Spurs vs. West Ham: A Battle for MOTM
Author: Emily Pulham. Published: 1 May 2019 at 7:59pm
Written by: @daena_bodie
West Ham vs. Spurs: A Battle for MOTM
A historic victory at the new White Hart Lane has put West Ham United’s name in the record books for the rest of time. First away goal scored at Tottenham’s new stadium and first away team to win there too.
The result was based on a lot of good performances throughout the team, but some were just that little bit more noticeable. The Hammers’ form has been steadily improving and with team performances on the up, they will feel hard done by not picking up a few more points over the past couple of games.
Issa Diop put in a dominant performance and was awarded Man of the Match despite it being his first appearance since Pellegrini chose to rest him against Chelsea all those weeks ago. Diop’s performance wasn’t the only beaming light as Saturday’s game against Tottenham saw a few players really show the fans what they can do. Fabianski was on the list, of course, alongside Mark Noble and Michail Antonio, who ultimately got the winning goal.
Although Diop was awarded MOTM, let’s take a look at each of their contributions during an important win in West Ham’s season and see if there was an alternative MOTM contender.
What can be said about this man that hasn’t been said already? Major contender for Hammer of the Year and he put in another stellar shift against Tottenham at the weekend. He made a number of big saves that undoubtedly kept the Hammers in the match and his form has been a saving grace for the club this season. It’s almost as if the fans are beginning to take his superb performances for granted because they’re week in, week out. But he was brilliant again on Saturday. However, in comparison to those around him, his performance didn’t fully warrant a MOTM nod.
On his day, Michail Antonio is unplayable, and against Tottenham he was near his best. He had the Spurs backline in all sorts with his strength and pace. He constantly posed a threat, was an absolute nuisance all match, and grabbed the vital goal that puts him not only in the history of Tottenham’s new stadium, but also right up there for one of the club’s best performers on the weekend. With Lanzini out, Antonio has definitely shown he deserves to be in that team and has now grabbed two goals in two games – although he didn’t quite do enough to be considered MOTM in this one.
Having a few weeks off has seemingly revitalised the young Frenchman, as he came back into the starting XI and gave the performance of his life. He was a rock at the back, snuffing out everything Tottenham threw at him. Alongside Balbuena, Diop is back to his best and the pair have picked up where they left off before the Paraguayan’s injury. Diop recovered the ball 11 times, had 8 clearances, 6 interceptions, 83% pass completion and for those Virgil Van Dijk stat lovers, wasn’t dribbled past once. His performance was the summation of Mourinho’s comments about him back in September; he was a monster against Spurs and absolutely dominated every single duel. Cheers Jose, but there was still one player who outperformed him on Saturday.
You could almost guarantee that Mark Noble was going to play out of his skin on Saturday. As per usual, the Hammers captain left it all on the pitch but he was also on the receiving end of a very promising stat, posted by Geo from Hammers Chat, that will give Noble critics something to think about. The skipper played a staggering 25 passes into the final third of the pitch, second only to Eriksen, and he played more forward passes than any other player on the pitch. So much for only playing sideways and backwards.
Not only did Mark keep the ball moving for West Ham, he was just everywhere on the pitch breaking up play, and he won a few cheeky freekicks in typical Noble fashion. His grasp of the game and his pure leadership skills oozed out of him on Saturday and it was one his finest performances all season. Nothing is more fitting than having the West Ham skipper recognised as MOTM in a nice victory against a Spurs side in their shiny new home.