By Sam Stone

19th Feb, 2023 | 5:13pm

Alan Smith baffled by VAR call in first half of West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur

Alan Smith was left baffled after Thilo Kehrer appeared to handle the ball inside the penalty area in the first half of West Ham United’s Premier League clash against Tottenham.

The ball struck the German’s arm whilst he was on the floor inside the box, however, Michael Oliver was not asked to check the decision by the VAR official.

Talking on Sky Sports commentary of the game, Smith was left confused after the incident and could understand the home team’s appeals.

“I don’t know I give up on handballs these days. I don’t know quite what they’re looking for,” said Smith (Sky Sports commentary, 16:24pm).

“If anything it’s less of a handball than Soucek’s but Spurs’ players certainly have a case, no wonder they appeal.”

Got away with one

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West Ham have got away with a couple of decisions in recent weeks and this was another which could have gone both ways. With VAR being present, it could well have been reviewed, but it would’ve been a tough one to take. Kehrer had no chance of moving his arm out of the way and was very much in a natural position.

There’s a chance for West Ham to put some distance between themselves and the bottom three on Sunday and it’s desperately needed. However, after Southampton, Bournemouth and Everton’s victories on Saturday, the importance of this match at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium has taken so added importance.

The recent performances against Newcastle and Chelsea have given fans a little bit more hope but it’s now time for Hammers to really put a consistent run together. Due to the tight-knit nature of the relegation scrap, two or three wins on the spin could see the Hammers climb quickly out of trouble.