Tottenham Hotspur are hoping to extend their winning run to three matches in all competitions with a triumph against Fulham on Wednesday.
Tottenham Hotspur travel to Craven Cottage on Thursday as they lock horns with Fulham. It is a vital game for Jose Mourinho’s men in the context of their aspirations in the Premier League, having drifted away from the top four owing to a poor start to 2021. It was only last weekend when they returned to winning ways, thanks to a Gareth Bale led 4-0 triumph over Burnley.
Another matchup against a bottom club bodes well for the north London giants, who are currently eighth in the Premier League table. A win on Thursday could help them maintain pressure on Liverpool, Everton and Chelsea. Another mishap, though, should allow Aston Villa and even arch-rivals Arsenal to overtake them, leaving Spurs stranded in mid-table.
As for Fulham, fans have witnessed a slight improvement in terms of the club’s overall solidity in recent weeks. The defence has stepped up nicely, soaking up the pressure exerted by the opposition. It was a feature that was ideally reflected in their win over Everton and Sheffield United.
In a stretch of the last five games, the Cotaggers have conceded only just one goal. It has helped Scott Parker’s men get back into the survival race, with the club just three points away from safety.
They may just have to showcase their resolve yet again, though, against a Tottenham side that has scored four goals in three of their last four matches in all competitions. And here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over these two sides ahead of this highly important matchup in the Premier League this midweek.
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— Fulham Football Club (@FulhamFC) March 1, 2021
The reversal to a traditional back-four has worked wonders for Scott Parker so far, with the setup offering more stability in terms of positioning of the supporting defensive cast. The two full-backs in Kenny Tete and Ola Aina, in particular, have appeared to better fit into this scheme, rather than Denis Odoi and Antonee Robinson, who can be positionally sloppy at times.
However, it is the central defensive duo of Tosin Adarabioyo and Joachim Andersen that has offered the grit as well as the stability in the Fulham backline, ultimately allowing Parker to commit more men in the offensive side of things.
Speaking of stability, Harrison Reed is set to play a key role in a game where Fulham are unlikely to have much possession. Especially in Tottenham, who like to close down their opponents early, the midfielder’s ability to remain calm in possession and rotate the ball quickly should offer his side the much-needed assurance when launching a counter-attack.
Partnered by a more dynamic Mario Lemina, the duo should offer the variety as well as the versatility in the Fulham midfield, with additional support from the wide players in Ivan Cavaleiro and Ademola Lookman, as far as the second line of press is concerned.
The versatile Tom Cairney is, unfortunately, the only injury-related issue Parker is facing heading into this game. So the onus will be on Ruben Loftus-Cheek to offer the creativity in a slightly advanced role, almost in a supporting cast for striker Josh Maja, although the on-loan Chelsea ace can interchange his role with Lemina or indeed drop back in to create a situational 4-5-1.
Probable Lineup (4-4-1-1): Areola; Tete, Andersen, Adarabioyo, Aina; Cavaleiro, Reed, Lemina, Lookman; Loftus-Cheek; Maja
With Giovani Lo Celso the only injury-related absentee heading into this game, Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho doesn’t have too many reasons to tinker with his formation or squad that looked impressive in the 4-0 win over Burnley on the weekend.
— Harry Kane (@HKane) March 2, 2021
They were able to break down a low block quite comprehensively, although it should be argued that Fulham do possess much more quality than Burnley. As such, the Cotaggers may offer more dynamism going forward, while the midfield duo of Reed and Lemina is certainly impressive when it comes to keeping hold of the ball.
Spurs, therefore, will have to polish their pressing game, with Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Tanguy Ndombele hoping to hurry and hassle the Fulham midfielders. The duo should also play a key role in offering forward passes, with Ndombele, in particular, likely to make driving runs into the final third.
Tottenham do attack in numbers which is hardly surprising as Mourinho has deployed Lucas Moura in the number ten role in recent weeks. The Brazilian should retain his place in the side, alongside Gareth Bale and Son Heung-Min in the creative trifecta, operating just behind the number nine Harry Kane.
The full-backs Sergio Reguilon and Serge Aurier are likely to provide the additional numbers going forward, although the latter is likely to operate in a more conservative role in order to provide aid to the two centre-backs in Toby Alderweireld and Davinson Sanchez. It will be interesting to see how these two deal with the threat of Maja, along with dynamic attackers like Cavaleiro and Lookman this midweek.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Lloris; Aurier, Sanchez, Alderweireld, Reguilon; Hojbjerg, Ndombele; Bale, Lucas, Son; Kane
- Tottenham to win @ 1.95
- Gareth Bale to score @ 3.00
- Fulham have won just one of their 14 Premier League matches against Tottenham Hotspur, winning 1-0 at White Hart Lane in March 2013 under former Spurs manager Martin Jol.
- Only Burnley, Sheffield United and West Bromwich Albion have scored fewer goals than Fulham in the ongoing Premier League campaign so far.
- The Cotaggers do, however, boast an excellent defensive record, with their tally of 32 goals conceded the best in the lower half of the league table.
- Tottenham’s power duo Son Heung-Min and Harry Kane have combined for more goals (25) than Fulham (21) have scored in the ongoing campaign so far.
- Tottenham have picked up 10 wins from their last 12 Premier League games against Fulham, conceding just eight goals in the process and never more than once in a match.
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— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) March 2, 2021
When Tottenham Hotspur met Burnley on the weekend, it was completely a Gareth Bale show as the Welshman was involved in three of the four goals his team scored on the day. His second goal was particularly exquisite, drawing resemblance from his old self at Real Madrid. It was certainly a performance worth watching for any neutral.
Even aside from his performance against Burnley, Bale has looked in great touch recently and is starting to rediscover his form. In his last four matches, the on-loan Real Madrid superstar has been directly involved in seven goals in all competitions. It is certainly a return that is synonymous with the quality he possesses.
Therefore, Bale is once again set to become the star attraction for Tottenham when they lock horns with Fulham. His pace, dynamism and link-up play with the likes of Kane, Son and Lucas could make life difficult for the opposition, and it will be quite imperative for Parker’s men to minimise his influence on the right flank if they are to salvage anything from this game.
Fulham 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur
Despite their awful run of form in the Premier League, Tottenham are the undisputed favourites heading into this game. They have been boosted by Bale’s return of form while others like Lucas Moura and Sergio Reguilon are starting to perform once again.
Fulham, in contrast, still remains quite unproductive in the final third, amid all the improvements in the defensive unit. While we do expect the Lilywhites to face problems in breaking down the opposition backline, they might snatch all three points in the narrowest of margins on Thursday.