…but that didn’t do the rest of us any good.
I mean even for Spurs this was extreme backs to the wall job but totally unlike Spurs this ended up with another three points. Which might have had a calming effect on ‘Arry’s heart.
Spurs have been at their best when they come out the blocks with pace and purpose. For a number of games now, first halves against QPR and Wigan apart, this hasn’t been the case. And so it came to pass at Fulham. as before slow, ponderous, guileless, in some cases witless and wasteful. But as before, Newcastle apart, winning.
The problems start with Parker and his Chuckle Brothers passing. Either of the two centre-halves get the ball and Parker drops deep to receive it. Now he brings with him at least opposition player and as soon as he gets the ball passes straight back from whence it came, they know this will happen. With Parker’s reluctance/inability to look forward the ball just aimlessly is just passed round the now back five as the opposition press until it goes back to the ‘keeper and he humps it up the park.
It kept happening yesterday with the same result. Lost possession. They weren’t 50/50 humps, weren’t even 60/40. Nine times out of ten they went straight to a Fulham player the other one time Adebayor just lost the ball with ease after getting the first touch. It’s been a slow decline by the striker over the last few games, don’t know how he lasted the full 90 minutes without getting the hook. It wasn’t the lack of striking acumen of recent games that was missing it was his all round game that was lacking. At least before if not scoring he held the ball well to play others in, here when the ball wasn’t bouncing off him, or being taken off him he was passing it straight to a Fulham player.
So while Spurs were lacking Fulham weren’t exactly looking dangerous, yes Friedel had one goal line save to make but it was those in row Z that were ducking, well it was Bobby Zamora up front. It came against the run of play, even as early as ten minutes in, when Adebayor hit a long ball from the centre of the park out wide right – one of three things he did all afternoon – it was an OK ball, Walker’s pace and ability made it better – no way Corluka would have got within a country mile of it – the rightback did the smart thing and instead of a wild bang into the box cut it back to Lennon. The little winger put a dangerous ball across the six yard box that Schwarzer could only palm out to Bale on the left. He did bang it in, luckily Adebayor got out of the way – his second of those three things – and any touch meant it was going in. Baird got that touch.
First half carried on like the ten minutes before the opener. Spurs had some moments but they were too easily broken up with possession given away at ease. The 45 minute had just ticked over when it was all getting too much for me as I went all Withnail and started shouting
I must have triangles… I demand to have some triangles.
Couldn’t have timed it any better as Lennon on the left played the ball inside to Bale, whose cushioned return found the advancing Lennon in a perfect triangle. The little fella hared into the box tying the Fulham defender in knots before banging the ball into the far corner with his left.
It is neither rocket surgery or indeed brain science.
When you get Lennon the ball when he’s moving or indeed looking forward it works, even if he’s on the left. If you play such triangles, it works. What is also true is that once a team does it and sees it works wonders they never bloody do it again. A first goal of the season to go with three assists from Lennon over the last two games, should get his confidence up.
Thoroughly undeserved two goal lead going into the break. And after that break the other main problem with Spurs. Being useless just after the interval, especially when holding a lead. For Fulham see Wigan and QPR. Those in white piled on the pressure as Spurs were even more profligate in possession than the first 45, starting as they would nearly play the whole half, camped in their own box.
No surprise when the goal came. Well one surprise as Ledley headed a corner onto the back of Kaboul it was one of the few passes from Spurs that found a team mate all half.
From that moment on it was blind panic and well heart attack time. As time and time again Friedel came to the rescue – that transfer fee is looking a snip now ain’t it?. And if it wasn’t the ‘keeper it was someone who happened to be there. Most notably when Modric was on the post and after a Friedel save the little Croat got his foot on an attempt by Dempsey to push it round the post.
Then there was the moment of real luck as Walker flopped on the ball in the box then almost appeared to shove it up his jumper. Kinda lost count how many times he handled it but I’m sure the first was enough for a penalty to be given. Maybe the ref was evening things up after the numerous times he favoured Fulham throughout the match.
Can’t remember if it was Dempsey or Zamora having a shot in the area after stiff arming a Spurs defender away. Good for rugby. Duff had his own Walkeresque splash dive on the ball, sealing it off in manner that’s a penalty in rugby. A handball given against Kaboul that was never a foul never mind the yellow card he got. Then Sidwell’s forearm/elbow smash through Parker’s face. At least a yellow, probably a red, not even a foul given. Oh and Sidwell’s charge into Parker’s back on the edge of the Fulham area. Not a penalty but certainly a foul and a yellow if he hadn’t gone earlier. Not a red as it was Parker so not a clear goal scoring opportunity.
So with time ticking down and Modric’s foot, Walkers arms and body preventing an equaliser there was just time for well not only one last but probably the only break into Fulham’s half in this half. Throw on the right and Adebayor juggles it on the byline before finding Defoe and his volley seals the deal. Defoe should have probably been on earlier, as I said Adebayor shouldn’t have stayed on, also van der Vaart could have made way sooner as well. Pretty anonymous game from the Dutchman. Sandro was required and Lennon could have profited from not being subbed.
All in all a shambles of a performance and a very lucky three points. And if you know your history it’s enough to make your heart go – makes flatline noise….
Fulham 1 – 3 Tottenham Hotspur
I love Martin Jol… Martin Jol loves me…