Can we thank Spurs for sparking the Great Escape from relegation?

This month’s visit to White Hart Lane brings back fond memories from other visits over the years

December brings a run of more challenging fixtures, with the likes of Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal to face later in the month. But one of the earlier December fixtures, and one that will no doubt have been a lively one, was against Spurs.

Whenever we play our North London rivals, it’s the perfect time for me to take a look at some of the more memorable fixtures against Spurs over the years. For me, three in particular stand out. The first is Lanzini’s sensational equaliser that saw our fixture in October 2020 end in a 3-3 draw.

Having gone 3-0 down by half time with one goal from Son and two from Kane, things were looking bleak at the break. But after the 80 minute mark, fortunes stopped hiding for once. Fabian Balbuena found the back of the net, before Davinson Sanchez gifted us an own goal. It looked as though it was all over after an attempted comeback until injury time.

In the 94th minute, Lanzini fired in an absolute rocket, unexpectedly, from outside the box, ending the game in a 3-3 draw as we took a point and ruined Spurs’ day. Another memorable game was the first game at Spurs’ new stadium. Before our game, Spurs had won all four of their matches at their new home, scoring eight goals without conceding one.

As somebody with a fair few Tottenham-supporting friends, I was already getting abused as we prepared to travel to the game. But on this day, everything changed. Michail Antonio chested down an Arnautovic cross in the 67th minute before smashing the ball past Hugo Lloris to make it 1-0.

This was followed by that iconic celebration which has been used in many a GIF. For anybody that can’t remember it, it was the iconic jumping, thrusting celebration (I don’t know how else to describe it!) Coming away from the game victorious, for some reason, my Spurs mates didn’t want to chat about the game and went surprisingly quiet.

This performance made us the first team to score, as well as the first team to win at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. A great title to hold. Another pivotal moment in my time supporting West Ham brings us all the way back to 2007.

We played Spurs at home and were 3-2 up with minutes left to play, following on from three games that we had failed to score in. What had been a good performance turned into a disappointment, as we ended up losing 3-4, however we did manage to find goals from somewhere at last.

But what stood out most from this game was the change it brought about for the remainder of the season. At full time, we sat 20th in the league, 10 points behind 17th place Man City – how times have changed.

This loss against Spurs sparked the Great Escape, as we went on to win seven of our last nine games, keeping us safe from relegation when it felt as though hope was lost. Can we thank Spurs for igniting something in the team that we didn’t know we had? Possibly.

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