Kurt Zouma’s unusual finishing touch helps West Ham peg back Spurs


The fact that Tottenham saw most of the ball came as little surprise. West Ham are built to absorb pressure and the longer this game remained locked at 1-1, the less likely that David Moyes was to tell his side to gamble on chasing the goal that would have tightened their grip on seventh place.

Perhaps Moyes, drawing on that pragmatic streak, wanted to see some proper defending after West Ham’s collapse against Newcastle. There was a lot of talk of “resilience” from the Scot, who rued Michail Antonio wasting a glorious opportunity on the hour, and a distinct relish in the way he spoke about restricting Spurs to so few clear chances. “We had to defend,” said Moyes, who accepted that a draw was the right result. “But that is part of football.”

Both managers were in ­philosophical mode. Whereas Moyes opted against making any ­substitutions, perhaps because he was still scarred by the memory of bringing on Kalvin Phillips against Newcastle, Ange Postecoglou turned to his bench five times. The Spurs manager could see that his side, who now lie two points off fourth-placed Aston Villa, needed an extra gear in the final third. They had to be disappointed with their inability to create more after West Ham responded to Brennan Johnson’s early goal with an equaliser from Kurt Zouma.

“They sit deep and make it ­difficult,” Postecoglou said. “It’s just probably for us in the final third we lacked clarity of thought. They’re human beings. I’d love to have a joy-stick and help them through that.”

The first talking point had centred around whether a counterpunching team can thrive without solid foundations. Gaps have appeared in West Ham’s defence recently, a record of one clean sheet in the league in 2024 irritating Moyes, and it was too easy for Spurs to strike after five minutes.

James Ward-Prowse and Tomas Soucek were not close enough to James Maddison when the playmaker popped up in a pocket of space. West Ham pined for the security provided by their suspended midfield enforcer, Edson Álvarez. They struggle ­without Álvarez, who might have done more to stop Maddison isolating Timo ­Werner against Vladimir Coufal.

It was a mismatch. Werner went down the outside and Coufal, who struggled against Newcastle’s ­wingers last weekend, could not stop the forward from teeing up Johnson for a simple finish from close range.