This was a first-ever victory for David Moyes over Jose Mourinho, but, far more significantly, it was a win that moved West Ham United nine points ahead of their London rivals Tottenham Hotspur.
Goals from Michail Antonio and on-loan Jesse Lingard condemned Mourinho’s Tottenham to a fifth Premier League defeat in six games and they now languish down in mid-table well off the pace for Champions League qualification.
Half-time substitute Gareth Bale almost inspired a comeback, as he set up Lucas Moura’s goal and hit the crossbar, but, thanks to Declan Rice and the woodwork, West Ham hung on to overtake Chelsea in fourth place.
Questions will be asked why, following a good performance in the Europa League, Bale had not started this game. This was the Welshman’s best 45-minute performance since returning to Tottenham on loan in the summer, but it was familiar problems that ultimately cost Mourinho’s side.
Terrible starts to both halves left Spurs with a mountain to climb and Mourinho was once again left to curse his team’s defending.
It was in just the fifth minute that Thomas Soucek bullied Sergio Reguilon to win the ball and play it back to Jarrod Bowen, who had all the time in the world to pick his cross.
Heung-Min Son made a half-hearted attempt to close down Bowen, who shifted the ball on to his left foot and delivered a delicious inswinging cross into the penalty area.
Antonio got the faintest of touches with his outstretched leg and Hugo Lloris made a good save, before the West Ham striker recovered quickest to stab the ball into the net.
Trailing at the break, Mourinho replaced makeshift right-back Japhet Tanganga with Matt Doherty, but it was from down that side that West Ham doubled their lead two minutes after the restart.
Pablo Fornals stabbed the ball through to Lingard, who took it in his stride and fired a superb shot into the corner of the net for his third goal since joining on loan from Manchester United in January.
The assistant referee raised a flag for offside, delaying celebrations, but a VAR check confirmed that the goal stood.In between the two goals, Tottenham had enjoyed the majority of possession, but could easily have conceded more than once in the first half.
Lingard squandered an excellent situation after Antonio had bulldozed his way through and played in the attacking midfielder. But, instead of shooting, Lingard tried to find Antonio again and his pass was overhit.
Bowen should have added to Antonio’s opener in the 14th minute, but failed to control the ball in front of goal after being found by a superb pass over the top by Rice.
Mourinho would have been furious, as Tottenham’s central defensive pair Eric Dier and Davinson Sanchez had been higher than the two full-backs who played Bowen onside.
Harry Kane fired a 13th-minute shot wide, following excellent work from Erik Lamela, but West Ham kept Tottenham largely at arm’s length until the end of the first half.
Lamela and Kane both had shots well saved by West Ham goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski, while Dier was off-target with a header from a corner.
While Mourinho’s defensive substitution did not work out as planned, Tottenham benefited from the half-time introduction of Bale in place of Lamela.
Having fallen two goals behind, Bale helped to get Spurs back on the front foot and it was the Welshman’s corner from which Moura gave the visitors a lifeline.
Bale delivered the ball to the front post, where Moura got ahead of Aaron Creswell and directed a brilliant header past Fabianski and into the net.
Tottenham pinned the hosts back after getting back into the game and should really have found an equaliser.
Moura wasted a good chance by shooting wide from Son’s pass, while Kane was inches off target with a good effort.
But the best chance arrived in the 79th minute and West Ham had Rice to thank for keeping his team ahead with an incredible interception.
Bale played in Kane down the right and his cross looked set to be tapped in by substitute Dele Alli at the back post. But Rice heroically got himself between Dele and the ball to prevent what had looked like a certain goal.
West Ham failed to clear their lines properly and Bale’s shot from the edge of the area hit the top of the bar with Fabianski beaten.
Fabianski took out his own player, Vladimir Coufal, when he punched the ball away from Dele after a dinked ball over the top from Bale.
Following treatment, Coufal was able to continue and the right-back suffered a huge scare in the second minute of time added on for stoppages.
As Spurs pinned West Ham back in their own penalty area, Coufal’s attempted clearance hit Son and the ball hit the inside of the post before the hosts scrambled it clear and held on to move into the top four.
Connect with Futball Surgery