Spurs lose ground in title race
Chelsea were handed a clearer path to the Premier League title yesterday after a disjointed Tottenham lost 1-0 at West Ham to end a nine-match winning run.
The trophy can now be secured for the second time in three seasons by Chelsea over the next week - before Tottenham play again - if Antonio Conte's side beat Middlesbrough on Monday and West Bromwich Albion on Friday.
Chelsea remain four points ahead of Tottenham and have a game in hand. Tottenham's challenge now is holding on for its highest finish in 54 years in the remaining three games.
"It's nearly impossible," defender Eric Dier said of Tottenham's pursuit of a first title since 1961.
Mauricio Pochettino's players were looking lethargic at the Olympic Stadium when Manuel Lanzini punished them in the 65th minute by pouncing after Aaron Cresswell's cross wasn't cleared. It was the first time Tottenham had trailed in a league game in a month and the damage would have been heavier had goalkeeper Hugo Lloris not made a diving save to deny Jonathan Calleri.
"We started the second half a little bit sloppy, we conceded in the space and the way we conceded the goal in this type of football, when you are fighting for the big things, you feel disappointed," Pochettino said. "We tried, it was difficult. The performance was not the best."
The visitors could find no way back as West Ham celebrated a signature win in their troubled first season at the main stadium for the 2012 Olympics which Tottenham had tried to secure in a bitter battle that ended up in court.
West Ham turned on the style to foil a Tottenham side usually so energetic and menacing to ease any lingering relegation fears. The victory hauled Slaven Bilic's team up six places to ninth in the standings after days of public debate about the manager's future