Fulham (Home)
Premier League

Friday 26th December 2008

With Fulham in good form as manager Roy Hodgson has got them playing good football and got them winning, it is not perhaps the best time to meet them.  We have a good record over them at the Lane in the past, but it might be that this time out, they give us more to think about.

With a passing game, the Cottagers seem to have responded to Hodgson's new style and he is getting the best out of a group of players who struggled last season before he took over near the end of the campaign and kept them in the Premier League.

Now they are in 9th position with the best home record in the league and are a more formidable proposition than previously.  Spurs will need to produce a performance of good quality and effort to match the visitors and get anything from the game.

In goal, former Boro keeper Mark Schwarzer has had a revival in form and he performed well against Tottenham at Craven Cottage a few weeks back.  Spurs will need to test him more rigorously and we know from previous encounters, that he is prone to make mistakes, so the more he has to do, the more likely one might creep into his game.  In front of him, the back four have been solid this season, with central defender Brede Hangeland taking many of the plaudits for his displays.  Tall and imposing, he reads the game well, making useful interceptions before the ball gets anywhere near the danger zone.  Paired in central defence with ex-Newcastle United defender Aaron Hughes, they are developing a good partnership, with Hughes dropping off for the second ball.  John Pantsil had a rough time at West Ham United, where he never settled and has copped a lot of flak for throwing himself to the ground when confronted by Ricardo Fuller in the match at Stoke recently, but when he concentrates on playing, he is quick over the ground and likes to get forward.  On the other flank, there is yet another player who graced the Lilywhite shirt, albeit briefly.  Paul Konchesky had a reputation as a tough tackler and that was as far as it went, but now he is being encouraged to get forward along the wing and he has started to play a bit of football to go with his fearsome reputation.  Chris Baird is more often called form the bench to add some defensive strength to the back four or midfield, if they are defending a lead towards the end of the match.

A name familiar to Spurs fans will be Simon Davies, who was perhaps shown the door a bit early here.  His energetic running and good ability on the ball makes him an important link man and his displays for Spurs were always of a high quality.  American Clint Dempsey is a former striker and Hodgson has got him playing just behind the strikers and a couple of goals have shown he can get into the box to good effect.  Lots of newspaper speculation has linked Jimmy Bullard with a move to Tottenham, but the all action style of this midfielder earned him an England call up, following in the footsteps of his team-mate Danny Murphy, another former Spurs man.  His experience and perceptive passing will be vital to Fulham on the day, as they are without the talented former West Bromwich Albion schemer Zoltan Gera there may be a more physical presence in the shape of Dickson Etuhu ,as the Cottagers attempt to win away for the first time this season.  Tough tackling, he is an athletic middle man, who has not had the best of luck since breaking through at Manchester City as a youngster.

The front men for Fulham will be Andy Johnson and yet another ex-Spur Bobby Zamora.  Johnson has carried on doing what he has been doing at all his other clubs.  Scoring goals.  His reputation is besmirched by his ability to drop to the floor, but there is no doubting his goal-scoring record.  With a defence which is likely to be unfamiliar in playing together, they need to make sure they know who is going to pick up the little striker.  Conversely, Zamora will find them, as his physical presence, especially in the sir, will need no invitation to visit himself upon Michael Dawson.  He is pretty quick and although his touch is not perfect, he can make space for himself in tight situations in the penalty box, so needs to be marked tightly ... but not too tightly.  Erik Nevland is an experienced striker, who spent some time at Manchester United and was an international with Norway, so will need to not be taken for granted should he be used.

There has been a missing link in our play, despite the good run under the management of Harry Redknapp, but it might be that some fresh faces could spruce the team up a bit.  Aaron Lennon is becoming an integral aspect of our attacking play, but his good work needs to be finished off and hopefully, Les Ferdinand will have been drilling it into the students of his goal-scoring classes, that they need to be in the area and to hit the target.

If they can manage that, they should be able to rack up three post-Christmas points ...

PREDICTION : -  Tottenham Hotspur  2    Fulham  1

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


TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -  Alan Hutton (foot); Giovani Dos Santos (ankle); Jonathan Woodgate (back); Jermaine Jenas (calf); - (-); 

FULHAM :  -  Ki-Hyeon Seol (knee); Zoltan Gera (calf); Andranik Teymourian  (knee); Diomansy Kamara (knee); - (-);  


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Tottenham Hotspur   0    Fulham   0      (Half-time score : 0-0)

Premier League
Venue : White Hart Lane  
Friday 26th February 2008
Kick Off :  1.00 p.m.
Crowd :   35,866
Referee :  Peter Walton (Northampton)
Fulham kicked off and played towards the Park Lane end in the first half.
Weather :  -  Bright, cold
Teams : - 
Tottenham Hotspur :

  1  Gomes

22  Corluka
26  King (c)
20  Dawson
32  Assou-Ekotto

  5  Bentley (18  Campbell 58)
  4  Zokora
  6  Huddlestone (  8  Jenas 20)
  7  Lennon

14  Modric 

10  Bent (  9  Pavlyuchenko 72)

Unused subs: 
21  Cesar
  3  Bale
39  Woodgate
24  O'Hara

Fulham :

  1  Schwarzer

  4  Pantsil
34  Baird
18  Hughes
  3  Konchesky     

23  Dempsey
19  Murphy (c)
21  Bullard (20 Etuhu 37)
25  Davies (10 Nevland 90)

  8  Johnson
  9  Zamora

Unused subs: 
19  Zuberbuhler
17  Gray
22  Stoor
26  Andreasen
33  Kallio

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

Scorers : -  
Tottenham Hotspur




Cards : -  
Tottenham Hotspur  




Konchesky (foul)    


Match Report : -  
This match has little to commend it to the reader and in truth stunk the place out like week old turkey left over from Christmas dinner.  With about two efforts worthy of the name on target from each side, it was perhaps the least return any supporter may have received for getting up on Boxing Day morning to watch a Premier League game ... so much so that at least three people around where I sit went out at half-time and didn't come back.

Spurs started as brightly as the sunny day, but as the cold set in, the torpor spread to the field, where even Jimmy Bullard's industrious running could stave off the cold and he took to the field wearing a scarf.  Is this the sort of man we an t in our midfield ??  Well, there was a new face in the midfield after just 20 minutes when Danny Murphy had his second nibble at Tom Huddlestone and the ankle injury he got forced him off, to be replaced by the returning from injury Jermaine Jenas.

By that time, both keepers had been called into action.  Gomes saved a daisy-cutter from Clint Dempsey, but it lacked a bit of power and Modric's early taken shot forced Schwarzer into a save with his chest as the ball popped up in front of him.  Assou-Ekotto, who had a fine performance at left back, fired a shot over the top and Jenas got one wide from 20 yards out, while on the half hour, Aaron Lennon came closest to breaking the deadlock with a volley clipped towards the bottom corner of the goal from Assou-Ekotto's cross, but the Fulham goalie got down very well to push it wide.  From the resulting corner, the ball went to the far post and when the second phase of play saw Lennon in possession, his cross was headed towards goal by Ledley King.  A firmer header in a straight line with his run might have been rewarded with a goal like the one at West Ham, but he glances it across the face of goal and it went wide of the far post.

While Heurelho Gomes had picked up a lot of stick for his horror shows early in the season, he has grown accustomed to the defence and when Dempsey was allowed to chest a cross up into the air and then perform an overhead kick, the Brazilian rose to palm the shot over the bar with an athletic save.  The only other action of the first half was when Simon Davies, who returned to White Hart Lane and showed a physical side to his game that twice saw him have digs at Modric and get spoken to (although he performed two further fouls in the second half and got away with them), knocked in a low cross.  The all whipped along the six yard line and by-passed Michael Dawson and Ledley King, but also missed Bobby Zamora at the far post.

The half time interval passed with only the sprinklers making a rare outing to water the pitch.  It obviously made it too slippy for Zamora, who was wrestling with Corluka as he ran into the box a couple of minutes after the restart and crashed to the floor wanting a penalty.  Referee Walton was not impressed, along with the majority of the crowd.  A Spurs free-kick was hit on target by Bentley from 30 yards out, but it was straight and lacking power and was about the last notable thing the winger did before leaving the play to be replaced by Fraizer Campbell.  Bentley had disappointed again and he seems to be trying to be too flash when he is on the ball instead of reproducing what he used to do for Blackburn.

Modric had a good opportunity to score his third in three games, but headed Assou-Ekotto's cross wide when a header in line with his run would have left Schwarzer helpless.  Roman Pavlyuchenko's introduction for the less than effective Bent, who had been suffering from tonsillitis for the last few weeks, did not make a great impact on the Fulham team, who quickly formed two lines of four in front of Tottenham when the visitors lost possession.  The Russian did hit a shot soon after coming on, when Corluka's ball into the box dropped for the forward and his first time shot deflected off Aaron Hughes and luckily for Fulham, wide of the goal with Schwarzer going the other way.  Pavlyuchenko also had another effort which was on target, but was easy for the keeper.

The longer it went on with the game goal-less, the more it seemed that Spurs might get hit with another late goal as they did at Newcastle.  Five minutes from time, it almost happened as Johnson was put through by Davies.  As the little striker got into the box, he tried to go around Gomes and with Dawson behind him, looked set to shoot into an empty net.  However, Gomes stuck out an arm to divert the ball away from him with a brave dive at the forward's feet.

Apart from Lennon's cross-cum-shot being booted high into the air and Schwarzer taking it under his crossbar, when it eventually came to earth, there was little to get excited about.  It was much the same as the preceding fare and I can only hope that the fare that was waiting at home for those who got there sooner or later was more worth waiting for.



Reaction : -



With the tempo that Tottenham started the game, it looked as though they might have something to prove in attacking terms.  But the one man up front still does not put enough pressure on the opposition, with too many sides realising that they will be able to soak up the pressure on them and then hit on the break.

It almost happened here with Johnson getting away in the last few minutes, but the Spurs fans were indebted to Heurelho Gomes for stopping the little striker with a rush from his line and also a flying save from Dempsey's acrobatic overhead kick.

Schwarzer had to drop down to stop a couple of shots and dived to make a low stop to Lennon's volley, but it truly was a non-event of a match.  I suppose we should be happy with a point against a Fulham side who are playing well this season.  However, to get out of our current predicament, it will need more than bore draws.

I would like to say January can't come soon enough, but the transfer window will be for Manchester City and other teams will be welcome to their cast-offs.







Other scores this Boxing Day :
Aston Villa 2 Arsenal 2 Friday
Chelsea 2 West Bromwich Albion 0 Friday
Liverpool 3 Bolton Wanderers 0 Friday
Manchester City 5 Hull City 1 Friday
Middlesbrough 0 Everton 1 Friday
Portsmouth 1 West Ham United 4 Friday
Stoke City 0 Manchester United 1 Friday
Sunderland 0 Blackburn Rovers 0 Friday
Wigan Athletic 2 Newcastle United 1 Friday



League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Liverpool 19 12 6 1 30 12 42 +18
2 Chelsea 19 12 5 2 38 7 41 +31
3 Manchester United 17 10 5 2 28 10 35 +18
4 Aston Villa 19 10 5 4 32 22 35 +10
5 Arsenal 19 9 5 5 32 24 32 +9
6 Everton 19 8 5 6 24 25 29 -1
7 Hull City 19 7 6 6 28 36 27 -8
8 Fulham 18 6 7 5 16 12 25 +4
9 Wigan Athletic 18 7 4 7 22 20 25 +2
10 Bolton Wanderers 19 7 2 10 22 27 23 -5
11 Portsmouth 19 6 5 8 21 32 23 -11
12 Newcastle United 19 5 7 7 25 27 22 -2
13 West Ham United 19 6 4 9 22 27 22 -5
14 Sunderland 19 6 4 9 21 26 22 -5
15 Manchester City 19 6 3 10 36 28 21 +8
16 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 19 5 5 9 20 23 20 -3
17 Middlesbrough 19 5 5 9 17 28 20 -11
18 Stoke City 19 5 5 9 17 31 20 -14
19 Blackburn Rovers 19 4 5 10 20 34 17 -14
20 West Bromwich Albion 19 4 3 12 14 35 15 -21


Position before the match :  16th
Position after the match :  16th
Position after the weekend :  16th


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