Manuel Lanzini's 65th-minute goal was the difference for West Ham vs. Tottenham in a big match in the EPL title race.

By Avi Creditor
May 05, 2017

West Ham isn't usually trying to help out Chelsea, but it played spoiler for the Blues' last remaining rival for the 2016-17 Premier League title on Friday.

Manuel Lanzini's 65th-minute goal lifted West Ham to a 1-0 win over Tottenham at London's Olympic Stadium. Tottenham, which entered on a nine-game winning streak in league play, was hoping to provisionally trim Chelsea's lead to a point prior to its match on Monday against relegation-threatened Middlesbrough, but it was not able to find a breakthrough and looks destined for a second-place finish in the league.

Riding the red-hot Harry Kane and Dele Alli, Tottenham was surely favored to take all three points from West Ham, which had drawn three straight and plummeted to 15th place, seven points clear of the relegation zone entering the day. 

Kane and Alli nearly got on the board in the 21st minute, with both being denied, while Kane's follow-up was stopped as well by a sensational kick save by Adrian.

Eric Dier's header on the ensuing corner kick was then saved by the West Ham goalkeeper.

Tottenham's title aspirations were dealt a huge blow midway through the second half, when Lanzini pounced on a ball in the box. His close-range finish after the ball found its way to him broke the deadlock and put West Ham up 1-0.

Hugo Lloris ensured it stayed 1-0 with a heroic save from point-blank range, denying Jonathan Calleri's attempt with a confident swat of his hand, but Spurs couldn't find an equalizer and watched its winning streak come to an end.

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Chelsea could clinch the title before Tottenham plays again, and any combination of six points in the club's final four games will get the job done. If the Blues beat Middlesbrough on Monday and West Brom next Friday, they'll have secured all the points necessary to put the title out of reach before Tottenham even plays again. 

Spurs return to action on May 14 against Manchester United at their last game at White Hart Lane. They'll spend next season at Wembley Stadium while construction on their new stadium is completed. 

If they make it through that weekend still alive, they'll need Chelsea to bottle home games against 14th-place Watford and already-relegated Sunderland to have any chance at a first title since 1961.

Simply put, the title looks to be as good as Chelsea's–it's just a matter of when the trophy will be lifted for a fifth time since the 2004-2005 season.