As easy a game as Spurs have had this season saw them secure their
Premier League position by passing 40 points and retain fourth spot in
the table with a more than comfortable 2-0 win over a Fulham side, who
looked anything but the side who overcame Manchester United before
it looked for all the
world that it would be yet another game where the oppo's keeper would
play out of his skin, but we know Schwarzer better than that. His
ability was put to the test in the opening stages, with Huddlestone's
low drive from the edge of the box inside the first minute saw the
keeper plunge to his right to keep the ball out at the foot of his post.
Tom let fly a couple of minutes later, but hit the keeper with his
There was a scare on 12 minutes, as Gomes
had to rush from his line to thwart Bobby Zamora as he ran onto a ball
just inside the edge of the area. Three minutes of treatment was
needed to get the Brazilian goalie working again, with his right arm
being held tenderly. It looked like Fulham might target Heurelho's
weak side, but they didn't get a shot on target in the rest of the first
It was a surprise when the Spurs goal
came, as the play had become untidy with misplaced passes and niggly
fouls, but a cross from David Bentley from the right wing saw Schwarzer
challenge Peter Crouch in the air, but fail to get a decent hand to the
ball, leaving it to travel behind him. Bjorn Helge Riise tried to
run the ball out, but Luka Modric was alive to the possibilities and
nicked it back over the Norwegian's head before it went out and slid a
low ball to the near post, where Crouch was on hand to prod home over
the diving Schwarzer. 27 minutes in and Spurs were a goal to the
Spurs were left chasing possession at
times, with Fulham passing neatly between their players, but they did
not make any progression with the ball and Tottenham were actively
closing down the red shirted opponents, forcing them into making
mistakes. A header down by Crouch was slashed over the top on the
volley by Tommy and then into injury time, Luka bamboozled Hughes just
inside the penalty area and then curled a shot that went a bit too high
and rippled the roof of the net.
The half-time interval passed without any
changes in personnel, so the game re-started and Tottenham were soon on
the attack, with Palacios playing the ball wide to Bentley and then
raced into the box to meet his cross with a header that was too straight
and went wide, when he needed to get an angle on his effort to hit the
target. In the 53rd minute, Duff hit a shot straight at Gomes, who
held it easily.
In the 59th minute, Gareth Bale, who had
another fine game, raced forward and between Aaron Hughes and Riise they
stopped his progress and a free-kick was given about five yards outside
the left corner of the penalty area. Tom Huddlestone wanted to
take it, but he walked off to leave it to Bentley. Previously, he
had failed to beat the first man with a couple of corners and crosses,
but this time doing so wasn't a drawback. He hit the head of the
last man on the wall - Riise again - and the ball looped away to
Schwarzer's left, leaving him leaden footed and having no chance of
saving so it was 2-0 to Tottenham.
It was more or less all Spurs, with
Modric's cross hitting a defender and changing the course of the ball to
see it drop just wide of the far post. Then Bentley tried a shot
that was deflected for a corner and following that he hit a free-kick on
target, but not far enough away or with enough pace to trouble the
Fulham goalie. With 15 minutes left, Bentley put a free-kick onto
Dawson's head at the near post, but the centre-half nodded wide when
The decidedly average Dikgacoi managed to
get a shot on goal, but it flew just over the bar and substitute Kamara
slid a shot across goal when running in from their right side, but Gomes
was not forced to save, as he had his angles worked out, as he did with
the same player's shot a few minutes later. Spurs were seeing the
game out better than they had against Leeds and the only threat late on
came when Smalling crashed into Gomes, who grabbed a corner and then
came crashing down flat on his back. More treatment saw him carry
on for the remaining few minutes.
Even the presence of ex-Spurs Zamora,
Murphy and Simon Davies could not inspire Fulham to any great heights
and while they have some players out through injury, so had Spurs.
It didn't need a great deal to beat Fulham in truth and when they once
broke through in the second half, Dikagcoi had a shooting opportunity
from the right hand side of the penalty area, but he smashed the ball
straight in front of him, even though he was about two yards wide of the
Duff was playing like he did for
Newcastle last season and Zamora showed the lack of touch that is
familiar when players come back from injury. Davies was busy when
he came on, but too often Murphy got caught on the ball or had passes
picked off, although when not under pressure he showed he could still
pray the ball around and make the team tick.
Harry got things just right.
Bentley played better than he has usually done in a Spurs shirt.
He lacks the pace or trickery to get past the full back in front of him,
but he can put in dangerous crosses, even from a standing position.
His free-kick is being generously awarded to his account for the goal,
but I think the keeper would have had it covered if it had gone where
Forty points in the bag, it means that
milestone one has been achieved for the season and now, hopefully the
team can push on to cement a top six finish. Anything more than
that - especially with the April fixtures to come - would be great.