Let’s start with an important announcement:
Spurs retook their rightful place at the top of the Premier League table with a comfortable home win over Fulham, avenging their Carabao Cup loss at Craven Cottage last month and keeping Spurs undefeated to start the season. Tottenham got a first half goal from Son Heung-Min (assist Richarlison) and a second half strike from James Maddison (assist Son) as Spurs eased past the Cottagers at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. It’s now Tottenham’s best start to a season since 1960-61, and y’all remember what happened that season, right?
I’m not saying... I’m just saying. Here are my notes from this match.
- Fulham are not a good team, despite beating us at Craven Cottage in the Carabao and this result confirms it. That was a hiding from the opening kick.
- For much of this match, Spurs were super fun to watch and were one final ball away from scoring on at least four occasions. Pressing high, making tackles, causing havoc in and around the box.
- As one of my colleagues said in the chat, James Maddison was playing like peak Steven Gerrard for much of that half — pinging long balls in the attacking third while under almost no pressure whatsoever.
- Fantastic strike from Sonny for the first half goal, but the assist pass from Richy was equally fantastic. He played some lovely passes in that first half. Big shout to Micky for intercepting the ball and making the hockey assist (Micky was outstanding today).
- That penalty incident by Bassey near the end of the half was an interesting penalty test case. Leg was high, missed Hojbjerg but caught him at the hip with his other leg. Did he make contact with the high boot? No. Was it still dangerous play? ...Well, yes. That’s probably not a penalty Premier League refs will give, but there’s a strong case that it SHOULD be given. Incidentally, Bassey might be one of the worst CBs I’ve ever seen.
- Vicario didn’t have a whole lot to do, but he came up huge when needed, most notably that standing one-handed save on Palhinha. That said, he had a couple of WTF moments playing out from the back, so it wasn’t a perfect performance.
- Palhinha committed about four yellow card-worthy fouls and never received one. Dude is teflon.
- Second goal was again caused by the high press. Hojbjerg read the pass well and stepped in front of it and made a simple pass to Son who found Maddison for the goal. The whole sequence was so smooth.
- Pape Sarr had a somewhat quietly great performance, exemplified when he motored back to make a critical headed interception on a second half Fulham half-chance. But Hojbjerg was quite good in this game — he doesn’t have the bite defensively that Bissouma has, but he passed the ball very well and wasn’t a traffic cone. All that said, I’m glad Bissouma is back for at least one match because we got significant Oliver Skipp minutes today and he was pretty awful.
- What is wrong with Deki and why won’t he shoot the ball? Either he was explicitly instructed to pass unless he’s wide open or he has the yips and needs to see a sports psychologist pronto. Had a couple of really bad giveaways in this match too.
- Richarlison again struggled with his shot — flashed a good chance wide and put two in row Z — but his passing was very good and he got another assist. Is this just his role now?
- Good job from Postecoglou to make the late triple sub for Spurs’ starting front line. Gets his stars some extra rest with a short turnaround to next matchday and a few young/recovering players some minutes in their legs.
- That said.......... there was a noticeable drop-off in intensity and efficacy late in the match. That was more or less the team that lost to Fulham in the Carabao Cup and maybe puts a finer point on Tottenham’s lack of reliable depth. The last 10’+ of this match were miserable.
- Whatever. Job done. Spurs travel to Selhurst Park on Friday to play Crystal Palace.