Lloris to thank on several occasions as West Ham grew in confidence.
Lamela took his opportunity to impress on a rare start, and linked up well with Lucas Moura and Harry Kane going forward, although it was another afternoon of limited opportunities for the England captain.
The majority of chances Kane and Spurs did create were blocked by West Ham bodies, and the Hammers were often allowed time to get men behind the ball when Spurs threatened. This was the first of seven games in only 22 days for Tottenham, who face a likely must-win Champions League tie against PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday.
Hammers recovery put on hold
A 1-0 defeat by Brighton before the international break ended a four-game unbeaten run for West Ham, who had begun to turn around a miserable start to Pellegrini’s tenure.
But, seeking successive home wins for the first time in almost two years, they hosts failed to start with the same purpose that blew Manchester United away in their previous home fixture.
Arnautovic was deemed fit to start and proved the main goal threat for West Ham as summer signing Yarmolenko was replaced after 40 minutes and fellow forward Felipe Anderson failed to make an impact.
The hosts recorded 13 shots – 10 of which came in the second half – to Tottenham’s 10, and would have taken at least a point had it not been for Lloris, who was equal to everything Arnautovic sent his way.
Encouraged by Spurs’ inability to add a second goal, the Hammers launched an assault on the Tottenham penalty area in the closing stages which culminated in Michail Antonio firing a powerful effort over from the edge of the area.
Although largely comfortable at the back, West Ham were unable to find a breakthrough for the second game running.
Man of the match – Hugo Lloris (Tottenham)
Lamela in fine form – the stats
- Spurs have won nine of their past 12 away league games, including five of six on the road this season.
- Erik Lamela has scored five goals in eight games in all competitions for Spurs this season, one more than he managed in 33 games last season.
- Lamela has been directly involved in 10 goals in his past nine games for Spurs (seven goals, three assists).
- West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini has lost consecutive Premier League games without his sides scoring a goal for the first time.
- West Ham are without a win in eight Premier League London derbies since beating Chelsea in December 2017.
- Tottenham have won five consecutive top-flight London derbies for the first time since January 1961 – when they won the First Division.
- West Ham’s return of seven points from their opening nine games of the season is their worst return at this stage since 2010-11 when they finished bottom.
Tottenham are away to PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League on Wednesday (17:55 BST), before hosting Premier League leaders Manchester City on Monday, 29 October (20:00 GMT).
West Ham face Leicester City at the King Power Stadium next Saturday (17:30).
Source: BBC News