Match Preview – Fulham (Away)

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas. With the fixtures coming thick and fast, the return of midweek games and a nip in the air, the festive period is well and truly underway for Tottenham Hotspur. We face Fulham at Craven Cottage in their first game under Rene Meulensteen after the sacking of Martin Jol on Sunday. Tottenham come off the back of the 2-2 draw against the Champions with Fulham enduring another defeat, the latest at the hands of West Ham.

Tottenham have won on their last three league visits to Craven Cottage. However, Fulham won the most recent match between the sides, 1-0 at White Hart Lane in March. Former Tottenham forward Dimitar Berbatov scored the only goal. Spurs won 3-0 at the Cottage last year with Sandro scoring his last prior to this weekend against United which so happened to be the one year anniversary of the goal against Jol’s side.

Fulham have lost five league games in a row and are yet to score more than one goal in any league game at Craven Cottage this season. They didn’t manage a single shot on target against West Ham at the weekend. It’s Fulham’s joint-worst start in the top flight. They had an identical record after 13 matches in 1967-68 (W3, D1, L9). That season, they finished bottom of the old Division One that season – it was their most recent top-flight relegation.

Tottenham are without a win in four league matches (D2, L2). They have scored just two goals in those four matches, both of which came against Man Utd in the draw on Sunday. Like Fulham, Spurs have scored just 11 goals in this season’s Premier League. Only two teams (Sunderland and Crystal Palace) have scored fewer. Tottenham are one of only three clubs (along with Arsenal and Man Utd) to have reached double figures in away points won this season. Spurs have won three of their six league games away from White Hart Lane. However, their last away game saw them thumped 6-0 by Man City.

Injury wise, Fulham are expected to make changes to the XI that lost at West Ham, with Philippe Senderos and Bryan Ruiz among those pushing for a start. There is still no Dimitar Berbatov, however, meaning that on-loan Aston Villa forward and former Tottenham striker Darren Bent will continue as the lone striker. Scott Parker is expected to retain the captains armband against his former club. For Tottenham, Danny Rose, Emmanuel Adebayor and Christian Eriksen are still out injured and AVB is expected to name a similar side to that of which drew with David Moyes’ side however I could see Nacer Chadli being dropped for Andros Townsend with Dembélé retaining his centre attacking role. AVB confirmed Erik Lamela’s exclusion on Sunday was tactical and with Lennon performing so well, I can’t see Erik making the starting XI.

Predicted team: Lloris, Walker, Dawson, Chiriches, Vertonghen, Sandro, Paulinho, Lennon, Townsend, Dembélé, Soldado.

Predicted Score: Fulham 0-2 Tottenham (Soldado x2)

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