Tottenham Hotspur moved to within three points of the top four with a 1-0 win over Fulham at Craven Cottage.
However it took an own goal from Tosin Adarabioyo for Spurs to leave West London with the win, as Fulham again put in an impressive performance without the rewards at an empty Craven Cottage.
Jose Mourinho’s side took the lead on 19 minutes when Heung-Min Son fed Dele Alli, whose flicked finish came off Tosin en-route to finding the back of the net. Spurs had the better of the remainder of the first half and should have extended their advantage, only for Harry Kane and Son to miss decent chances.
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Fulham took complete control of the game after the break however, dominating possession and forcing Tottenham into a number of defensive changes as Mourinho took off Dele and Gareth Bale to try and protect the lead. The hosts thought they had the equaliser their play merited, only for Josh Maja’s goal to be ruled out by VAR, and Spurs ultimately held on for a win that they barely deserved.
Three points would have seen Fulham move out of the relegation zone, but their first loss in six league matches means they remain three points behind Newcastle United and Brighton & Hove Albion, and still three points from safety.
Scott Parker’s side return to action at Anfield on Sunday, while Spurs will play a second London derby in a week when they take on Crystal Palace at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium this weekend.
Talking Point – Can Fulham survive?
Scott Parker’s side were outstanding at times, particularly in a second half in which they dominated possession. But Fulham have scored just 21 goals this season and, for all of their tidy football, ended this game without a goal to their name.
It feels like the Cottagers are better than a few of the teams above them, but this result means that Newcastle and Brighton are still three points ahead and both now have a game in hand.
At some point Fulham need to turn their promise into a consistent run of positive results. It feels like that’s just around the corner, but then again it’s felt like that for a long time now. Can they eventually deliver?
Man of the Match – Davinson Sanchez (Tottenham Hotspur)
There were glimpses of quality from each of Spurs’ attacking quartet on the night, but in the end they had their defence to thank for holding on in the face of strong Fulham pressure.
Sanchez was slightly fortunate that his hashed clearance struck the arm of Lemina for Fulham’s disallowed goal, but he was solid other than that and denied Loftus-Cheek with one particularly impressive piece of defending.
The improvements from Sanchez of late might only be small, but he’s looked much more like a Premier League defender in the last two matches than he did during that tricky run of form he suffered last month, so credit to him for turning things around.
Fulham: Areola 7; Aina 6, Andersen 7, Adarabioyo 6, Robinson 7; Reed 7, Lemina 6; Lookman 7, Loftus-Cheek 6, Cavaleiro 6; Maja. Subs: Zambo Anguissa 6, Mitrovic 6, Bryan 6.
Tottenham: Lloris 7; Doherty 6, Alderweireld 7, Sánchez 7, Davies 6; Hojbjerg 6, Ndombele 6; Bale 6, Dele 7, Son 7; Kane 7. Subs: Sissoko 6, Lucas 5, Lamela 6.
Gareth Bale of Tottenham Hotspur on the ball as he is closed down by Tosin Adarabioyo of Fulham
Image credit: Getty Images
18’ – Kane finds Son with a lovely pass and the South Korean returns the favour with a terrific cross towards the forward as he continued his run into the Fulham box. It was a completely free header for Kane, but he didn’t get either the power or direction that he was looking for and floated it straight into the arms of Areola. That really should have been 1-0 and you don’t expect finishing like that from Kane.
19’ GOAL! – The visitors counter at pace as Bale finds Dele with a long pass. He has Son one side and Kane the other, goes to the South Korean and then carries on his run into the box before flicking a finish into the back of the net via a deflection. The goal will be given to Tosin as an own-goal I think, but that was all about Dele Alli. 1-0.
35’ – Kane goes down in the box on the end of a lovely reverse pass from Ndombele and VAR take a look at it. No penalty is given though and that’s probably about right judging from the replays. There probably was contact, but whether it was a foul is questionable. Actually, I can’t decide what I think of that, might have been a penalty, but VAR says it isn’t so on we go.
45’ – That should be the equaliser, right on the cusp of half-time. Robinson does brilliantly, weaving his way into the box and cutting the ball back. Maja sets it back for Lemina, who should score, but he shoots over from inside the box when completely unmarked.
63’ NO GOAL! – Fulham think they are level. Lemina is denied at the near post by a great save from Lloris, but the hosts keep the move going and Maja takes advantage of a hashed clearance to cut back onto his left foot and pick out the bottom corner. Unfortunately for the hosts that hashed clearance came back to Maja off the arm of Lemina and the goal is chalked off. That is extremely unlucky for Fulham.
Stats and Facts
- Fulham have won just one of the last 60 Premier League games where they have trailed at half-time.
- Dele Alli made more tackles (4) than any other Spurs player, despite featuring for just 67 minutes.
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