|TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2 (1)||FULHAM 1 (0)|
|Date : – Saturday 3rd September 2022||Kick off : – 15.00|
|Competition : – Premier League||Venue : – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium|
|Crowd : – 61,641|
|Referee : – Stuart Attwell (Leamington Spa)||Linesmen : – Mr. Dan Cook; Mr. Wade Smith|
|Fourth official : – Darren Bond|
|VAR official : – Andre Marriner||VAR Assistant : – Derek Eaton|
|Weather : – Sunny, warm|
|Fulham kicked off the first half attacking the Park Lane end|
|Playing time : – 90 + 14 minutes
|Hojbjerg 39m 49s||Mitrovic 82m 04s|
|Kane 74m 09s|
|Romero (foul on Pereira) 27||Tete (time-wasting) 36|
|Bentancur (kicking the ball away) 69||Decordova-Reid (foul on Son) 55|
|Richarlison (celebrating goal) 90+1||Palhinha (foul on Kane) 63|
|Mitrovic (dissent) 86|
|1.||Hugo LLORIS (c)||17.||Bernd LENO|
|17.||Cristian ROMERO||2.||Kenny TETE|
|15.||Eric DIER||4.||TOSIN Adarabioyo|
|34.||Clement LENGLET||13.||Tim REAM (c)|
|33.||Antonee ROBINSON ( 27. Kevin MBABU 29)|
|5.||Pierre-Emile HOJBJERG||6.||Harrison REED|
|30.||Rodrigo BENTACUR||26.||Joao PALHINHA ( 30. Carlos VINICIUS 85)|
|14.||Bobby DECORDOVA-REID ( 21. Daniel JAMES 60)|
|9.||RICHARLISON||18.||Anfreas PEREIRA ( 10. Tom CAIRNEY 61)|
|7.||Heung-Min SON ( 14. Ivan PERISIC 84)||7.||Neeskens KEBANO ( 20. WILLIAN 60)|
|10.||Harry KANE ( 21. Dejan KULUSEVSKI 78)||9.||Alexander MITROVIC|
|20.||Fraser FORSTER||1.||Marek RODAK|
|25.||Japhet TANGANGA||5.||Shane DUFFY|
|2.||Matt DOHERTY||12.||Nathaniel CHALOBAH|
|6.||Davinson SANCHEZ||31.||Issa DIOP|
= Assist = Goal scored = Own goal scored
|Manager : – Antonio Conte||Manager : – Marco Silva|
|Kit Supplier : – Nike||Kit Supplier : – adidas|
|Shirt Sponsor : – AIA||Shirt Sponsor : – W88
|Shirt Sleeve Sponsor : – cinch||Shirt Sleeve Sponsor : – World Mobile
|Colours : – White shirts with Navy blue and Volt yellow collar and cuffs,
Navy blue shorts, White socks
|Colours : – All black with adidas three white stripes|
|A 2-1 score-line indicates that the match might have been a tight one, but in reality, the score could easily have been about 7-3 to Tottenham who had to settle for the single goal victory over Fulham in their 100th Premier League London derby win. Two goals ruled out by VAR for offside and three hits on the woodwork for Tottenham and both goalkeepers making vital stops, it might have brought some sort of Premier League score-line record if they had all gone in, but a late goal by Mitrovic flattered the Cottagers, as Spurs could have rammed home their domination of the game with more goals. However, failure to make the pressure pay could cost us in games against more threatening sides.
With Bentancur and Romero restored to the line-up, Spurs looked set up to have a good base to play from. With Richarlison starting in place of Dejan Kulusevski, it handed Tottenham a dangerous front three and with Ryan Sessegnon being selected against his old club, it gave Ivan Perisic a rest as well as Deki before Wednesday’s opening Champions League group match, along with Ben Davies who had made way for Clement Lenglet to make his first start for the club.
And so it proved, with Tottenham adopting a better tempo to their play than in recent matches. The game was barely four minutes old when Ryan Sessegnon got into the box only to be bumped to the ground by Palhinha, but the first of a number of odd decisions saw nothing given. Harry Kane tested Bernd Leno in the Fulham goal in the seventh minute, turning away from Ream on the edge of the box and aiming for the keeper’s bottom right hand corner, Leno dived full-length to push the ball wide. The keeper was soon scrambling towards his near post, when Emerson Royal won the ball on the right wing and crossed, with the ball being deflected and hitting the outside of the near post. The chances kept coming, as Son’s ball in from the right saw Richarlison getting in behind most of the defenders, but his header was deflected over the bar by Tete, who had tracked his run. The corner was taken short but blocked for another, which was also played by Sessegnon to Son and this time his right wing cross was bent in towards goal with Dier missing it at the near post, Kane going for it but missing it in the middle and Richarlison there too late at the far post, as the ball nestled in the net. A goal, but not for long, as the lineman’s flag was up for offside, as Kane was deemed to be affecting play after starting the wrong side of the back line.
Son must have had the feeling early on that it wasn’t going to be his day, but it wasn’t for the want of trying. Richarlison nut-megged a defender and slipped the ball through to Son, but when he shot it took another deflection off a defender and went over the bar. Visiting players were going down like nine-pins, with Robinson seemingly spending almost as much time on the grass as he was on the pitch before being subbed with 30 minutes gone. This brought Kevin Mbabu on for his debut at left back. The Swiss international was in for a torrid time. Not only because he was being pressed when he was on the ball, but he was having trouble keeping his feet, although he wasn’t the only one as the pitch had been heavily watered before the match and also at half-time.
Just after the half hour, Lenglet played a fast pass to Kane, who killed it immediately and lifted the ball over the defence for Son, who had run on beyond. Chesting the ball down, he struck a shot over Leno was was close to him, only to see the ball cannon back off the crossbar. It really looked like it wouldn’t happen for our forward. He had a hand in the opening goal of the game, when Mbabu was closed down by Royal near the left hand Fulham corner and forced the defender to play it off Richarlison. Emerson got a foot to the ball to direct it to Bentancur, who played it in to Son first time. It was played outside the box to Hojbjerg and he passed it back into the area for Richarlison, who took a touch and returned the pass as Pierre ran onto it. He took a touch too and passed the ball across Leno and into the keeper’s bottom right-hand corner to score his second of the season. He took it well … better than some chances he has had, but the press on the Fulham defence created the opportunity and the quick passing left them struggling to cope.
The goal came five minutes before the end of the 45 minutes and in added time, mainly for Fulham injuries and time-wasting, Sessegnon, who had a very good first half, was in on the left just outside of the box. The Cottagers’ defence looked as though they were expecting a left foot cross, but Ryan took it on his right, curling it just wide of the far post with Leno in no-man’s land.
Five minutes into the second half and Richarlison’s cross was struck by Dier, but he got under it and the ball flashed over the bar. That was just before our Brazilian striker got picked out in the left side of the box and struck a shot heading across the keeper, who dived left to push the ball around the post. Within minutes, it was Hugo Lloris’ turn. in trying to play the ball out, Dier was surrounded by three players and the ball was turned over, coming to Mitroivc, whose shot was blocked by Lenglet. It went spinning into the air and Hugo had to move his feet quickly before leaping up to his right to push the ball away for a corner before it headed into the top corner.
Both keepers were kept busy (Leno more than Lloris), with the Fulham goalie denying Sessegnon as he ran into the left side of the box and shot for the far corner, looking every inch a goal until Leno got the slightest fingertip as he dived left to divert it inches wide. Ryan was another who must have wondered what he had done to upset the goal-scoring gods today.
Fulham decided to make changes to try and force an equaliser, with substitute debuts for Daniel James and pantomime villain Willian, while old stager Tom Cairney came on for the petulant Pereira. It didn’t stem the flow and when Spurs won the ball as Bentancur, Kane and Hojbjerg put Palhinha under pressure, it was played left to Sonny, who ran into the box and shot. It flew off Tosin’s outstretched leg and looked as though it would beat Leno’s dive to his left, but once again he got a touch on the ball as he threw his arm up to knock it wide for a corner. As with most of our set-pieces today, they came to nothing and it is disappointing that we are not making more of them. Romero did win a header to a corner soon after, but it lacked power as it went down into the ground and Leno ha d no trouble saving it with it coming straight at him, but before that he was involved in a bit of pinball. A right wing James cross came in, it hit Royal on the knee, bounced off Cristian, who was falling over and fortunately dropped kindly for Hugo rather than the lurking Mitrovic, but really it could have gone anywhere.
Much like Bissouma on Wednesday, when a foul was given against Bentancur for a challenge on Cairney, it appeared from the direction the ball travelled, that he had won it, but his frustration at conceding a free-kick caused him to kick the ball away and receive a yellow card for it. It must be said that Attwell had a poor game, with his reading of the game and consistency lacking and it seems the level of refereeing, both on and off the pitch, are dropping alarmingly. When Harrison Reed couldn’t reach a long ball that went out for a throw-in, he punched the ball away. No booking though ! What was the difference ?
For all the angst that playing the ball out form the back causes some Spurs fans, it was that tactic that brought the second goal. Hugo to Romero to Dier to Royal to Richarlison to Hojbjerg, who swept it out left to Sess. He played it infield to Son, who ran it up in the left side of the box and crossed. It was cleared by Ream, but Sessegnon was alert to the loose ball that had gone left and he shot and it struck Tosin, with claims for a handball. Ryan got to the ball as it dropped and tried again from close range, with Leno getting a hand to it, but he could only direct it across goal where Harry Kane was waiting for a tap-in volley from a couple of yards out to make it 2-0. It was a well-worked move and while it doesn’t always come off, it shows the value of drawing opposition players out of position. And it helps when you have a master goal-scorer like Kane in the right place at the right time. Even then we had to wait for a VAR check on offside, with Kane’s are deemed to be narrowly behind the ball when Sessegnon shot.
It was Harry’s last bit of action, as Kulusevski came on to give our striker a 20 minutes rest before Wednesday. In the 82nd minute, after Tete crossed and wanted a corner, he roundly abused the linesman, but already being on a booking, it was unlikely Attwell would have sent him off for dissent. From that, Spurs played the ball out from the goal-kick. It went across the back-line until it reached Longlet, whose first time pass up the touchline sent Sessegnon into acres of space. He passed inside to Son, who left the ball for Richarlison and then received the return pass. From just inside the left side of the box, he ignored the runs of players into the goalmouth, but pulled a ball back for Richarlison. With the ball in the air it meant that he had to make an immediate adjustment to hit a volley with both feet off the floor and was desperately unlucky not to score when it hit the inside of the post and flew across goal and out. Play continued with a tackle on Hojbjerg in the box and Fulham managed to keep the ball inside their own box to play it out, with Tete hitting a long ball from right to left for Mitrovic 20 yards out. The striker came inside the left corner of the penalty area and bent a shot past Hugo’s left hand to find the net to give Fulham some hope. It was a weird 40 seconds in which Spurs could have gone 3-0 ahead, but were now pegged back to a single goal lead.
Fulham seemed to be looking to go for another goal as they brought on our former loan player Carlos Vinicius, while Tottenham had rested Son, who had muscle tape on his thigh and Perisic came on to take his place. When Reed fouled Kulusevski as he looked to break away in the centre circle, it was Mitrovic who got booked for dissent before carrying on to remonstrate in the referee’s face. And it was the Serb who was looking dangerous, so when he received the ball in more or less the same position for his goal, he came further inside to let go a shot that Romero blocked. The only thing was that the ball went spinning into the air and again Lloris had to use his feet quickly to get across and up to his left to push the ball wide. It looked as though it might loop into the top corner, but Hugo had saved the best for last.
In the final minute of the 90, Spurs enjoyed a series of passes, with Bentancur calmly dictating where they were going until Hojbjerg aimed a pass at Richarlison, but he left it to run through to Sessegnon to the left side of the box. He looked up and played a perfect square pass in front of the goal for the Brazilian to slide it into the net. His unbounded joy saw him rip his shirt off and you knew he was going to get booked, but didn’t care. Although we did care, because VAR ruled that there was an offside with both Sess and Richarlison being beyond the last man. From in the East Lower it looked as though Ryan was off, it still means that the booking stands for celebrating a goal that never was !
Added time saw Reed take down Royal late and with a nasty swipe, but despite this being the second bad foul he had committed it wasn’t deemed a yellow card, while dissent is obviously more important to Attwell than the safety of the players. As time was ticking away, Fulham started to hurry to take throw-ins and then lump high balls into the Tottenham box, which we defended well with headers away and Hugo claiming a high ball that constituted the last threat from the visitors.
It was a better display by Spurs although not perfect but there were good performances all round, with Richarlison showing his nuisance value and what he brings to the team. While Son didn’t get on the scoresheet, his hard work and willingness to find positions to score from didn’t cease, but the midfield axis of Hojbjerg and Bentancur was crucial in this win; wining the ball and laying it off sensibly. Nothing flashy, just accurate, precise passes.
Fulham didn’t threaten the Spurs goal that much, but could still have had more than their one goal, while Spurs had numerous chances with Leno stopping them. He got booed regularly being a former Goner, as did Willian, who didn’t have such a good half hour on the pitch. While Tottenham had been linked with moves for James in this window and Palhinha in the past, they showed nothing to indicate they would have added much value to our team.
The win took Spurs into second place temporarily until City got a point at Villa, but to be in this position without playing to our full potential is pleasing.
Anthony the Gardener
|Newcash United||0||Crystal Palace||0|
|Nottingham Forest||2||AFC Bournemouth||3|
|Chelsea||2||West Ham United London||1|
|Wolverhampton Wanderers||1||South Coast Big Club||0|
|Aston Villa||1||Mancashter City||1|
|Brighton & Hove Albion||5||Leicester City||2|
|Mancashter United||3||Woolwich Wanderers||1|
Premier League Table 2022-23
|4||Brighton & Hove Albion||6||4||1||1||11||5||13||+6|
|12||South Coast Big Club||0||2||1||3||7||10||7||-3|
|18||West Ham United London||6||1||1