Fulham (Away)
Premier League

Saturday 15th November 2008


Under Roy Hodgson, who performed a miraculous last day survival win at Portsmouth to maintain their Premier League life, Fulham have looked a different proposition to previous years.  I do not think that even their own fans might think they will challenge the top four at the moment, but they look a more solid outfit, who are harder to beat and have a better squad, with more experience in the right places.

Having signed Boro keeper Mark Schwarzer, the hope was that he would be a straight replacement for the retiring Antti Niemi.  In games against Spurs in the past, Schwarzer has displayed the ability to drop a clanger or several and with the way Tottenham are playing at the moment, he could come under pressure on the afternoon of the match.  In front of him, he will have to rely on Brede Hangeland, John Pantsil, Paul Konchesky and Aaron Hughes as the back four to protect him from the new Spurs attacking style.  Hangeland is an old-fashioned central defender - big and strong, while Hughes is a little more mobile.  The two full backs are keen to join the attack, which can leave holes to exploit, as neither are the quickest to recover their positions.

In midfield, there are some familiar faces to Spurs fans.  Simon Davies, who was perhaps shunted out of the Lane a little too quickly, has found a consistency to his game at Craven Cottage, while the responsibility of being Welsh captain has also helped him realise his importance to the side.  A good player who prompts from midfield, he does a lot of hard work tracking back too, making him a useful player to have in your team.  Alongside him, Danny Murphy has been having a bit of a renaissance at FFC.  His passing is his greatest asset, but he brings experience, which was shown at Fratton Park on the last day of last season to bring about the goal that kept Fulham afloat on good ship Premier League.  The reason he was not getting games at Tottenham was because his legs were not what they used to be, but with willing runners around him, he can still be a useful player.  Spurs are reportedly looking at Jimmy Bullard's situation at Fulham, where he is yet to be offered a contract and he is one such player, with a joy for playing the game, who will run all day.  A good passer and a player who knows where he should be to get on the end of things, his free-kicks are also a potent weapon for the Cottagers.  Summer signing Zoltan Gera from West Bromwich Albion is the fourth of the midfield quartet and he has great skill on the ball, good vision and possesses a fine shot.  Another one who will need to be made to work backwards instead of allowed to make progress forwards.

In attack, Andy Johnson is finding goals easy to come by just now after over-coming his injury when he signed for the West London side.  Nippy and strong on the ball, he has the goal-scorers instinct of knowing where the goal is and will need to be closely marked to prevent even a half-chance coming his way.  Much has been made of his weakness on the ball in the penalty area, but with Ledley hopefully returning for this match, any tackle will be well-timed and any fall will hopefully be scrutinised by the referee.  His partner up front is another ex-Spurs man in Bobby Zamora.  His six months at White Hart Lane did not give him the opportunity to show what he could do and he has scored wherever he has played, so a good run in the first team at Fulham has shown he can do it there too.  Good in the air and a strong runner with the ball, it will be another big and small combination for out central defenders to cope with.

Other options for Hodgson's choice are American striker Clint Dempsey, who is yet to fully show what he can do in England; former Man U forward Erik Nevland, who has scored infrequently, but has good set-up play and Chris Baird, the defender who is inevitably deployed as a midfielder when he comes on as a sub, to shore up the side when in a point(s) winning position.

With things going well under Harry Redknapp, I think he will have Tottenham fired up for this one.  With the team understanding the way he wants them to play and getting used to each other now, it should be an interesting game, but one which I can see Tottenham doing well in ...

PREDICTION : -  Fulham  1   Tottenham Hotspur   3

For more information on the opponents and their history, including full result history of matches between the two teams, click here.


FULHAM :  -  Diomansy Kamara (knee); Ki-Hyeon Seol (knee); - (-); 

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -  Giovani Dos Santos (ankle); - (-); - (-); 


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Match of the Day  (BBC 1) - Saturday 22.30 - 23.50 (highlights)
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Match of the Day 2  (BBC 2) - Sunday 22.35 - 23.35 (highlights)
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 (live coverage)
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North America (USA, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean)  Sirius Satellite Radio  Live transmission: Saturday - 12.45, 15.00 (TWI) & 17.15 (BBC) Sunday - 14.00 & 16.05 (BBC) Mon, Tue, Wed - Various times (BBC)

Internet :
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Fulham   2   Tottenham Hotspur    1      (Half-time score : 1-0)

Premier League
Venue : -  Craven Cottage
Saturday 15th November 2008
Kick Off :  3.00 p.m.
Crowd :   25,139
Referee :  Alan Wiley (Burntwood)
Weather :  -  Dry, chilly
Teams : - 
Fulham :

  1  Schwarzer

  4  Pantsil
18  Hughes
  5  Hangeland
  3  Konchesky

13  Murphy
23  Dempsey (11  Gera 87)
21  Bullard (26  Andreasen 90)
25  Davies

  9  Zamora     
  8  Johnson   

Unused subs:

19  Zuberbuhler
10  Nevland
17  Gray
33  Kallio
34  Baird

Tottenham Hotspur :

  1  Gomes  (o.g.)

  3  Bale
39  Woodgate
26  King (c)
22 Corluka

  5  Bentley
  8  Jenas
  4  Zokora
  6  Huddlestone  (  9  Pavlyuchenko 46)

14  Modric (  7  Lennon 46)

10  Bent (18  Campbell 71  )

Unused subs: 
21  Sanchez
  2  Hutton
20  Dawson
32  Assou-Ekotto

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of http://www.colours-of-football.com)

Tottenham Hotspur
Scorers : -  

Gomes (o.g.) 33
Johnson 70

Tottenham Hotspur

Campbell 81

Cards : -  

Zamora (foul) 16   


Tottenham Hotspur 



Match Report : -  
A subdued performance by Spurs was a big let down in a match which could have gone a long way to keeping the club out of trouble at the bottom of the table, but with Fulham being in good form, especially at home, the Cottagers were good value for their win.  However, Gomes' gaffe could have mad eit a bit harder for them.

A slow start to the match perhaps set the tone for Tottenham who failed to pick up any sort of tempo.  It took ten minutes before a chance arrived and it was for Fulham, who got Johnson away and his square ball to Murphy was blocked by Corluka.  A couple of minutes later, Gomes was equal to Dempsey's shot as he came in off the left to hit a shot that looked as though it was going into the top corner.  Johnson struck a shot over the top and Woodgate got in the way of a Bullard effort before Tottenham's first shot on goal in the 25th minute, when Modric got through and lashed a shot wide from outside the penalty box.  It was quickly followed by David Bentley's volley flashed just wide of the left hand post with Schwarzer stranded.

Unfortunately, it was the pre-cursor to Fulham's goal.  Davies was allowed too much time on their left wing and cut back to put a cross into the near post area.  Johnson went for it, but it was Jonathan Woodgate who got a touch to it and while the ball went towards the Tottenham goal, it had little pace on it, but Gomes took his eye off the ball and failed to get his body behind the ball, allowing it off his arm and chest into the inside of the net to hand the home side the lead.

It was a ghastly goal to give away and made it all the harder to get anything from the match, even if the side was playing well.  The only succour was a Jeans break into the box to have his shot blocked by Hangeland, so when the team came out for the second half, there was a double change, with Modric and Hud going off to be replaced by Lennon and Pavlyuchenko.

It set up a 4-4-2 formation, which had worked against Liverpool in midweek, but the opening attack saw Lennon just fail to pick out Roman's head with his cross.  It was Gomes doing what he does better in the next action, with a save from Bullard's 25 yard free kick, but he still could not get it wide of the goalmouth and had to rely on a defender to hack it away.

Shots from distance rained in on Gomes, who dealt with a lot of the stuff safely, but Fulham had worked out that there was always the chance that he might mess up.  Lennon almost pulled a low ball back for Pavlyuchenko and Bale tried a shot from very long range, as it looked like Spurs were getting a bit desperate.  When Gareth's cross was taken well by Ledley King, his volley was just too high to trouble the Cottagers' keeper.  With twenty minutes to go, it all went wrong again, with another goal conceded from a corner.

A long cross to the far post allowed Simon Davies to jump highest to head into the goalmouth, but the ball was knocked out where it came from.  Davies again won the header and when the ball dropped in the six yard box, Andy Johnson turned and hit the ball low past Gomes and the two defenders in front of him.  It is another aspect of the defensive side of the game that needs working on.

Redknapp brought on Fraizer Campbell for a lack-lustre Darren Bent and things looked a bit livelier.  Gomes had to be on his toes to tip over Bullard's drilled free-kick from outside the area and another corner led to a panic, but Hangeland could only put in a tame header that fell into Gomes' hands comfortably.  Then, almost out of nothing, Tottenham got a lifeline.

Jermaine Jenas brought the ball through midfield and into the Fulham half, before passing square to Bentley, who played it on to Campbell inside the left corner of the penalty area.  His cool side-foot finish was out of Schwarzer's reach and well-placed inside the post to make it 1-2 with ten minutes left. 

However, Spurs failed to capitalise on any worry the goal might have put into Fulham minds, but it was the home side who went closest, with Bullard hitting another sweet free-kick that Gomes once more flew into the air to turn aside.

The final whistle brought a big cheer from the home club's fans and there were familiar groans from the Spurs end, as points were once more (literally) thrown away.  The team were perhaps not as sharp as they should have been and need to regain the zip in their play they showed against Liverpool in midweek to make opponents work harder to get the ball and push them backwards.

It was not a great game, but one in which we handed a goal start to Fulham and then had to play catch up again.  If we can eradicate these cheap goals we keep giving away, then there may be a chance of moving up the table a bit more consistently.





Reaction : -







Other scores this weekend :
Arsenal 0 Aston Villa 2 Saturday
Blackburn Rovers 1 Sunderland 2 Saturday
Bolton Wanderers 0 Liverpool 2 Saturday
Everton 1 Middlesbrough 1 Sunday
Hull City 2 Manchester City 2 Sunday
Manchester United 5 Stoke City 0 Saturday
Newcastle United 2 Wigan Athletic 2 Saturday
West Bromwich Albion 0 Chelsea 3 Saturday
West Ham United 0 Portsmouth 0 Saturday


League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Chelsea 13 10 2 1 32 4 32 +28
2 Liverpool 13 10 2 1 21 8 32 +13
3 Manchester United 12 7 3 2 25 10 24 +15
4 Arsenal 13 7 2 4 25 15 23 +10
5 Aston Villa 13 7 2 4 22 16 23 +6
6 Hull City 13 6 3 4 19 21 21 -2
7 Everton 13 5 4 4 19 20 19 -1
8 Middlesbrough 13 5 3 5 14 18 18 -4
9 Portsmouth 13 5 3 5 13 18 18 -5
10 Fulham 12 5 2 5 12 11 17 +1
11 Sunderland 13 4 3 6 12 19 15 -7
12 Manchester City 13 4 2 7 26 22 14 +4
13 Bolton Wanderers 13 4 2 7 11 15 14 -4
14 West Ham United 13 4 2 7 16 22 14 -6
15 Stoke City 13 4 2 7 12 22 14 -10
16 Wigan Athletic 13 3 4 6 14 17 13 -3
17 Newcastle United 13 3 4 6 15 21 13 -6
18 Blackburn Rovers 13 3 4 6 14 24 13 -10
19 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 13 3 3 7 16 20 12 -4
20 West Bromwich Albion 13 3 2 8 10 24 11 -14


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