In what was supposed to be the swansong for Tottenham Hotspur’s stay at Wembley Stadium before last week’s announcement, Spurs used the final thirty minutes of the match to dispatch a pesky Fulham side by the final score of 3-1.
Tottenham’s first chance came in the sixth minute as Kieran Trippier crossed a ball into the mixer. After a couple of headers to keep the ball alive, Ben Davies crossed it to wide open Lucas Moura. His headed attempt went wide of the post, though, keeping the match scoreless. Davies may have been offside on the play, but the flag had stayed down.
Not thirty seconds later, a miscue by Fulham gave Lucas a one-on-one with Fulham keeper Fabricio, but a heavy touch resulted in Fabricio breaking up the play and drawing a foul to end the threat.
Spurs controlled the traffic for much of the first twenty minutes, pumping cross after cross into the box, but Fulham were up to the task of clearing each one. Spurs eventually got another chance in the 23rd minute as a cross for Dele bounced off his chest and bounced to a streaking Christian Eriksen. The Danish International one-timed his shot and got plenty of pace on it, but it was well wide of the post.
Fulham finally got a chance to get on the scoresheet on a counter attack. A good pass against the grain found midfielder Tom Cairney, who fired a low curling effort towards the post. Hugo Lloris was in perfect position, though, and made a diving save to keep his clean sheet in tact.
A foul on midfielder Eric Dier led to a free kick attempt in the 35th minute for Spurs. After a brief conversation between Eriksen and Trippier, Eriksen opted to take the kick. His attempt was a good one and on target, but Fabricio was up to the challenge again and parried it away.
The final five minutes were a flurry with both sides having chances. Ryan Sessegnon had a near perfect ball fed to him over the top of Spurs’ defense, but before he could get it in shooting position, Hugo charged off his line and cleared it. A minute later, Spurs had a flurry of chances that were either blocked or off target before a shot by Eriksen went well over the crossbar.
Spurs finally unlocked Fulham’s defense in the 43rd minute. Trippier fed Eriksen on a low cross that was attempted on target but blocked. Eric Dier, instead of trying a shot from a horrible angle, passed it out of the penalty area to find Lucas. The Brazilian curled a perfect shot far post, striking the inside of the iron and bouncing into the net to give Spurs a deserved 1-0 lead going into the half.
Fulham started brightly in the second half as Aleksandar Mitrovic found himself on the receiving end of pass that left him with space at the top of the penalty area. It seemed like he almost whiffed on the shot but he managed to get it past Hugo, only to find the far post. The ensuing shot after was wide to kill the chance.
Spurs woke up after that near-equalizer, getting into the Fulham penalty area in the 49th minute. Trippier’s cross into the six yard box was headed away to Dele Alli, who chested it down and tried a volley that he struck true but was right at Fabricio for an easy save.
Fulham eventually were rewarded for their bright start in the second half. In the 52nd minute, a cross into the penalty area found Sessegnon at the far post. Inexplicably he didn’t try to score but crossed it back to Mitrovic, who was on the ground. Somehow, Mitrovic got his head on the ball and put it in the back of the net to even the score at 1-1.
Mousa Dembele came on for Spurs in the 62nd minute to kick up the tempo a bit, coming on for Davinson Sanchez. Spurs had a half chance not long after when Dele found himself on the end of a cross about 15 yards out and Fabricio caught in no man’s land. Dele’s chance wasn’t a clean one and was cleared away by Fulham’s defense before it had a chance to sniff the net.
In the 71st minute it looked like Spurs had their lead back. A wonderful ball in the penalty area found a streaking Harry Kane. His attempt to score ended up off the woodwork, though, keeping the match level and the August curse for him in tact. This month really does hate him, doesn’t it?
Lamela came on in the 73rd minute before a free kick 35 yards out for Spurs with the match very much up for grabs still. Once again, Trippier and Eriksen discussed who would take it, with the English International taking it. It was the correct decision as Trippier’s rip bent over the wall and kissed the side netting as a diving Fabricio had zero chance. Spurs had their lead back, 2-1.
Spurs put the match away for good in the 78th minute. Erik Lamela made a marauding run in midfield and fed a wonderful ball to Kane. Kane made two touches to bring it back to his right and fired it into the net to make it 3-1 while probably yelling out “August can suck it!”
Spurs weren’t done firing the afterburners after the third goal. On a counter attack, Dele fed the ball to Lamela. Instead of looking to pass, the Argentine took a curling attempt for the far post that looked on target, but Fabricio managed to save it. Lamela not long after that made another great pass into the penalty area that Fabricio had to deal with. I think it’s safe to say that Lamela is back.
Lamela had one final chance to make an impact on the match (not that he hadn’t already) in the last minute, receiving a pass into the six yard box and getting a shot on target that was saved point blank by Fabricio. Anthony Taylor had seen enough at that point, blowing the whistle to bring things to an end.
Thoughts on the match
- Let’s get this out of the way: This Fulham side is going to be very good when they mesh. It’s no surprise they were hanging around as long as they did.
- Lucas Moura is really good. He was bright in attack, pesky in the press, and that goal was fantastic.
- Pochettino nailed his subs today. Moose was just what the doctor ordered in the final thirty minutes, carrying the ball forward into dangerous areas and providing key passes.
- Coco was magnificent in his twenty minutes. One assist, a few key passes, and almost nailed a goal at the end. If his role at the club is a second half Destroyer of Worlds, it looks like he’s ready for it.
- Kieran Trippier must have put 800 crosses into the box today, but we’ll all remember that free kick. Sploosh!
- I thought the back three looked comfortable and good. The goal they gave up was a bit rough, but they were in control most of the match.
- Oh, and there’s that little “August Curse” that can die in a fire. Kane gets his first August goal of his career and is off and running for the campaign.
- Winksy is alive!!!
- Bring on United.