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Premier League

Tuesday 26th January 2010

Only time for a brief preview, as the games are coming thick and fast now.

Fulham come to the lane as they experience a bit of a dip in their good form this season.  Having lost to Stoke City, Chelsea and Blackburn Rovers since we drew 0-0 at Craven Cottage, the West Londoners will be looking to pick up their winning ways once more.  The defeat at Chelsea was unfortunate, with a lead being given away and then an unlucky own goal sealing their fate.  A wintry night at Stoke and the lack-lustre performance at Blackburn means that the Cottagers are now facing a fixture pile-up with FA Cup, Europa League and Premier league games to fit in.

Injuries to Clint Dempsey, who had become an influential figure in the side just behind the front two and defenders Paul Konchesky and John Pantsil have resulted in Roy Hodgson drafting in some younger members of his squad, including the central defender youngster Chris Smalling, who has caught Arsene Wenger's eye.  Brede Hangeland is a strapping centre-half who is hard to get past and Chris Baird has come in as a steady replacement at full-back, with Stephen Kelly - another former Tottenham player - also filling in at full back.  Behind them all is Mark Schwarzer, who is not always the safest of keepers, but has improved considerably from his Middlesbrough days and looks a better goalie for it now.  However, he is suspect in the air and does not always get down to the ball for low shots quickly.  Added to that he is not great with his feet.

The midfield features yet another former employee at White Hart Lane in Danny Murphy, who is having a good season with a number of games under his belt and he was instrumental in the defeat of Manchester United a few weeks before Christmas.  Zoltan Gera has a fine finish in his locker and can put in good crosses to the front two, one of whom might be Erik Nevland if injuries keep out Andy Johnson.  Both are smallish and better on the floor than in the air, but they will be brave enough to go for headers.  Diomansy Kamara is the attacking threat in the air, but he is likely to be missing with injury too.  Damien Duff is a tricky winger, who is playing better for Fulham than he did for Newcastle last season, while Jonathan Greening might be drafted in to put in some hard yards if Hodgson needs him to do so.

If Bobby Zamora and Simon Davies return from injury for this game, they will be keen to get back into action and keen to show their former club what they can produce.  However, they now face a different Tottenham to the one they left, with a good solid defensive record and some player sin attack who can win a game out of nothing.  The problem at the moment is that they are really missing Aaron Lennon.  The speedy winger has an asset that other members of the team do not.  Chances are still being made, it is just that they are not coming from the same source and many are coming down the middle, where play can get congested.  Some inventiveness and use of the width for Gareth Bale and Alan Hutton to get forward and supply crosses into the box might help.

After Saturday's brief cameo, I might choose Pavlyuchenko to start, as he looked like adding something different to Crouch and with Hangeland in the middle of defence, he will win every long ball played forward.  Spurs will need to mix it up and play at a good tempo to get Fulham on the back foot early on and with a little bit of luck, which we haven't had over the last few months, Spurs could run out winners by ...

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 : -  Carlo Cudicini (out - broken wrist); Jonathan Woodgate (out - groin); Aaron Lennon (out - groin); Benoit Assou-Ekotto (out - groin); Tom Huddlestone (doubtful - knee); Ledley King (doubtful - knee); Roman Pavlyuchenko (doubtful - groin); - (-);

FULHAM :  -  Clint Dempsey (out - knee); Paul Konchesky (out - knee); John Pantsil (out - knee); Andy Johnson (doubtful - knee); Diomansy Kamara (doubtful - knee); Dickson Etuhu (out - African Cup of Nations duty); - (-); 


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

Premier League
Venue : White Hart Lane  
Tuesday 26th January 2010
Kick Off :  8.00 p.m.
Crowd :   35,467
Referee :  Mike Dean (Cheshire)
Spurs kicked off and played towards the Paxton Road end in the first half.
Weather :  -  Dry, but very cold
Teams : - 
Tottenham Hotspur :

  1  Gomes

22  Corluka
26  King (c)
20  Dawson      
  3  Bale

14  Modric
12  Palacios

18  Defoe  (10  Keane  82)  
15  Crouch  

Unused subs: 
27  Alnwick
  2  Hutton
  8  Jenas
24  O'Hara

Fulham :

  1  Schwarzer

18  Hughes
  5  Hangeland
26  Smalling
  6  Baird

16  Duff
13  Murphy  (c)
34  Dikgacoi
17  Riise  (29  Davies  64)
11  Gera  (15  Kamara  72      )

25  Zamora  (35  Elm  79)

Unused subs: 

19  Zuberbuhler
10  Nevland
27  Greening
33  Kallio

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of
Tottenham Hotspur

Scorers : -  
Tottenham Hotspur

Crouch 27
Bentley 60



Cards : -  
Tottenham Hotspur  

Dawson (foul)  87



Kamara (foul)   89


Match Report : -  
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 Christmas.

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 straight shot.

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 half.

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 good.

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 well placed.

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 goal.

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 Bentley intended.

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.

burton bradstock


Fan Reaction : -



Well, this was a lot easier than I thought it was going to be.

The worrying thing was that having started at a great tempo, the team slackened off after they had failed to get the opening goal.  The breakthrough from Crouch helped and Fulham lacked any sort of threat in the final third, even with Gomes only having one working arm after the prolific Zamora kicked him in the first few minutes.  That is prolific in terms of breaking the laws of the game.

Jermain Defoe was looking unlikely to score tonight and Modric was restricted to cameo glimpses of his skill.

We need to start another good run and carry on where we left off tonight at Birmingham City, where it will be necessary to win to keep the chasing clubs behind us.

the heathrow spur

Missing Aaron Lennon is becoming a bigger absence than we might have thought a year ago.  This season his ability to get past players and his final ball have improved to such a degree that Jermain Defoe is struggling a little without his supply.

While Modric is a skilful runner with the ball, he gets more attention when Lennon is missing and the supply to the forwards becomes limited.

The long ball to Crouch is all well and good, but quite often there is not a plan B, so it was pleasing to see Bentley crossing the ball in - albeit from deep - and Bale getting up the other wing.  Hutton also offers a different attacking threat when he plays.

The use of the overlapping full backs harks back to the days of Knowles and Kinnear and hopefully, it will bring a similar amount of success.

stanford rivers







Other scores this midweek :
Aston Villa 0 Arsenal 0 Wednesday
Blackburn Rovers 2 Wigan Athletic 1 Wednesday
Bolton Wanderers 1 Burnley 0 Tuesday
Chelsea 3 Birmingham City 0 Tuesday
Everton 2 Sunderland 0 Wednesday
Portsmouth 1 West Ham United 1 Tuesday
Wolverhampton Wanderers 0 Liverpool 0 Tuesday




League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Chelsea 22 16 3 3 55 18 51 +37
2 Manchester United 22 16 2 5 53 19 50 +34
3 Arsenal 23 15 4 4 59 25 49 +34
4 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 23 12 5 6 44 24 41 +20
5 Manchester City 21 10 8 3 42 30 38 +12
6 Liverpool 23 11 5 7 40 26 38 +14
7 Aston Villa 22 10 7 5 29 18 37 +11
8 Birmingham City 22 8 6 7 21 22 33 -1
9 Fulham 22 7 6 9 26 26 27 0
10 Blackburn Rovers 23 7 6 10 25 40 27 -15
11 Everton 21 6 8 7 30 34 26 -4
12 Stoke City 21 6 7 8 19 26 25 -7
13 Sunderland 21 6 5 10 27 37 23 -10
14 Wigan Athletic 21 6 4 11 24 46 22 -22
15 Bolton Wanderers 21 5 6 10 29 42 21 -13
16 West Ham United 22 4 8 10 29 38 20 -9
17 Wolverhampton Wanderers 22 5 5 11 17 38 20 -21
18 Burnley 22 5 5 12 22 44 20 -22
19 Hull City 22 4 7 11 20 46 19 -26
20 Portsmouth 21 4 3 14 19 33 15 -14


Position before the match :  4th
Position after the match :  4th
Position after the mid-week fixtures :  4th


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