BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE
SATURDAY 19TH APRIL, 2014
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 3 (1) FULHAM 1 (1)
Attendance:- 35, 841
Referee:- Lee Probert
Assistants:- Mr. R. Ganfield & Mr. M. Scholes
Fourth official:- Mr. R. East
Spurs (4-4-2):- Lloris; Naughton, Kaboul(Capt.), Fryers, Rose; Lennon, Chadli (sub Dembele, 67), Paulinho, Eriksen (sub Townsend, 85); Adebayor, Kane (sub Soldado, 79)
Subs not used:- Friedel; Chiriches; Sigurdsson, Bentaleb
Fulham (4-5-1):- Stockdale; Heitinga (sub Zverotic, 66), Hangeland (Capt.), Amorebieta, Riise; Kacaniklic, Parker (sub Karagounis, 56), Kvist, Sidwell, Dejagah; Rodallega
Subs not used:- Stekelenburg; Woodrow, Roberts, Kasami, Bent
Booked:- Heitinga (foul on Rose)
Sherwood has alienated most of "Spurs World" now
When "The Beast" Sandro tweeted this morning to alert Spurs fans that he WAS fit, and that he hoped his team-mates would get a win, the un-written text was that perhaps Tim Sherwood had not selected one of the very favourite players of so many Spurs fans.
When the team news was announced, and there was no sign of Sandro - not even in the 18, it became all too clear that Sandro was out of favour with Sherwood. Fair enough, Tim might have considered Sandro was not fully match fit, after his recent bout with injury, but to consciously exclude this player from even the bench was the last straw for me.
The team included no recognised defensive midfielder. We were set up in a 4-4-2 against a team which was bound to (and did) flood the midfield. However, it was this exclusion of Sandro that finally converted me to the "Sherwood out" brigade. My tweet to that effect suggested there was a lot of agreement out there.
To cap it all, I understand that in his post-match press conference Sherwood very clearly asserted that Sandro was not good enough to play for Spurs at the moment. That comment has alienated most of "Spurs world"
Here we are, celebrating a 3-1 win (my prediction was right!), but Sherwood dominates the headlines.
Spurs' performance was not particularly good, and Fulham had the early clear-cut chances,with the first of these in only the second minute. We only really got going after the break, when no doubt Sherwood delivered the proverbial kick up the backside, and we only really started to play smooth, confident football once we were two goals up, and Fulham heads started to drop.
That first chance fell to Kacaniklic,as he forced his way into the right side of the Spurs area, but put his shot into the side netting. Rodallega was next to have a chance in front of goal, having got behind the defence to Riise's long ball. The former Wigan man mis-cued his attempt woefully.
Spurs started to show in the opposition defensive areas, and after 7 minutes, an Eriksen shot was half-blocked and looped into Stockdale's arms.
Danny Rose did well at the back to out-wit Kacaniklic, take the ball round him, and down the line, eventually feeding it to Eriksen, whose cross from deep on the left was fielded by the Fulham keeper.
The Spurs crowd was subdued. The Spurs midfield was surrendering space and time to the opposition, who so far, had had the best chances. Kaboul had a header go over the bar from an Eriksen kick from the right, but it carried no conviction.
Hugo Lloris came to the rescue of his team after 18 minute, when Rodallega was one-on-one, palming the former Wigan man's effort well away to the left of goal.
Danny Rose retrieved a ball down the left and passed inside to Aaron Lennon, who hit a shot with his wrong foot, which went just over the bar. It wasn't the first time Lennon used his wrong (left) foot to good effect today, and I thought again that Aaron was one of our best players, seen all over the field, making excellent defensive interventions on several occasions.
Lennon was involved after another Eriksen cross from the right. Lennon was outside the near post, and had a shot that found its way to Adebayor, whose touch was cleared by the Fulham defence in front of the far post.
Spurs took the lead in the 35th minute, after Lennon had been fouled. Eriksen took the kick, hit with purpose towards the back post, where Paulinho met the ball, and prodded home.
Sadly, that infamous Spurs' fallibility was soon to the fore, when Sidwell was allowed to respond within two minutes. Sidwell attempted a one-two with Kacaniklic, and the ball rebounded in his favour off Zeki Fryers, before the Fulham midfielder slotted home low past Lloris.
The first half petered out, but Spurs restored their lead within three minutes of the re-start with an excellent goal. Aaron Lennon crossed with the left foot towards the six-yard area, where Harry Kane scored his third Premier League goal in as many games with an excellent glanced header.
Once again, Spurs nearly surrendered their lead, as Riise sent over a powerful cross, met with a bullet header by Rodallega, which was saved brilliantly by Lloris, with a dive to his right, and an up-stretched hand to push the ball over the bar for a corner. The Spurs keeper and the Fulham striker shared a warm congratulatory moment.
Hangeland had a half chance after the corner, but skewed his kick wide. Scott Parker, who had been warmly received by Spurs fans, was now warmly applauded as he was replaced by Karagounis.
Heitinga got the only booking of the game for a foul on Danny Rose, as he approached the left side of the box. From the free kick, taken by Eriksen, Kaboul fired home at the back post, as once again the ball had been hit with power across that 6-yard danger zone.
Generally speaking, Spurs now played with control, but perhaps not enough desire to really kill off the opposition.
It wasn't Spurs, but referee Lee Probert who gave Fulham a chance to get back in the game. He awarded a penalty against Christian Eriksen for a handball offence, when there seemed to be no way he could avoid the ball hitting his arm. There was no need to worry, because hero of the hour Hugo Lloris guessed right, and dived right, as Sidwell hit the ball too close to the middle. Now that did rouse the home crowd!
Dembele had already replaced Chadli, and now Soldado got on for Kane. Eriksen fed a ball to Adebayor, who tried a right-footed curler that passed just over the far corner. Naughton hit an excellent ball down the middle to Soldado, who fed Adebayor. Adebayor wanted to immediately return the ball to Soldado, but failed with his attempt. The man from Togo was not on form today, but then he was often found playing deep, or on either flank, rather than in a goal-scoring position.
Townsend was our final substitute and drew a foul outside the box. With Eriksen off, Soldado tried his hand (foot actually) at the free kick, but failed dismally. Soldado had one more chance, after a good ball from Lennon, but that was deflected over for a corner.
Spurs then have secured sixth place for the moment, with Man Utd 6 points behind, with two games in hand, and a far better goal difference. United play Everton tomorrow, so any result should benefit Spurs in some way. We even have a positive goal difference again!
As for Fulham, their quest for survival continues, but they do have a better run-in than Norwich, so will keep clinging to hope.
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