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Three things we learned about West Ham in their defeat to Tottenham

Saturday 23rd September 2017
West Ham fell to a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Totten Hotspur at the London Stadium on Saturday as their difficult start to the season wore on. In their last two games, they had taken four points but they have been since brought back down to earth with a bump. 

The defeat leaves them with four losses to go with their win one and win draw. There was so much optimism at the start of the season after some intelligent buying that many thought West Ham could cut the gap between themselves and Everton, who finished seventh last year. However, this seems unlikely, partly because the Toffees also languish in the bottom-half, much in the same way as the Hammers.
Following the game, what three things did we learn?

The pressure on Bilic is mounting

Last season saw some troubling times for Slaven Bilic as the London side struggled to come good on much of their potential. This was partly blamed on the strained relationship with Dimitri Payet that left a very bitter taste in the mouths of everyone involved with West Ham.

Payet was able to leave though and things slowly reverted back to normality, but was that a good thing for the Hammers?

They have been very poor at times this season conceding goals and failing to score. Indeed, Bilic's tactics have been questioned by some critics with the same people questioning whether he is the right man to take West Ham forward. While the manager did oversee a very good win over high-flying Huddersfield and a draw with West Brom, the London side have seemed bereft of ideas recently.

Rumours were swirling that a defeat in the derby could cost Bilic his job, but a defeat against a very good Tottenham side would be a harsh way to end his tenure.

Hernandez and Carroll are finally coming good

When Javier Hernandez was brought to West Ham this summer it had every single West Ham fan thinking about the classic little and large combination that has been so successful in the past. The pace of Hernandez and the aerial ability of Andy Carroll are two of the strongest facets of Bilic's side and it was foreseen that the two would score a large proportion of the London team's goals.

However, Hernandez has been uncharacteristically wasteful in front of goal while Carroll had to work his way back from injury at the start of the season. Against Tottenham today, the two were reunited following Michael Antonio's injury and they went about giving Spurs a real headache. The ball was constantly played long to Carroll and he took advantage by chesting it down or knocking it on. Hernandez also played his part as he looked to get in behind to latch onto the knock-downs.

Hernandez capped a decent performance with a goal as he brought West Ham within striking distance, but it was not enough. The two are likely to start in next weeks game against Swansea as they look to further build their potentially winning partnership.

West Ham's slump won't last

Six games and four points is not the start West Ham's fans would have envisaged at the start of the season. Indeed, they would have been hoping for at least double that at this stage. Since their opening three defeats though they have looked far better. Indeed, once they were able to gain some momentum against Tottenham they were the better of the two sides.

In fact, Tottenham were under massive pressure in the final moments. While it can be claimed that an away team will drop deep to defend when they are protecting a one goal lead, the Hammers had to score the two goals to put the pressure on Tottenham and they did that. From there, they pushed Spurs hard and could have scored, and were aggrieved by a number of decisions as Tottenham went un-penalised for some physical challenges.

The turnaround in the last 45 minutes was very encouraging for Bilic and the fans reciprocated by upping the noise and driving their team on. If West Ham can replicate the performance level of the second-half in their next game and beyond, then they should move some way clear of the relegation zone in the weeks to come.
Ben Darvill

I graduated with an upper second class degree in English and Creative writing from Cardiff Metropolitan University. I have been a freelance sports writer since leaving University and have written for a number of online websites. I am a Chelsea and England fan but I enjoy watching any team play as I have an intense passion for football.

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