Fulham 1-3 Spurs

A 3-1 defeat seems harsh but is probably a reflection of the quality gap on show. Fulham outshot Spurs by a considerable margin but were only able to score via a freak goal from a corner, while conceding three to Spurs’ occasional raids. Fulham huffed, puffed and gave 110%, while Spurs took it all in and strolled off with the points, slightly dishevelled but not overly shaken.

Too critical? Maybe, probably: we did put together a pulsating second half. But just as the momentum grew we found ourselves driving uphill again, Duff and Murphy withdrawn for the ineffective Etuhu and ‘almost there’ Ruiz. The final few moments were a storm of Fulham pressure with Brad Friedel saving everything with everything, and of course we should have been given a late penalty for that handball/catch/grab, but it was all so frantic, so chaotic.

Still too critical? The thing is, you looked around the Spurs team and everywhere was a good player. Kyle Walker was the only player who perhaps is not an established name at this level, but he set up the first goal with a surge down the right that led to Bale slamming the ball in off Baird. Parker and Modric are, on paper, just about the perfect midfield double-act, and our midfield struggled to compete, even with Dempsey and Dembele making themselves available well. Van der Vaart and Bale were quiet, and Adebayor was functional at best, but in containing all this talent we struggled to impose ourselves on the game. There was no space, Spurs were largely able to hold position and pick us off; we needed to open the game up, increase the tempo.

This was achieved in the second half when, two goals down (Lennon had scored a sizzling goal from the left wing in which he weaved in out in out and then scored with a shot across Schwarzer), the team’s passing went up a gear or three, we started pinging it about a bit more. Dembele had an excellent half, driving in and around their defenders. Zamora played much better and seemed to relish the contest with Spurs’ strongmen combination King and Kaboul. He did what he’s best at, bringing our players into the game, taking theirs out of it.

But it wasn’t to be. We really did give it out all but couldn’t find that breakthrough, and Jermain Defoe scored an injury time third to tie it up. Maybe we deserved more but at the moment it just feels as if we got outsmarted by a better team.

19 thoughts on “Fulham 1-3 Spurs

  1. I don’t think there was as much of a gap in quality as you make out. I think where Spurs had the edge at the end of the day was the quality of their finishing. Our finishing has been abysmal all season apart from AJ who was injured today.

    I think we did brilliantly to tame their ‘stars’ i.e. Bale, Van de Vaart, Adebayor. I think Murphy, Dembele and Sidwell controlled the midfield very very well today.

    We lost due to:

    1) poor defending, Riise was awful again today, Baird didn’t have a good game either and whilst unlucky with the own goal should have done better against Lennon despite his pace. With all of Baird’s experience he should have known how to contain a run like that.

    2) Lack of finishing technique. Despite all our attempts on goal none looked particularly convincing. Dembele continues to prove he’s a midfielder, not a striker and I think Dempsey ended up playing as the second striker in AJ’s place but Dempsey has disappointed me so far this season and thought he looked off today. Zamora played a mix of target man which he did well today, and channel runner where he was ineffective and wasted.

    3) Lack of pace – we’re so short of pace its embarrassing.

    Jol continues to confuse me…

    – Murphy for Etuhu when we’re behind, really??
    – Riise still preferred at left back? hmmmm
    – I really do think its time Ruiz got 90mins – all that quality he brought from Twente is gunna disappear if he doesn’t get game time! Looked like he’s ready when he came on today. even if he isn’t 100% ready yet i’ll settle for 80%.

    1. absolutely agree with the murphy for etuhu comment – seemed like maddness to take him off at a time when we were in real dominance and was he enjoying pulling some strings, with some now tradmark equiste through balls, and sidwell in my opinon was stuggling – he gave the ball away in dangerous situations serveral times. restore the etuhu and murphy partnership – sidewell is much better as a sub with a point to prove

  2. I think we should have simply two humble goals for this season:

    1. Stay up
    2. Keep Jol

    We’re playing much more attacking football overall. It’s fun to watch, and (when it works) we have good wins. I like what I’m seeing (or in this cases, listening to on BBC), and we just need patience before we’re not just a “middle of the table” team but an “upper part of the middle of the table” team. Even though we dropped points today, it was a good outing for all involved.

    1. I like this way of thinking. We need to accept a year of transition, we’re not far off being a decent side again but equally we’re not far off being a side that doesn’t stay up.

      I’d settle for avoiding relegation and another Europa Cup Final appearance.

      I’m easily pleased me.

  3. Thids 4-2-
    3-1 thing does not work. The first half shows it. Spurs had complete contol of at least the space betewen their penalty box and a line half way into our half. Murphy and Sidwell sitting- Dempsey, Duff, Dembele isolated. Our 6 aaginst their 8- they win 2-0.

  4. Harsh judgement I think Rich. I only saw the end of the 1st and all of the 2nd half. We were not at all outclassed. We ran the midfield. We had them scrambling all over the place at the back. We’ve now lost 2 home games 1-3, when the most likely and fair result of both was a draw. We got some breaks at Wigan. We’ll get more breaks as the season progresses.

    I think we missed AJ. He may well have slotted away a couple of chances. Duff however seems to be recovering some of his last season form.

  5. I also find Rich harsh on this occasion. My history of watching my brother’s team, Spurs beat us is now in its fifth decade. Many, many times they could coast in lower gear and get by, but yesterday was not one of them — as said brother freely acknowledged afterwards. (Luck and amazing goalkeeping were his explanations.) What is true is that the second goal was worthy of winning any match in a mode we are not accustomed to from one of ours, and that the first one also exhibited pace we lack. It’s also true that you’d pick most of their lineup over ours in theory. Nevertheless we had them on the rack for at least half an hour and there was nothing that they or their management could do about it except hang on for dear life. That can happen for 5 or 10 minutes without necessarily meaning anything, but this was too extended for supporters of either club to airbrush out.

  6. Having watched the highlights i can see that I have been a bit harsh.

    Thing is though, the good play happened when we were 2-0 down, which is a classic time for teams to look good, as the leading side consolidates and the trailing side has no option but to go for it. We then built up a head of steam and made life more uncomfortable for Spurs than they’d have liked, but even so it didn’t feel like we’d particularly been hard done by to me.

    1. An impression seemingly unshared, including by e.g. Paul Smith of Spurs Odyssey is.

      Spurs took it all in and strolled off with the points, slightly dishevelled but not overly shaken.

      The rest of your account can be agreed with to a greater or less extent, but that bit describes a different game — a game seen on more than several previous occasions that these clubs have met, but not yesterday.

  7. We controlled the second half and were not as bad in the first as many think.

    I dont think we deserved to be 2-0 down at the half, but two moments of slackness from our defence and that is where we found ourselves.

    Onwards and hopefully upwards, Sunderland away then Arsenal away. When it rains, it pours eh?

    1. Agree with your first para, but the second goal was good enough to beat most defences. Beckenbauer or Bobby Moore would doubtless have coped in a way that Baird did not, but the flick on to Lennon and what he then did was devastating. If Lennon was as productive as that more often, he would be an England fixture. Don’t think it was particularly our fault that he was on this occasion.

  8. Agree a bit harsh. We did control second half. Seeing the MOTD highlights later though – that didn’t really show it. I came away from the ground thinking how did so many, many (Jol said 28 goal attempts?) changes go so astray. Most of them I suppose were shots from distance and mediocre, hence not shown on telly, but still…..

    Robbed at the end of course, but these things happen. Modric did well on the line. Damn.

    1. i was there, and saw all the shots. I suppose the point I’m trying to make is that we didn’t start playing until we were 2-0 down, which is to me a bit of a red flag. But the sheer volume of shots and amount of pressure is impressive to a degree and gives some hope.

    2. My brother’s reaction…I think the Spurs report [Spurs Odyssey] is a better reflection on events than the Fulham [this one]. I really do not see what more Fulham could have done in the second half, apart from score (which they tried extremely hard to do). I have rarely seen such a one sided half!

      From my perspective, I was disappointed at how Spurs surrendered possession so much in the second half – they gave it away cheaply and failed to put Fulham under pressure. Fulham competed hard all game, and in the first half so did Spurs, but much less so in the second half. Teams on a winning run do often seem to get the luck, which happened yesterday to Spurs.

  9. Very harsh Rich. For one, what was the difference between their first goal and a similar moment in the second half when we were attacking and the ball flashed the wrong side of the post for a corner? – they were lucky then and on numerous other occasions. And if we get (and convert) the late penalty it’s 2-2 and everyone’s saying how super we played in the second half.

    Was it Brian Glanville who called it the theory of the result?

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