Looking Forward



Fulham  (Home)

Premier League

Monday 26th September 2005

Both sides had unexpected outcomes in their League Cup in the week, with Spurs getting knocked out by Grimsby and Fulham only securing a win in the last minute of extra time of their nine goal encounter with Lincoln City.  How they will do against each other will be an interesting proposition.

For Spurs, it is a London derby, which usually only means one thing ... a defeat.  I don't know what Fulham had done to deserve it but they are the only London side Spurs have beaten in the Premiership in their last 13 local derbies.  For dome reason, the results have gone against Spurs in London derbies, even when they have been on a run against other sides.  It is something that needs to be addressed if they are to progress in the League.

With Jol's favourite midfielder Carrick out with an ankle injury, it will need someone to come in and play the passing role.  Davids will lay down the anchor, with Lennon and Reid wide, but it might see a recall for Mendes in the centre alongside the Dutchman, although Sean Davis made his comeback appearance lat Blundell Park.

The Cottagers have been hit hard between the posts.  Both Mark Crossley and Jaroslav Drobny are out injured, leaving Tony Warner on loan from Celtic as their only real choice.  A keeper who has failed to make the position his own at his previous clubs of Liverpool, Millwall and Celtic, he has done well enough to make Chris Coleman consider a permanent deal.  The idea of bringing in Drobny seems to have back-fired, as he had a terrible pre-season and has looked a dodgy proposition in goal.

At the back, there is a lot of choice for Coleman.  Ex-Gooner Moritz Volz can add an attacking dimension to the Fulham game with raids up the right wing, while central defenders Phillipe Christanval and Zat Knight bring experience and height to the back line.  Knight has been called up to the England squad in the last couple of selections due to injuries, but I can't see it myself ... unless Sven is trying to make England the tallest national side in the world with Crouch up front too !!  Full back Liam Rosenior has played during last season's campaign, but lacks a little time on-pitch in the Premiership, while Alain Goma is another experienced head that can be deployed in the middle of the defence.  Dane Niclas Jensen was signed in the summer and has been an ever-present since the start of the season.  Former West Ham defender Ian Pearce appears to be out of favour and American Carlos Bocanegra has started three games, with him being the sort of player Coleman might throw in to toughen up his defence against Spurs (two yellow cards in three matches). 

Steed Malbranque is a midfielder who attracts admiring glances from many clubs above Fulham in the league and he has been a constant in the continued presence of Fulham in the Premier League.  Alongside him, fellow Frenchman Sylvain Legwinski works hard and gets forward, as does Claus Jensen, who has the ability to pick out a pass or shot that other players in the Fulham side might nto see.  Mark Pembridge will be missing and his industrious running in midfield will have to be made up for.  Ahmad Elrich was a player Spurs had looked at buying from Buscan Icons, but didn't follow up the interest, leaving the way clear for Fulham to snap up the young Australian.  He is a wide midfielder, who has only made one substitute appearance so far, so it is unlikely he will feature for long in this match.  Midfielder Zesh Rehman is struggling with a knock, so £12 million rated Senegal international Papa Bouba Diop will be the hub of the Fulham midfield and his clash with Davids will be an interesting one to see who comes out on top in the little versus large clash !!

Ex-Everton man Tomas Radzinski is sometimes played in a withdrawn midfield role and his late runs need to be tracked by the Spurs midfielders to ensure he doesn't arrive there unmarked.  Having been signed from Watford, Heidar Helguson is only just breaking into the first team, but he has the ability to shoot unerringly at goal, wherever he is.  USA star striker Brian McBride has been having a good season with the goals and his height will need to be taken care of, especially with Spurs missing Dawson and Gardner.  With young Dutchman Collins John available too, there is a good crop of forwards who can do the business for Fulham.  Another former Gooner and one we all love to hate, Luis Boa Morte has been a regular starter, with Monday night no exception.  He will tackle late, moan and generally throw himself on the floor, but Spurs have to be smart enough to cope with his antics.  He is one player I am glad we did not sign in the summer, but his trickery, especially in the area, needs to be dealt with using caution.

With Jol's favourite midfielder Carrick out with an ankle injury, it will need someone to come in and play the passing role.  Davids will lay down the anchor, with Lennon and Reid wide, but it might see a recall for Mendes in the centre alongside the Dutchman, although Sean Davis made his comeback appearance lat Blundell Park.  It might need the full backs to push on to give width to the side and the expected return of Mido will see a target for their crosses.  Whether Defoe or Keane partners him, will be a tricky choice for the Head Coach, but I expect him to start with Jermain and make a change later on if things don't work out as expected.  

It seems as though our midfield need to push higher up the pitch when we are in possession and get closer to the strikers to serve them.  Whether that will happen now Carrick is injured, we will see, but David likes to play further forward and Mendes can sit back, but if in the middle, he might alternate with Davids.  It won't be a stylish performance against a side who will work hard to stop Spurs having the space to play the way they want, but I think a final score like this is not beyond the realms of belief ...

PREDICTION : -  Tottenham Hotspur  2    Fulham  1

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


TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -  Noe Pamarot (knee); Wayne Routledge (broken foot); Michael Dawson (hamstring); Michael Carrick (ankle); Anthony Gardner (thigh)

FULHAM :  Collins John (hamstring); Michael Timlin (ankle); Zeshan Rehman (ankle); Alain Goma (calf); Mark Pembridge (calf); Sylvain Legwinski (groin); Mark Crossley (knee); Jaroslav Drobny (knee)


TV :  
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Radio :  
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If available on BBC radio, it can be heard in these countries on these stations ...
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Internet :
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Tottenham Hotspur   1    Fulham   0      (Half-time score : 1-0)
Premier League Venue : White Hart Lane  
Monday 26th September 2005 Kick Off :  20.00 p.m.
Crowd :  35,427 Referee :  Alan Wiley (Burntwood)
Weather :  Mild, dry
Teams : - 
Tottenham Hotspur :


King (c)

Lennon (Reid 72)

Defoe (Keane 75)
Mido (Rasiak 89)

Unused subs: 



N Jensen

C Jensen

Boa Morte (c)
McBride (John 75)

Unused subs: 

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of http://www.colours-of-football.com)
Tottenham Hotspur Fulham  
Scorers : -  

Tottenham Hotspur

Defoe 8



Cards : -  
Tottenham Hotspur  




Zat Knight (dissent) 16
Papa Bouba Diop (foul) 62
Collins John (foul) 87


Match Report : -  

Six days after our grim evening up north we returned to Premiership action with a Monday night home match against west London strugglers Fulham, who had won only one of their first six league games. 

Having had his attacking options limited by both Mido (suspended) and Rasiak (cup-tied) being unavailable for the Grimsby match, resulting in the diminutive duo of Defoe and Keane playing up front, Martin Jol was able to select his preferred big striker/small striker combination for the visit of the Cottagers.  It was no surprise that Keane was the forward to lose his place, seeing as he had only started one of our previous half dozen Premiership matches this season.  Keane’s attitude to not being a regular in the starting line-up has been first-class.  However, he is obviously disappointed in his reduced role and he could well seek a move when the transfer window opens in January if things don’t improve. 

Keane’s replacement was Mido, back after serving his three match ban following his red card in the 2-0 defeat against Chelsea.  Rasiak joined Keane on the bench, meaning we had options to change things around up front if required.  Aaron Lennon, Pedro Mendes and Edgar Davids were the other changes to the team that was humiliated at Blundell Park and they replaced Michael Brown, Michael Carrick and Andy Reid respectively. 

Right from the start it was obvious that Fulham were trying to employ a fairly rigid offside trap and their defenders looked in vain for the assistant referee to raise his flag when Defoe latched onto Ledley King’s through ball and calmly slotted the ball past Tony Warner in the visitors goal after seven minutes.  It looked for a while as if we could go on and record a comfortable win, but Fulham began to exert more influence in midfield and carved out a few opportunities. 

On more than one occasion, a cross zipped across the face of our goal and caused a certain amount of unease in our defence.  After twenty one minutes Jermaine Jenas (who started the game well but faded and was largely ineffective, especially in the second half) lost possession in midfield and a neat one-two between the impressive Claus Jensen and Steed Malbranque resulted in the former clipping the top of the crossbar with a shot from twenty five yards out.  Six minutes later good play from Defoe and Mido ended with the Egyptian hitting a rising shot from twelve yards which Warner turned over the bar. 

Ten minutes before half time Defoe slipped when well placed, having latched on to a long clearance from Robinson and two minutes later our England forward completely missed Stalteri’s cross to the near post. This was followed by a twenty-five yard shot from Davids, which Warner (on loan from Cardiff City) turned round for a corner.  

The second half started with an appeal for a Tottenham penalty after it looked like Stalteri had been caught by Boa Morte and an opportunity for Davids, who drilled his shot wide.  The precarious nature of the 1-0 lead in football was soon evident with Malbranque’s rising shot not clearing the crossbar by much and England’s number one making a point blank save from Radzinski, who didn’t appreciate how much time he had and shot straight at our keeper.  Lennon, who had a very good game and already seems to be settling in nicely, had two efforts on goal in the space of a few minutes - the first was a low drive destined for the bottom corner until Warner parried the ball away whilst the second, which followed a mix up between Volz and Malbranque, was way off target. 

As the game moved into its latter stages Fulham pushed forward in an effort to gain at least a point and there were a few jittery moments for Tottenham.  Reid came on for Lennon, who had taken a knock, and looked quite lively, while Keane replaced Defoe after seventy three minutes, but failed to make any real impression in the time that remained.  Despite scoring, Defoe had not had one of his best games.  With two minutes left Raziak came on for Mido, which allowed the Egyptian the individual ovation that his play merited.  Mido had impressed with his all-round performance and his work-rate, effort and enthusiasm had been first-class. 

After three minutes of time added on, Alan Wiley blew the final whistle.  It had certainly not been the most comfortable of 1-0 victories and Fulham manager Chris Coleman said after the game that he thought his side had deserved a point and you could say he had a point, only he didn’t really because Tottenham had taken all three.  The victory moved us five places up the table to fourth, Champions League territory.  If we are to maintain our position in the European qualification places we will need to improve. Jol has already identified what needs to be done.  We have to finish teams off, so that we don’t end up hanging on for narrow victories, especially against struggling sides.  Much has been made about the quality of our forwards, but they are not scoring enough goals and the midfielders also have to start to contribute their share to take the pressure off the attackers.


Andrew Ford




The reaction form the Spurs crowd at the end of this 1-0 win over London rivals Fulham was one of relief.  Relief that we had won a London derby.  Relief that we had bounced back after losing at Grimsby Town in the League Cup and relief that we had not lost out, when the promise of a fourth place in the Premier League was at stake if we could win.

It is one of those things that Spurs just do.  Remember Bolton and Nayim on the video screen ??  It always comes to mind at times like this.

It was a bit of a surreal night all round really.  The team looked ultra nervous in the second half and the passing went to pot, with JJ giving ball away on a regular basis as the second period drew on ... much to the delight of his detractors in the crowd.  I am not sure what he has done to upset them (simply sign for Spurs ?), but he has played four matches.  New team, new team-mates, other new arrivals, new place to live.  Settling in will take time and with the players around him changing because of injury, suspension and cup-tiedness, it has hardly been a time of calm for him to come in.  He passed well in the first half and eats up the ground when he gets forward and back.  His athleticism will be a major advantage to the side and there is a feeling among some that his signing will be a really good long-term investment.

He wasn't the only one who went missing in the second half.  Edgar Davids faded as the game went on and his passing was just as errant, but the voices didn't denigrate his part in the proceedings.  Are they scared ?  Another who didn't turn up for the second half was Jude Law, who exited at half-time with his son and failed to re-appear after the interval.  Perhaps his boy had to get up for school.  I can't believe he failed to return because he had been rumbled, as he would have been among friends at the Lane.  It just goes to show that the attraction of Spurs is as strong for those of superstar status as it is for us.  Good on you Jude and come back soon.

The early goal saw Spurs through.  Ledley's long ball out of defence put Jermain away and he took his shot well past Warner, who might have come out a bit earlier, but got a bit stuck on his line.  Defoe celebrated his goal like he needed it ... and he did.  His boots let him down later in the half, when he slipped over after being put in on the edge fo the box.  And he looked to play others in when he might normally have taken a strike at goal, but he had a decent enough game.  The commentator on the Villa game said "Would Defoe have scored a goal like that (Robbie Keane's) ?"  Well, I think you could ask "Would Keane have scored a goal like Defoe's ?".  They are two different strikers, with their own styles.  They might not be able to  play together, but both bring something different to the table.

Naybet used all his experience at the back to make sure they did not get past him and Ledley eased around without too much trouble.  Stalteri got forward, but Defoe got in his way just as he was about to shoot, while making some good blocks and tackles at the back.  Lee had a mixed game, not doing anything spectacular, but not doing much wrong.

Lennon was a real star and he was only upstaged by David Ginola's appearance at half-time coming down from the Sky commentary box.  Aaron's touch and speed are a really potent weapon and his tricks see him skip past opponents.  It will only be a question of time before he becomes a regular ... maybe even after Routledge is fit again.  It is testament to his ability that if Wayne is sidelined for the rest of the season, you would be happy for Lennon to cover.

Our other efforts on goal came from Davids, who produced a diving save from Warner and Lennon, who did the same at the foot of the post.  Although it all got a bit nervy, with the players tiring, especially Mido, who put in a lot of effort and played well with Defoe, it is games like this might have been lost last season, even though we won this corresponding fixture last time at WHL.

Now we move on to another London derby at Charlton and need to win to push up towards their second place.  Roll on down the Valley.  Maybe a goal more might make us fans feel a little more comfortable though !!

Benny The Ball

Jermain Defoe’s eighth minute strike was enough to see off a spirited Fulham side and help Spurs banish the memory of the club’s humiliating Carling Cup exit at Grimsby last week.  Defoe latched on to a speculative Ledley King through-ball and slotted a left-footed shot past Tony Warner.  It was just reward for the home side’s early pressure and exactly the reaction sought by manager and fans after the listless performance at Blundell Park.

Spurs bright start caught the visitors cold, all eleven of whom had been rested in their Carling Cup win against Lincoln.  Spurs were driven on by the fit-again Edgar Davids – albeit in an unfamiliar left-sided role – and tested Warner through a Young-Pyo Lee strike.  Soon after however, a dipping Claus Jensen effort clipped Paul Robinson’s bar, reminding the home defence to be watchful against the Fulham raids on the break, which came mainly through the marauding Steed Malbranque and Luis Boa Morte.

Spurs continued to use the ball better and were eager to utilise the pacy Aaron Lennon, whose neat touch and nimble footwork clearly excites the White Hart Lane faithful.  The North Londoners should have doubled their lead after half an hour, when a quick interchange between Mido and Defoe left the Egyptian with a clear chance just eight yards out.  His rising drive was well tipped over by Warner.  Fulham rarely threatened again in the first half and Spurs must have hoped that they would not rue increasing their lead further.  Davids nearly did just that, his fierce half-volley from the edge of the area being parried by Warner.

The second half began much in the same way the first did, Tottenham’s greater urgency rewarded by a chance for Paul Stalteri.  The Canadian hesitated too long under pressure from Boa Morte, and the resultant penalty claims were rightly waved away by Alan Wiley.  Lennon was again central to Spurs attacking potency, perhaps being inspired by the half-time on-pitch appearance by David Ginola, evidently still held in high regard by Spurs fans.  Many more performances like this from the former Leeds teenager and he too might receive such hero-worship.  He created a chance for himself on the hour, dancing around Moritz Volz and forcing another save from the busy Fulham keeper, Warner this time diving low to his left. Lennon’s contribution was the only bright spark in Spurs’ second half display. 

With Davids clearly tiring and the rest of the midfield lacking fluency, Fulham gained a foothold in the game and pressed for an equaliser.  Tomasz Radzinski, introduced at half-time, forced a reaction save from Robinson after indecision in the Spurs defence.  Jensen could not control the rebound.  With Lennon withdrawn and the front two becoming increasing isolated, Spurs invited pressure.  Malbranque steered a half-chance just wide and the visitors frequently threatened on set-pieces. 

The home crowd became increasingly nervous and fretted as clearances were rushed and passes misplaced.  Jermaine Jenas, seeking respite after exposure in his Newcastle ‘goldfish bowl’, was afforded little patience by a Spurs contingent frustrated by his profligate distribution, although he will surely settle in when Jol eventually decides upon how to organise his plethora of midfielders into a first-choice line-up.  

A tense finale saw Warner join a packed penalty box for a Fulham corner, but Tottenham hung on to secure a fifth clean sheet of the season, the three points moving them to fourth.  Fulham were no doubt encouraged by their improved second-half display, but their sluggish start will make manager Chris Coleman think twice before resting his best line-up in unison in the future.

Philip Oliver


Other scores this weekend :
Birmingham City 2 Liverpool 2 Saturday
Bolton Wanderers 1 Portsmouth 0 Saturday
Chelsea 2 Aston Villa 1 Saturday
Everton 0 Wigan Athletic 1 Saturday
Manchester United 1 Blackburn Rovers 2 Saturday
Newcastle United 1 Manchester City 0 Saturday
West Bromwich Albion 1 Charlton Athletic 2 Saturday
West Ham United 0 Arsenal 0 Saturday
Middlesbrough 0 Sunderland 2 Sunday


League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Chelsea 7 7 0 0 14 1 21 +13
2 Charlton Athletic 6 5 0 1 10 4 15 +6
3 Bolton Wanderers 7 4 2 1 8 4 14 +4
4 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 7 3 3 1 6 3 12 +3
5 West Ham United 6 3 2 1 10 4 11 +6
6 Manchester United 6 3 2 1 7 3 11 +4
7 Manchester City 7 3 2 2 7 6 11 +1
8 Arsenal 6 3 1 2 9 4 10 +5
9 Wigan Athletic 6 3 1 2 5 4 10 +1
10 Middlesbrough 7 2 2 3 6 8 8 -2
11 Newcastle United 7 2 2 3 5 7 8 -2
12 Blackburn Rovers 7 2 2 3 5 9 8 -4
13 Liverpool 5 1 4 0 3 2 7 +1
14 Aston Villa 7 1 3 3 6 11 6 -5
15 Birmingham City 7 1 3 3 7 11 6 -4
16 Portsmouth 7 1 2 4 5 9 5 -4
17 Fulham 7 1 2 4 5 10 5 -5
18 West Bromwich Albion 7 1 2 4 7 13 5 -6
19 Sunderland 7 1 1 5 5 10 4 -5
20 Everton 6 1 0 5 1 7 3 -6


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