Fulham vs. Tottenham Hotspur: Instant reaction

Paul Gilham

Tottenham Hotspur nabbed a much needed win and are now in 6th place in the Barclay's Premier League.

Whew. That was fun, right? Admit it. All of you thought we were going to lose that game, didn't you? Well, it's exactly that sort of negative attitude that annoys me. Cheer up you lot. We won a match and are within touching distance of the top four.

The first half was a bit of a mixed bag for Spurs. Fulham looked to be on top for long stretches of the period, but Tottenham somehow managed to forge some of the best opportunities. Jermain Defoe had an early effort saved by Steklenberg and Erik Lamela forced his former Roma teammate into another fine save later in the half. At the opposite end, Hugo Lloris was called on to make a stunning save from close range against Dimitar Berbatov.

The turning point in the half, for Spurs, came when Aaron Lennon and Lamela swapped wings. With Lennon on his more natural right foot Spurs looked increasingly dangerous. Also, this brought Lamela more into the game as Spurs seemed to be attacking exclusively down their left flank. Lamela made a couple of lovely runs, one that ended in the aforementioned shot and another that was blunted by Philippe Senderos.

Tottenham made one change at halftime, brining on Lewis Holtby for Etienne Capoue. The change seemed to do some good as Spurs found themselves on top in the early going. Unfortunately, that didn't last long. In the 56' Berbatov picked out Ashkan Dejagah with a lovely ball and the Iranian scored his first ever goal for Fulham.

From then it seemed like Spurs would struggle, but Vlad Chiriches, who was partially at fault for the Fulham goal, scored a crazy strike from long distance to level the scores. Following a cleared corner the Romanian drove the ball back into the area along the ground. It somehow missed everyone, including an offside Jermain Defoe and bounced into the goal off of the post.

Spurs had new life and they really put their foot to the floor seeking a go-ahead goal. It cam from Lewis Holtby. The German picked the ball up on the right, then cut inside and unleashed a furious shot into the top corner. It was Holtby's first Premier League goal for the club.

Couple of quick observations:

  • Paulinho was bad in the first half and I questioned his not being removed for Holtby, but he played much better in a deeper role than he had all season.
  • Jermain Defoe started in place of Soldado and looked alright. He used his pace to get in behind the defense a couple of times, but his finishing left plenty to be desired.
  • Erik Lamela and Aaron Lennon played really well. I like them as our starting wingers.
  • Holtby played much deeper later in the half. A pivot of he and Paulinho is fine when chasing a lead, but I'd like to Lewis there with Sandro for a whole match. Maybe against Sunderland?
  • I really don't like Jan Vertonghen at left back and having him there makes the center of our defense weak. Can Danny Rose come back now?

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