When Gareth Bale ran on to Harry Kane’s pass in injury-time, cut across Angelo Ogbonna and had only Lukasz Fabianski to beat, the goal and the headlines beckoned. The story was clear. The dream debut. Except Bale sent his shot wide and, seconds later, this incredible sport delivered another and very different ending as West Ham claimed the most unlikely point in the history of the Premier League.
Never before has a team not lost when they were three goals down in the 81st minute and, yet, 13 minutes later another substitute Manuel Lanzini struck an arresting 25-yard first-time shot that hit the angle of post and cross-bar and dropped over the line. It was the final kick of this remarkable game.
Cue the jokes. Has the curse of Bale struck again? In his first 24 league matches for Spurs, stretching over two years, he failed to be on the winning side and the manager, Harry Redknapp, was so keen to end that sequence in 2009 that he put him on with his team 4-0 up against Burnley in the 85th minute. They won.
Bale came on in the 71st minute here after his season-long loan from Real Madrid was secured in an attempt to bring some joy back into his career. Precisely 2,709 days after he last played – and scored – for Spurs in 2013 he was back and it seemed certain he would be tasting victory amid claims that once again Jose Mourinho may just be about to mount a title challenge.
How that changed and how the first 16 minutes, when Spurs were unstoppable and Harry Kane seemed determined to remind everyone who deserved top billing, seemed a distant memory as Lanzini ripped off his shirt and West Ham manager David Moyes admitted he had his own “David Pleat moment” as he danced on to the pitch in celebration.
Before kick-off all the focus was so much on Bale that perhaps even West Ham forgot about Kane. They – and everyone else - were given an emphatic reminder of the devastation he can cause as the striker scored twice and claimed a superb assist which set up Son Heung-min.
With their first passage of meaningful possession Spurs scored. Kane collected the ball and arced a wonderful long pass forward that swung into the path of Son allowing him to cut across Fabian Balbuena and curl his right-foot shot beyond Fabianski. Just 45 seconds had elapsed and it was Kane’s ninth assist of the season – six of those for Son.
The second goal came with Kane again instigating the move with another excellent pass, this time to Steven Bergwijn, and when he eventually regained possession he first nutmegged Declan Rice on the edge of the West Ham penalty area before striking a low shot through Ogbonna’s legs to beat Fabianski.
Kane’s third was more routine but was again expertly taken as West Ham allowed Sergio Reguilón the time and space to stand up a cross beyond the far post and not one of their three central defenders was close to Kane as he rose to guide a header back beyond Fabianski.
Game over, surely? West Ham came into this fixture buoyed by two wins but were being swept aside and it only appeared a matter of time before Bale would come on to complete a perfect afternoon for Spurs.
The only problem was it ignored the fact that West Ham were much better after the first-half and delivered warning after warning that something could happen. Indeed had Moyes borrowed that line from his mentor, Sir Alex Ferguson, who, according to Roy Keane, once said “lads, it’s Tottenham” by way of a team-talk? Even so when Pablo Fornals headed over the bar from just two yards out after Michail Antonio’s shot spun up what followed would have seemed inconceivable.
It was even more inconceivable when Son teed up Kane whose first-time shot from the edge of the area beat Fabianski but struck the outside of the post. A goal then and a Kane hat-trick would have ended of any lingering doubt. Kane and Son are such a potent combination that it will be interesting to see how Mourinho integrates Bale.
Suddenly it switched and it was even more impressive from West Ham given the stadium was empty and there was not the usual swirl of emotion and anxiety to play on Spurs’ nerves. Mourinho will have to dwell on that and ponder how, given the undoubted strengthening of his squad, they were unable to see this game through. This was ‘Spursy’ but it was not Mourinho-esque and he will not accept it.
Still, surely it was just a consolation when Moussa Sissoko allowed Balbuena to reach an Aaron Cresswell free-kick and head the ball past Hugo Lloris? On the touchline, though, Moyes, back after a period of self-isolation, clearly thought differently and bellowed at his players to get the ball for a quick re-start.
The haste was rewarded as ubstitute Andriy Yarmolenko slipped a pass to Vladimir Coufal who crossed only for Davinson Sánchez to intervene and inadvertently send another header past Lloris.
Incredibly there was tension in front of the vacant seats and it was palpable as panic began to spread for Spurs before Bale was given the chance to ease it. Instead he missed and lay on the turf in disappointment. Even so time was against West Ham but they earned one last free-kick which was only cleared by Harry Winks, under pressure, as far as Lanzini who instinctively let fly. Lloris got a hand to it but it was not enough and the injury-ravaged West Ham forward scored the kind of goal that Spurs fans have seen in the past from Bale.
And that's all the live reaction from us
Read Jason Burt's match report for a full recap of the game's remarkable events.
Here is Manuel Lanzini's must-see strike
What an impact!
⚽ Manuel Lanzini – PL record:— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) October 18, 2020
10 goals in 26 PL London derby apps (4 in 7 v Tottenham)
11 goals in 97 PL apps against non-London teams pic.twitter.com/fkID0Gyb5m
Spurs deserved to win but...
They took their foot of the gas in the first-half and it has come back to bite them.
Fair play to West Ham, they kept going until the end.
87 - Tottenham Hotspur had won each of their previous 87 Premier League matches when leading by at least three goals, last dropping points from this position in a 3-5 defeat against Man Utd in September 2001. Despair. #TOTWHU— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 18, 2020
FULL TIME: Tottenham 3 West Ham 3
Three goal lead thrown away by Spurs! Wow, what an ending.
Lanzini's goal was last kick of the match.
GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAL! LANZINI Tottenham 3 West Ham 3
West Ham win a free kick in a great position for a cross. Cresswell takes it and the ball is headed out. It falls to Lanzini who hammers it into the top corner from 30 yards out.
WHAT A GOAL! It was bouncing and he nails it.
90+2 min: Tottenham 3 West Ham 2
Bale is released free. He turns Ogbonna inside out, getting the ball back onto his left but his shot from inside the box is wide. Lovely feet, no debut goal!
90 min: Tottenham 3 West Ham 2
Cresswell finds Bowen in the box but he cannot get a shot away. Spurs break, Masuaku cuts down Lucas, yellow card.
Snodgrass is on for Masuaku.
Four minutes of added time!
88 min: Tottenham 3 West Ham 2
Bale takes the corner and Fabianski collects it with ease. This game is very nervy now, Spurs have now lifted their intensity.
86 min: Tottenham 3 West Ham 2
Well this game was meandering towards a 3-0 and suddenly is alive and kicking. Do not go anywhere!
Aurier wins a corner for his side.
GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAL! (Sanchez OG) Tottenham 3 West Ham 2
Yarmolenko breaks into the box, firing in a low cross. Sanchez deflects it into his own net with his head.
Wow! It is game on!!
GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAL! (Balbuena) Tottenham 3 West Ham 1
The defender rises highest to head home from a free kick. Cracking finish.
That came from nowhere. Do we have a game on our hands after all?
82 min: Tottenham 3 West Ham 0
Bale has not done much since coming on, unable to link up with Kane thus far.
80 min: Tottenham 3 West Ham 0
Son lays the ball off to Kane on the edge of the box who hits it first time. He bends it with his left foot but it hits the post and bounces out for a goal kick. What a strike. Unlucky.
Lucas is on for the ever-excellent Son.
77 min: Tottenham 3 West Ham 0
Kane strides down the left, drawing a foul from Soucek who is booked. Antonio and Fornals off, Yarmolenko and Lanzini on.
74 min: Tottenham 3 West Ham 0
Bale takes the free kick, from about 35 yards out, and it is straight at the keeper. Not the best first touch but nice of him to try and start in spectacular fashion.
72 min: Tottenham 3 West Ham 0
Cresswell's delivery is headed away by Son but another corner is won. A dangerous ball is served up but no player from either side meets it.
At the other end, Ogbonna is booked for wiping out Bergwijn from behind. Here comes Bale (and Winks)! Bergwijn and Ndombele.
70 min: Tottenham 3 West Ham 0
It feels like time for a bit of Gareth Bale (and Carlos Vinicius for that matter...) The Welshman is getting ready!
Son breaks in behind but his cross is intercepted by Fabianski.
West Ham win a corner.
67 min: Tottenham 3 West Ham 0
Spurs press West Ham, winning the ball high up the pitch. Kane picks it up on the edge of the box but his shot is blocked.
He really, really wants that hat-trick. Kane should have passed there.
64 min: Tottenham 3 West Ham 0
Spurs win a corner via a Kane shot. The first ball is dealt with, the second is headed behind for another corner by Balbuena.
Tottenham come again, Son lifting a pass over the top but it cannot be controlled.
59 min: Tottenham 3 West Ham 0
West Ham have undoubtedly been on top after the break, Spurs look content to protect their lead.
56 min: Tottenham 3 West Ham 0
Bowen's corner is headed away by Kane. West Ham attack again, Bowen is brought down on the edge of the box by Reguilon but no foul is given.
53 min: Tottenham 3 West Ham 0
Son beats a couple of defenders before being tackle, the ball runs to Kane who eventually blasts a left-footed effort well over the bar.
West Ham win a corner with Alderweireld putting a Cresswell cross out.
50 min: Tottenham 3 West Ham 0
Huge chance missed by Fornals! Antonio has his shot deflected, it bounces up to Fornals who heads it over the bar from just yards out. He should have buried that.
48 min: Tottenham 3 West Ham 0
Tottenham start brightly, before a loose pass ends their carefully built attack. West Ham create a chance at the other end. Coufal whips in a dangerous cross, Soucek misses it and Masuaku strikes his shot into the stands.
The second half is underway
Spurs get us restarted.
The most dynamic of dynamic duos
30+ - Since Jose Mourinho took charge of Spurs in November 2019, Harry Kane (33) and Son Heung-Min (30) have had a direct hand in more goals in all competitions than any other Premier League players. Liberate. #TOTWHU pic.twitter.com/lQPgWKoGEM— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 18, 2020
How did the first-half go, Jose?
Spurs dominated the first 20 minutes
It has been even since then, but the damage is already done.
HALF TIME: Tottenham 3 West Ham 0
The free kick is headed away and Spurs attempt a counter, Son unable to pick out Kane with a floated ball over the top.
Soucek has a chance just before the break but Kane makes a block in his own box. No idea what he was doing back there!
45 min: Tottenham 3 West Ham 0
Rice makes a neat turn on the edge of the Spurs box before losing possession. He has been a little off the pace.
Aurier gives away a foul in a good position for a cross. Two minutes of added time.
42 min: Tottenham 3 West Ham 0
Spurs put together a lovely run of passes, culminating in Kane trying to volley a pass to Son in the box. Ndombele is having an influential game today.
39 min: Tottenham 3 West Ham 0
Reguilon breaks down the left wing, curling a pass into the box but it has too much on it for Bergwijn who made an intelligent run between the defenders.
36 min: Tottenham 3 West Ham 0
Fornals drives forward, winning a corner for West Ham. Bowen whips it in but Kane rises highest to head it away. The second ball finds Antonio in the box, Alderweireld making an important challenge before a shot could be unleashed.
33 min: Tottenham 3 West Ham 0
Tottenham have taken their foot of the gas somewhat, understandable given the lead. West Ham are doing alright now, can they find a goal?
30 min: Tottenham 3 West Ham 0
Aurier forces his way into the penalty box but cannot quite slip a pass into Bergwijn.
Coufal breaks forward at the other end but is penalised for a shoulder-to-shoulder collision with Reguilon.
Shout-out to Derby fans
27 min: Tottenham 3 West Ham 0
Antonio flicks on a header which finds Fornals. He strikes a half-volley which forces Lloris into a save. Well struck, but too straight.
25 min: Tottenham 3 West Ham 0
Sissoko is down after a clash with Antonio, who caught him accidentally with his arm. He looks to be alright in the end.
22 min: Tottenham 3 West Ham 0
Antonio is booked for an overenthusiastic tackle on Son. There was not too much in that.
19 min: Tottenham 3 West Ham 0
The opening 20 minutes could hardly have gone much worse for West Ham. Has anyone called for a taxi to take David Moyes home yet?
GOOOOOOOAAAAAAL! (Kane) Tottenham 3 West Ham 0
Reguilon picks out Kane at the back post who heads it into the back of the net. So, so easy.
Kane has two goals and an assist so far this afternoon.
Here is Harry Kane's strike, some questionable defending...
🎙 - "It's shocking defending from West Ham again!"#WHUFC are all over the place as Kane doubles #THFC's lead! 💥— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) October 18, 2020
📺 Watch on Sky Sports PL
📱 Follow #TOTWHU here: https://t.co/bSojQP9BHx
📲 Download the @SkySports app! pic.twitter.com/kTOCbtVv2q
16 min: Tottenham 2 West Ham 0
Bowen plays in Antonio but the striker is caught offside. Tottenham look dynamite in attack and slightly dodgy at the back.
13 min: Tottenham 2 West Ham 0
Masuaku wins a corner down the left. Hojbjerg heads it away but West Ham come again. Ndombele makes a crucial tackle, allowing Spurs to clear once more.
This stat is already out of date, Kane is up to 11 now...
10 – Harry Kane is the first player to reach 10 goal involvements in the Premier League this season (3 goals, 7 assists), while he’s one of only three to reach double figures by the fifth game of their side’s season after Thierry Henry, 2004/05 & Wayne Rooney, 2011/12. Peak. pic.twitter.com/EiDJbGqje9— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 18, 2020
Here is Tottenham's first goal of the afternoon
So easy for #THFC! 🔥— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) October 18, 2020
Harry Kane launches a long ball forward and Heung-min Son does the rest! 🎯
📺 Watch on Sky Sports PL
📱 Follow #TOTWHU here: https://t.co/bSojQP9BHx
📲 Download the @SkySports app! pic.twitter.com/tS2cd7gwgO
10 min: Tottenham 2 West Ham 0
West Ham have had the same amount of attacks as Spurs but are 2-0. Tottenham look full of confidence, playing with precision. Kane's passing so far has just been sublime.
GOOOOOOOAAAAAAL! (Kane) Tottenham 2 West Ham 0
Son rolls the ball to Kane on the edge of the box, he nutmegs Rice, before hammering the ball into the bottom left hand corner. No chance for the keeper!
Spurs are on fire!
7 min: Tottenham 1 West Ham 0
Cresswell has a go from distance, the ball curving into the side netting. Decent effort.
West Ham then win a corner but nothing comes of it.
4 min: Tottenham 1 West Ham 0
Well, West Ham attacked for 90 seconds, lost the ball, and now are behind. Clinical from Tottenham.
Reguilon switches the play to Aurier, but possession evades him. A ball is played into Antonio who is fouled from behind by Sanchez in a dangerous position for the Hammers.
GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAL! (Son) Tottenham 1 West Ham 0
Spurs counter, Kane picking out a lovely pass to Son. The South Korean cuts in, onto his right, curling it into the far corner.
Far too easy, what a start for Spurs!
1 min: Tottenham 0 West Ham 0
West Ham start directly, Soucek releasing a shot straight at Lloris from the edge of the box.
Here we go!
West Ham get us underway.
Just five minutes to kick-off
David Moyes is back on the touchline for West Ham, although they have done remarkably well with him at home, registering impressive back-to-back wins with plenty of goals.
The experienced manager will be keen to prove his value in the ground today...
Some pre-match reading, courtesy of John Percy
By the end, the only bond between Gareth Bale and Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid was one of mutual contempt. The pair had always had a fractious relationship, but when Bale and Zidane could not even bring themselves to say a cursory 'good morning' to each other at Real's sprawling training complex in Valdebebas, it was clear to all parties that Bale's time at the club was at an end.
This stat does not make great reading for West Ham fans...
7 - West Ham have lost seven of their nine Premier League London derbies since the start of last season, winning the other two (both vs Chelsea). Indeed, the Hammers have lost more London derby matches than any other side in Premier League history (104). Yard. #TOTWHU— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 18, 2020
Jose Mourinho speaks ahead of kick-off:
On Spurs' mentality:
"We just speak about every match, we go to win. It doesn't matter against who, or where, in what competition. We go to win."
Mourinho also confirms that Dele Alli is fit and just not selected, mentioning the strong attacking options of Gareth Bale, Lucas Moura and Carlos Vinicius all on the bench.
Michail Antonio appreciation post
Antonio has scored 10 goals in his last 11 Premier League games for the Hammers, proving he is most definitely a capable striker.
Antonio has also scored four goals in his seven Premier League games against Tottenham; against no side has he scored more in the competition.
The man that Spurs need to keep quiet today.
Perhaps Tottenham are missing their home support?
0 - Tottenham are winless at home so far in the Premier League this season (D1 L1), scoring just once and conceding twice. This is a stark comparison to their away form, which has seen them win both games by an aggregate score of 11-3. Tactics. #TOTWHU— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 18, 2020
Team news recap:
Gareth Bale is named on the bench.
Bale is fit again after a knee injury delayed his second debut but Jose Mourinho has gone with with a front three of Harry Kane, Son Heung-min and Steven Bergwijn.
Dele Alli is not in the matchday squad, along with Erik Lamela, who has a knock.
West Ham name an unchanged side from the 3-0 win at Leicester.
A stat to give West Ham fans some extra hope...
Only at Fulham (7) have West Ham won more Premier League away games than they have against Spurs (5).
Can they continue their good run today?
We will have to wait to see Gareth Bale return to Premier League action
It will be fascinating to see how the Welsh superstar performs, if brought on. Jose Mourinho has indicated he will play from the right.
A front three of Harry Kane, Son-heung Min and Bale is world-class, on paper at least.
Team news is in! Gareth Bale is on the bench for Spurs
Good afternoon, Gareth Bale is poised to make his second Spurs debut today
Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho believes Gareth Bale can regain the heights hit at Real Madrid and says he will be used predominantly on the right.
Bale is primed to make his second Spurs debut when West Ham visit this afternoon, having regained fitness following a knee injury.
The Wales international burst on to the scene a decade ago as a left winger, but then moved into a more central position and produced the sort of form which saw Real Madrid spend a then-record £85million on him in 2013.
He became a world star at the Bernabeu mainly playing on the right - excelling in a front three with Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema - and now Bale has told Mourinho that is there where his favourite position is.
"One of the first questions in my first conversation with Gareth - because the team is most important thing but the player is important too - was, 'What's your favourite position?'," Mourinho said.
"I wanted to start from there and he answered me the question. Does that mean he will always be used in that position? No.
"Because the most important thing is the team, and he will play where the team needs him to play, but he was very clear by saying his favourite position is on the right.
"It's not as a number 10, it's not as a striker, it's not any more on the left side like he did in the first years of his career at Southampton and Tottenham. His favourite position now is on the right side.
"So, that was a very good starting point of his development here.
"When he reaches his continuity and when he reaches his normal intensity and dynamic, I think he can be the player people saw being decisive when he went to Real Madrid, in a very similar position.
"Real Madrid was basically, Bale, Benzema, Ronaldo, with Bale playing fundamentally playing from the right and that's the position he prefers."