Tottenham vs. West Ham United: 5 Things We Learned
Tottenham defeated West Ham 3-1 to end a run of three straight losses in the Premier League.
Jermain Defoe grabbed two goals, and Gareth Bale added one of his own, but home side still failed to keep their opponent out and conceded through an Andy Carroll header.
There were some positives and still some negatives, for Spurs in the game against their London rivals, but the end result is what matters most.
Here are five things we learned from this game between Tottenham and West Ham.
Tottenham Get Their Bid for Fourth Place Back on Track
Fourth place is the target for Andre Villas-Boas and this Tottenham side, and though the going will be tough, they are certainly in the running.
Spurs are now in seventh place with 20 points, five behind the current fourth-place side Chelsea.
West Bromwich Albion and Everton are the surprise sides in the top six, and while they certainly deserve to be there right now, it's less likely they will be in those positions at the end of the season.
Tottenham's next test is a tough home game against Liverpool, and the momentum from this West Ham win will serve them well.
Joao Moutinho or a Player of Similar Ilk Is a Necessity for Tottenham
Moussa Dembele provides the most creative threat for Tottenham in an attacking sense, but he is not the same type of player as Luka Modric.
The Belgian is not a player who can really dictate possession as Andre Villas-Boas would want, and while his ability to drive the team forward is necessary, it will not be enough for the club moving forward.
Tottenham needs a player like the recently departed Croatian to really implement the Portuguese manager's preferred style of play, and it is likely they will look for someone in the January transfer window.
According to the Daily Mail, Spurs may lose out on top summer target Joao Moutinho again in January, but things could change when the transfer window re-opens.
Moutinho, or a player like him, should continue the progression of Villas-Boas' side and would really increase the attacking potency of the side.
Tottenham Defense Still Needs Work
The goal conceded against West Ham means Tottenham has now conceded 22 goals in 13 games. That is not good enough for a top-four side.
The defense as a whole looked very solid throughout the game and should really have kept a clean sheet.
Hugo Lloris seems to have cemented the starting goalkeeper position in recent games and wasn't wholly at fault for the West Ham goal.
He made some important saves throughout the game, most notably on Kevin Nolan's low cross which would have found an open Matt Jarvis.
Michael Dawson and Steven Caulker had a solid partnership that, while it should still not be the first-choice central partnership, showed that William Gallas should no longer be first choice for Andre Villas-Boas.
Things should get better when Benoit Assou-Ekotto returns from injury thus allowing Jan Vertonghen to move back to his preferred position and give the Portuguese manager even more options in central defense.
Villas-Boas will need to sort out his best selection for the back four and ensure they are well-marshaled if he really wants success as the season progresses.
The Jury Is Still out on Andy Carroll
Andy Carroll may have scored a goal, his first in domestic play since his FA Cup semifinal strike against Chelsea, but he wasn't a threat to Tottenham otherwise.
He may be helpful to Sam Allardyce's direct style of play with his strength and aerial prowess, but his lack of goals doesn't help his case with his parent club or national side.
He doesn't have many assists to his name either, even with all his flick-ons and ability to hold up the ball.
It will be interesting to see if this goal has any positive effect on Carroll. It could be the calm before the storm, or it could just be a strike that ends his current goalless run.
Manchester United and Chelsea are his side's next opponents, and one can assume he will be very much starved of service in those games.
Carroll has a lot of people to prove wrong and still has a long way to go in that respect.
Tottenham's Attack Is Okay
Jermain Defoe continues to play well up top, and the other men in Tottenham's front four are starting to find their rhythm.
Gareth Bale was a constant threat and got a deserved goal in the end, and Aaron Lennon also did well throughout the game. Clint Dempsey's performance was possibly the most promising.
He tried his hardest to create something positive for his side with his passing as well as his movement and mustered a few shots, one of which unluckily hit the crossbar, before exquisitely sending Gareth Bale through for a goal.
There were still bad moments for the American in terms of touches, slow play and so forth, but it looks as if he is starting to feel more confident and getting to grips with his teammates.
Tottenham will get better as long as he and his teammates continue to gel as they have.