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Patchy Tottenham is not yet guaranteed a Champions League place

But just as they were getting to grips with this game, it slipped away from them in the London rain. West Ham fought back from a set-piece, scoring through Kurt Zouma and having many of the better chances as the evening went on.

“We lacked some clarity in the front third,” Postecoglou said. When he wondered why that was so, he replied, 'They are human beings. I would love to have a joystick and put it where I want it, but it doesn't work that way.”

Ultimately, both sides had reason to believe that two points had been lost. For Spurs, because the draw left them two points behind Villa. For David Moyes and West Ham, they are now three points behind Manchester United, because they were unable to capitalize on the vulnerability in the visiting defense.

It was a night that ticked all the boxes for a London derby: two teams with ambitions to qualify for Europe, a midweek match under the lights and relentless rain hitting the grass like falling arrows. The crowd could feel it and so could the players, who took on the challenges from the start.

However, as the night went on, the game slowly died out. In the last half hour it seemed as if both teams were happy with a draw. It wasn't until a wild few minutes in stoppage time, when Destiny Udogie went close for Spurs and West Ham almost scored on the counter-attack, that the occasion briefly came back to life.

A shame for the neutral side perhaps, although Moyes will be happy with his team's defensive performance. Such solidity has not always been found at the London Stadium this season.

Johnson's early goal for Spurs here, converted after Timo Werner found space on the left wing, was the 55th goal West Ham have conceded in the Premier League this season. To give that number some meaning, consider this: They conceded 55 all of last season, when they finished 14th.

In other words, West Ham are a much better team than they were a year ago, despite being significantly worse defensively. Not since 2010/2011 has a West Ham defense scored as many goals as this year's team.

So it was a relief for Moyes that this was a much stronger performance. “Defensively we showed a lot more resilience tonight,” said the West Ham manager. “We had to do a good job of stopping a very good Tottenham team. Tottenham have a lot of ball possession against everyone, so we had to defend, but that's part of football. We were much harder to play against than last weekend.”

Spurs had imposed their passing game in the early stages, but with quality players like Lucas Paquetá, Mohammed Kudus and Jarrod Bowen up front, West Ham always have a threat. It wasn't long before Paqueta started scheming, Kudus started running and Bowen fired in behind the Spurs defense. The equalizer, which was fired in off Zouma's back from Bowen's corner, was fully deserved.

There is a reason why Manchester City are such admirers of Paquetá. There's also a reason the 26-year-old has played more than 40 games for Brazil. This is a playmaker of rare technical quality, but also a footballer who snaps and fights.

For much of the first half, Paquetá started tackles, chased the ball and bickered with James Maddison. One thudding shoulder bump on Maddison, which sent the England midfielder onto the pitch, felt like it had an ever-deepening meaning.

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