Fulham v Tottenham Hotspur – Match Preview

A flood of goals are expected at Craven Cottage as in-form Tottenham travel to face their former boss Martin Jol and his Fulham side who are looking to make it back-to-back wins for the first time this season.

Jol spent a successful three year spell at White Hart Lane in the mid-noughties taking the club to within a whisker of the Champions League in the 2005/06 season. After leaving North London he had spells at Hamburg and Ajax before being tempted back to the Premier League by Mohammed Al Fayed in the summer. He’s endured a difficult spell on the Thames thus far but last weeks 2-0 win over rock bottom Wigan will have given the Cottagers fans hope of pushing on after a slow start to the campaign. The Europa League has played it’s part in that with their 4-1 win over Wisla Krakow being their 23rd fixture of a season that started way back in June. It’s astonishing that the squad has yet to succumb to fatigue and Jol will have been extremely pleased with his sides performance on Thursday night with Andy Johnson scoring twice and shining throughout. His return to full fitness after an injury laden last few years has been a big plus and his pace and selfless running will be key to beating Spurs for the first time since November 2008 in a run that has seen them win just one in their last 10 league meetings. Another man who has started to find his form again is Clint Dempsey with his goal against Wigan last week putting him level with Brian McBride as the highest scoring American in the top flight on 36 goals.

Becoming the record holder might prove difficult up against a Tottenham side who are riding the crest of a wave at the moment although they will be without Harry Redknapp in the dugout after his heart surgery in midweek.  They are unbeaten in the last seven league games since losing their opening two against the two Manchester clubs and a win could send them into the top four if results go their way. Emmanuel Adebayor’s arrival on loan from Manchester City coincided with the upturn in form with the Togo striker scoring three in two games after his move. He’s failed to find the net since the 4-0 win over Liverpool at White Hart Lane on 18th September but it’s his all round performances that have been a delight. His energy and link up play with midfield has given the side an extra dimension and certainly made Spurs more fearsome i the final third. The goals are flowing for Rafael Van Der Vaart though with the Dutchman looking to find the net for the 6th successive game. Should he score he will become the seventh player in Spurs history to do so in six or more consecutive games with Garth Crooks the last player achieve such a feat back back in the 1984/85 season.

Key Players

Danny Murphy – Managed by Jol at Tottenham and now at Fulham the experienced midfielder is key to the way Fulham attack. His knowledge and guile in the centre of midfield is second to none and if he is afforded time and space he can pick out a telling pass like the best of them.

Rafael Van Der Vaart – Many thought the Dutchman would be heading out of North London in the summer but quite the contrary has happened. The former Real Madrid man has stepped up his game superbly since the opening weeks of the season providing a goalscoring threat and link between attack and midfield. Watch out for his intelligent movement in-between the lines on Sunday.

Prediction: 2-3

 

  • Clint Dempsey’s three goals have come from 30 attempts at goal with 63% on target, and he has also contributed three assists
  • Midfielder Dempsey has also been supporting in defensive play, making 20 interceptions and winning 74% of 19 tackles attempted this season
  • Rafael van der Vaart broke the Manchester stranglehold on the top three spots on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index by scoring his 6th goal in 5 Barclays Premier League games to go 2nd in the index
  • Van der Vaart has scored 6 goals and contributed 2 assists this season, meaning he has had a hand in one in three of Spurs’ goals

 


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