Five things we learned in West Ham's 1-1 draw with Spurs as Paqueta disappoints on debut
By Alessandro Schiavone at London Stadium
Five things we learned in West Ham's 1-1 stalemate with London rivals Tottenham Hotspur. Thilo Kehrer's own-goal gave Antonio Conte's side a fortuitous lead before Tomas Soucek cancelled it out with a terrific volley.
Son needs to be benched for Spurs
Short of confidence, wrong body language and sloppy in possession, the South Korean superstar hasn’t been himself this season.
Once a force of nature who could score from anywhere, at any time against any side, last season’s joint-top goal scorer of the Premier League looks lost and off the pace most of the time. Almost as if he forgot how to play football, how to press, attack and create chances for himself and others. With Richarlison on the bench and desperate to prove a point in a Spurs shirt, Conte should give his struggling and goalless superstar a much-needed rest.
Paqueta is no Kaka
The former AC Milan flop isn’t the game changer or magician many think he is. In 23 long minutes plus for added on after replacing Said Benrahma, it looked like West Ham were playing a man down. The new boy in town may yet have to get used to the rhythms of the Premier League and adapt to English football. But he should have attacked the cutback and fire West Ham to a victory on his debut in the end. Instead he didn't connect with the ball as he didn't expect the ball to arrive to his feet. Shocker and a reminder that the Hammers fans should not make the same mistake as Milan fans back in January 2019 and get ahead of themselves for a pretty normal player.
West Ham need many chances to score a goal
IF a team deserved to be ahead at half-time it was West Ham with David Moyes’ men turning heads.
The valiant Hammers looked tight at the back and loaded in attack. But they didn’t score despite fashioning a host of chances with Jarrod Bowen first guiding his attempt across the face of goal on six minutes. Later in the half, Hugo Llloris claimed long rangers from West Ham duo Pablo Fornals and Declan Rice.
And in the 23rd minute Antonio came within a whisker of shattering the deadlock. He collected the ball and came on his right foot before his bending strike hit the outside of the woodwork with Lloris beaten.
Yet in the second period and at the fifth time of asking, West Ham scored.
Antonio, who else, caught out the entire opposition defence with a long ball over the top for Tomas Soucek to volley home.
Soucek ran the show
With new signing Lucas Paqueta looking to cement a place in midfield, Tomas Soucek has to regain his best form, the one that endeared him to the Hammers supporters. He scored 10 league goals in his debut campaign in English football but went off the boil towards the second part of the 2021/2022 campaign and had so far looked inconsistent with good spells alternating mediocre ones during games. But against Spurs he staked a claim for keeping his place alongside Declan Rice despite the arrival of the heralded Brazilian. The Czech Republic international made an impact as he took the game by the scruff of the neck, scored a goal, his first in the league since mid-April, won second balls and nearly set up one Jarrod Bowen. Back to his best. At the perfect time.
Richarlison is better than Kulusevski
Right after coming on for the uninspired Kulusevski 15 minutes from time, the Brazilian maverick stretched West Ham with his pace down the right side. Surprisingly the former Watford and Everton player has yet to start a league game for Spurs. There’s a feeling that Tottenham may have tripled their points tally tonight had Conte given his hot-headed man the nod ahead of either Son or the Swede. Richarlison is on top of his game when the opposition defends high up the pitch like the Hammers did in some key moments of the game tonight. With his pace, dribbling ability and trickery he could have made runs in behind or come short before unleashing Kane or Son into space. Conte played the safety card and paid the price.