Tottenham Hotspur will be aiming to close the gap to the top of the table when they lock horns with Fulham in a London derby on Wednesday.
The fixtures continue to come thick and fast across in the Premier League as Matchday 18 gets played out this week. Tottenham Hotspur will be in action at home on Wednesday night as they gear up to take on fellow London outfit, Fulham in a hastily rearranged encounter.
Jose Mourinho’s men were penned in to face Aston Villa on the night. But a coronavirus outbreak within the Villans camp meant that the game had to be postponed. Instead, Tottenham and Fulham will battle it out after their fixture, initially scheduled to take place on December 29, had to be called off due to positive COVID-19 cases at Fulham.
Tottenham, after going through a rough patch in December, have got themselves back on track, racking up three wins in a row in all competitions, including a 5-0 triumph over Marine in the FA Cup at the weekend. The Lilywhites are just four points off of leaders Liverpool and could close that gap with a win on Wednesday.
Fulham are on a five-game unbeaten run in all competitions, although they have won just one of those matches – a 2-0 victory over QPR in the FA Cup this past weekend. But, Scott Parker’s men have managed to hold Liverpool and Southampton to draws during this run and will be hoping to repeat the feat or do one better this midweek as they hope to move out of the drop zone.
The last time these two sides met in the Premier League was in January 2019 at Craven Cottage, with Spurs emerging 2-1 winners courtesy second half goals from Dele Alli and Harry Winks. Ahead of their latest meeting at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both the teams.
Team News & Tactics
Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho confirmed last week that Giovani Lo Celso will not be involved for the game due to an injury. Apart from the Argentine, the hosts do not have any major injury-related absentees. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg picked up a nasty gash on his leg in the Carabao Cup tie against Brentford but is expected to be available.
Having played a largely second-string side in the FA Cup game at the weekend, Mourinho will bring in his heavy-hitters for Wednesday’s contest against Fulham. In goal, club captain Hugo Lloris ought to replace Joe Hart, with the rest of the team setting up in a 4-2-3-1 formation in front of him.
Serge Aurier and Sergio Reguilon ought to be the two full-backs, flanking the centre-back partnership of Toby Alderweireld and Eric Dier. Both the full-backs will look to push forward and pump in crosses into the box, with the two central midfielders, Harry Winks and Hojbjerg, dropping in to cover for them during those phases.
Up ahead, the creative onus will lie on the shoulders of Tanguy Ndombele. The Frenchman’s ability to pick out through passes and drive at the opposition defence could come in handy against a Fulham side that will sit deep and defend. Son Heung-min is a certain starter on the left while Steven Bergwijn should feature on the right, having not started the last two games.
There is no looking past Harry Kane as the centre-forward for Tottenham. The England captain, as he has done to great effect this term, will look to drop deep and get on the ball in order to create chances for his teammates. Carlos Vinicius and Dele Alli, who starred in the FA Cup game, will be options from the bench.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Lloris; Aurier, Alderweireld, Dier, Reguilon; Winks, Hojbjerg; Bergwijn, Ndombele, Son; Kane
Fulham boss Scott Parker has a fully-fit squad at his disposal ahead of the short trip to Tottenham on Wednesday. And the manager is expected to make wholesale changes to the side that beat QPR 2-0 in extra-time in the FA Cup this past weekend.
On-loan PSG goalkeeper Alphonse Areola has impressed heavily in recent games and should return to the starting XI after sitting out in the cup tie. The three-man backline will see Ola Aina retain his spot, with the ex-Chelsea ace likely to have his hands full against the threat of Son Heung-min. Joachim Andersen and Tosin Adarabioyo ought to come into the side on Wednesday.
"The possibility of playing Spurs on Wednesday came on Saturday. We didn’t think that was realistic and we were informed Monday morning at 9:30. To confirm that on Monday morning is scandalous. I accept we have to play the game, but it’s the notice."#TOTFUL pic.twitter.com/hTAQI9wztq
— Fulham Football Club (@FulhamFC) January 12, 2021
Harrison Reed will be the defensive midfielder who will be charged with stemming the creative influence of Ndombele with support coming from Mario Lemina. Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa ought to take up the third spot in the middle of the park and offer added protection to the defence, but will also have the responsibility of driving forward when on the ball.
Bobby Reid, who has excelled in the right wing-back role of late should come in for Kenny Tete, while summer signing Antonee Robinson ought to slot in on the left. The duo will look to romp forward when Fulham break and hit in accurate crosses for target man Aleksandar Mitrovic to pounce upon.
Mitrovic will have Ademola Lookman for support at the top, although the Englishman will have the freedom to roam around in the attacking third to make things happen.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Areola; Aina, Andersen, Adarabioyo; Reid, Lemina, Reed, Zambo Anguissa, Robinson; Mitrovic, Lookman
- Tottenham have won 10 of their last 11 Premier League meetings against Fulham, losing the other 0-1 at White Hart Lane back in 2013.
- Since a 2-1 win in November 2008, Fulham haven’t scored more than once in any of their last 13 Premier League matches against Tottenham (W1 D2 L10), netting just seven goals during this run.
- Tottenham are unbeaten in their last seven London derbies (W3 D4) in the Premier League, since losing 1-2 to Chelsea in February.
- Fulham have lost their last 13 Premier League London derbies, an all-time record in the top-flight. The Cottagers also have the lowest win rate in such games in the Premier League (19% – 25 wins in 131 games).
- Tottenham Hotspur have not kept a single clean sheet in their previous five meetings against Fulham in the Premier League.
Player to Watch
Tottenham’s top goalscorer in the Premier League with 12 strikes to his name, Son Heung-min, along with Harry Kane, has been the Lilywhites’ most important player this term. Having gone without a goal and an assist in three consecutive games against Leicester City and Wolves, the 28-year-old ended the run against Leeds, helping them to a 3-0 win.
That was followed by another crucial goal in the Carabao Cup semi-final against Brentford. Having been deservedly rested against Marine, Son will be raring to go against Fulham on Wednesday and find the back of the net in the third game in a row since the turn of the new year.
Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Fulham
Tottenham, after a wobbly period, last month have returned to winning ways, picking up victories in four of their last five matches across all competitions (D1). Fulham, meanwhile, are also in a good moment, having not lost any of their last five games.
Having managed to thwart the likes of Liverpool and Southampton, Scott Parker’s side will once again sit deep and try to frustrate Tottenham. But, considering the form that Harry Kane, Son Heung-min and Tanguy Ndombele have been in of late, they should be able to get at least one goal past the visitors. To that end, The Hard Tackle predicts a narrow win for Jose Mourinho & co.