Match Preview: Fulham v Spurs (the fight for a top-four spot is on)
After our excellent 4-0 win against Burnley on Sunday, we now prepare ourselves for Fulham at Craven Cottage. I am presuming that Bale will play a prominent part this time around as well. Once the deed had been done against Burnely, it was right to take him off and rest him for more extraordinary things to come (hopefully).
But before we go into the Fulham game, my nostalgic memory wanders back to bygone days. In particular Sunday the 4th March 2007. Back then, I was younger (yes, I know, the bleeding bloody obvious). Then I was 14 years younger… I was only 21… ok, 51, but still with the youthful charms and looks of a 21-year-old; unless I happened to look in the mirror, then the illusion bursts.
The match at Upton Park on 4th March 2007 was the season’s match of matches, a derby day thriller. Granted, It wasn’t looking too bright for us at half time, 2-0 down to a 16th minute Mark Noble goal and a Carlos Tevez free-kick from just outside the box a few minutes before half time. But six minutes into the second half, a coolly struck penalty from Jermaine Defoe halved the deficit. Less than 10 minutes later, a Teemu Tainio volley (thanks to a back-heeled shot pass from Aaron Lennon) brought us level. The game then ran until the 85th minute, when an ex-Spurs player, Bobby Zamora, came on as a sub and looked to have taken all 3 points for the Bubble blowers within minutes. The Spammers celebrated wildly with the three points they thought they gained. Still 3-2, cue Dimitar Berbatov. A free-kick in a similar position to that of Tevez in the first half – exactly the same result – Goal, 3-3 – a point rescued for the boys? Like hell, in the 94th minute, we turn a Bubble blowing attack into our own counter-attack with 4 of our players running the length of the pitch and bearing down on their solitary defender. Defoe shot, parried into the path of the onrushing Paul Stalteri and goal! I remember jumping up and shouting GOOOAL; it was now 4-3 to us, then the wild celebrations started, while the Spammers looked on nonplussed (they were shell shocked as if somebody had snatched their dummies out of their mouth). That was at their old ground. What a day to remember. But then any day when we take the Spammers apart is a day to remember. Over the years, I’ve seen some great games in my time. That season we finished 5th in the league and got to the Semi-Finals of the Coco cola Cup (losing out to the shit of the month team, Arsewhipes!). But back to the present and a little matter of Cottaging… no, not toilet invitations, but the Cottagers of Fulham.
Fulham have no fresh injury problems. Their reserve goalkeeper Marek Rodak struggles with the finger injury that caused him to miss the draw with Crystal Palace, while midfielder Tom Cairney remains out with a knee injury.
Gareth Bale, who has started just three league games this season, will feature, I am sure. As for Lo Cels, well, he is close to full fitness after a hamstring injury, but this game has come too soon.
My thoughts and prediction
We were very impressive against Burnley, who are above Fulham in the league table, on Sunday, and if we can repeat that performance with fully fit Gareth Bale, Son and Harry Kane, then we are going to have too much for the Cottaging hustlers.
Even though the Cottagers are struggling, they’ve had a few decent results in recent weeks. Still, it’s hard to see them matching the draw they managed against us in January unless we jump back on that rollercoaster train that was heading downwards to oblivion (the one that Fulham, West Brom and Sheffield United are currently on). Therefore I will go for a 3-0 win or over.
Our boy Gareth Bale is never far away from the centre of attention no matter where he plies his trade, and hopefully, he will continue against the Cottagers. As for Harry Kane and Lucas Moura, well, they found the back of the net by a four-goal scoreline for the second game in a row, following our thrashing of Wolfsberger in the Europa League.
Five defeats from our last seven Premier League matches have seriously harmed our top-four ambitions; nevertheless, we are just six points off the Champions League places with a game in hand over most of the teams above us, so the importance of stringing a set of wins together cannot be underestimated.
Fulham Premier League form: LDWDWD
Tottenham Hotspur Premier League form: LLWLLW
Tottenham Hotspur form (all competitions): LLWLWW
My possible starting lineup:
Lloris; Doherty, Dier, Sanchez, Reguilon; Hojbjerg, Sissoko; Bale, Moura, Son; Kane
The Cottagers have conceded just one goal in their last five league games. Let us hope they don’t start getting smart with us and do an about-face turn.
The 1-1 draw between the sides in January ended our run of five straight victories against Fulham in all competitions.
We have won on five successive league visits to Fulham.
Fulham have won just one of the last 14 Premier League meetings (D3, L10).
Fulham could go six top-flight games without defeat for the first time since a run of seven in 2010 under Mark Hughes.
The Cottagers are vying to keep three Premier League clean sheets in a row at Craven Cottage for the first time in 10 years.
Since the beginning of December, only Manchester City, Manchester United, and Leicester City have lost fewer Premier League matches than Fulham’s four.
Scott Parker’s side have scored just eight home league goals this season, fewer than any other team. They have failed to score in seven of their 13 league fixtures at Craven Cottage.
Fulham have drawn 10 of their last 15 league matches (W2, L3).
They are winless in their last 21 London derbies in the Premier League, earning just four points.
We have lost five of our last seven league matches, winning the other two.
We have suffered three straight away league defeats, scoring just once.
We conceded 18 goals in the second half of our league matches in 2020-21, twice as many as we have in the first half.
We have failed to win any of our four-midweek Premier League games this season (D1, L3).
Gareth Bale has provided four goals and three assists in his last four appearances for us in all competitions.
Harry Kane has scored in each of his four appearances against Fulham in all competitions (six goals in total).
Well, that is it, folks, and fingers crossed we smash the Cottagers by a substantial number of goals. We can get back into the top four, but what we can’t afford to do is lose any more games. After the Cottagers, we’ve got Palace, the Arse-wipes, the Saints, Villa, Newcastle and then United. All winnable games. Win these games, and Bob’s your Uncle and your Aunt Fanny will have many tricks embroidered into her suspenders (Fanny by name… fanny by… anyway, where were we?)
Stay safe, Glenn