This Saturday, Spurs entertain Fulham in the lunchtime kick-off. Fulham sit 18th, with their Premier League survival in serious danger, so will be desperate to pick up points. Last season Tottenham lost this fixture due to a solitary goal from Dimitar Berbatov. Luckily for us, the erstwhile Spurs front man is now plying his trade in sunnier climes.
The west London side’s fans probably thought that things would calm down at Craven Cottage when eccentric owner Mohamed Al-Fayed sold the club to US based billionaire Shahid Khan in the summer. At least the Michael Jackson statue he erected outside the ground was finally removed.
However, Fulham are one of the few clubs who can boast a more dysfunctional year than Tottenham’s, having sacked manager Martin Jol, then replaced him with Rene Meulensteen, then decided to sack him too and bring in the idiosyncratic German coach Felix Magath. In that time, they have also hired and fired experienced former coaches Ray Wilkins and Alan Curbishley.
Magath, known as a strict disciplinarian and fitness obsessive, has recently presided over an upturn in form that has given Fulham some hope. His side have won their last two games, three of the last five, and sit only two points below Norwich and safety. With three very winnable games after Tottenham, they now have a realistic chance of beating the drop.
Fulham will be without perhaps their star player of recent weeks, Lewis Holtby, who cannot play against Spurs as a result of the Premier League’s crazy loan rules. Magath has tended to play 4-4-1-1 in recent matches, with Holtby operating just behind the front man. Steve Sidwell has been influential in central midfield and is their top goal scorer in the league. Richardson and Dejagah are two potential danger men. Kostas Mitroglou is their only confirmed injury victim.
This game may also see the first competitive meeting of the two Mous(s)a Dembeles, as the Spurs version returns from injury. I’m hoping the crowd reprise the old “Gary Stevens” England classic with appropriate modifications: “there are only two Mousa Dembeles”.
Walker, Capoue and Vertonghen are still sidelined, while Dawson and Soldado have returned to training. This week finally saw some information on the status of our record signing Erik Lamela, unfortunately it wasn’t good. A back injury will see him miss the rest of a disappointing season.
Spurs will be favourites to win this game against relegation strugglers, but last weeks first half against West Brom demonstrates that our defensive frailties give any opponents a chance. To help shore up our backline, especially our problem left side, I would replace Rose with Fryers, and play Townsend in front of him. The young winger may not be known as a defender, but at least he is left footed and will be at home out wide.
I would play Eriksen centrally, along with Dembele to give us some power in midfield. Chadli would make way. Kane continued to impress last weekend. I would be interested to see how he, Soldado and Eriksen would combine as a front three. However, for this game I would stick with the young Englishman and Adebayor up top.
Here’s my team:
Would you play this team? Please leave your comments in the section below.