Is this the Tottenham Hotspur we never beat, the team intending to go deep into the Champions’ League, and which contains some of the most irresistible attacking players in the country? It must be.
This team could have lost 7-0 today. Fulham had to make do with four. Spurs made a gift of them all, but Fulham would point to tremendous pressure to force these mistakes, and faultless execution in taking advantage of them.
The first goal arose when Johnson harrassed Dawson; Dawson turned out of trouble but could only pass the ball to Dempsey, who charged into the area and drew contact from Hutton. Dawson had almost been on hand to cover, but Dembele slyly blocked him off. Murphy took the ball and planted his kick into the top right corner, past Gomes who nearly reached it. Wow, 1-0.
Then Dawson tried to turn away from Dembele, lost the ball and the man in one go, and snatched at Dembele’s shirt. Dembele was in the area and wriggled free to shoot (saved), but Phil Dowd realised that a foul had been committed and that a red card and penalty had to be awarded. Two penalties in five minutes, game theory time! Who would go where? Murphy went left this time, Gomes didn’t, easy. 2-0.
Then a third! A Duff corner, AJ flicks on at the near post (!), Hangeland with the poacher’s finish (!). Whatever works. What were Spurs doing?
The game was up, but the best was yet to come. Dembele in the centre-circle, from a standing start, ran around Bassong (seriously, how often do you see that in professional football?) then galloped into space, nobody came to meet him so he slammed a low shot hard and fading away into Gomes’ bottom corner. A phenomenal strike, just phenomenal. This is what the fuss is about, folks. This man can play.
If the first half was the night of our lives, the second was a beautiful sunrise on the beach the next morning. Fulham cruised it, passed and passed and passed, and Gera, Dempsey and Hughes all came close to adding more goals. Never mind, 4-0 is quite enough, and a home tie against Wigan or Bolton will do nicely, thank you very much.