Harry Kane disappoints as a lucky decision helps Tottenham Hotspur seal a narrow 1-0 win over Fulham on Thursday.
Tottenham Hotspur extend their winning run to two games in the Premier League, following a hard-fought yet lucky 1-0 win over Fulham at Craven Cottage on Thursday.
The visitors were far from their best as Fulham dominated the possession and looked like the better side for the majority of the game. Even in the first half, the Cotaggers enjoyed the lion’s share of possession but failed to create too many clear cut opportunities.
Tottenham, in contrast, showcased brilliant directness in their counter-attacking play, finding the opener in the 19th minute through an own goal from Tosin Adarabioyo. While they were wasteful in front of goal, the breakthrough gave Jose Mourinho’s men the incentive to sit deep and employ their usual gameplan.
Fulham unsurprisingly dominated more possession in the second half but also made better use of it as well. As such, they had multiple efforts on goal and eventually found the equaliser in the 63rd minute through Josh Maja. However, a controversial decision from the referee saw the goal chalked off due to Davinson Sanchez’s clearance hitting the hand of Mario Lemina.
It was a harsh decision from Fulham’s perspective, but one that was enough to help Tottenham snatch all three points. And here, at The Hard Tackle, we will take a closer look at how Mourinho’s men performed in this crucial win on Thursday.
Hugo Lloris: 8/10
Hugo Lloris had an excellent game in between the sticks. The Tottenham goalkeeper made a few key saves in the second half to deny Fulham the equaliser. Also had to remain cautious as the defensive support around him was under a lot of press, so the skipper had to be alert throughout the course of the game. A well-earned clean sheet.
Matt Doherty: 6/10
Often a maligned figure in the Tottenham backline, Matt Doherty once again had a difficult time on the right flank. He was sloppy in possession and his offensive support was far from impressive, with the full-back occasionally getting outmatched by the marauding Antonee Robinson. Really needs to improve his defensive game.
Davinson Sanchez: 8/10
Davinson Sanchez had a great game at the heart of the Tottenham backline. He made a series of strong, convincing tackles while using his aerial and physical prowess to minimise the threat of Josh Maja. The Colombian, however, was a bit lucky as his scuffed clearance hit the hand of Mario Lemina.
FFS – it’s not VAR. It’s the rule. Absolutely awful rule that needs to change, yes. But stop wheeling out this tiresome blame towards VAR. https://t.co/CjNwuHE1CU
— michael owen (@themichaelowen) March 4, 2021
Toby Alderweireld: 8/10
While Sanchez did the dirty work in defence, Toby Alderweireld’s experience and positional sense were key in helping Tottenham retain a clean sheet in this tight game. Indeed, the veteran centre-back offered some real leadership as he continues to get the nod ahead of Eric Dier in central defence.
Ben Davies: 7/10
Ben Davies had a typical quiet game in the left-back position. He stayed deep to aid the two centre-backs and was solid enough to deal with the pressure of Ivan Cavaleiro.
Tanguy Ndombele: 7/10
Tanguy Ndombele lacked his usual charisma with the ball, failing to drive through Fulham’s second line of press. The midfielder did, however, offer a few excellent forward passes to tee up the likes of Kane and Son. Played in a more forward role after the introduction of Sissoko, although he himself eventually made way for Erik Lamela in the 75th minute.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg: 8/10
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg couldn’t really dominate the midfield due to Fulham enjoying the lion’s share of possession. As a result, the Dane mostly had to remain behind the ball, position himself just outside the box and make a host of clearances in and around the penalty box. Did well for the most part, despite a difficult end to the game.
Gareth Bale: 6.5/10
Gareth Bale was involved in most of Tottenham’s forays into the final third, during the first half. He even played a key role behind the opener, by intercepting a pass in midfield and launching the ball forward. Very dynamic at times but that consistency was lacking. Not helped by Spurs’ conservative style of play either.
Dele Alli: 6/10
Dele Alli worked hard in the final third, making some good runs and was eventually rewarded with a goal, although it was awarded as an own goal. However, the Englishman wasn’t as influential or dynamic as Son or Bale. He wasn’t involved much in the game either, especially in the second half as he ultimately made way for Moussa Sissoko in the 67th minute.
Mourinho on Dele Alli: "He deserved to start. It was not a gift. It was a consequence of his work since he came back and working 100 per cent. He was giving us important things. Did very well in the Europa League and very well in every minute he had." https://t.co/f8HPnfP8RR
— Alasdair Gold (@AlasdairGold) March 4, 2021
Son Heung-Min: 7/10
Son Heung-Min was very active in the final third, making good runs forward and trying his best to create chances. He even provided the cross that led to the only goal of the game. The South Korean international’s influence waned as the game progressed, with the player barely showing anything in the second half.
Harry Kane: 4/10
Harry Kane was extremely wasteful in front of goal this evening. He missed a glorious opportunity from close range in the first half. He also missed another chance late in the second half, when his effort was saved by Alphonso Areola. Kane’s overall game and creativity were impressive as usual, but one should expect better productivity from the Tottenham forward.
Lucas Moura: 5/10
Lucas Moura came in for Bale midway through the second half but didn’t really make an impact, aside from offering energy and urgency in the final third.
Moussa Sissoko: 6/10
Moussa Sissoko’s introduction in the 67th minute was clearly a defensive move by Jose Mourinho. It was a useful one as the Frenchman aided Hojbjerg in the second line of press.
Erik Lamela: 7.5/10
A late replacement for Ndombele, who offered the much-needed spark in the final third with his majestic solo runs and clever through balls. Should have been brought in much earlier, perhaps in place of Lucas.