If they’d played like that previously BMJ wouldn’t have lost his job and Spurs wouldn’t be facing a team with new manager syndrome.
It was guaranteed that once BMJ had been replaced by Rene Meulensteen this would be a different Fulham that faced Spurs, it’s always the bloody case ain’t it. That along with the cramped Cottage where Spurs struggle to find any kind of space meant it could be one of those game if they didn’t approach it right.
That meant playing like they did against ManUre, with tempo and purpose and not as they had done most of the season and fanny about passing sideways.
Given that everyone seemed happy about the style of play at the weekend was it a great surprise that they reverted to type?
Maybe more starting XI changes didn’t help. Dembele wasn’t available due to injury, so understandable. Also understandable in a way was the choice of Defoe over Soldado. Chances are the Spaniard will start on Saturday – nothing in Defoe’s performance would make you pick him – and so with the ManUre game and the previous Europa outing that would make 4 games in 10 days for Soldado. Now it’s preferable for him to keep playing and try and strike up a rapport with those that are meant to supply him but maybe 4 in 10 is too much.
Chadli was dropped for Lamela, maybe you can see that as Lamela needs games and Chadli is just back from injury but it meant shifting Lennon to the left which was wrong. The little fella hadn’t done enough on his return from injury to merit a starting spot but he turned that round in the last two games. No matter how much you want Lamela to succeed shifting a performing Lennon to accommodate him was a wrong move.
And no surprise it didn’t work as Lamela was anonymous while the left struggled with Lennon backed up by an indifferent Vertonghen. And again no surprise that Spurs came back into it after they switch flanks later on in the first half.
It was a first half of Fulham being the better side, lots of Spurs sideways passing a the usual missed sitters. Yes I’m looking at you Paulinho. You actually get a ball from Defoe, he doesn’t have a useless shot but passes to you in a dangerous area and you balloon it.
Berbatov was being Berbatov and thankfully Lloris was being Lloris. While Karagounis was falling over and being the big tart at every opportunity.
Capoue and Sandro weren’t working together, it required a change at the break Holtby for Capoue and Soldado for Defoe preferably. The former happened the latter didn’t. Immediately Lewis brought some life to proceedings but didn’t prevent the hosts opening the scoring.
There was nothing he could do about Dawson charging forward, getting so far panicking falling over and blindly kicking the ball away. Which I laughingly read in one report as Parker stealing it. Berba over the defence and Dejagah gives Lloris no hope with the shot. Dawson is all heart but he’s a fading presence on the pitch especially with the ball at his feet.
Oh joy the anti-AVB mob are out.
Again more chances came and went with any clinical finishing. Just a minute I thought Defoe was meant to be lethal. Oh that’s right if he was that good they wouldn’t be talking about a move to Canada.
As with the weekend it took another screamer. This time from a poor corner played out by a Fulham player to Chiriches and Vlad puts his foot through a right daisy cutter to give their ‘keeper no hope.
Again more chances were coming and Lloris was doing all he could to stop them scoring when Holtby, thankfully, nicked the ball off Townsend’s toe and cracked it in with his left. Spurs don’t score many goals but when they do they ain’t tap ins. Relief and deserved from Holtby. Shut some folk up.
Still time though for Fulham to hit the woodwork and Lloris to pull off an amazing save. Still time for Senderos to finally get a yellow card when he should have had a red far earlier, even before he pulled Vertonghen down by his ankle injuring the Belgian in the process. But not enough time for an equaliser.
Another game without a great performance but with plenty of chances created, while a number around lost on the night. So back up to sixth, just a few points behind the likes of Citeh and Liverpool without playing anywhere near their standard. One day it’ll all click.