Fulham 0-3 Spurs

Goals change games, don’t they? Take the three goals away and you might call it an evenish contest. But of course you can’t take the three goals away, much as you might like to.

What a farce they all were. Sandro, dawdling just inside his own half, decides to have a dig. You’d say it was an insult to Mark Schwarzer, except the shot went in, swerving nastily and hopping over his hands. But even so. If David Stockdale had let that in it’d be proof that he’s not ready. I don’t know what it says about Schwarzer but I suspect there’s a reason you don’t see that many goalkeepers keep playing towards 40 odd. It feels a bit wrong criticising Schwarzer, as good a goalkeeper as Fulham will ever have, but this is part of the problem with playing a player to such an advanced age. When is a mistake just a mistake? When is it a sign of fading powers?

Bad became worse when Sigurdsson thoroughly fooled Philippe Senderos on the edge of the area and teed up Defoe for the sort of chance he lives on. Then Dempsey threaded a ball through our zig-zagged offside trap, Senderos again found himself partly playing offside, partly trying to intercept the ball, and of course he did neither and Spurs had a third. You could see the frustration in the big defender, and I felt for him: he hasn’t deserved the negativity his play sometimes attracts, but when he does make a mistake it’s proof that the naysayers were right all along.  When you look at his Fulham career he has generally done well, and our results haven’t been any worse with him than without him, but once people make up their minds… in any case, he had a bit of a disaster today. 

Other things: Gareth Bale annoyed me. After throwing himself over a tackle he got a yellow card. He then sarcastically clapped the referee. Certainly it would be harsh to send someone off for two consecutive minor misdemeanors, but if taking the piss out of the referee isn’t a bookable offence I’m a dutchman. Bale’s not nearly as good as he thinks he is and today did a very good impression of an arrogant prick.

Clint Dempsey had a quiet game and got a bit of stick from the crowd. He might have scored a couple of times but it didn’t quite happen for him, just as it never quite happened for him while he was at Fulham when he didn’t crash the area. Spurs seem to be using him as a second striker but he never got into the dangerous areas he needs to get into. The other former Fulham player, Mousa Dembele, had an understated but excellent game.

It’s hard to judge the Fulham effort because of the scoreline. Without those three mistakes we were more or less at the races in a tight and fitfully absorbing game. With that in mind perhaps you have to give some credit to the players, except… why were we playing so many long balls? What did we hope to achieve? It was enfuriating.  We either won the header, in which case Spurs got the second ball, or we didn’t, and Spurs get the ball anyway. Why so many aimless hoofs? Nobody wanted the ball at the back because Spurs pressed quite well, but something was missing. Ruiz, mainly, but the team seemed to lack a bit of cohesion, partly because of Spurs’ smothering defensive work, but it felt like more than that.

Petric, for instance – a player I like a lot – seems to need a bit more approach work around him, otherwise he looks far too isolated. Berbatov played well but is perhaps trying to do too much and therefore perhaps not always where you need him to be. Dejagah shows promise, Frei the same (although he HAs to be more aggressive in his running!) Sidwell had a strong game, Diarra, too, but… no, this isn’t right, Spurs were pretty good.

We didn’t deserve to lose 3-0 but these things happen when you make mistakes against good teams.

20 thoughts on “Fulham 0-3 Spurs

  1. Mr Dutchman, Bale woz definitely clipped… does that annoy you? Also,someoe had to have a dig…the match was like soup waiting to go in the microwave to get warmed up…Sandro tested, your guy hadn’t come out of the microwave…Senderros? didn’t he used to play for the goonerz? nuff said

    1. Yes, would love to have seen the very average Bale get a 2nd yellow for his childish response. Schwarzer changed the game – up until then it had 0-0 or even 1-0 written all over it. Spurs very flattered by the result. Lucky to play us when we were without Ruiz, Brede and Kaca and our star right back gets injured. At least Dempsey didn’t score.

  2. Fulham have a good team, it was good to see Berbatov out there, he still has the skills. Dejagah and Reither – even though Reither got injured – look like bargain buys. For a team that lost all the players it has Fulham still looks alright. Will always have a soft spot for BMJ too. COYS!

  3. Schwarzer cannot be that bad a keeper that Arsenal wass chassing him but (ex manager) Hughes refused to release him. You cannot have it both ways.

  4. Possibly the most hilarious review I have read this season. Had it not been for three “mistakes” Fulham would have probably nicked it. Yes I am a Spurs fan but I cannot remember watching a game and feeling so comfortable for a long time. Spurs often go ahead and then throw it away – they never looked like doing it this time (7 or 8 times this season alone). Most fair minded fans would admit Spurs scored 3 very good goals (easier to do when you have nearly 60% of the possession) – to paint a picture of an even game is delusional.

    Also – the neutral press generally accepts that the Bale booking was harsh although I would happily have seen him take a one match ban for the dreadful dive he did against aston villa

    1. Right you are. This is a Fulham blog so I’m talking about Fulham. It was even enough until the goals and we started the second half brighter. It’s not a very good goal when the player shoots from 35 yards on the floor and the goalkeeper misses it. The others featured serious mistakes as well. Again, from a Fulham perspective this is what you discuss. Spurs are good but you don’t need me to tell you that – you bought our best two players for one thing.

  5. “Why were we playing so many long balls?” Has Brede’s absence got something to do with this? When we are in possession he is almost like a deep lying central midfielder (I’d like to say like Franz Beckenbauer, but that might be going a bit far). He passes well and with more accuracy and variation than our other defenders. A less subtle passing game also tends to go with ebbing confidence.

  6. Can’t think of a more deserving loss based off our play; but also not deserved compared to our opponents.

    Story for me yet again is how we need to figure out what the F our best XI is. Yes, injuries/suspensions are playing a big role. But we can’t keep making 3-4 changes a game and expect any sort of result: we’ve only had 1 repeat XI once this season (at Wigan); only made less than 2 changes once since October at Soho.

  7. Schwarzer definitely should have saved Sandro’s shot, but what were Sidwell and Diarra doing there? I don’t care who has the ball in that position, but we have to close Sandro down there. Part of good goalkeeping is not only reading the shooter, but also reading how your defenders are positioned in front of you and after watching replays of this goal, I do think that Schwarzer had a lot of area to cover there and it was a trickier save than we think it was.

    While Hangeland has had some rocky patches this year, his behavior is much easier to predict for the rest of the back five than Senderos. While Senderos can play well in short periods, defending is more about predictable behavior and generating a feeling of calmness among the rest of the side. Unfortunately with the way that Senderos plays, it doesn’t appear that he does that.

    Lastly, I do love that Spurs get a nice 3-0 away win in a London derby and their supporters insist on posting on a Fulham site. Go enjoy yourselves somewhere else, you got a decisive win when your side was clearly lackluster. There will be plenty of time for you all to kvetch on the interweb when you lose to Reading at WHL on New Year’s Day.

  8. I hate to agree with the Spurs trolls, but we really didn’t generate much in the way of scoring chances and calling it an even match is probably a bit kind to us.

    1. Well up until Schwarzer’s mistake, I don’t recall him having to make a save. Whereas Frei and Petric had good chances in the first half. So it was certainly very even, even tilting in our favour until then. But that’s football. You can win when you’re not playing well, as Spurs proved.

  9. Yet another frustrating game. Failure to achieve anything and very few positives to take.

    It’s a bit early to really start worrying but picking up a few wins in our next few games would be great. We certainly have a rather generous Christmas schedule on which to build, and with key players coming back, hopefully we will pull ourselves back into mid table.

    What this game definitely showed was that you can’t sell your best two players, not replace them and still expect to finish in the top 10. We need two midfielders in Jan – young, energetic, good on the ball and can pass. We desperately missed midfielders who wanted the ball on saturday. The only player who did was Berbatov – everyone else was not interested. The most worrying trend of late is that even at home we cannot hold onto the ball and the opposition controls the game.

    Also, I was irritated with Jol’s reluctance to put Rodellega on. I know he has not started well at Fulham, but with Spurs playing such a high line and Berbatov hitting fantastic one touch passes over the top, we needed his pace and direct running to get on the end of them.

    Anyway, I will be attempting to ignore football until the Newcastle game in an effort to cheer myself up!

  10. It was an even game until the first goal, but only because Spurs were as poor as we were. Once they scored we were doomed. Dejagah and Frei had awful games – both continuously lost possession, hence a later reliance on long balls. We know Frei is capable of much better, and doubtless will improve over time, but how Dejagah gets in ahead of Duff is completely beyond me.

  11. I don’t think we need panic about Schwarzer. He’s made some great saves in recent games and there won’t be many efforts like Sandro’s. It did swerve a bit and it definitely bobbled, I don’t think it was as straight forward a save as people have suggested.

    I also think the long ball thing has been there all season. I’ve been frustrated by that a lot as we clearly don’t have the players to benefit from doing that and iwe’re just giving away possession. The alternative does require players to be comfortable on the ball and we’re clearly in a worse position without Hangeland, Reither & Ruiz.

  12. I don’t want to talk about Fulham. I understand why some people think the game was closer than the scoreline, but it just felt awful to me. Anyways: Spurs are a fascinating team!

    I’ve thought since before the season began that they had Champions League-level talent, but the final product has not quite come together, despite their string of recent victories. And for the first half of the game, this really did look like a draw in the making. Spurs looked inert – they held a lot of possession, but didn’t do anything with it. They didn’t even look particularly threatening! Even later, after Sandro scored a slightly unlikely goal (this looked to me like a mental mistake from Schwarzer), a Spurs fan friend texted me, “This game still feels like a draw”.

    Twenty minutes later he texted back, “I was wrong”. So what changed? The second and third goals were smooth eviscerations of Fulham’s back line. Senderos and Kelly made mistakes, but the claims by some that things would have stayed 1-0 without Senderos seem unlikely to me. With our best back four on their best day, at least one of goals was going to happen. There was a real gap in quality, even if it only appeared for fleeting moments.

    Here’s what I think: Spurs are an extremely talented team who are trying to play a style for which they are not quite suited. On the break, when they can go full-tilt, they may have the most terrifying attack in the league. But there are two problems. First, their defense isn’t strong enough to play purely off the counter, a tactic which would probably make them very difficult to beat if they could rely on it. Second, AVB wants them to play for possession, and they are really struggling to create chances that way. I’m not sure if it’s lack of creative spark, or just that the pieces are taking a long time to fit together in terms of movement, etc. (Glyfi, if he ever finds his place, might help here.)

    And the great irony may be that Harry Redknapp — whose tactics somewhat notoriously boiled down to “run about a bit” — had stumbled onto a strategy that was better suited for this Spurs team than the more intricate, intellectual approach of his successor. Because when Spurs have the opportunity to run, they look incredible.

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