Younes Kaboul celebrates rare goal – Source: Getty Images
Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Fulham
Saturday 19th April 2014
A wonderful performance from Christian Eriksen helped Spurs to three points and kept the Cottagers in danger. Tottenham kept their faint hopes of a top four finish alive with a performance that included a bit of everything from Eriksen. The Danish playmaker produced two excellent assists, but also gave away a needless penalty. Fortunately for him, Fulham missed that penalty late in the game.
The home fans where subdued for a large portion of the first half at White Hart Lane, which gave the game a testimonial-type feel. For Spurs, this was understandable with only an outside chance of Champions League qualification to play for. That certainly wasn’t the case for Fulham and their supporters. The Londoners need every single point they can get their hands on, and after excellent back-to-back wins over Aston Villa and Norwich City, Felix Magath will be very disappointed not to continue building on that momentum.
Fulham started the game the brighter of the two sides, getting around the park and closing Spurs down, and generally working very hard. Spurs seemed just happy to settle into the game slowly after last week’s debacle when they found themselves 2-0 down to West Brom in no time. The in-form Hugo Rodallega had the first chance, getting to the ball before Younes Kaboul, before hitting his shot well wide from twenty yards. Spurs’ first chance fell to Aaron Lennon who volleyed well over and then had another shot palmed onto the post by Fulham goalkeeper David Stockdale.
Tottenham eventually got the break-through after the half hour mark, when Eriksen delivered a wonderful cross that was tucked away comfortably by the Brazilian Paulinho. This came after a dubious decision by referee Lee Probert to award a free-kick for a foul on Lennon. However, Spurs couldn’t celebrate for too long as Fulham hit back within two minutes. Steve Sidwell took advantage of some dreadful defending from centre backs Zeki Fryers and Younes Kaboul to poke beyond Hugo Lloris, leaving the Frenchman with little chance to save.
Fulham were now very much back in the game, but they will be very upset by their second half display, considering what’s on the line for them. They needed to push on but Spurs cantered to victory. First they regained the lead barely into the second period after some poor marking led to youngster Harry Kane glancing a header into the corner of the net, from a Lennon cross. He is continuing to re-pay manager Tim Sherwood’s faith in him, after scoring for the third consecutive league game.
Fulham did have a chance to equalise but Rodallega’s header was excellently parried over by Lloris. That was Fulham’s last chance really as Spurs increased their lead. Eriksen was once again at the heart of it as he produced another great dead ball and Kaboul bundled the ball into the goal at the back post, with Stockdale helpless. The game appeared safe but there was a chance for some late drama when Eriksen handled Rodallega’s touch. Referee Lee Probert had no doubt about the decision, pointing to the spot straight away. Sidwell took the kick but Lloris made a marvellous stop. If that had gone in, who knows what could have happened, but it wasn’t to be.
Fulham are still very much in the thick of the relegation battle, two points behind Norwich. However, the Canaries’ run-in will give Magath’s side some hope for beating the drop. This was a good win for Spurs as Tim Sherwood continues to stake his claim for the job long-term. That probably won’t happen but I think he should get a chance elsewhere.
Man Of The Match: Christian Eriksen continued his incredible recent form with two lovely assists. If he had produced this form for the whole season, Spurs might have had a better chance at the top-four and the Dane might have got a nomination for PFA Player of the Year. Look out for him big time next season!
Thanks for reading,