Friday, November 04, 2011

Tottenham's League Record at Fulham

Undefeated in the last seven Premier League, Tottenham cross London to take on Fulham where they will encounter former manager, Martin Jol.  Spurs won at Craven Cottage in the league last year but were unceremoniously dumped out of the FA Cup later in the season.  Fulham have shown recent improvement after a slow start and are progressing well in the Europa League.

Fulham had a very early start to their competitive season with matches in the qualifying stages of the Europa League after entering through the Fair Play League.  This has seen them with a hectic schedule of fixtures since late June putting their squad under pressure.  However, they appear to be coping well and have recorded a 6 - 0 home win over Queen's Park Rangers at the beginning of October and last week won 2 - 0 at Wigan.  This was a good recovery for them after the disappointment of the previous weekend when at home to Everton, Bobby Zamora, formerly of Tottenham, missed an open goal in the final minute to win the game and then saw the visitors take all three points with two goals in added time.  They are currently in 15th place in the Premier League, too many draws being their problem, as it was last season.  They have the one home win and three draws against Aston Villa, Manchester City and Blackburn Rovers, with the one defeat to Everton.  They are the only Premier League side to take points from City, coming from two goals down to deny the league leaders.  Fulham have scored ten goals and their strikers are starting to find their touch - Andrew Johnson and Bobby Zamora with Clint Dempsey.  They had a good 4 - 1 home win in the Europa League against Wisla Krakow with Johnson scoring twice on Thursday evening to take them into second place in their group.

With a small squad the players get to know and understand their system of play which makes them a hard working unit which is difficult to beat.  They have a group of players with extensive Premier League experience, goalkeeper, Mark Schwarzer, the Northern Ireland international defenders, Aaron Hughes and Chris Baird, highly rated defender Brede Hangeland, Steve Sidwell in midfield along with their experienced strike force.  However, the demands of the Europe has seen them lose points immediately after these games and especially the away matches where they have lost at Newcastle, Stoke and Wolverhampton.

Fulham, in recent years signed a number of former Tottenham players and still have Stephen Kelly, Simon Davies, Zamora and Danny Murphy as regulars in their team, although injury has again restricted Davies.  Martin Jol strengthened his strike force with the signing of the Coast Rican, Bryan Ruiz from FC Twente.

Last Premier League Game at Craven Cottage
Last season Tottenham completed the 'double' over Fulham, winning 2 -1 at Craven Cottage and 1 - 0 at home with Gareth Bale scoring the only goal.  The away in mid-October was marked by controversy over Tottenham's second goal.  Fulham had gone ahead after thirty minutes but Roman Pavlyuchenko responded to equalise within a minute.  In the second half, Tom Huddlestone scored the winner but it seemed that it might be disallowed as William Gallas was in an off-side position in front of the goalkeeper when the shot was struck.  However, after some confusion, the goal stood and Tottenham had again won from a losing position, a feature of last season's results.  It was a hard fought victory and what will be required again to bring success to Spurs on Sunday.

League Record at Fulham (inc. PL)
P  32  W  12  D  12  L  8  For  49  Ag  43 

Premier League Record at Fulham
P  10  W  2  D  3  L  5  For  12  Ag  15

Prior to Fulham's return to top flight football in the Premier League in 2001 after an absence of 33 years, Spurs had a good record at Craven Cottage, having only lost on three occasions in 22 visits.  However, since establishing themselves in the Premier League, Fulham have clawed back much of Tottenham's advantage gained in the earlier years.  In 2001 Spurs won 2 - 0 with goals from Teddy Sheringham and Gus Poyet but since that last year's win has been their only other League success.

Recent Away Record against Fulham
Oct, 2010  PL  Won 2 - 1  Pavlyuchenko, Huddlestone
Mar. 2010  PL  Draw 0 - 0
Dec. 2009  PL  Draw 0 - 0
Dec. 2008  PL  Lost 1 - 2  Campbell
Harry Redknapp had taken over as manager in October and this was their first League defeat.  A horror show from Heurelho Gomes gifted Fulham the opening goal when mishandling a routine shot by  Simon Davies in the first half.  Johnson added the second with twenty minutes remaining.  On loan signing, Frazer Campbell scored with ten minutes left having replaced Darren Bent.  It was his only League goal for Spurs but it was too late. 
Sept. 2007  PL  Draw 3 - 3  Kaboul, Berbatov, Bale
A match Tottenham had won with a comfortable 3 - 1 advantage after an hour.  Fulham pulled a goal back through Dempsey and then an equaliser in the final minute denied Tottenham and manager Martin Jol.
Jan. 2007  PL  Draw 1 - 1  Chimbonda
A late equaliser from full back Pascal Chimbonda salvaged a point for Tottenham.
Jan. 2006  PL  Lost 0 - 1
A game which looked to be heading for a scoreless draw was decided in the final agonising minutes for Spurs.  Michael  Dawson had been sent off  for a second bookable offence with fifteen minutes left.  Fulham then scored the winner from a free-kick in the final minute.

Tottenham, having sent a very young squad to Russia, will be looking to continue their good League form with all the first team players available.  If everyone is available, Spurs are likely to select an unchanged team with Rafael Van der Vaart hoping to set a new Tottenham record by scoring in six successive Premier League games.  The fitness of Ledley King will be the usual late decision and if he is unavailable, Sebastien Bassong will have to step in with William Gallas suffering a recurrence of his injury in Russia.  This will be a difficult match for Tottenham - it is a London derby, their former manager, Martin Jol, will be wanting to prove a point against his former employers and there will probably be three former Spurs players in the Fulham team - Zamora, Kelly and Murphy all wanting to put one over their former club.  Fulham also have Dempsey and Johnson who invariably do well against Tottenham so the defenders will have to be alert to the danger.    

Harry Redknapp may be absent, leaving Kevin Bond and Joe Jordan in charge, as he recovers from the heart surgery which prevented him from travelling with the team to Russia.  Everyone wishes him a speedy recovery but he needs to be sensible and take sufficient recovery time as prescribed by his doctors. 


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