Fulham (Away)
FA Cup Sixth Round

Saturday 6th March 2010

As Fulham are still in two cup competitions, this is one which they will want to progress in as well as the Europa League, following their impressive 2-1 win at Shakhtar Donetsk.  But the squad that Roy Hodgson has assembled at Craven Cottage may be at a point where it is stretched to it's maximum.  With limited funds, the manager has brought together a group of players he has consistently got the best out of and with some of the players seemingly surplus to requirements elsewhere, he has breathed new life into their careers.

Danny Murphy, Simon Davies and Bobby Zamora were moved on from Spurs, while Paul Konchesky was passed over after a loan spell at White Hart Lane and their subsequent moves have found them a spiritual home at Fulham.  Murphy dictates the Fulham game from midfield and while he has not got the pace of his younger days, his passing is still pin-point and he gets forward far enough to get a good return of goals for a midfielder.  Alongside him, Davies is still energetic and gives and goes well enough to need tracking and he is a player who was a little hard done by when Spurs let him go.  Konchesky is a tough-tackling defender, with a powerful shot, but does lack a little pace and if Tottenham can get the ball behind him, it might prove a useful way to the last third.  Zamora is perhaps the most surprising of the four in that he looked out of his depth at White Hart Lane, but is having a good scoring season and has got some very good goals.  He is being touted for a place in the England squad, but his injury record is not great and I think that there are probably more deserving cases ahead of him in the reckoning to be in Fabio Capello's squad for South Africa.

Mark Schwarzer has proved over the last two seasons that he is a very good keeper, who has erased a lot of the errors in his game, but for a tall man, he is still no that great in the air and while Peter Crouch has a lot of free-kicks given against him, his presence might encourage Schwarzer to come for balls he shouldn't.  Beatable on one-on-ones, a quick break past the back line could expose him.

Brede Hangeland is a much sought after defender and has committed his future to Fulham, where he is a pivotal figure in the back four.  His height and power make him a useful asset at both ends of the field and there is a resolve about him that means he is very difficult to get past.  However, he might cancel the presence of Crouch out of the game, he could be provided with more problems to solve should Pav partner Defoe, as the Russian's movement could pull Hangleand out of position.  Of the other defenders. Chris Baird is a journeyman who is solid but not outstanding, while Stephen Kelly is well known to Spurs fans, although is not a regular at the Cottage.  A fine attacking full back, his place in the team has been reduced to a subs role on more occasions than not.  Another full back who Roy Hodgson has drafted in is Nicky Shorey, who was frozen out at Aston Villa and has spent a loan spell at Nottingham Forest and now at Fulham.  John Pantsil is a player that Hodgson has brought the best out of, after having a torrid time at West Ham United, but he might still be injured and not be able to feature in this match.  Aaron Hughes seems to be a first choice in the middle of defence, but he is mobile if not dominating, while having been signed by Manchester United, Chris Smalling is the talk of the town, although not many people have seen much of him.  A tall young man, he has looked a little rough around the edges when I have seen him for Fulham and England Under-21s.

In attack, they will miss Clint Dempsey, who was just coming into form when he got injured, although they have brought in Stefano Okaka on loan form AS Roma, but he has missed a couple of open goals in the games he has played and might be used to cover for Zamora, who should be fit again after injury.  The only other option would be Erik Nevland, who is a short, but nippy striker, who can turn well with his back to goal.

David Elm is a young Swedish wide midfielder who caught the imagination in the summer's European Under-21 championships, but has been used sparingly so far.  Blessed with pace and a good dribbling skill, he might be one that the manager brings on carefully.  Hungarian Zoltan Gera is quick and has a good eye for a pass, but also can finish well if given the opportunity, while Damien Duff likes to run at players wide on the right, either to play the ball into the box or to cut inside and have a shot.  Bjorn Helge Riise, former Liverpool midfielder Arne's brother, is a tackler in the middle of the pitch, but the only action of note he took par tin at White Hart Lane was to divert Bentley's free-kick past Schwarzer, while Jonathan Greening is a Carrick-lite style player, who has not been a regular in the side.  Dickson Ethutu is the physical presence in midfield, but has suffered injuries and absence to play in the African Cup of Nations.

With an away draw and a home win against the Cottagers already this season, Spurs will know that Fulham are a little Jekyll and Hyde, but the away game showed that they are capable of turning it on and without Heurelho Gomes, Spurs might have taken a bit of a battering.  In the home game, Fulham were a shadow of that team and Spurs ran out 2-0 winners.  In terms of this game, I think the home team will be looking to progress and Spurs will also be keen for a semi-final at Wembley.  I think it will probably be a more open game than one might expect for an FA Cup quarter final, but both sides have good attacking options and I think the fire-power in the Tottenham front line will just edge it ...

PREDICTION : -  Fulham  2     Tottenham Hotspur   3

For more information on the opponents and their history, including full result history of matches between the two teams, click here.


FULHAM :  -   Kagisho Dikgacoi (doubtful - ankle); Andy Johnson (out - knee); Paul Konchesky (doubtful - ankle); John Pantsil (doubtful - knee); Clint Dempsey (out - knee); Danny Murphy (doubtful - groin)

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -   Ledley King (out - thigh); Carlo Cudicini (out - hip and wrists); Jermaine Jenas (out - groin); Jonathan Woodgate (out - groin); Aaron Lennon (out - groin); David Bentley (out - hip); Tom Huddlestone (out - foot); Jermain Defoe (doubtful - hamstring); Kyle Walker (out - cup-tied); Younes Kaboul (out - cup-tied)


ITV 1 - (live coverage)
FA Cup Highlights - ITV 1 - Saturday 22:35 - 23:35 (repeated Sunday morning )
For coverage in all parts of the world, check here and here

Radio :  
BBC LONDON 94.9FM (London area only), Digital Radio (London area only) &  Sky Channel 0152
 (live coverage)
BBC Radio Five Live (live coverage)  606/939 MW

If available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard in these countries on these stations ...
Australia (Melbourne) SEN  -  116 AM  Live Transmissions: TWI, Saturday. 12.45 & 1500 matches
Australia (Sydney)  Radio 2  -  1611AM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 12.45 Match
Singapore Media Corp Radio  -  93.8 FM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
South Africa  SABC (Radio 2000)  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
Uganda  Radio 1 (English) 90.0 FM, Radio 2 (Lugandan) 87.9 FM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
North America (USA, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean)  Sirius Satellite Radio  Live transmission: Saturday - 12.45, 15.00 (TWI) & 17.15 (BBC) Sunday - 14.00 & 16.05 (BBC) Mon, Tue, Wed - Various times (BBC)

Internet :
www.spurs.co.uk   Live webcast  - subscribers only
BBC London - http://www.bbc.co.uk/london/content/articles/2005/10/12/live_commentaries_feature.shtml
click on link to "Listen to Tottenham Hotspur live commentary" on top right hand menu.








Fulham   0   Tottenham Hotspur    0      (Half-time score : 0-0)

FA Cup Sixth Round
Venue : -  Craven Cottage
Saturday 6th March 2010
Kick Off :  5.20 p.m.
Crowd :   24,533
Referee :  Mark Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear)
Fulham kicked off and played towards the Putney End stand in the first half.
Weather :  -  Chilly, breezy, dry
Teams : - 
Fulham :

  1  Schwarzer

  6  Baird
  5  Hangeland
18  Hughes (c)
  7  Shorey

16  Duff
29  Davies  (35  Elm  73)
20  Etuhu      
27  Greening

25  Zamora
11  Gera

Unused subs: 
19  Zuberbuhler

26  Smalling
  2  Kelly
  3  Konchesky
  9  Okaka

Tottenham Hotspur :

  1  Gomes

22  Corluka
19  Bassong
20  Dawson  (c)
32  Assou-Ekotto

  3  Bale
14  Modric
12  Palacios
21  Kranjcar

15  Crouch
  9  Pavlyuchenko   (18  Defoe  81)

Unused subs: 
27  Alnwick
30  Dervite
37  Townsend
29  Livermore
25  Rose
17  Gudjohnsen

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of http://www.colours-of-football.com)

Tottenham Hotspur
Scorers : -  


Tottenham Hotspur

Cards : -  

Etuhu (foul) 89


Tottenham Hotspur 



Match Report : -  
There are few words to say about the few chances that came in this FA Cup match of few shining performances and few thrills.  A goal-less outcome was perhaps always on the cards after the teams were tentatively sparring with each other for most of the first half and in the second half, there was more attacking intent, but it lacked the final pass or the final finish. 

While Fulham played the tie as is they were the away team (which doesn't bode well for the replay), when they did attack, it left the one man - Zamora - stranded up front on his own with only Gera joining from a deep "in the hole" position.  The former Spurs striker is supposed to have developed into an England candidate, but on this showing, his touch is not good enough and while Bassong is a competent centre-half, against world class defenders, Zamora will not survive very long.  Peter Crouch was showing a bit more up front, but was penalised often by referee Clattenburg, who had a pretty good game otherwise.  Crouch's size does not help him with officials and he showed better control with his feet, as the headers on were not read by Pavlyuchenko.

Tottenham rarely looked like scoring and in the periods when they had a greater percentage of possession, the final ball was lacking.  Some of this was due to the massed ranks of white shirts placed between them and the goal and some because the final ball was poor.  Bale put a couple of good crosses in, but they lacked their usual danger.  From the other flank, Corluka and Kranjcar regularly failed to find a Spurs head.  Corners and free-kicks came to little and even Luka Modric had difficulty picking his way through the organised Fulham back line.

The little Croatian did have a chance when he ran onto a return pass from Kranjcar in the fourth minute, but he could only flick at the ball as a challenge came in and it went well wide.  Niko was the first to have a decent crack at goal for Spurs and that was in the 27th minute, as the ball was worked across the box to him and he swapped feet to hit a shot that Schwarzer took high up at his left hand post.   Ten minutes earlier, Fulham had their first chance, as Charlie's clearance dropped to Zamora on the left corner of the box and he entered the area to hit a shot low to Gomes' right hand post, but the Brazilian got down to it to hold the effort safely. 

On the half hour Tottenham's best chance arrived from a cross by Kranjcar, finding the head of Peter Crouch and his header down was pushed aside by Schwarzer on the dive.  A Bassong header from Niko's corner brushed the top of the netting, when perhaps he should have done better.  Five minutes on and Benoit Assou-Ekotto played a ball beyond the far post form the left to find Crouch, who decided to smash a volley at goal rather than play the ball back across goal and his shot went behind the goal from a narrow angle.

Just before the break Gareth Bale got down the left and played a dangerous ball into the near post, where Hangleand intercepted and got the ball away, but the ball could have gone anywhere.

Fulham came out quicker at the start of the second half and when a deep cross by Simon Davies from tight on the goal-line was nodded back into the six yard box by Zamora, Gera was there to head at goal but Gomes dive up to his left to palm the ball away.  A better placed header might have given the Spurs keeper more of a problem, as might the header from the resulting corner, when Etuhu put his effort straight at Heurelho.

This sparked a response form Tottenham and they kept the home side pressed back in their own defensive third for quite a while.  But not a lot came of it.  A hopeful shout for a penalty when Hangeland laid his arm on Crouch's shoulder and the ball hit it and a cleared corner was volleyed back with great power by Dawson, but not too much accuracy, as it flew about three yards wide. 

On the hour, Assou-Ekotto stood off Duff when the ball fell to him from Zamora's knock down, leaving the Irishman a chance to shoot, but he hit the ball wide of the goal from ten yards out.  Three minutes later, the same player managed to get a shot off when the ball seemed stuck under his feet, but Gomes was equal to it with another diving catch, which was a fairly routine stop.  Crouch flicked on a Bale long-throw and  it dropped for Pav on the edge of the six yard box, but not quickly enough and his overhead kick could not be kept down, clearing Schwarzer's goal.  Kranjcar had a crack that went across the goal and Duff did the same at the other end.

The entry of Defoe for Pavlyuchenko made little difference, as the white shirts swarmed around him every time he got the ball.  And towards the end of the game, Fulham looked the most likely to score, with Zamora shooting across the face of goal when put through on the right and a long free-kick from Chris Baird being nodded into the middle of the goal by the former Spurs man, only for Corluka to slice clear ... about two feet wide to the right of the Tottenham goal.

In the end, a draw seemed a fair result, with the game well reffed by Clattenburg, who let play continue and let some fair, but strong challenges go, where some refs might have blown up.  It made it a better game for the flow being allowed to continue and while it lacked the excitement of some of the cup games this season, it provides Spurs with an opportunity to face the Cottagers on our own turf and both teams go into the hat for the semi-final draw tomorrow afternoon.

burton bradshaw




Fan Reaction : -



With both sides battling it out in midfield, it left little opportunity to score up front, so what of the back lines ?

Well, Tottenham played a solid formation, with Assou-Ekotto sometimes a little slow on the ball or trying to control it in his own penalty box when he should have been thinking about getting rid of it, but generally, Bassong and Dawson played Zamora very well.

At the other end, Hangeland won most things thrown his way, as you might expect, but there was some joy wide.  One more week and one more England left-back hopeful.  While Nicky Shorey was not as fully occupied as Leighton Baines last week, he failed to shine and his control lacked finesses, while he often got drawn inside leaving space behind him for Corluka and Kranjcar to put crosses in.  Not great ones, but still there were the openings there.

A bit of a non-event and hopefully, Tottenham will be able to play a more high tempo game, but with Fulham sitting deep it could be a tough task.

barry levington





Other League scores this weekend :
Portsmouth 2 Birmingham City 0 Saturday
Reading 2 Aston Villa 4 Sunday
Chelsea 2 Stoke City 0 Sunday
Other League scores this weekend :
Arsenal 3 Burnley 1 Saturday
West Ham United 1 Bolton Wanderers 2 Saturday
Wolverhampton Wanderers 0 Manchester United 1 Saturday
Everton 5 Hull City 1 Sunday
Other League scores this mid-week :
Wigan Athletic 1 Liverpool 0 Monday
Portsmouth 1 Birmingham City 2 Tuesday
Sunderland 4 Bolton Wanderers 0 Tuesday
Burnley 1 Stoke City 1 Wednesday


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