Tottenham weakness exposed in West Ham draw as James Maddison struggles for influence

Share of the spoils: Tottenham are two points off the top four after a battling draw at West Ham (Getty Images)
Share of the spoils: Tottenham are two points off the top four after a battling draw at West Ham (Getty Images)

Tottenham and West Ham shared the spoils as Brennan Johnson's early goal was cancelled out by Kurt Zouma in a scrappy 1-1 draw in east London.

Johnson turned home Timo Werner's cross after five minutes to continue his excellent run of form but Zouma equalised with his back from Jarrod Bowen's corner.

Here are three Spurs talking points from the London Stadium.

Spurs still searching for consistency

A draw was a fair result in a match neither side really deserved to win but Spurs will be frustrated at failing to build on their excellent start, provided by the in-form Johnson.

The winger combined well with Werner after great work in midfield by Rodrigo Bentancur, justifying Ange Postecoglou's big selection calls and underlining that Spurs often look most threatening with two direct wingers who like to attack the six-yard box.

But the visitors lost control after Zouma's equaliser on 19 minutes and never really regained it against a West Ham side who were the happier with a point as the game progressed, and predominantly threatened from set-pieces - a big chance for Michail Antonio aside.

Spurs have struggled to build momentum and find rhythm in a stop-start campaign and the hope was that a quick turnaround from Saturday's late win over Luton might have benefitted them.

But they continued to look a little disjointed and one-dimensional against the Hammers, even if a draw is hardly a bad result at the London Stadium.

Postecoglou will take the point, which leaves Spurs two shy of Aston Villa, who face Manchester City on Wednesday night, but hope for an improved display against Nottingham Forest on Sunday.

Maddison struggling for influence

It was another frustrating outing for James Maddison, who was replaced for the second game running with Spurs still searching for a winner.

Maddison enjoyed an important moment for England last week, setting up Jude Bellingham's last-minute leveller against Belgium with a deft flick, but one or two flashes aside the playmaker has struggled to influence matches for Spurs since he returned from ankle ligament damage in January.

Like many of his team-mates, Maddison appears to be struggling for rhythm, probably a consequence of Spurs' strange, inconsistent schedule.

Here, he got in some good positions but failed to make a telling impact in the final third and occasionally appeared frustrated at himself and his team-mates.

Maddison remains one of Spurs' most important players, and vice-captain, but with Giovani Lo Celso, who replaced him on 68 minutes against Luton on Saturday, and now Dejan Kulusevski both options at No10, the England international is facing competition for his place in the side.

Tottenham shaky at set-pieces

West Ham are among the Premier League's most dangerous sides from set-pieces while Spurs have struggled to defend corners, in particular, all season, so the manner of the Hammers' equaliser was no surprise.

Zouma was totally unmarked from a few yards out when Bowen's corner rolled off his back to level the score. Perhaps goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario could have come but an outfield player should have been picking up the West Ham captain.

The Hammers continued to look threatening from set-pieces and Vicario was forced into a smart save from Konstantinos Mavropanos' header in the second half.

Spurs are not the tallest side while Postecoglou has said he does not want a set-piece coach, despite a growing trend of hiring specialists in the top-flight.

Is that hubris? Or are set-pieces just another area where Spurs are still getting to grips with the manager's demands?

Whatever the case, it continues to look like a weakness that opponents will aim to exploit in the run-in.