THE EMIRATES FA CUP FIFTH ROUND
SUNDAY 19th FEBRUARY, 2017
FULHAM 0(0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 3(1)
Kane, 16, 51, 73
Referee:- Bobby Madley
Assistants:- Stuart Burt & Ian Hussin
Fourth official:- Oliver Langford
Fulham (4-3-3):- Bettinelli; Odoi, Kalas, Ream, Malone; Cairney (Capt,), McDonald (sub Parker, 74), Johansen; Aluko (sub Cyriac, 66), Kebano, Ayite (sub Sessegnon, 56)
(Scott Parker took the captain's armband when he came on)
Subs not used:- Button; Madl, Piazon, Martin
Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Vorm; Trippier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies; Winks (sub Dembele, 79), Wanyama; Eriksen, Alli (sub Onomah, 86), Son; Kane (Capt.) (sub Sissoko, 75)
(Armband to Vertonghen)
Subs not used:- Pau Lopez; Wimmer, Carter-Vickers; Janssen
Triple whammy for Spurs and Kane
It was a great day for Spurs and Harry Kane at Craven Cottage, as the team scored their first goals in open play since the win over Wycombe in the last round of the FA Cup on January 28th which was five games ago. Harry Kane scored a hat-trick to put paid to any prospect of Championship side Fulham knocking out Spurs, and to cap it all we have drawn League One Millwall at home in the quarter-finals. I call that a result!
Spurs fielded a stronger side than I expected, and that included the very welcome return to action of Jan Vertonghen, and the presence of Kane, both of whom were subject to late fitness tests. Harry was captain for the day. Jan was greeted almost from kick-off with the chant of "Super Jan Vertonghen" by the mass of Spurs fans who were in good voice throughout, dominating as much as the team dominated possession and chances on the pitch.
Fulham fielded a weaker team than I anticipated with Chris Martin not getting off the bench, and 16 year old Ryan Sessegnon also kept under wraps until his side had gone two down. First choice goalkeeper (an ex-Spurs junior) David Button was also on the bench. To be honest, his replacement Marcus Bettinelli did not look at all confident, and if there is any criticism to be laid at Spurs' door it is that they did not have the game killed off before half-time by which time they had spurned several chances.
It was virtually a full house on a mild and bright February day. Spurs (playing in their amber kit) kicked off playing away from their fans towards the Hammersmith End. Christian Eriksen had a shot saved after three minutes, after Alli's headed pass. It was a left foot shot, saved by Bettinelli diving to his left, conceding a corner.
Harry Winks, who was bright throughout this game, did well winning the ball in the packed midfield, and ultimately, Dele Alli had a right foot shot pass just outside the keeper's right post. Fulham had a corner at the other end, and Scott Malone curled a shot wide of Vorm's left post.
Spurs took the lead in the 16th minute, after a quick throw taken in the right by Kieran Trippier, followed by a first-time cross by Eriksen, and a left footed shot by Harry Kane which beat Bettinelli to his left. Almost immediately after the kick-off, Harry had a golden opportunity to make it two but he fired too close to the keeper.
Bettinelli had been charitable with poor clearances, and Vorm did his best at the other end, presenting Cairney with a chance which was fortunately hit straight back into his arms. More good play by Winks led to the ball being fed by Eriksen to Trippier, and Winks himself getting on the end of the cross. Bettinelli held the shot.
Eriksen had one free kick blocked, and then fired a good chance high over the goal after Kane's pass. Excellent defensive work by Victor Wanyama on the right flank in Spurs' half then a good ball to Dele Alli led to a chance for Kane, but he had been called offside. Dele gave Kane another chance on the left side of goal, but Harry hit this effort too high. Harry picked up a poor Fulham clearance, but the Fulham defence managed to close him down and clear.
At the other end a mistake by Vertonghen gave Fulham an opening which ended with Aluko cutting the ball back to Johansen who fired wide. In first half added time Aluko had a chance from the right of goal, but his shot was held by Vorm.
Three minutes after the break, Winks sent a good ball to Trippier who passed inside to Eriksen. His shot was deflected and fell into the goalkeeper's hands.
Spurs soon went two up, after a lovely move. Again, Winks arrowed a pass from the centre to Trippier on the right, who cut it back to Eriksen. Eriksen chipped a short cross to Kane at the back post for a good finish and a score-line which suggested there was no way back for the home side. Certainly the Spurs fans saw it this way and were in good voice for the rest of the game. "Spurs are on their way to Wembley", but of course that is as soon as next Thursday!
Son Heung-min was fouled just outside the box, but again Eriksen's free kick was disappointing and was routinely blocked.
Fulham coach Slavisa Jokanovic introduced 16 year old protege Ryan Sessegnon who did win a few corners, but didn't really cause Spurs too much of a problem.
Dele Alli was slapping his hand on the ground in his frustration at missing a close range chance presented to him by Eriksen after more good work by Winks, Davies and Son. Kalas had a shot go wide after another corner won by Sessegnon. Fulham fans were trying to stir up their men, and they are equipped with the "Happy Clapping" cardboard as utilised by Leicester fans.
Eriksen might have done better on a breakaway attack, but allowed the Fulham defence to clear. Eriksen did start a move with a ball to Son who chipped to Kane. Harry fired just over the bar.
McDonald had a header go too high after another Fulham corner, and Vorm had to make a quite spectacular flying hold of a cross by Scott Malone.
Fulham's efforts to get back in the game were thwarted by hat-trick Harry after delicate but accurate passing by Eriksen and Dele Alli. Harry was soon replaced by Moussa Sissoko, and all Spurs had to do now was see out the game.
Scott Parker came on for a cameo and took the Fulham captain's armband from Cairney, receiving a rousing recording from the travelling fans, chanting "Super Scotty Parker".
Sissoko and Trippier were involved on the right in creating a chance for Eriksen, who shot wide across the goal. Parker actually had a close range header saved in the centre of goal by Michel Vorm, but I thought an offside flag had been raised anyway.
In the closing stages Sissoko had a rising shot pushed over the bar by Bettinelli, and Wanyama had a shot saved.
Spurs had shown full respect to their opponents and the competition with the strength of their team, and did their own morale a lot of good with a much-improved performance. Some of their success was achieved with a return to ball-winning in the middle thanks to good determined closing down of opponents in that area.
Harry Kane will inevitably get the man of the match award, but I thought Harry Winks impressed throughout. Whilst I wouldn't claim that he controlled the game, he certainly won a lot of ball, and sprayed some good passes to the left and right from his central position. Winks' latest renewed contract is well deserved.
Now we have four days before our next game, at Wembley against Gent, when another good performance will be required. Kyle Walker will surely return for that game, when a two clear goal win is required. It should be an exciting night!
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