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Tottenham beat West Ham: Five things we learned as Son and Kane inspire win


Tottenham boosted their hopes of securing a top-four finish in the Premier League after battling to an important 3-1 victory over West Ham on Sunday. Antonio Conte’s side knew that only a win would do to close the gap on their north London rivals Arsenal.

And Spurs got off to the perfect start courtesy of a Kurt Zouma own goal after the Frenchman turned Harry Kane’s cross into his own net. Son Heung-min then doubled the hosts’ advantage during a dominant first-half display.

But Said Benrahma reduced the arrears with a clinical volley to pull one back as the Hammers searched for an equaliser in the London derby. The visitors ran out of steam after their midweek Europa League success and Spurs, despite missing several chances for a third, sealed the win with Son’s second late on.

Here are five things Express Sport learned from an enthralling encounter at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

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Kane and Son the ultimate partnership

To limit Harry Kane to being a fantastic number nine does the England international a huge disservice; he is also a fine creator too, and one of the best the Premier League has to offer.

Alongside his 12 goals this season, he has now assisted his team-mates on six occasions after a hat-trick of assists. First, he sent in a dangerous cross into the box which Kurt Zouma put beyond his own goalkeeper and then crafted a stunning pass for Son Heung-min to strike home.

In the second half, his knock on found the South Korean and he finished with aplomb. Conte has quickly recognised that giving the 28-year-old the freedom to float around the central areas, sometimes as a No.9 but also in the No.10 spaces, will only benefit his side.

His record-breaking link-up play with Son has been breathtaking to watch and they are better players playing together. And if they stay fit, it will continue to pay dividends for Spurs in the final weeks of the season.

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Benrahma back on song

If West Ham are to secure European football next season, they simply have to score more goals. And that responsibility will fall onto Michail Antonio and Said Benhrama in the upcoming 10 games.

Without a goal in 2022, the attacking midfielder took it upon himself to get the Hammers back into the game with a piece of brilliance. It may have been his sixth goal of the season, but crucially, it was his first since December 28.

Benrahma showed he is gradually rediscovering his top fitness and form with a double assist against Aston Villa last time out and followed it up with a goal. He reacted quickly to Craig Dawson’s knock-on from a corner, steadying himself to fire a volley past Hugo Lloris and generally looked lively throughout.

With Jarrod Bowen out injured and Nikola Vlasic struggling to make an impact, Moyes will be hoping for more contributions from the Algerian in the coming weeks.

Conte’s men up for top-four fight

In his pre-match interview, Antonio Conte called on his side to turn their encouraging performances into results after a period of inconsistent form: “We gave a good performances in the recent period and I said the same against United, it was the same problem. I expected much more than a defeat.”

Arsenal laid down the gauntlet for the top four with a narrow win over Aston Villa on Saturday. This time it was Tottenham’s turn, and Conte will be pleased with how his side approached the game from the first minute.

Compared to how Spurs seemed to just exist in games under Nuno Espirito Santo, they are now taking these fixtures by the scruff of their neck. Of course, they would need no motivation for a London derby, particularly with their top-four hopes hanging in the balance.

But they looked bright, hungry and willing to press forward at every opportunity. As a coach, it’s all that Conte can hope from his side as they enter the final quarter of the season and brush off concerns over their form with four wins in five games.

Zouma’s misery continues

Ever since the troubling footage of his controversial treatment of his cat surfaced in February, Kurt Zouma has struggled to find form on the pitch. West Ham refused to take the £30m defender out of the firing line as David Moyes continued to pick him.

But the Frenchman’s performances are beginning to have an adverse affect on the Hammers’ fortunes. He was perhaps unfortunate to add an own goal to his name for Spurs’ opener, but there could be no excuses for his part in the second.

It was a prime example of a player lacking in confidence and experiencing lapses in concentration. He allowed Son to escape his vision and opened the gap for Kane to play the ball through.

Moyes has a capable centre-back in Issa Diop ready to deputise if he feels Zouma needs a break from the first-team. On this evidence, it won’t be long until his compatriot gets his chance to shine after another day to forget for the ex-Chelsea man.

Levy right to back Conte signings

Conte had made clear his desire to add to his squad in January and on deadline day, chairman Daniel Levy delivered with the double signing of Rodrigo Bentancur and Dejan Kulusevski. The pair from Juventus had Champions League experience and promised to add quality to Conte’s ranks.

But perhaps even the Italian didn’t expect such an instant impact. Kulusevski has taken Lucas Moura’s place in the side on the right side of the front three, while Bentancur has slotted into midfield alongside Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.

The former has made tangible contributions with three goals and two assists so far and linked up superbly with Kane and Son. It spoke volumes about his frustration when he squandered a decent chance in the second half to put the game beyond doubt.

Bentancur’s impact has been more subtle, but he looks comfortable passing the ball forward and patrolling the back four. In bolstering his squad in January, Conte might have found the perfect tonic to turn Spurs back into top-four contenders – and potentially more.



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