Match: Saturday 19th April 2014.
Competition: Premier League.
Venue: White Hart Lane.
Result: Tottenham 3-1 Fulham.
GoalScorers for Tottenham: Paulinho 35′, Harry Kane 48′ and Younes Kaboul 62′.
GoalScorer for Fulham: Steve Sidwell 37′.
What a great three points! Three goals and three points, so we have nothing to complain about. We showed great fight and determination to overcome a Fulham side who are battling for points at the bottom of the table. We couldn’t afford to drop any more points, and I think we showed some real quality in our play at the Lane, performing with confidence and a lack of pressure on their shoulders, it’s a big result and hopefully we can finish the season with 9 points from our last 3 games, which are quite ‘comfortable’ on paper.
In the first half, for the first 35 minutes, the game was a real drag, both teams were lacklustre and didn’t convincingly pressurise the opposition, with Fulham dropping deep, waiting for the counter attack, and Tottenham not being able to find the final pass or pick the lock through the Cottagers defence. Defensively, Spurs looked shaky as usual, with it taking a long while for players to really settle into the game and find their feet, both with their passing accuracy and defensive decisions. Finally, with the game being in desperate need for a goal, Christian Eriksen whipped in a delightful ball from a free kick on the right to find an unmarked Paulinho for an easy tap in to make it 1-0, his 7th of the season. Only 2 minutes later, Fulham got very lucky, when Steve Sidwell somehow scrambled through the defence after a couple of unfortunate deflections off Tottenham players, and then through on goal Sidwell poked it past Lloris to make it 1-1 at half time.
In the second half, Spurs started to really find their feet, after a good talking to from Tim Sherwood the players sparked into life and came out of the blocks very quickly, moving the ball from central to the wing quickly to the players who can affect the play. In this case on 48 minutes, that player was Aaron Lennon. Lennon received the ball on the far right from Naughton, shimmied right and then turned back onto his left foot and swung a nicely weighted ball into the box for Harry Kane to jump highest and divert the ball into the goal to make it 2-1, and confirm the game in our favour. We withstood a few Fulham attacks, including a bullet header from Hugo Rodallega, which was phenomenally stopped from nestling into the top corner by Hugo Lloris, one of the best saves of the season. We were playing with a swagger about us, players trying tricks they wouldn’t have weeks previously and wanting to get on the ball and impose themselves on the game.
Later on, in the 62nd minute, Christian Eriksen was gifted with another free kick, but this time on the left hand side. Christian, as he did for the first goal, spun the ball across the box at knee hight, and it was Younes Kaboul who was there to stab the ball into the roof of the net and secure the three points. On 75 minutes, the ball was bouncing around the edge of Tottenham’s penalty area, and as the ball snuck into the box, Christian Eriksen subtly moved his arm towards the ball, and handled, with the referee awarding a penalty to the West Londoners. Steve Sidwell, a scorer in the first half, stood up to take the penalty, and struck it between middle and inside netting, allowing Hugo Lloris to get down smartly and parry the ball away from danger, that cementing any danger of dropping points. We could have had more, but it wasn’t to be and the three points stayed at the Lane.
I thought the team played really well, especially in the second half. Even though the defence continued to look shaky with a high line and some suspect decision making. Man of the match for me is an easy choice, Hugo Lloris in goal was nothing short of incredible. Hugo failed to keep a clean sheet through no fault of his own, and then made 2-3 phenomenal saves that are as good as goals in my view. Lloris has cemented himself as one of the best goalkeepers in Tottenham’s history, and for me, he’s the best currently in the Premier League and right up there in the tables for best goalkeeper in the World. Right behind Hugo for man of the match for once again, Christian Eriksen, the way he plays football is a delight to watch and it is brilliant to see him grow every single game he plays. We always see something new that we didn’t see in the last game, for instance an instinctive swivel and sweep pass, which failed to come off but the technique and cheek to try it was laudable in itself. In the last three games we have seen the emergence of a future star in Harry Kane. Three goals in three for the 20 year old striker, but goals is not the only thing that Harry brings to the table, he can hold up play extremely well for a learning young striker, his touch is almost surprisingly good, and his work rate is excellent, he runs with purpose and plays for the shirt and that’s exactly what you want to see from a young striker. I predict a big future with Spurs for Harry Kane! Other players who were very impressive in my humble opinion, were Aaron Lennon, who got his second assist in 2 games, Danny Rose, who had a much improved game to some of his previous & the midfield pairing of Nacer Chadli and Paulinho, who worked very hard and passed the ball quickly out to the wings and the players who can affect the game.
I’m very impressed and happy with the team performance, and now I’m excited about the last three games of the season; I’m hoping for 9 points and some bragging rights over Everton, Manchester United and West Ham! Our next game is a toughy against Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday 26th April with kick off at 3:00pm. Difficult game, and a potential banana skin but we go into the game with confidence. COYS!!
My player ratings for the team that faced Fulham at the Lane:
Lloris – 9 – Man of the match.
Naughton – 7
Kaboul – 7
Fryers – 7
Rose – 7.5
Lennon – 8
Paulinho – 7.5
Chadli – 8
Eriksen – 8.5
Kane – 8
Adebayor – 7.5.
Townsend – 6
Soldado – N/A
Dembele – 5.5.
Match highlights from our 3-1 victory over Fulham:
Tim Sherwood speaks to the press after the Fulham win: