Let’s start by taking a look at some of the key statistics from our dazzling 1-0 victory over our London rivals last night.
Who said possession matters in Football? Well, we certainly didn’t need much of it to derail Spurs title hopes last night and this can be seen from the possession stats. The visitors managed to have the lion’s share of keep ball with 67.6 percent to our 32.4 percent possession. The seemingly negative possession stats only help to paint the picture of how good our dominant performance was in the light of seeing less of the ball against Mauricio Pochettino’s men.
Shots on and off target
One stat that certainly does do our superb display last night justice, was the attempts on and off target. We managed to pepper Hugo Lloris’s goal with 13 shots, five of which were on target, whereas our visitors could only muster up 11 attempts with a similar 5 of them on target. Our attacking display last night was a stark contrast to how shy we have been in the final third in recent weeks, to outshoot and outscore one of the best attacks in Europe certainly is a measurable achievement, especially with our 3 main forwards out through injury.
Corners and crosses
One main feature of Bilic’s new defensive system is how far up the pitch the wing backs play and we certainly used brisk wing play to our advantage, getting key crosses into the box from wide areas against the title contenders. Despite having fewer crosses than our London rivals, with 14 to the visitors 24, there is no doubting that our quality of delivery caused the Spurs back 4 many more problems than their similar system caused us. In a game that saw 10 corners in total, not a single one of them seemed to cause either keeper any problem, barring a simple Adrian save from an early Eric Dier header. The visitors had the vast majority of the corners with 7 to our 3, but were unable to make the most of their attacking aerial advantage on the night that their title challenge faded.
Blocks and clearances
There is almost no doubt that once again one of the highlights of our performance last night was our defensive display, in contrast to the rest of the season, clean sheets have been what we have come to expect in recent weeks under Bilic’s new 3 at the back system. We were able to outshine one of the best defences in the League stats wise, making 42 key clearances to Spurs 11. The impressive defensive statistics didn’t end there as we were able to double the amount of key blocks than the title contenders managed, making 2 block’s to the visitors 1. One key way Bilic has been able to revive our season and lead us to a monumental win like last night’s is certainly improving the defence, the re-call of goalkeeper Adrian has coincided with three consecutive clean sheets and Bilic will certainly be hoping that he can continue to perfect his successful defensive formula over our final two League games.
Lanzini continues derby run
There is certainly no doubt that Manuel Lanzini is etching his way into West Ham history and heading to join such names like fellow countryman Carlos Tevez in winning a Hammer of the Year prize. The Argentine found himself very much playing in Dimitri Payet’s shadow last season, but ever since The Frenchman controversially left in January, Lanzini has really stepped up to the plate in making himself a serious contender for Player of the Season. However, there are certain games that the 24 year-old just seems to relish and these are London derby’s, of Lanzini’s 14 Premier League goals 9 of them have been in London derby’s, in doing this The Argentine has scored in every game he has ever played against Crystal Palace and also 3 goals in four games against Spurs, a run which he continued last night. Lanzini certainly seems to be a big game player and last night just as it seemed we were in for another night of frustrating missed chances at The London Stadium, ‘The Jewell’ produced the goods, firing in from close range with a well directed low strike past Hugo Lloris after the ball fell into his path following a mini goal mouth scramble. With that
goal Lanzini also moved onto 8 for the season and with two Premier League games remaining he will be looking to catch top goal scorer Michail Antonio who sits on nine strikes for the season, so could Lanzini ensure that he picks up at least one award at the end of season ceremony. There is certainly no doubting that Lanzini has played a huge role in our recent upturn in fortunes and one thing is also for sure, we will do very well if we are to keep the former Boca Juniors man in Claret and Blue over the next few transfer windows.
London Stadium sees finest footballing hour
It is certainly no lie that we have had our fair share of miserable afternoons and evenings at home this season, but there is also no disputing that last night’s derby victory was our finest hour in E20 so far. The huge clash was also widely regarded as the best atmosphere at The Stadium so far, as The Hammers’ faithful managed to silence the visiting Spurs fans for the length of the 90 minutes, with loud chanting that almost resembled the electric atmosphere of Upton Park under the lights in years gone by. It is fair to say that at times this season The London Stadium has been scrutinised for its quiet atmosphere in comparison to our last season at The Boleyn and despite most Hammers’ fans knowing that it takes a lot of time to settle into a new ground, we have had our many doubts about the former Olympic Stadium. However, when the final whistle blew on a fantastic night of Football at The London Stadium, we had made a statement, a statement to the rest of the footballing world and to ourselves that we can make our new home a fortress and we can make it like the famous Boleyn. With fan favourite Slaven Bilic looking to have secured his position as manager of our Football club as we have secured safety, surely the majority of West Ham fans will now realise that things will only get better from here.
Hammers’ reach magical mark
It is almost as certain as day and night now that we will, after a worrying few months, be playing Premier League Football next season. Much onus has been placed on getting to the magic 40 point mark over the last few months in what was always going to be a tough season for us, but now with last night’s historical victory we have now finally surpassed 40 Premier League points. The win ensured that we have 42 points registered to our name as we can now
look forward to our final two Premier League games against Liverpool and Burnley without the stress of a relegation battle on our minds. However, ironically 14 years ago we were relegated with 43 points as Trevor Brooking could not keep a West Ham side up, the Hammers’ team of 2002/2003 was widely regarded as the greatest ever Premier League team to be relegated, but with more or less two teams already relegated, a repeat of that season seems very unlikely. To the surprise of many Hammers’ fans last night’s win took us up to 9th place; however it is highly unlikely that we will still be there by the end of the weekend. However, one thing is very likely; we will be playing Premier League Football at The London Stadium next season.
Super Adrian completes hat trick
Our Spanish keeper Adrian San-Miguel kept his third successive clean sheet in his third game back in the first team as we shattered Spurs title hopes last night. The 30 year-old kept a clean sheet last year at home to The North Londoner’s , as for the second consecutive season Mauricio Pochettino’s men have had their title hopes dashed by a 1-0 loss at the hands of us, a fact which is particularly enjoyed by The Claret and Blue. The last two seasons aren’t the first two times we have denied Spurs late on in the season, in 2006 Spurs came to Upton Park needing a victory to secure a fourth placed finish. However, Martin Jol’s men were struck down with food poisoning from a Lasagne that the club consumed at a Canary Wharf hotel, as a result we overcame our North London rivals 2-1 meaning they missed out on Champions League Football. We have now completed 4 clean sheets in 5 games, 5 games in which we are unbeaten in. The decision to drop Darren Randolph was made by Bilic under pressure from the fans, but it is one that has majorly paid off along with the new three at the back defensive system. Adrian was on hand to make an impressive double save to deny Harry Kane in the first half, before denying Son Heung-Min with a superb low save early in the second half. The saves would prove pivotal as we completed the historic victory over Mauricio Pochettino’s men.
Bilic- “Tonight we showed what West Ham United is all about”
Our Croatian manager Slaven Bilic was overflowing with pride for his players in his post match press conference last night, as we derailed Spurs title hopes for the second season running. Bilic has had a stressful few months in a very tough season for us, but as we secured Premier League safety in style an went five games unbeaten, The Croat could not hide his joy after the momentous win saying in his post match press conference: “We played against a great team, a team in form, a team which had won nine out of nine and all that, but we deserved it. Tonight we showed collectively what West Ham United is about”. The boss has had rumours about his future flying abut almost daily in recent months, but now most will feel like Bilic has done enough to prove to the board and the rest of The Footballing world that he is the right man to take us forward, and what better way to do it than by rewarding the fans with an incredible home win over our bitterest Premier League rivals.
Let’s finish by taking a look at how each featuring player rated out of ten in our historic victory over Spurs last night.
Adrian:9, Byram:8, Reid:9, Fonte:8, Collins:8, Cresswell:8, Noble:8, Kouyate:8, Lanzini:9, Fernandes:7, Snodgrass:7, Ayew:8, Calleri:6, Fletcher:7.