Looking Forward



Premier League

Saturday 15th December 2001

Having played Fulham a couple of weeks ago in the Worthington Cup, there will be a familiarity between the two teams this Saturday.  However, there are League points at stake this time and although the Cottagers got a 0-0 draw at Liverpool this midweek, Spurs come in to the match off the back of the 6-0 thrashing of Bolton Wanderers.

With Marcus Hannemann going to Reading on loan, Fulham will probably go with Edwin van der Sar as first choice keeper on this occasion.  Maik Taylor started in the Cup tie, but will have to settle for a seat on the bench at White Hart Lane.  Van der Sar is a sound keeper, who has a flair for the unusual - both in saves and mistakes, so it could be entertaining to watch.

The defence will probably consist of ex-QPR full back Rufus Brevett and Irishman Steve Finnan with Alain Goma and Andy Melville in between them.  There is experience there, but the use of Taricco wide should tie up one full back.  On the other side, Ziege was a constant menace in the Cup game, but he will be suspended for this one, so another Spurs man needs to push on up the left wing.
Others Fulham defenders waiting in reserve are youngster Zat Knight, who they have high hopes for and Moroccan Abdeslam Ouaddou, who did play against us in the Cup, but has not been a regular in the side.  Former Swindon and Derby man Paul Trollope has been at the club longer than most, but has not been one who Tigana has called on very much.

Sean Davis is the one midfielder who Fulham regularly put in the starting line-up.  This combative youngster has forced his name to the fore with positive displays for England Under-21 and his club side, but he still has a lot to learn.  His running between the boxes and perceptive passing needs to be stalled or he could inflict some damage on Spurs' back line. Lee Clark has experienced a renaissance under Tigana as he can pass the ball well, but his best days may be behind him now and he lacks the pace to hurt opposition players.  Another with a loss of pace, but no loss of ingenuity is John Collins, who can still dictate play from midfield. He is a player with good vision and he knows when to pass and when not to, which helps release his forwards when they make a decent run.
Bjarne Goldbaek is likely to be overlooked on this occasion. He showed a lack of composure when crossing the ball in against us in the Worthington Cup, despite picking up good positions wide on the flanks.  His former Chelsea team-mate John Harley may also miss out, despite playing well when he has featured, because Tigana prefers to pair Frenchmen Sylvain Legwinski and Steed Malbranque.  These players both have the talents that the manager appreciates.  A good ability to get forward and score goals, while also being able to slip passes through the slightest gaps in the other side's defence.  Malbranque didn't looked that dangerous when coming on as sub, while Legwinski sat the cup tie out.  Their effectiveness could be the deciding factor in whether Fulham get anything from this match.

Having found goalscoring easy in the Premiership, Barry Hayles has been chosen up front to partner Louis Saha, who was a scoring sensation last season.  This time around, he has grabbed a few, but has found Premier League defences harder to get through.  Both are good goalscorers and cannot be ignored for a moment.  Hayles' goal in the Worthington Cup was a typical piece of opportunism that he capitalised on.  Latvian Andrejs Stolcers has had little chance to show what he can do in the top flight, as ex-Gooner Luis Boa Morte has been preferred to him and the Portuguese international will play his last game before a three match ban for getting sent off against Everton last week.  He is a leggy and ungainly striker, but he can turn players well and has pace. The Spurs defenders will have to keep him close.

Steve Marlet and Chris Coleman are both broken leg victims and while the Welshman will not play for the whole of this season, the West Londoners hope that their most expensive signing Marlet will be back in January.

With Tigana bringing his team's passing game to the Premiership, they have not fared as well as he might have hoped.  The back line has proved pretty solid, but their problem has been scoring and so, if Tottenham can keep it tight at the back (not like the Charlton match) there should be enough chances created during the game to give Spurs a narrow ...

PREDICTION : -  Tottenham 1   Fulham  0

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



Tottenham  4   Fulham  0                                (Half time score: 2- 0)
Saturday 15th December 2001
Kick Off : 3.00 p.m.
Weather : -  Cold, bright with some drizzle.
Crowd : -   36,054
Referee : -   Mr. N. Barry (Scunthorpe)

Scorers : -  Tottenham   -   Ferdinand 20, Anderton 40, Davies 71, Rebrov 77
                  Fulham  -  None


Spurs :  Ferdinand (foul) 38, Perry (foul) 45, Freund (foul) 65 

Fulham :   Saha (foul) 29, Boa Morte (diving) 89


Spurs :  Sullivan; Perry, King, Richards; Davies, Freund, Anderton, Poyet, Taricco; Ferdinand (Rebrov 62), Sheringham
Unused Subs : -  Keller, Gardner, Leonhardsen, Sherwood

Fulham :  Van der Sar; Finnan, Melville, Goma, Brevett; Boa Morte, Legwinski, Malbranque, Collins (Clark 73); Saha, Hayles
Unused Subs : -  Taylor, Knight, Davis, Stolcers

With little to concern Spurs fans after Tuesday's beating of Bolton, any signs that things might not be well were not forthcoming during this match against the much vaunted side who rose from the First Division last season on a wave of French flavoured football and a record haul of points.  This did not show through in this match, where they ended up playing "route un" style.

With Legwinski crashing a drive into the side netting, Fulham had their best chance early on, as they failed to seriously trouble Sullivan although they did have some shots, but almost all were off target.

Ferdinand had an early chance, Similar to Teddy's on Tuesday. Receiving the ball on the edge of the box, he seemed to get over the ball and could only stab it at Van der Sar.  However, he didn't have long to wait until he did beat the big Dutchman.  A neat move down the right ended with Davies dinking a nice ball down the right hand side of the box to Darren, who looked up and slid it perfectly along the ground to Les, who ran in at the near post to shoot home low inside the post.  We were soon informed that this was the 10,000th goal in the history of the Premier League.  It was certainly a well worked one.  Spurs were knocking the ball about nicely and were not being troubled, despite the quick whistling of the referee, who spoiled an otherwise entertaining match.

The second goal was just as well worked.  A ball into Ferdie on the left edge of the box, saw him lay the ball back into the path of Anderton to return the favour.  Dazza hit a shot with the outside of his foot and found the gap between goalkeeper and post.  There was little margin for error, but in this sort of form, Anderton was never going to miss.  Throughout the game he displayed a vigour and perceptiveness that has been missing from his game for so long.

With the game at best over, the ball was crossed in from the right win to Barry Hayles and with a suspicion of handball, he controlled the ball alone in front of the Spurs goal.  Having boasted about having scored against his favourite childhood team on each occasion he had played against them, it looked odds on he would continue his run.  However, it must have all been too much for him as he blazed over Sullivan's goal from four yards out.

This brought half-time and a break that could have put Spurs off their rhythm, but they must have re-focused and although they were not as fluent in the second half, they still played with an intuition that left Fulham trailing in their wake.  The one touch passing really was a joy to watch.  For all the possession Fulham had, they either played in their own half for most of the match or lacked the accuracy of their final ball to hurt Spurs.  Most of their efforts in the second half were high or wide.

The way Tottenham are playing, they are always likely to score and this happened once again when Darren Anderton lifted a superb ball through the heart of the Cottagers defence to find the on-running Simon Davies.  The Welsh international chested the ball down and hit his shot across Van der Sar to find the bottom corner of the net.  It was yet another example of the midfielder's finishing technique and it looks like his contribution in the scoring stakes will be most valuable.

To round things off nicely, Sergei Rebrov came off the bench to score.  Another masterful move, starting with Steffen Freund heading t he ball back to Neil Sullivan form 20 yards and the build up through the team to Sheringham's delicate pass to put Sergei in.  As the ball ran into the "D" outside the box, the Ukrainian let it run and hit it with the outside of his foot in a stabbing motion that sold the Fulham goalie and gave Rebrov another Tottenham goal.

This was as good a performance as I have seen from Spurs.  All the praise that has been heaped on Fulham was not justified on today's showing and the fact that their side looked unbalanced and resigned to arguing amongst themselves, showed how much Spurs took them apart.  The only sad thing about today's game was the officiating, which must have been on a par with Mr. Elleray's showing at Everton.  There was inconsistency when Neale Barry booked Les for an elbow after he had suffered the self same challenge by Legwinski; there was poor sight in giving throws the wrong way; there was a desire to be in the spotlight, when nobody had paid to come and see him; there was a general lack of consideration for the paying customer, when he could have played advantage, but decided it would be best to blow his whistle.

None of that should detract from a very impressive Tottenham win.  The key to the progress is the fitness of the players and consistency of performance.  Long may it continue.

MEHSTG TOP MAN : -  DARREN ANDERTON (Is this getting boring ?)

Pete Stachio





With ten goals now scored in two games, with none in reply, Spurs are what is commonly called, on a roll.  However, it was not a roll, but a slide that Fulham appeared to be paying on.  The fact that the West Londoners couldn't seem to keep their feet whenever a Spurs player approached and that they went flying in the area (Boa Morte for which he got booked for "simulation") showed on this day, that the only French talent they appeared to have acquired was the art of diving.

This side was not even remotely like the one we faced in the Worthington Cup, as this was supposedly nearer their first choice team, albeit Sean Davis was on the bench.  However, their reputation for being a passing side fell down as they gave away possession with what Tigana must have viewed as alarming regularity.  His strikers failed to get a shot on target and his defence were opened up almost at will by the Spurs team.  On top of the goal, Van der Sar saved well from Anderton, but was helpless as two efforts from Poyet (one header and another lob) went narrowly wide and a volley went into the ground allowing the keeper time to put it over the bar.

Each goal was well crafted, being worked through the team.  Anderton's was a result of a long kick out being flicked on to Les who held it up and put it in Darren's path to drill a low shot inside the post.  Dazza had set up Les for the first (and 10,000th Premiership goal), which Ferdinand tucked away neatly at the near post.  Davies scored the third, taking the ball from Anderton on his chest before taking his shot early to wrong foot Fulham's goalie.  Then Sergei did the same, latching onto Teddy's through ball to take it with the outside of his foot, as Van der Sar shaped to expect Rebrov to go around him to the left.

There was a confidence in the side that comes with understanding and knowing exactly where you think someone will be.  The passing and movement was a joy to behold and the effect that Hoddle has had on the team is there for all to see.  Did any of us believe that the same players under GG could put on a show like this ?  Hod's additions have blended in so well, that they look part of the furniture and there can rarely have been such a league match that has been as easily won here.

Fulham have had some good results, but the quality and depth of their squad may need scrutiny if they are to do anything more than survive.  That may be their main aim and as such, they could probably succeed, with some very poor teams in the Premiership this season.  But they should beware the Christmas period as they will find it tough with a brittle side like this.  Downhill skiing could be similar to how they might feel if they turn in too many performances similar to this one.

Gareth Davey

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