Looking Forward



Premier League

Saturday 30th August 2003

Fulham have had a hard time of it over the last two seasons and have been starved of funds by Mohamed Al-Fayed, who has even cut funding to the all-conquering women's team.  This has meant that some of the top players have had to move on and others who might have been brought in, could not be purchased.  With Jean Tigana not being able to take the team into the upper echelons of the Premiership, he was relieved of his position and Chris Coleman has taken the reins, as possibly the cheap alternative for the post.  The youngest manager in the top flight, he started this season off well with win over Boro', but lost to Everton coming into this match.

With Steve Marlet on loan to Marseille and Sean Davis only still at the club because he is injured, the heart is being torn out of the side that was tipped to do very well on it's return to the Premiership in 2001.  The remaining players must wonder what is happening and fear for their own futures.  Hopefully better than that of their old ground Craven Cottage !!

With Maik Taylor on a year's loan to Birmingham City, Edwin van der Sar has a clear run at the goalkeeper's position this season.  There are weaknesses in the big man's game, including his positioning, his handling and his ability to clear the ball outside his box.  With Tottenham's energetic and powerful forwards, Ed could be in for a busy afternoon.  Only injury or suspension can deny his presence for the majority of the season and cover keeper Mark Crossley will be waiting if that does happen.  A solid enough goalie, Crossley can command the box better than van der Sar, but his reflexes are not now as good. 

Defensively, Fulham have had seriously few options, despite having a few players to choose from.  Now, things are even thinner on the ground despite the signing of Jerome Bonnissel from Glasgow Rangers, who despite being a cultured wing back, never really got a chance at Ibrox and might find the Premier League hard to get used to.  In the middle of defence Andy Melville is still there, but is injury prone these days and his pace is questionable, despite still being a Welsh international.  As he is expected to miss the match (told you he was injury prone), youngster Zat Knight might feature in central defence and at well over 6', there is no better place for him.  Zamora's battle with him, should he play will be an interesting one, while Postiga might give Knight the run-around if he starts.  Martin Djetou and Alain Goma are two of a king - big strong French central defenders, who have been played on the flanks of the back four, but have failed to make a big impact on the Premiership yet.  That leaves Gooner loanee Moritz Volz and Jon Harley.  Both were feted as excellent players very early on in their careers and Harley got stuck in the reserves at Chelsea and Volz at Highbury.  Both can provide attacking options from wing-back and might play to give the West Londoners options in going forward.  However, that might leave them light at the back.

The midfield contains the old legs of Lee Clark, still waiting to fulfill the potential he had years ago at Newcastle, while the legs of Sean Davis have given up of late with a medial knee ligament problem still keeping him out of contention in midfield.  Inamoto might play, although he has still been a peripheral presence apart from scoring against us at Loftus Road last season.  The two Frenchman Sylvain Legwinski and Steed Malbranque are players who are hard-working and inventive respectively, but they struggle when it comes to chasing the opposition and that might be the case with our midfield being more mobile these days.

Any combination of choice of Fulham's forward line from Stoljcers, Hayles, Sava, Saha and Boa Morte will hardly strike fear through the hearts of any Premier League defence.  Having said that, Hayles is back in the side and has a powerful build and muscles players out of the way, so it might need Deano at his best to out-muscle him back.  Saha is a player who made a big impact on his entry onto the Premier League scene, but has slipped back a bit now.  Tall and rangy, he has pace and a neat touch, but lacks a little strength in the box.  The Argentinian Sava has scored a few goals and is famous for his mask celebration, but let's hope that is something that stays up his sleeve (or down his sock).  Stoljcers barely gets a look in, as he has not acclimatised well to English football at the highest level and Boa Morte will dive and moan all match, but then what can we expect form an ex-Gooner ??

While Fulham have had a week's rest since their last game, Spurs played out the tough 0-0 at Anfield, so might be a bit leg-weary.  However, the point should have given them confidence to face Fulham and they should produce enough chances (if the Leeds game is anything to go by) to rack up a decent win ...

PREDICTION : -   Tottenham  3    Fulham  0

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

No Fulham site was able to contribute a

Players unavailable ...

Fulham -  Sean Davis (knee), Andy Melville (foot)

Tottenham Hotspur -  Christian Ziege (thigh), Kazuyuki Toda (calf), Robbie Keane (ankle), Gus Poyet (broken wrist), Jonathan Blondel (finger)

TV :  No live coverage in UK.  Highlights on ITV "The Premiership"
Radio :  TalkSport (in the London area only)  1089 Medium wave
Internet :  www.spurs.co.uk   Live webcast    



Tottenham   0      Fulham   3     (Half-time score : 0-1)
Premier League
Saturday 30th August 2003
Venue : -  White Hart Lane
Kick Off : -  15.00 p.m.
Weather : -  Warm, sunny
Referee : -  J. Winter (Stockton-on-Tees)
Crowd : -  33,421
Teams : -  
Tottenham : -  Keller; Gardner, Richards, King (Zamora 46); Carr, Redknapp (c), Davies (Anderton 59), Ricketts, Taricco; Postiga, Kanoute 
Unused Subs : -  Burch, Bunjevcevic, Marney

Fulham : -  van der Sar; Bonissel, Goma, Knight, ; Legwinski, Malbranque, Inamoto, Clark, Boa Morte ; Hayles (Saha 74) 
Unused Subs : - Crossley, Buari, Leacock, Sava 

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of http://www.colours-of-football.com)
Tottenham        Fulham         
Scorers : -  
Tottenham  -  None

Fulham -  Hayles 23, 68, Boa Morte 72

Cards : -  
Tottenham  -  None

Fulham -  Inamoto (persistent fouling) 31, Volz (foul) 36

It is unusual that the away side dictates the pace of the game and with a few examples of poor defending thrown in, it was no surprise that Fulham took the spoils in this London derby.

As it was last season, when Spurs needed to beat Fulham to go on a good run against the lesser lights of the Premier League, they stumbled and fell humiliated on their own faces.  At least last time we got a draw from this fixture, but Fulham fully deserved all three points and Tottenham will hopefully get what they deserve ... a boot up the backside.  Too many players looked jaded and there was none of the sparkle that was evident this time last week, when they came from behind to beat Leeds United.  Apart from a couple of serious efforts, Tottenham did not look like scoring.

From the start, the Fulham forward dominated the Tottenham defence ... yes, I did meant o say forward, as Hayles play a lone role up front and our three defenders all failed to handle him.  His strength was too much for them and he scored the first by muscling Richards off the ball, then shooting across the keeper into the net and nearly got a second with a delicate chip that Keller did well to tip over.  Spurs had gone close first, with Kanoute forcing van der Sar out to block an effort from inside the box and Taricco had hit a shot from the edge of the box hard, but wide.  Before Hayles got the Cottagers ahead, a Malbranque shot had to be well saved by Kasey and a header flashed across the face of goal.

Spurs looked sluggish and never really got any rhythm going, but Carr flicked a free-kick a yard wide, Ledley met a corner in the six yard box, but his volley hit the Fulham goalie in the midriff and Kanoute broke through, but hit his final shot across goal.  It didn't look like Spurs were going to produce a couple of incredible goals like last week.

In the second half, they switch from 3-5-2 to 4-3-3, with Zamora on for the disappointing Ledley King.  The move seemed to be putting more pressure on Fulham with Kanoute getting on to the end of a clever through ball and lobbing over the advancing van der Sar from the right edge of the box, but as it looked it would drop under the bar, Zat Knight popped up to head over, as Zamora and Postiga closed in.  Then from a corner on the hour, confusion reigned in the West Londoners penalty area and Volz managed to head against his own post and Helder could not get a contact on it to convert it into a goal.

Then in a blink of the eye we were three down.  Anderton, on as a sub for Davies, who looked tired, was put under pressure and passed across field and Taricco could not win his tackle, leaving Hayles to go past Richards on a clear run on goal ending with a shot past Keller.  Three minutes later, Hayles went down the right without a decent challenge made on him and Boa Morte got across Gardner to tuck the ball past the American keeper. 

Tottenham had second half chances, with Redknapp hitting a free-kick over, Anderton shooting wide and Postiga going to high with an effort.  Kanoute blazed over, when Zamora was free in the middle, then headed over from a corner, while Ricketts was denied by van der Sar after jinking past a defender and hitting a firm shot.  The ball fell to Zamora, but he was unable to get a clean shot in on goal.  Right at the end, Stephen Carr put a cross in to the area between keeper and defenders, but Zamora could only just get a foot to it and it fell tamely to the goalie.

The match was lost early on, when the side ambled around and allowed Fulham to seize the initiative that set the tempo for the match.  Yes, we had a tough game at Liverpool on Wednesday while Fulham had a breather and missed a midweek fixture, but that is no excuse.  Spurs should have been buoyed by that result and gone out with the same approach as at Anfield, rather than appear that the points were already in the bag.  It is the performance rather than the result that is most galling.

As usual, Winter made sure there was no flow to the game and when Inamoto pulled Ricketts back by his shirt, the ref waited until he was doing it in the area before whistling to book the Japanese Gooner and award a free-kick outside the box.  At the start, Hayles and Boa Morte were hitting Spurs players late with no action taken by the official, but when it happened the other way, he was quick enough on his whistle.  He really does appear to think that everyone is there t see him and I reckon he deserves his own song to the tune of "Walking in a Winter Wonderland"...

"We hate you, when you're whistling,
Rearrange these words, into a saying,
When you're walking along, singing a song,
"Useless, are, of, ref, a, you, fat, Winter, lump !!"

King had a mare in the first half, getting caught dwelling on the ball and giving it away, Davies looked like he has played too much football lately, as his energy level is sapped and he looks half the player he was and Redknapp failed to open up the Fulham defence with a decent pass.  Anderton was guilty of a lot of things when he came on and the forwards had little to feed off, especially when the side played long balls up to Postiga.  How was he supposed to win them against the giant Knight ??  The only exception was Bobby Zamora, who, although he was getting little service in the areas he needed, chased back doggedly and worked hard for the team. A few more performances like that today and we might not have ended up on the wrong side of a 0-3 scoreline.


Phil Eastcott


Bad Day, Good Knight


Spurs seem notoriously bad at London derbies in recent years.  Why should this be ??  Perhaps the gritty nature of the matches are not to Tottenham's liking and they get out-fought and thus lose out on the points.  It would be nice if the team could approach each match as if they are playing Arsenal, when their effort level leaps prodigiously.

Here, they let Fulham take three points back to West London and put up little resistance.  The visitors were good value for their win and it was lucky that the score wasn't extended at the end.  As well as losing, Tottenham showed the need for a midfielder worthy of the name, as the gap in that area of the team is bigger than the hole left in Abramovich's bank balance by buying up all the new Chelski players (Neil Sullivan excepted).

Fulham harassed every ball and when Keller had to deal with a back-pass, he was quickly closed down by a black shirted player.  Spurs neither made the movement or well weighted pass that would put them through the Fulham resistance.  Ricketts did manage one early on to let Kanoute take a first time shot that hit van der Sar and went for a corner, but that was the exception.

It was disappointing to see the long ball being played up to the forwards, with Goma and Knight standing tall in defence, Postiga didn't win a ball in the air of any note.  In fact, Knight had an outstanding game, but then Tottenham did play to his strengths and not those of our forwards.  Postiga started well and dinked a ball over a challenge on the edge of the area before a crashing boot cleared it away.  After that, he was on the periphery of the action, without a pass to move onto, as he likes.

It was something that Barry Hayles didn't have to worry about, as he made every pass forward to him work to his advantage, using his backside to shield the ball and his twists and turns to appear he was Ronaldo, the Spurs defence fawned every time he took possession.  His midfield flooded forward to support him, which ours tended not to do in support of our defence.  This is an area that needs seriously investing in, even though Stephane Dalmat looks like he is on his way from Inter Milan for a season's loan.

The only bit of fight in the team appeared to come from Stephen Carr, who had a match long feud with Luis Boa Morte ... who seemed to specialise in leaving his foot in tackles after the ball had gone.  Carr made it clear with a pointed finger that the Portuguese ex-Gooner was in for some retribution and a couple of stray arms and slaps could be heard when they went for the ball.  In one incident, Carr toppled the winger off the ball and even looked as though he went right through Boa Morte with one tackle, but then he makes a lot of any challenge, so it is hard to tell which has done him any damage and which he is putting on.

When Spurs did move forward, they knocked in balls from the 25-30 yard out distance, making no angle for the forwards to attack the header, rather than getting to the by-line and pulling it back, making it hard to defend against.  Taricco's need to pull the ball back inside onto his right foot doesn't help things, so that stalls some moves.  When the ball did find it's way into the box, it was evident that the strikers have not worked together enough and developed an understanding of each others play.

It proved to be another disappointment in the way Tottenham hope to go up, just when the last couple of results looked promising.  I hope that Hoddle and the team can work things out before the match against Chelsea in two weeks or we will get mullered.  We need to work hard in training and on the pitch to make this work.  With other sides also bumbling along (some like Newcastle bumbling along the bottom of the table), Spurs could take their own destiny into their hands and make a move towards a higher placing.  I hope this is one performance that they needed to get out of their system and have done it early in the season.

Consistency is the key and picking up points when you are not playing well.  It is not a lock that we have been able to pick just yet.

Sterling Performance


Other scores this weekend :
Aston Villa 3 Leicester City 1 Saturday
Bolton Wanderers 0 Charlton Athletic 0 Saturday
Chelsea 2 Blackburn Rovers 2 Saturday
Everton 0 Liverpool 3 Saturday
Manchester City 1 Arsenal 2 Sunday
Middlesbrough 2 Leeds United 3 Saturday
Newcastle United 0 Birmingham City 1 Saturday


1 Manchester United 0 Sunday
Wolverhampton Wanderers 0 Portsmouth 0 Saturday


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


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