Manuel Lanzini celebrates after giving West Ham the lead in their derby tie against Tottenham at the London Stadium
This time next week, Chelsea could be champions. That is the bottom line. The final game at White Hart Lane could be as much a wake as a celebration.
Second place. Once that would have been considered a successful season in Tottenham’s corner of north London. Second-best team in the country, back in the Champions League again, and above Arsenal. Now it sticks in the craw, a little. So near, yet so far.
Certainly it hurts to see their dreams dashed here, of all places. Tottenham fans like to mock their neighbours to the east by telling them that this fixture is West Ham’s cup final. Yet it has seemed a considerably bigger deal for Tottenham of late.
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino looks on in frustration as he sees his side struggle against London rivals West Ham
Tottenham players look dejected as they make their way back to their positions after West Ham take a second-half lead
Tottenham striker Harry Kane looks dejected as he sees another chance thwarted by a stubborn West Ham defence
MATCH FACTS, PLAYER RATINGS AND MATCH ZONE
WEST HAM: Adrian 7; Fonte 7.5, Reid 8, Collins 7.5; Byram 7, Kouyate 6.5, Noble 7.5, Cresswell 8; Lanzini 8.5 (Fernandes 90), Ayew 7.5 (Snodgrass 84); Calleri 6.5 (Fletcher 89).
SUBS NOT USED: Randolph, Nordtveit, Feghouli, Rice.
BOOKINGS: Noble, Reid, Lanzini
GOALS: Lanzini 65
MANAGER: Slaven Bilic 8
TOTTENHAM: Lloris 6, Walker 6.5 (Trippier 80 – 6), Alderweireld 5.5, Vertonghen 6 (Dembele 67 – 6), Davies 5.5, Dier 6.5, Wanyama 6.5 (Janssen 73 – 5.5), Son 5, Eriksen 6, Dele 5.5, Kane 6.
SUBS NOT USED: Vorm, Wimmer, Nkoudou, Sissoko.
BOOKINGS: Walker, Trippier
MANAGER: Mauricio Pochettino 5.5
REFEREE: Anthony Taylor
Team P GD Pts 1 Chelsea 34 43 81 2 Tottenham Hotspur 35 48 77 3 Liverpool 35 29 69 4 Manchester City 34 28 66 5 Manchester United 34 26 65 6 Arsenal 33 22 60 7 Everton 35 20 58 8 West Bromwich Albion 34 -4 44 9 West Ham United 36 -14 42 10 Southampton 33 -5 41 11 Bournemouth 35 -13 41 12 Leicester City 34 -12 40 13 Stoke City 35 -13 40 14 Watford 34 -18 40 15 Burnley 35 -14 39 16 Crystal Palace 35 -10 38 17 Hull City 35 -31 34 18 Swansea City 35 -29 32 19 Middlesbrough 35 -19 28 20 Sunderland 34 -34 21
A goalmouth scramble allowed Lanzini to score from close range.
Upton Park was the venue of the famous lasagne-gate debacle, when Tottenham blew their chance to finish above Arsenal and qualify for the Champions League.
Last season, a 1-0 defeat dealt a savage blow to their hopes of chasing down Leicester. And now this. A defeat that leaves Chelsea four points clear with a game in hand. Beat Middlesbrough on Monday and it becomes seven. Win at West Bromwich next Friday and it stretches to 10 — and Tottenham will have only three games to play.
At that point, it would be over. Again. The match against Manchester United would be purely ceremonial. A dead rubber, the noise deafened by the party taking place across the other side of town.
No wonder Tottenham’s players looked stunned by developments in the 65th minute. Aaron Cresswell got a cross in at the second attempt which Tottenham failed to clear. Mark Noble put it back, another chance to clear was lost, Andre Ayew couldn’t turn the ball in and instead it fell to Manuel Lanzini. He was inside the six-yard box, Tottenham scrambling to smother. Too late. He lashed the ball past Hugo Lloris and a despairing Toby Alderweireld on the line.
The London Stadium erupted. Could this be the night the new venue had been longing for all season? True, it was a negative of sorts — stopping Tottenham rather than making history of their own, but a win would also ensure West Ham’s presence in the Premier League next season. And the chance to see how Tottenham handle their new surroundings at Wembley. It isn’t easy.
James Collins celebrates from the West Ham half as he watches Lanzini give his side the lead with a close-range strike
West Ham manager Slaven Bilic shows clear signs of relief and jubilation after watching his side take the lead over Tottenham
The advertising boarding collapses after Lanzini celebrated in front of the West Ham fans following his crucial goal
GRAHAM POLL – THE OFFICIAL LINE
Anthony Taylor refereed a tasty London derby really well, getting his involvement just right.
Kyle Walker flew into Manuel Lanzini after just 12 minutes to pick up the game’s first yellow card and was outdone by Mark Noble three minutes later. Both tackles were strong but only worthy of cautions.
The biggest moment of the first half, though, came when Hugo Lloris raced out of his penalty area and cleaned out Lanzini, ball and anything else that was coming through.
He was fortunate that he played the ball first or Spurs would have lost their excellent keeper for this game and the next one.
Indeed, it was West Ham who should have wrapped it up. Toby Alderweireld was caught in possession by Jonathan Calleri, who seemed to have got into the perfect position to score, only to give Lloris a lifeline with a shot at the perfect height to save.
The confidence West Ham would have taken into this fixture a year ago just hasn’t been there this season. The 2015-16 campaign wasn’t just about an emotion-charged farewell to Upton Park but shock results on the road, too. Wins at Manchester City, Liverpool, Everton and Arsenal, credible draws at Chelsea, Manchester United and Leicester. This season, going into this game, West Ham are still without a league victory against a team in the top eight, from Chelsea to West Bromwich
So it was a pleasant surprise for the locals that Slaven Bilic’s team held their own in the first half, matching Tottenham’s goal threat and their midfield physicality, too. Indeed, referee Anthony Taylor made a rod for his own back by going early, and harshly, with the yellow cards. It did little to keep foul play in check and set precedents that were hard to maintain.
Certainly, two of the three cards meted out in the opening half were severe — including the first, to Walker, for what appeared to be a perfectly legitimate tackle on Lanzini, the very definition of hard but fair.
England international Dier confronts Noble over the firm tackle with justified anger after luckily escaping serious injury
Referee Anthony Taylor decides to show the West Ham captain a yellow card for the challenge as Tottenham players protest
Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris rushes out of his area and just beats West Ham attacker Lanzini to the ball
Lanzini is sent flying by Tottenham’s captain Lloris, but the France international is adjudged to have won the ball fairly
9 – Manuel Lanzini has now scored nine goals in 14 matches against London clubs — 60 per cent of his West Ham strikes. He has scored against Crystal Palace (4), Spurs (3) and Chelsea (2).
West Ham also felt they should have had a penalty when Lloris cleaned out Lanzini, one on one, after 29 minutes — although that would have been a tough call, too. Noble played a lovely ball through, Lanzini eluded Tottenham’s backline but took a huge hit from Lloris on the edge of the area as he advanced on goal. Lloris did get some of the ball, all of the man, and just about anything else in his vicinity.
It was the type of challenge more commonly seen from goalkeepers in field hockey and had it been anywhere else on the pitch it probably would have been a foul as the sheer ferocity of the challenge pushed the envelope. For Taylor to act, however, would have meant sending Lloris off.
Tottenham striker Harry Kane hits the ball from distance in an attempt to break the deadlock against West Ham
West Ham goalkeeper Adrian is equal to the effort, making a fantastic save to deflect the ball over the bar and for a corner
The Spanish goalkeeper made several excellent saves to keep Tottenham at bay and prove a point after a difficult season
He was the last line of defence and the challenge was outside the area, so there would be no question of a penalty award, and double jeopardy saving him. And that would have been terribly unfair. All things considered, it was the right decision.
The debate would have been moot had Cheikhou Kouyate completed the job with Lloris on the floor and the goal at his mercy. Instead he delivered a sloppy lobbed finish and the danger for Tottenham passed.
Too much of West Ham’s finishing lacked conviction. Ayew found Lanzini after six minutes but his shot travelled wide, and when Dier lost the ball to Kouyate after 37 minutes his shot was desperately hurried and loose. Ayew got into a good position on the edge of the area after 52 minutes but his shot was still rising as it passed over the crossbar.
Not that Tottenham were much better. Harry Kane shot wide after Noble lost the ball early on and Christian Eriksen hit one from 25 yards out which he failed to get on target.
Their best chance came after 21 minutes, Dele Alli and Kane combining as they have done so many times this season. First, Kane’s shot was saved by Adrian, then Alli pounced on the rebound but was shut out by Sam Byram before Kane tried again, this time Adrian’s leg deflecting the ball over the bar.
From the corner, Dier’s header was tipped around, as Tottenham enjoyed their best spell of the half.
West Ham manager Bilic and his Tottenham counterpart Pochettino confront one another on the touchline
Tottenham midfielder and PFA Young Player of the Year Dele Alli gets the better of West Ham defender Sam Byram
Tottenham players jostle with their West Ham counterparts as they wait for a free-kick to be delivered into the Hammers’ box
Match-winner Lanzini is embraced by his manager as he makes his way off the field to a standing ovation at London Stadium
Bilic salutes the West Ham crowd after seeing his side end the title hopes of Tottenham with a deserved victory