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Spurs v Fulham, 03.09.22


Spurs scorers:-
Hojbjerg, 40

Fulham scorer:-
Mitrovic, 83

Attendance:- 61,641

Referee:- Stuart Attwell
Assistants:- Dan Cook, Wade Smith
Fourth official:- Darren Bond
VAR:- Andre Marriner
Assistant VAR:- Derek Eaton.

Spurs (3-4-3):- Lloris (Capt.); Romero, Dier, Lenglet; Emerson Royal, Hojbjerg, Bentancur, Sessegnon; Richarlison, Kane (sub Kulusevski, 78), Son (sub Perisic, 84)

Subs not used:- Forster; Doherty, Sanchez, Tanganga, Davies; Skipp, Bissouma

Booked:- Romero (foul on Pereira), Bentancur (foul on Cairney), Richarlison (taking shirt off after goal – which was then disallowed anyway)

Fulham (4-2-3-1):- Leno; Tete, Adarabioyo, Ream (Capt.), Robinson (sub Mbabu,29); Reed, Palhinha (sub Vinicius, 85); Decordova-Reid (sub James,60), Pereira (sub Cairney, 61), Kebano (sub Willian, 60); Mitrovic

Subs not used:- Rodak; Duffy, Diop; Chalobah,

Booked:- Tete (time), Decordova-Reid (foul on Son), Palhinha (foul)

Spurs play well, but still make us sweat

Fulham - 03.09.22

Antonio Conte made five changes to his team after the West Ham game with Romero returning for Sanchez, Lenglet replacing Davies, Bentancur back in place of Bissouma and Richarlison getting a welcome start in Kulusevski’s right wing slot. Ryan Sessegnon took over from Perisic at left wing-back. Richarlison had a smashing game and thought he had sealed the win with a 90th minute goal, but VAR saw that disallowed, as it had a Spurs effort early in the game. Spurs also hit the woodwork twice and had far more shots on target than did Fulham. Despite that, we were made to sweat a bit after Mitrovic scored a very good goal late in the day, and also forced an excellent save from Hugo Lloris with another shot which was deflected towards goal.

Another good crowd was in attendance on another warm late summer’s day. Fulham’s starting line-up included recent signings Palhinha and Pereira. Spurs kicked off and played towards the North Stand. They hardly got out of their own half in the first three minutes. Sessegnon was playing against his old team for the first time, and was greeted fondly by the away fans. Ryan put in an excellent tackle on Decordova-Reid who had been delivered the ball by former Manchester United man Andreas Pereira, who most recently had been playing for Flamengo back in Brazil. Sessegnon was inside the area at the other end to receive Kane’s pass and got no foul when going down after Palhinha’ s challenge for the ball.

Kane had a right foot shot tipped out of play by Leno who was kept on his toes throughout the game. Son and Richarlison combined and Emerson was fed the ball, but Leno saved at his near post. After the corner and another cross from the left by Son, Richarlison’s header won another corner. We thought we had the lead after a short corner and a cross by Son. The ball floated into the net and I thought Kane had headed it in, but apparently not, although he was deemed to be interfering with play and VAR chalked off the goal. Spurs maintained the pressure, but Emerson failed with two or three crosses.

Spurs had a free kick 25 yards out after 17 minutes. This was taken by Eric Dier and was blocked. Son’s attempt to follow-up was cleared. After we conceded a slightly cheap corner, taken from the left, Hugo was up to firmly claim the ball. Clement Lenglet, making his first League start for Spurs was more than competent at the back, and offered good passes when going forward, such as one to Richarlison who passed to Son, who had another shot deflected out of play. After a Spurs corner Emerson crossed from the left and Leno seemed to carry the ball over the bye-line but as he had his back to Stuart Attwell’s assistant there was no corner.

Hojbjerg was offering his usual drive and lifted a ball into the area where both Kane and Richarlison had efforts blocked. This attack fizzled out. Fulham’s Robinson was injured and had to be replaced by Mbabu. After another excellent ball by Lenglet and a touch by Kane, "Sonny" hit the underside of the bar with a shot.

Fulham were taking time out of the game at every opportunity, rattling the home crowd. Leno went down for treatment and most of his team were getting supplementary coaching advice on the touchline. The referee had words with the Fulham captain over time wasting, but it didn’t stop Tete dithering over a free kick long enough for him to be shown a yellow card.

There was some good interplay between Kane and Richarlison approaching goal, but the Fulham defence managed to clear. Richarlison was interacting with Son well too, and also doing his bit in our half. Lenglet went close with a header from a long Son corner, hitting the side netting with his header. Finally, we had a lead which was more than justified. It was an excellent move as well with Hojbjerg advancing towards the area, sharing deft passes with Richarlison before scoring past Leno’s right hand with a well-hit low shot. It was Hojbjerg’s second goal of the season already, matching his league total of the last two seasons.

There were 6 minutes of added time during which Sessegnon took Son’s pass and curled a shot wide across the goal.

Spurs kicked off the second half. We won another corner three minutes into the half after another good move where Kane headed to Richarlison who passed to Son. "Sonny" returned the ball to Kane and we had another corner after a blocked shot. After the corner, Dier hit a shot over after a cross by Richarlison. "Sonny" raced away down the left flank and passed inside to Kane who teed up Richarlison, but his shot was held.

Hugo had to make a good save to keep out a Mitrovic shot after Spurs had been guilty of poor play out from the back. After the Fulham corner and what looked like a great threat as Son broke into the Fulham half, Decordova-Reid saw to it that Son didn’t make progress, at the expense of a yellow card. After a Spurs move down the right side ending in Emerson’s low cross, Sessegnon met the ball and hit it goalward, but Leno saved yet again. Romero had a shot held by the keeper after the corner.

Marco Silva made a triple substitution around the hour mark. Until then, Fulham had not shown the form their earlier results this season had suggested. Those subs included one old hand – Cairney – and two deadline day acquisitions, Daniel James (with whom Spurs had been linked) and former Chelsea and Arsenal man Willian, who was booed with every touch.

Leno got his fingertips to a shot by Son which had taken a deflection. It was another save, and another corner. Mitrovic threatened at the other end when the ball rebounded between him and Emerson, but the ball ran to Lloris. Another Romero header was held by Leno after another Spurs corner.

After a Fulham free kick at the Spurs end was cleared Spurs pushed forward and that man Richarlison sent a good ball to Sessegnon, he exchanged with Son and there was an appeal for handball in the area, but in the meantime Sessegnon crossed and Kane tapped in from close range. We had to wait a while for VAR to ratify the goal, whilst it considered offside against Sessegnon, but the goal stood and Spurs had a deserved lead of two.

Kane was granted a breather as Kulusevski came on and Richarlison took over in the middle. After a great move involving Sessegnon, Son and Richarlison down the left channel, "Sonny" passed to Richarlison and his low shot hit the inside of the keeper’s right post and crossed the goal.

Mitrovic scored an excellent goal – somewhat out of the blue. He was inside the area on the left and hit a right foot curler beyond Lloris. It was Mitrovic’s sixth goal of the season already, and he has scored in four consecutive games for Fulham. To be honest, I don’t think Romero was handling the big Serbian too well at this stage of the game. Mitrovic teed up Cairney but Lenglet blocked his shot well.

Ivan Perisic replaced Son and played in his left-side attacking role. Hugo had to make his toughest save of the match from Mitrovic, whose shot took a heavy deflection. It required an athletic flying save for Hugo to push the ball around his left post. That had been too close for comfort and we thought we had secured the win in the last minute when Richarlison slotted in Sessegnon’s cross, but Ryan was found to have been offside by VAR. Richarlison’s shirt being ripped off and thrown in the air was in vain, but still saw him get a yellow card. It would, of course, have been his first league goal for Tottenham.

Spurs saw out the five added minutes to make it six games unbeaten this season to add to the six at the end of last season. We are secure in third place, level on points,but (on goal difference) behind a certain Manchester City who we play next Saturday. Firstly though, we have a Champions League appointment at home on Wednesday!

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