|OPPONENTS||Fulham at Craven Cottage|
|DATE||Sunday 20th January 2019|
Fulham have found the top flight a real challenge since returning
through the Play-offs last season. Having shed manager Slavisa
Jokanovic and appointed Claudio Ranieri, the club's fortunes haven't
changed to drastically for the good.
The reason for their lowly position is their lack of goals at one end the profligacy in conceding them at the other. Scoring is such a problem that Kamara will be missing as he grabbed the ball off Mitrovic when Fulham got a penalty and promptly missed, then followed it up by having a "conversation" on-field at the training ground, so Rainieri has left him out. In addition, they will be without defenders Alfie Mawson and Andre-Franck Zambo Aguissa, who are both injured. The Cottagers have added Dutch international winger - Ryan Babel - who might be involved at some stage.
They have the players who can score, with Mitrovic doing well there on loan last season and the loan signing of Schurrle has shown that he still has the quality he was noted for at Chelsea. Ryan Sessignon has found that his marauding runs up the left wing ending in goals are not so easy to make in the Premier League and other forwards - Floyd Ayite and another loanee Luciano Vietto - haven't been able to adjust to the requirements after the step up from the Championship and La Liga respectively.
Chances should be forthcoming with the passing of Jean Michael Seri, Tom Cairney and Sessignon providing the ammunition for the front men, but the main issue has been the regularity the ball has kept heading back towards their own goal. Even when they have been ahead, they manage to lose out, as they did at Cardiff a few weeks back and then did the same at Burnley last week, with a couple of helping assists from their defenders. With Alfie Mawson out injured for much of the time since he signed from Swansea City (we dodged a bullet there) and finding ever more elaborate ways of missing matches - the latest being a knee injury victim from putting his own boots on - there has been a reliance on last season's crop of defenders and brining Calum Chambers in on loan from Arsenal, where he has barely played, so often has he been farmed out.
Tim Ream and Denis Odoi have struggled to deal with opposition forwards, full backs Le Marchand, Fosu-Mensah (on loan from Man U), Christie and Bryan (bought from Bristol City) have yet to gel and this has produced too much space being afforded to the other team to work the ball around the final third. Goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli was getting rave reviews and earned a call up to the England squad before falling out of favour and that gave chances to summer signings Fabri ad Sergio Rico, with the latter currently being in possession of the gloves. The new boys have shown varying degrees of discomfort with the English game, but have had plenty to deal with as the defence and midfield in front of them are not proving as solid as they were in the Championship last season.
Tottenham will have a late look at Moussa Sissoko to see if he has recovered from his groin injury picked up against Manchester United, but may save him for the League Cup semi-final on Thursday. Lucas Mora may be back and there could be a return for Eric Dier, whereas Spurs could start Fernando Llorente, in the absence of Kane and Son.
We have goals from midfield, but that has been with Kane leading the line and taking one or two men out of the equation. Llorente has shown that he can be effective in having a partner playing off him, but will that be a pacy player such as Moura or a player with guile, like Dele, to take advantage of his knock-downs ?
It's an opportunity to try and work out how the side will play ahead of the Chelsea League Cup semi second leg, but the defeat last week means we have to win to keep in touch with the top two and keep a gap between us and Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United.
A tricky fixture, which may
have looked more straightforward a couple of weeks ago, but, bearing
in mind Fulham's recent form, we should be able to edge.
|PREDICTION||Fulham 1 Tottenham Hotspur 2|
HOTSPUR TEAM NEWS :
Moussa Sissoko's groin injury may have recovered sufficiently for him to take part, but he will be assessed as late as possible to ensure he is up to playing in the game. Harry Kane (ankle), Eric Dier (appendicitis), Heung-Min Son (international duty) and
FULHAM TEAM NEWS :
Zambo Aguissa will have a late fitness test, while Alfie Mawson's knee injury won't allow him to be available for selection. Aboukabar Kamara has been left out for disciplinary reasons. Ryan Babel, signed from Besiktas, may not be fully fit to play, but could feature on the bench.
|Premier League||Kick off 16:00|
Tottenham Hotspur 2 (0)
Llorente (o.g.) 16m 45s
Dele 50m 58s
|Crowd : ,||Weather : Cold, dry|
|Referee : Craig Pawson (South Yorkshire)||Assistant Referees : Mr. Ian Hussin ; Mr. Eddie Smart|
|Fourth Official : Lee Probert|
|Fulham kicked off and played towards the - end in the first half.|
|Game time : - 90 + ? minutes.|
Mitrovic (wrestling throw on Sanchez) 74
Seri (foul on Vertonghen) 75
Sanchez (being thrown to the ground by Mitrovic) 74
Rose (simulation) 79
Alderweireld (kicking ball out of ground) 90+4
|Fulham :||kit||Tottenham Hotspur :||kit|
Ryan BABEL (
3 Ryan SESSIGNON 55)
Hugo LLORIS (c)
|Manager : Claudio Ranieri||Manager : Mauricio Pochettino|
|Sponsor : dafabet||Shirt sponsor : AIA|
|Kit Supplier : adidas||Kit Supplier : Nike|
Scoring three goals away form home should guarantee a relatively comfortable afternoon out, but not the Tottenham way, having to come back for an own goal and leaving it until the last ten seconds of time to score a winner against a stubborn, but ultimately prone to failure Fulham team.
Injuries and absences left Spurs without their two top scorers and much of the talk was about who would fill their shooting boots. Fernando Llorente was given the job, with Dele Alli up alongside him and Erik Lamela in a wide position, but he had to track back a fair but, leaving the front two isolated at times. Pochettino started out with a 3-4-3 formation and the home side matched that.
Vertonghen slung a couple of
crosses in from the left and Trippier from the right in the first
few minutes but couldn’t find a Spurs head as the side started at a
good tempo and as usual, Danny Rose was the first victim of a foul,
this time by Christie out on our left. Eriksen struck it into the
wall and then, when the ball had been worked forward from the
back, he smacked a drive wide of Rico’s goal. His next effort
in the sixth minute took a deflection from the edge of the box and
it went over for a corner. That was booted clear, but there was
nobody there for the home side, as everybody had been dragged back
to defend the set piece.
Kicking off the second half,
Spurs needed to find a way to make the best use of Llorente. His
early flick on brought some chasing by Lamela, who won the ball off
Odoi until he fell over in the corner of the pitch. Too often, the
build up was too slow and players who were in space had it closed
off and there were a lot of Fulham players between the ball and the
We had a corner that Lamela
took on the right, but when it came back out to him, he cut inside
and curled a shot a long way wide. Sanchez got a booking for being
thrown to the floor by Mitrovic, who rightly got a yellow card, as
did Seri for a lunge on Jan Vertonghen. Apart from a few
hopeful balls forward for Ryan Sessignon, who invariably was flagged
for offside, Fulham were happy just to get the ball away from their
penalty area. With Spurs putting in crosses looking for Llorente’s
head to the end. They found it once but right in front of goal,
rather than powering his head at the ball, Fernando tried to guide
it in, but only achieved a miss with the ball going wide. He
also was played in with the ball on the floor, but his touch was not
good and he went down looking for a penalty ... unsuccessfully.
When Fulham moved the ball
towards the Spurs goal and won a free-kick 40 yards out. It
was played into the box and Lloris moved out to the left to reach
it, half thinking about punching it and half catching it. He
fumbled the ball, but there were no Fulham players nearby, so he
dived on it and looked for a quick kick out, which only went to
Christie. He looked for runners in the box, but the ball went
to nobody and Spurs cleared it, with it coming back to Harry Winks
in the right back position, covering for Trippier. He played
the ball inside and it was passed down the line with Vertonghen and
Rose involved, feeding Nkoudou on the side-line. He shaped to
go down the line, but cut back to swing a right foot cross into the
centre of the goal and Winksy had continued his run from deep,
beating Bryan to the ball and planting a header home as he dived in
a couple of yards out.
A worryingly late winner wrapped up a satisfactory win over a relegation struggler and another away win to add to the many already recorded so far this season. Maintaining third is all we are able to do at the moment, until there are slip-ups above us. When that happens, we have to be ready to capitalise.
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|Match programme sponsors||-|
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|What you thought|
|Benny The Ball||I
don't know who is running the Fulham FC official website, but they
might need to proof read as well as spell check their match reports
"After failing to clear our lines Christian Ericksen swung in an excellent cross onto the head of Alli who had the simple task of diverting it home from point black range."
I'm not sure they are
allowed to say that !
|Other scores during this week :|
|Bournemouth||2||West Ham United London||0||Saturday|
|Manchester United||2||Brighton & Hove Albion||1||Saturday|
|Newcastle United||3||Cardiff City||0||Saturday|
|Wolverhampton Wanderers||4||Leicester City||3||Saturday|
|Huddersfield Town||0||Manchester City||3||Sunday|
|League Table 2018-19|
|10||West Ham United London||23||9||4||10||30||34||31||-4|
|13||Brighton & Hove Albion||23||7||5||11||25||32||26||-7|
Position before match :
Position after match : 3rd
Position after the weekend : 3rd
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