Fulham (Away)
Premier League

Saturday 1st September 2007


With one win each the two sides meet sitting in the bottom four of the Premier League.  A London derby thus takes on a bit more significance with points to lift the teams up the table the highest priority on the agenda.

Fulham will be a different proposition this season.  Lawrie Sanchez's management style is much different to that of the former boss Chris Coleman and the changes in personnel have already stamped the new manager's brand on the side.  Hard working and in your face, the ethic he ingrained in Northern Ireland is being transferred to West London with every additional player he had in his charge on the international scene.  Eleven players have been brought in and the flavour of the side has changed from Coleman's Welsh to Sanchez's Irish.  Aaron Hughes, Steven Davis, David Healy and Chris Baird have all been brought in over the summer.

Baird was a player much sought after and his move from Southampton gives him he chance to shine in the Premier League, but he will have to step up his game to cope with the extra quality in the top division.  With Zat Knight shipped out to Aston Villa, Sanchez wasted no time in bringing in the talented 20 year old Nathan Ashton from Charlton Athletic to add to the defence, which also boasts Paul Konchesky, Carlos Bocanegra, Moritz Volz, Iain Pearce and Phillipe Christanval.  The main problem with the back line is the lack of natural pace.  There is plenty of experience, but you feel that if Spurs can get beyond the last man, there will be problems for the home side.  They do provide threats from set-pieces though, with height from Pearce and Bocanegra will need to be tightly marked from corners and free-kicks.  Konchesky likes to get forward and Volz can raid up the flank, but hopefully, it may be possible to peg him back by pushing up the wing ourselves.  Liam Rosenior has been linked with a move away from Fulham, but he is a useful player, although prone to lapses of concentration.

With the option of Malbranque striving to show the hostile Fulham crowd what they are missing and Wayne Routledge to show them what they could have had, should he have continued to ply his trade at the Cottage after being there on loan last season, Tottenham could give the home side something to think about, with Aaron Lennon maybe ready to play some part in the game too.

With Tomas Radzinski having been released in the summer, the front line is also missing Brian McBride, who suffered a painful knee injury after scoring against Middlesbrough.  Thus former Leeds United striker David Healy has taken on the role of main goalscorer and has hit two so far, with his low centre of gravity and awareness around the box making him a player who will naturally get the ball on target.  Diomansy Kamara has moved to Craven Cottage, but has received mixed reviews, being a talented goalscorer, but one who does not always play a team role.  Collins John has been in limbo with possible transfers away from the club having fallen through and Lee Cook was snapped up from nearby QPR, being a flighty winger who was tracked by Spurs at one stage, but he chose to move to Fulham, where he feels he will get his opportunity quicker.

The midfield is still shorn of Jimmy Bullard, whose infectious drive has seen the side deprived by his long term knee injury, but Clint Dempsey, Alexei Smertin, Simon Davies and Steven Davis mix well to provide energy and skill from this area.  With Papa Diop on his way out of the club, the Cottagers lack a big ball-winner in midfield, but Konchesky can play there if required.  Davis is the hub that the midfield revolves around, while Davies has pace to break forward and Smertin the player with the guile and passing ability to free the front men.  Dempsey has come in from the US, but has yet to reach the required standard in the PL and his finishing missed out on a point against Boro, when he hit wide with the goal gaping in front of him.

With Antti Niemi suffering a string on injuries, Tony Warner has been found out with two goals thrown away in the first two games of the season and thus Sanchez brought in former Spurs goalie Kasey Keller on a free transfer from Borussia Moenchengladbach.  A tried and tested keeper, KK will give them a seriously experienced gloveman, but again he has flaws in his game.  Free-kicks can catch him out and with Tottenham having an array of dead-ball exponents, this may be a problem, while his kicking is poor and put under pressure, it may mean Spurs can exploit this weakness.

With Spurs almost back to full strength if all the players come back from injury, they should feel better about things and following last week's close defeat at Manchester United, they should have confidence to take the game to Fulham.  While nothing can be taken for granted, Spurs need to show that they can dictate the pace of games and provide enough ammunition for the strikers to notch the goals to take them to a narrow victory against a side who won't give up running and battling ...

PREDICTION : -  Fulham  1   Tottenham Hotspur   2

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


FULHAM :  - Jimmy Bullard (knee); Hameur Buoazza (shoulder); Aaron Hughes (ankle); Brian McBride (knee);  Simon Elliott (calf); - (-);

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -  Ledley King (knee); Benoit Assou-Ekotto (knee); Darren Bent (thigh); 


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Match of the Day 2  (BBC 2) - Sunday 22.30 - 23.30 (highlights)
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 (live coverage)
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If available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard in these countries on these stations ...
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Internet :
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click on link to "Listen to Tottenham Hotspur live commentary" on top right hand menu.




Fulham   3   Tottenham Hotspur    3      (Half-time score : 1 - 2)

Premier League
Venue : -  Craven Cottage
Saturday 1st September 2007
Kick Off :  3.00 p.m.
Crowd :   24,007
Referee :  Mike Riley (Leeds)
Weather :  -  Dry, warm
Teams : - 
Fulham :

29 Niemi

15 Baird
16 Stefanovic
  3 Bocanegra (c)     
  4 Konchesky

  6 Smertin (15 John, 79)
10 Davis
24 Bouazza (  9 Healy, 70)
25 Davies

23 Dempsey
11 Kamara

Unused subs: 
  1 Keller
  2 Volz
22 Omozusi

Tottenham Hotspur :

  1 Robinson

  2 Chimbonda
33 Rocha
  5 Kaboul 
  3 Y P Lee

15 Malbranque (20 Dawson 84)
  8 Jenas
22 Huddlestone 
16 Bale 

  9 Berbatov  
10 Keane (c) (18 Defoe 68)

Unused subs: 
12 Cerny
19 Taarabt
  4 Zokora

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

Tottenham Hotspur
Scorers : -  

Dempsey 41
Smertin 77
Kamara 89

Tottenham Hotspur

Kaboul 10
Berbatov 28
Bale 61

Cards : -  

Bocanegra (foul) 83  


Tottenham Hotspur 



Match Report : -  
While this result replicated the one last year, with a point gained, the result should have been so much different and the failure to hold onto and build on a lead against a side like Fulham may be detrimental in future games Spurs face.

Having twice been two goals ahead, there is no way that the home side should have been allowed back into the game.  Unfortunate to hit the post and have one cleared off the line, Tottenham had enough chances to win easily and then trying to sit back and defend the lead is always a mistake.

With Martin Jol under pressure over the last couple of weeks, you would have thought a second convincing victory might have taken the spotlight off him for a while.  But while I am not one to call for someone's head unnecessarily, he will need to sort out the side's defending from set-pieces and if he believes in an attacking policy, then he should stick to it.

With Kaboul just back from injury and Dawson coming on for his first appearance of the season, it was not a time to start letting the pressure build on the back four.  A deflected goal was cruel, but the poor marking at the death lead to Fulham's late equaliser and the loss of two valuable points.  The match preview on this page hinted that the Cottagers would not give up, so why didn't Tottenham do the same.

From the start of the game, Tottenham were going forward at Fulham.  Berbatov is the one who was ruled offside for the first of many times Spurs got caught out.  Fulham played a high back line, but Tottenham's forwards and midfielders did not time their runs well enough to make the most of the huge gaps in the white shirted back four.  Fulham's defence was so ragged, the chances came so regularly, the Spurs players must have got bored, as they wasted them as they ran into a 2-0 lead.

Too many times players decided to pass on responsibility for shooting to someone else - Keane's flick out right to Malbranque in the sixth minute which ended in Niemi's arms - being the first example.  Also too often players failed to attack the danger areas when Spurs had dead ball situations.  Jenas' second half corner dropped invitingly in the six yard box with only white shirts there and Huddlestone's free-kick to the far post slipped a foot past the post with Niemi and a defender leaving it to each other, when Chimbonda should have been moving onto it and would have had a simple chance to score.

As it was, Spurs were literally handed the first goal, with Antti Niemi dropping a corner at the feet of, luckily for him, one of his defenders - Baird - who hoofed the ball away for another corner.  Although this one came in from the other side, Bale's ball in was again dropped and the one bit of luck Tottenham had saw the ball bounce off Younes Kaboul and he only had to stab the ball over the line from a foot out to make it 1-0.  Ten minutes had passed.

The opportunities continued.  Hud volleyed well over and Keane's near post header went over, but Robbo spilled a low cross from Bouazza and Steve Davis knocked the loose ball over the bar.  After 27 minutes, Berbatov's goal put Spurs into a lead which should have ensured more than the finished up with.  A bouncing ball was played down the right for Dimitar, who got beyond Stefanovic and cut into the area to unleash an early shot that beat Niemi at his near post.

At this point Fulham were there for the taking.  Jenas raced through on goal, but took too long to decide if he was going to shoot or pass square to Keane, leaving Bocanegra the opportunity to tackle him.  A minute later Keane did the same thing, dithering instead of getting his shot away.  You had the feeling that if the score had been 0-0 or if the chances had fallen to Defoe, they might have ended differently.  Malbranque's shot was deflected wide and then Rocha got to the corner first and his near post header went to the far post, with no-one there for Tottenham once again.

When it looked so comfortable for Tottenham, it all started to go wrong.  Simon Davies played in a straightforward corner, but with Chimbonda getting the wrong side of his man, Clint Dempsey had an east task in powering a header into the net, just three minutes before half time.  Even then, there was a chance for Bale to restore the two goal advantage, forcing Niemi to a low save after being played in by Berbatov.

The second half started well with Berba striking a ball in the air and forcing Niemi to a flying save to tip it over the bar and eight minutes later, Jermaine Jeans repeated the action, with the Fulham keeper tipping the shot round the post.  Still the chances came along with Steed striking a loose ball fiercely, but it bounced back off the goal-post with Niemi beaten.  Spurs had to wait until the 61st minute to beat the goalie, with Kaboul winning a defensive header and the ball was helped onto Gareth Bale through Huddlestone and Keane, to leave him a free run on goal and he was clam enough to look up to see Berbatov to his right and chose to slide the ball home between Niemi and his right hand post.  It was a cool finish from a young man who was the Spurs man of the match for his energetic performance.

At 3-1 up with half an hour to go, it should have spelled the end for Fulham, but it was from here that the tide turned.  The front two became more distant from the midfield and that meant both that the ball fell to Fulham most times when it was cleared from either end and also that the pressure built on our defence.  There was still time for Jenas to burst into the area and chose to pass to Keane (unsuccessfully as it turns out) instead of shooting, while Bocanegra and Niemi messed up dealing with a high ball on the edge of their box and Berbatov drilled his shot at what seemed like an open goal, only for Chris Baird to appear and manage to deflect it wide with his thigh.

Keane looked disgusted to be substituted with Defoe coming on, rightly so, when there was little outlet play coming from the defence or midfield, as clearances got more and more panicky.

Shot started to fly in on the Tottenham goal.  Davies hit one way over, as did Dempsey before Davies' free-kick was well gather by Robinson.  By then he had been beaten by a deflection off Rocha, as he dived in to try and block Smertin's drive.  Robbo would have had it covered, but the Portuguese defender's touch took it high into the air over the keeper and in to bring it back to 2-3 and Spurs were starting to wobble.  Why they do this, I don't know, as there is enough quality in the side, but when they try and defend the last third, they ask for trouble.

Defoe flashed a shot wide when Chimbonda set him up from a well worked short corner, but it was not enough, as a late Fulham long throw was headed out by Kaboul, but only to the edge of the area, where Diomansy Kamara launched himself into the air and performed an overhead kick that left Robinson unable to reach it as it headed into the net in the top corner.  It was a last minute goal in a million and summed up some of the lack of fortune Tottenham have been having this season, but they were masters of their own downfall by not ramming home the advantage like they did against Derby County.

Whether it is Jol's tactics or the players' insecurities when ahead in a game, but they have to learn to finish games off and to make sure that if they are going to defend, they do so without losing their shape.  For too long, we have seen Tottenham sides trying to defend leads and it has never worked.

The loss of two points here was a big thing in terms of our final league placing.  Turning winning positions into three points is something the team still need to master and although it was one of the better away performances under Jol, there is still a feeling that the team need to adopt a more high tempo approach to their away games against the lower sides ... especially as it looks like we need a four goal start to take something from the match !!







Reaction : -



I've been a regular critic of Martin Jol, as you know.  Like many I admire his strong personality, and his refreshing attitude is a change from the blinkered likes of Wenger and Ferguson. 
However the start to this season, has been a terrible calamity.  The board undermining him in Seville was totally out of order, and we're all agreed that any managerial changes should take place close season.  But ENIC have invested heavily in the squad, and deserve a return on that.  Although perhaps their focus should be about our ground - a big five club with a 36,000 capacity?
However on the playing side:
  • we still have no left sided midfielder;
  • little quality midfield or defensive cover;
  • a goalkeeper too easily beaten; and
  • an ill-coordinated back four;
Who takes the blame for that? Jol.
We all know that Tottenham cannot defend a lead. Clearly illustrated as we crumbled at Fulham.  We retreat back, and then hoof speculative balls to Berbatov.  How many times have we let in late goals over the past three seasons.  Tactics are very much Jol's domain ?
Top four is off the radar already, as the demise of Arsenal has been grossly exaggerated. With teams like Blackburn, West Ham and Everton significantly stronger and hungrier, we cannot even guarantee a UEFA spot.  Given the money we've spent, totally unacceptable.  Jol may be popular, but is he really the right man ?  We all agree that Tottenham need to consider stability as a new strategy, but too many questions about Jol remain. 
What a mess (yet again) !


It is not without pointing out the obvious that there are problems with the Spurs team.

I agree with the match report that Chimbonda is not performing to a level this season that makes him half the player we thought we had signed.  The left sided midfield issue seems to have been solved by the emergence of Gareth Bale, but the back four might not be the same until Michael Dawson is back in tandem with Younes Kaboul.  I would say Ledley King, but I am not sure whether that will be a long term answer, with the club captain missing ever increasing chunks of the season.

Again, the report echoes my thoughts about Jol's tactics and substitutions.  I know he is under pressure to try and secure Defoe's signature (as well as win the title, Champions League and UEFA Cup in the same season), but surely, if he was going to bring him on for Keane, the midfield needed to be a lot closer to the front men ?

The way the team dropped so deep almost invited Fulham to have a go, which they did.

When the team play like this against a team like Fulham, I fear for what might happen when we meet a top side ... like a fortnight's time.


With Martin Jol hitting out at his "rubbish" defence this morning, he has hit the nail on the head with two blows.

One, if we cannot defend well enough to stop a 3-1 lead slipping away, how many goals ahead do we have to be to be safe in holding onto a lead ?

Secondly, he has publicly hit out at his team for one of the first times since he has been in charge, so does this indicate that he is feeling the heat from the newspaper stories about Juande Ramos and the club's intentions regarding the Head Coach's job ?

I am not an advocate of calling for the manager's head, especially when we are so early in the season.  We have seen what happens before when this happens at Spurs, but Jol seems to take the long view and while he may not be setting the Premier League alight at the moment, I think that when he has some more of the injured players back, things will improve.

Most of all I think that we need to put a string of results together and that might not start until after the Liverpool game.  If you look at our fixtures, we have some tough ones in the coming few weeks.  Not that these should not be winnable, but not being in the best of form just now, it might take a few weeks for the team to start playing the football they need to be playing to succeed.


David Blunkett and leads the joke's doing the rounds again about Spurs.  How we threw that game away is beyond me.  Big Martin blamed rubbish defending and to some extent he's right, but woeful and wasteful finishing certainly didnít help.  We just can't kill teams off when there for the taking.  Perhaps our players need to be more selfish. I admire what Big Martin has done for our club, because for years we've been going nowhere, but sadly I fear the men in suits wonít give him much longer. 

Who the answer is I don't know and more worryingly I donít think the suits do either.  If they bring in a new man this may even see us take a backward step.  

For Big Martin, the club and us I pray we beat the Arse.  

Keep the faith
All the best


P.S  Heskey back in the England squad Ö I thought we got rid of Sven - it seems McClaren's not heard of Defoe either.



Other scores this weekend :
Bolton Wanderers 1 Everton 2 Saturday
Liverpool 6 Derby County 0 Saturday
Manchester United 1 Sunderland 0 Saturday
Middlesbrough 2 Birmingham City 0 Saturday
Newcastle United 1 Wigan Athletic 0 Saturday
Reading 0 West Ham United 3 Saturday
Arsenal 3 Portsmouth 1 Sunday
Blackburn Rovers 1 Manchester City 0 Sunday
Aston Villa 2 Chelsea 0 Sunday



League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Liverpool 4 3 1 0 11 2 10 +9
2 Arsenal 4 3 1 0 7 3 10 +4
3 Everton 5 3 1 1 8 5 10 +3
4 Chelsea 5 3 1 1 7 6 10 +1
5 Manchester City 5 3 0 2 4 2 9 +2
6 Newcastle United 4 2 2 0 6 3 8 +3
7 Blackburn Rovers 4 2 2 0 5 3 8 +2
8 Manchester United 5 2 2 1 3 2 8 +1
9 Wigan Athletic 5 2 1 2 6 4 7 +2
10 Aston Villa 4 2 1 1 5 3 7 +2
11 West Ham United 4 2 1 1 5 3 7 +2
12 Middlesbrough 5 2 1 2 7 6 7 +1
13 Portsmouth 5 1 2 2 7 8 5 -1
14 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 5 1 1 3 8 8 4 0
15 Fulham 5 1 1 3 8 10 4 -2
16 Birmingham City 5 1 1 3 6 9 4 -3
17 Sunderland 5 1 1 3 3 8 4 -5
18 Reading 5 1 1 3 2 8 4 -6
19 Bolton Wanderers 5 1 0 4 7 10 3 -3
20 Derby County 5 0 1 4 3 15 1 -12


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