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Tottenham 1-1 Fulham: Spurs can’t find a way past Cottagers in dispiriting draw

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Blah.

Tottenham Hotspur v Fulham - Premier League Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Tottenham made up one of their COVID-delayed matches on Wednesday after the Premier League decided on Monday to reschedule the home match against Fulham that was delayed on December 30. However, although they were hosting a club in the relegation zone, they could not get full points. Harry Kane headed home a gorgeous cross from Sergio Reguilon to put Spurs up 1-0 in the first half, but Tottenham conceded to an equally good cross and header from Ivan Cavaleiro. Spurs couldn’t find a winner and could only manage a 1-1 disappointing draw.

Before the match, Spurs journalist Alasdair Gold suggested we could see a “plethora of midfielders” in Tottenham’s starting XI. That bore out — Spurs started with Pierre Hojbjerg, Harry Winks, Moussa Sissoko, and Tanguy Ndombele in the midfield, behind Son Heung-Min and Harry Kane. Davinson Sanchez started alongside Eric Dier, with Serge Aurier and Sergio Reguilon at the fullback positions. Hugo Lloris captained the side from goal.

Key Moments

First Half

10’ — First half has been pretty much as we expected. Fulham are defending with a back five and are hitting on the counter whenever possible. Spurs having little luck picking that lock thus far.

15’ — Eric Dier comes up limping heavily after a challenge by the endline. Fulham have had the bulk of the shots already in this match.

18’ — Great chance Tottenham! Good combination between Sissoko and Aurier, Sonny gets a one-touch at goal that’s well saved. Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa picks up a yellow for Fulham in the ensuing play.

24’ — UGH SO CLOSE. Another great ball into the box from Tanguy and Sonny tries to head it in, but Areola is there to get a hand to it

25’ — GOAL! HARRY KANE! Pierre Hojbjerg put a long ball waaaaay out on the left flank to Reguilon, and Reggie puts a cross right to Harry Kane’s head, who hammers it past the keeper! 1-0 Spurs!

30’ — Oooh, nearly a second for Kane, but his free header goes over the bar. That’s their fourth big chance this half and they’re still playing football despite having a lead! Is our Mourinho learning?

35’ — Nearly an equalizer for Fulham. Loftus-Cheek gets on the end of a cross and volleys a ball that goes inches wide of the post. Hugo looked like he had it covered, but that was a near thing.

40’ — Spurs had another chance on a counter, but Hojbjerg’s shot is low and easily collected by Areola.

HALFTIME! Spurs have been on the front foot and had several good chances, but Fulham are still a threat and have a few of their own.

Second Half

46’ — LMAO Sissoko dribbles into the box and somehow wasn’t able to get a shot away from close range.

55’ — Close from Harry Winks, who lofts a looping shot from 20 yards out to the top corner and forces a diving save from Areola.

59’ — Free kick to Fulham just outside the box after a Hojbjerg foul, but the kick goes right into the wall, danger averted.

64’ — Hojbjerg picks up a yellow card for a robust challenge.

68’ — First sub of the match, and it’s for Fulham: Ademola Lookman is on for Kenny Tete.

72’ — ARGH Son plonks a ball off the post on a Spurs counterattack! So close to putting this match away.

73’ — Goal to Fulham. Ivanm Cavaleiro equalizers for the Cottagers, heading home a cross from Ademola Lookman. Unreal. Immediate sub for Spurs as Jose Mourinho brings on Erik Lamela for Harry Winks.

78’ — Gaah Fulham nearly take the lead from Loftus-Cheek but Lloris slides in to deny the shot.

80’ — Mourinho rolls the dice, opts to bring in Carlos Vinicius for Tanguy Ndombele.

86’ — Third sub for Fulham, goal-scorer Cavaleiro is off for Aboubakar Kamara.

89’ — IT’S IN THE NET! SERGIO REGUILON... but the flag is up. It’s not going to count. He’s offside.

90’ — Sub for Fulham, and it’s our old friend Josh Onomah, who’s on for Loftus Cheek. Hi, Joshy!

FULL TIME. This one is going to haunt Spurs for a while. They had tons of chances, none better than Son’s shot off the post but couldn’t get the job done. Disappointing.

Reactions

  • These aren’t going to be super detailed because I could only sneak glances from the office every so often. I’ll rewatch the match later tonight, but consider these broad overview observations.
  • Spurs’ concession in the second half came not because Mourinho was trying to sit deep and protect a lead — they were pushing forward, but just weren’t playing well. Even so, Spurs dominated the xG in this match. It’s a completely new and novel way to drop points. At least you can’t blame it on parking the bus.
  • Tanguy Ndombele is very good at football.
  • The first half goal was so good — from PEH’s long pass from deep to Reguilon’s run into space and perfect cross to Kane’s head. Just wonderful stuff.
  • Sissoko surprised me not only by playing wide right but also by making several late runs into the box throughout his shift.
  • Spurs had chances in this game, they just couldn’t convert them. It’s no fun to watch when that happens.