Match date & time: Saturday 19th April 2014. Kick off at 12:45pm GMT.
Competition: Premier League.
Venue: White Hart Lane.
TV: Live on BT Sport 1 in the UK.
We come into the final 4 games of the 2013/14 Barclays Premier League season. A roller-coaster of a season if there has ever been one. Normally, our end to the season is full of tension and knife edges, but this season we have a slightly more mellow finish. Don’t get me wrong; the expectation is still well and truly there on each and every one of the players, but we aren’t playing for the Champions League anymore, sadly that ship has sailed, but what we are fighting for is a spot in Europe, whether that be 5th place or 6th place, and we are also fighting for pride. After the season we’ve had, all the ups and downs, but mostly downs, to finish above Manchester United would be just brilliant. That’s my aim. But, also, being in Europe. Although it has it’s many flaws, I still believe the Europa League is a good competition and maybe we have a chance of lifting it next season. I’d certainly like to be facing the likes of Benfica again next season.
Our form in recent games has been very up and down. We have beaten Sunderland and Southampton well, but then have dropped points to West Brom when it looked as if we could push on. There was a 4-0 defeat to Liverpool in there too, which we haven’t redeemed ourselves for at all. These last 4 games are all must win. Our recent record against Fulham is very good, except for the major blip that came last season, at White Hart Lane, when our Champions League hopes were dashed significantly after losing to Fulham 1-0, thanks to a Dimitar Berbatov goal. It’s a game that sticks in my head for all the wrong reasons; a turning point. This season, we beat Fulham at Craven Cottage 2-1, after falling behind, we fought our way back into the game thanks to a great long drive from Vlad Chiriches in the second half, and then after many Hugo Lloris saves, in the 81st minute, Lewis Holtby, now on loan at Fulham, struck the winning goal and sent Spurs into ecstasy. A vital win, but it wasn’t enough to save Andre Villas Boas from the sack a few games later. In our last 10 Premier League meetings with Fulham, we have only lost once, and drawn twice, which makes for good reading for Spurs fans, but records mean nothing, because every game is different and is under different circumstances.
Fulham Football Club have had a dismal season. They have now had three managers this season and it has been a right mess in trying to keep the West London Club in the Premier League. Former Spurs manager Martin Jol was sacked in November, being replaced by Rene Meulensteen, and then only 2 months later, Meulensteen was sacked in February to be replaced by current manager Felix Magath, who in all fairness, is now doing a very decent job. Fulham sit in 18th, still in the relegation zone, behind Norwich by only 2 points, with Norwich having a much more difficult run in to the end of the season. After being rock bottom for a long time, it’s looking much brighter for Fulham.
The team news for the Cottagers is that Kostas Mitroglou (knee) and Lewis Holtby (ineligible) are the only players that will be missing, but although only a couple are unavailable, the impact of Lewis Holtby not being able to play is large. He has become a key player for the Whites while on loan from Spurs, and to lose his creativity will be a big loss. Fulham will be hoping for other players to step up. A player that has stepped up recently is Hugo Rodallega, with 2 goals in 2 appearances, the striker appears to have regained the form he showed at Wigan, and will be a big threat for Fulham. Another big player for Fulham is Ashkan Dejagah; the winger has been used off the bench recently, but he always has a big impact, and with Lewis Holtby not able to play I expect Dejagah to step in. Defensively, in midfield, it’ll be a welcome back to former Spurs player and Spurs fan, Scott Parker, he’ll be a crucial player for Fulham this Saturday.
The team news for Tottenham is that Jan Vertonghen (ankle), Erik Lamela (back), Etienne Capoue (ankle) and Kyle Walker (groin) will be missing for the game against Fulham. However, there will be returns for Mousa Dembele, Roberto Soldado, Sandro and Michael Dawson after injury, with Vlad Chiriches remaining fit after his return 2 weeks ago.
The team news is good news in my view; it’s great to have Sandro and Dembele back, they give us steel and quality in the middle of the park, and I think Sandro should definitely start when fit, but against Fulham at Home I expect to see a much more attacking set up by Sherwood, possibly excluding Dembele and Sandro from the team for Paulinho and Chadli. Roberto Soldado is back, but I don’t see him starting anytime soon with the emergence of Harry Kane, bagging 2 goals in 2 appearances and working like a maniac. Think it’s time for Roberto to put this season behind him and concentrate on settling more in England, learning more of the language and coming back next season fit, hungry and ready to score goals. The biggest blow from the team news is that Kyle Walker remains injured, and will be for the foreseeable future this season. He’s been a massively important player for us and is a big miss. We lack his pace and experience on the right hand side of defence. I expect Tim Sherwood to play an unchanged side from the last two games against Sunderland and West Brom. The team worked very well against Sunderland and also well in the second half of the West Brom game. With all three teams around a similar level in quality on paper, I think Sherwood will see no need to change things and we will have a bit of continuity.
Match stats provided by Opta.
- Tottenham have won seven of their last eight Barclays Premier League meetings with Fulham, losing the other.
- No side has taken fewer points from Premier League London derbies this season than Fulham (six).
- Spurs have conceded first in their last six matches.
- Tottenham have made 19 errors leading directly to a goal this season, more than any other side.
- Fulham have drawn only three games all season. The Premier League low for draws in an entire season is three by Chelsea in 1997-98.
- Spurs have not had both teams scoring in their last five home matches against Fulham.
- None of Fulham’s last 46 Premier League games have ended 0-0 – the longest current run of all Premier League teams.
- Christian Eriksen has scored four goals and assisted three more in his last four Premier League appearances for Tottenham.
- Fulham have had loss/loss results in their last five away defeats against Spurs.
- With 93 goals, Emmanuel Adebayor is the current Premier League player with less than 100 goals nearest to reaching that landmark.
- Fulham have conceded 17 goals in London derbies this season, more than any other side.
- Spurs have had Under 2.5 goals in their last five home matches against Fulham.
- Tottenham have scored only six goals in eight London derby games this season.
- Three of Tottenham’s last five Premier League goals have come in the 86th minute or later.
I’m looking forward to this one; it promises to be a hard fought, end to end game with both teams fighting for the points. Fulham will need to be at their very best to get a point and so will Tottenham. I will be at the Lane for this game! So that means I will try to update from my twitter account @AddictedToSpurs as much as possible, with live pictures of White Hart Lane being posted. COYS!!
My predicted/preferred team to face Fulham at the Lane:
Naughton – Chiriches – Kaboul – Rose
Townsend – Paulinho – Dembele – Eriksen
Kane – Adebayor.
Tim Sherwood previews of game against Fulham in his press conference: