Friday 19 October 2018

Slick Spurs rise above Sandro sideshow

Tottenham 3 Fulham 1

Fulham's Steve Sidwell heads the ball past Hugo Lloris of Tottenham to score his side's only goal at White Hart Lane
Fulham's Steve Sidwell heads the ball past Hugo Lloris of Tottenham to score his side's only goal at White Hart Lane
Tottenham Hotspur's Younes Kaboul scores his teams third goal
Harry Kane gets ahead of the defender to score Tottenham Hotspur's second
Tottenham Hotspur's Paulinho scores from close range against Fulham
Fulham's Hugo Rodallega and Tottenham Hotspur's Zeki Fryers battle for the ball
Tottenham Hotspur's Emmanuel Adebayor is challenged by Fulham's Scott Parker

Gerry Cox

While Sandro was missing out on a place in the Tottenham squad and risking the wrath of Tim Sherwood, Fulham were missing chances and the opportunity to climb out of the relegation zone in a 3-1 defeat at White Hart Lane.

The fact that Fulham recorded a rare victory at Tottenham last season seemed to go over the head of Felix Magath, who admitted his side arrived with zero expectations.

"It would have been better if we'd got one or three points today but we were not expecting to win here at Tottenham," said the manager. "We are relying on our home games and both of those we have to win." It was a frank, if unambitious admission, but did not cause as much of a storm among Fulham's fans as Sandro's use of Twitter – and Sherwood's response – did among Spurs supporters.

The Brazilian midfielder made it clear before kick-off that he was fit but had been dropped from the squad, but Sherwood dismissed any fuss – and you have to say he was entitled to.

Spurs did not need Sandro as they brushed aside Fulham, with the exquisite midfield skills of Christian Eriksen supplemented by the superb goalkeeping of Hugo Lloris.

Eriksen was the provider for two of Spurs's goals and when Fulham threatened, they found Lloris in defiant mood. He made outstanding saves to deny Hugo Rodallega twice and then saved a penalty from Steve Sidwell, who who had earlier equalised Paulinho's opener.

Goals from Harry Kane and Younes Kaboul early in the second half made sure Spurs won to stay sixth and both Eriksen and Lloris were instrumental.

"No disrespect to Fulham, but we were in control," said Sherwood. "Eriksen is a fantastic advert for any young player. I have to drag him off the training pitch."

Spurs broke through in the 35th minute. Fortunate to be awarded a free-kick for a foul on Aaron Lennon, they made Fulham pay for slack marking when Paulinho found himself free at the far post to clip Eriksen's delivery over the line from close range. But Fulham responded well, equalising within two minutes. Sidwell drove into the box, played a one-two off Spurs defender Zeki Fryers and flicked the ball past Lloris from close range.

Tottenham regained the lead three minutes into the second half after more poor marking from Fulham. Lennon curled a cross in from the right, and Harry Kane was able to get in front of Johnny Heitinga and glance a header into the net.

Fulham tried to equalise again but Rodallega's powerful header was superbly tipped over the bar by Lloris, before Spurs increased their lead.

Eriksen was again the architect, driving in a free-kick from the left, and Fulham were again the architects of their own downfall, as David Stockdale failed to reach the ball and Kaboul was unmarked at the far post to put in with his knee.

There was a late scare when Eriksen handled Rodallega's flick in the 75th minute. Sidwell stepped up to take the resulting penalty, but Lloris got his hand to the ball to make another marvellous save.

The result means Fulham are still in the relegation zone, two points behind Norwich.


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