Tomas Soucek salvages draw for West Ham to slow Tottenham’s momentum

Tomas Soucek earned West Ham a 1-1 draw at home to Tottenham after a second-half equaliser in the Premier League

The margins are usually tight when these two great rivals meet and Antonio Conte was grateful for a point in the end after Tomas Soucek’s second-half strike cancelled out Thilo Kehrer’s own goal for a resurgent West Ham.

It could have been even better for the Hammers had the club‑record £50m signing Lucas Paquetá or Jarrod Bowen finished off late chances but this was much more like the kind of performance we have come to expect from David Moyes’s side.

For Tottenham there was relief that they are unbeaten after five matches and still in touch with Arsenal and Manchester City, even if Conte acknowledged they must improve after a display that showed his side are far from the finished article. “We could have done more to kill the game and we paid,” he said. “But we have to learn for next time.”

Moyes had been full of praise for Conte in the buildup to this derby, admitting he admires the Italian “because it’s not about style – he is only interested in winning”. But after enduring three defeats to start the season after the heroics of the past two campaigns, the West Ham manager watched his team create as many chances as their more-vaunted neighbours for large portions.

“I can see us beginning to find some rhythm,” Moyes said. “We’re trying to build towards a new side.”

West Ham had to make do without the new £30m striker Gianluca Scamacca because of illness, but the second-half cameo from Brazil international Paquetá, who was paraded on the pitch before kick-off having signed from Lyon this week, was enough to whet the appetite of the home supporters and his new manager. Had the 25-year-old not hesitated at the crucial moment late on, it would have turned into a dream debut. “His arrival has given the team a bit of a lift,” Moyes said.

Yves Bissouma endured a testing evening in Tottenham’s midfield after being handed his first Premier League start since arriving from Brighton in the summer. The Mali midfielder found himself straight into the action as West Ham – buoyed by their first win of the season against Aston Villa on Sunday – went on the attack.

Debutant Lucas Paquetá is greeted by West Ham manager David Moyes
Debutant Lucas Paquetá is greeted by West Ham manager David Moyes. Photograph: John Sibley/Action Images/Reuters

Pablo Fornals forced Hugo Lloris into the first save after Bowen had wasted an early opportunity but it was the Tottenham fans who thought they had something to celebrate when the referee Peter Bankes pointed to the spot after ruling that Aaron Cresswell had handled Harry Kane’s header. Almost five minutes later and with the crowd growing increasingly restless, the decision was overturned, to the relief of Cresswell and annoyance of Conte.

“In England they have to learn much more to use the VAR in the right way,” he said afterwards. “It was really strange that they made him change a right decision. Maybe they don’t know the rules? I’m really disappointed.”

After Bissouma was booked for throwing the ball away, Declan Rice tested Lloris again with a volley before Michail Antonio’s superb curling shot was unlucky to strike the outside of a Tottenham post.

Paquetá’s arrival has taken West Ham’s spending this summer to almost £180m, although for a variety of reasons the only new face on show from the start was Kehrer. The Germany international signed from Paris Saint-Germain will rightfully argue that had he not turned Kane’s cross into his own net after the England captain had combined with Dejan Kulusevski then Son Heung‑min was waiting to pounce behind him. But Kehrer’s misfortune 11 minutes before half-time was celebrated wildly by Conte.

Tottenham dropped deeper into their own territory at the start of the second half and they were made to pay 10 minutes in. Antonio’s clever flick into the path of Soucek after a quick throw-in from Vladimir Coufal was absolute perfection and the Czech midfielder slammed home his finish at the near post.

The sight of Paquetá being summoned from the bench raised the atmosphere another notch as West Ham smelled blood, and Bowen almost made Lloris pay for giving the ball away sloppily in his own area. Paquetá’s first few touches oozed class yet Son offered a timely reminder of the threat Spurs pose on the break when his effort was deflected wide.

While Angelo Ogbonna also made a welcome return for West Ham after 10 months out, Conte turned to his new Brazilian, Richarlison, to find some late inspiration.

Kane came closest to snatching the win for Spurs when his volley from the edge of the area was saved by Lukasz Fabanski. Paquetá’s big chance came in the final minute of normal time but he could only kick thin air after being distracted by Emerson Palmieri with the goal gaping, before Bowen’s late effort trickled harmlessly wide.


Ed Aarons at the London Stadium

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