It was almost another stolen three points at the Etihad, but instead Tottenham Hotspur fell by multiple goals against Manchester City and continued the drought against top-four competition. The two sides will battle again in early February, and turning some positive moments into an actual win before then would be nice.
While beating the league’s top sides has been elusive thus far, Spurs do have a pair of victories against the clubs directly behind them in the table. They will have a chance to add a third by winning at Fulham on Monday, who surprisingly sits up in seventh place after winning the Championship last season.
Tottenham won the reverse fixture back in September, but that feels like a long time ago. Another three points here would help keep the club in breathing distance of the Champions League places, but a loss would allow Fulham to jump ahead and put the visitors in a rough spot with the City rematch up next. Feels like a lot for January.
Fulham (7th, 31pts) vs. Tottenham Hotspur (5th, 33pts)
Date: Monday, January 23
Time: 3:00 pm ET, 8:00 pm UK
Location: Craven Cottage, London, England
TV: USA Network (USA), Sky Sports Main Event (UK)
The analytics are not so high on this Fulham squad, mostly due to a league-worst xGA. In reality, the Cottagers have allowed around 1.5 goals per match, which is not great but not terrible (and actually a better mark than Tottenham’s mistake-prone defense anyway). Still, one would think there should be some high-quality looks on goal available for the visitors on Monday.
On the other side of the pitch, Aleksandar Mitrovic has been leading the charge, as the striker sits fourth in the league in goals on the season. Fulham will hope he can help the squad stay in great form, having won four of five with the lone loss coming against Newcastle last Sunday.
Back in North London, Spurs controlled the match by amassing 2.9 xG on 23 shots. That level of intensity will be needed again and should be available given the opposition’s defensive struggles. Harry Kane is still looking for the club record, and the longer that gets drawn out, the heavier the pressure will feel.
Questions regarding his support up front continue to swirl, with the Heung-Min Son vs. Richarlison debate back on the menu as the Brazilian is back fit. Richarlison has not been overly convincing, especially in the Premier League, but it is clear that Son just does not have it right now. Neither choice is a sure thing for Antonio Conte, meaning no decision between them seems super out of place.
With City on deck after a tame tie against Preston North End in the Fourth Round of the FA Cup this weekend, Spurs must find a way to three points on Monday. The defense keeps making errors, spearheaded by Hugo Lloris, but the rest of the squad should be able to maintain control and generate enough chances to hopefully overcome any mishaps.