I wish it could be Christmas every day! Especially if the festive period carries on like this for Tottenham Hotspur. Spurs came out of a difficult London derby with Fulham as 2-1 winners, goals from Vlad Chiriches and Lewis Holtby – their first Tottenham Premier League goals for the Lilywhites after Dejagah put the hosts ahead.
Tottenham began the game on the back foot. Under a new manager, Fulham looked to have a new fight within their ranks and wanted to push forward. Spurs spent most of the first quarter of an hour taking the Fulham attacks without challenging the flow of the game. There was an early yellow card that would have made some fans nervous as Etienne Capoue picked up his caution within the first 13 minutes. The Frenchman’s misery was further extended when former Tottenham midfielder Scott Parker performed a trademark 360 degree turn around him just minutes later. Sandro turned up to show why he’s slowly becoming a certain starter under AVB when he performed a crunching tackle into Senderos to win the ball and even attempt to set up Lennon however the ball evaded the young winger.
The first glorious chance of the half fell to Brazilian Paulinho. After receiving the ball from Defoe, the former Corinthians man weaved in and out of the Fulham defence finally to open up a shot for himself, only to blast it over the bar and send fans revelling at the miss. In a half with little ability to break down the Fulham team, a counter attacking goal would have come at the perfect time. The game was not without skill and flair. Kyle Walker performed a special move to win a throw as the Englishman rolled the ball up his leg to flick it onto the oncoming marker and bounce off of the Fulham man. Paulinho too showed his Brazilian flair when he performed a flick through the legs of Riise. The final effort of the half looked to have fallen to Tottenham’s £30million man as he stole the ball from Scott Parker, ran the length of the Fulham half, only for his shot to collide with Senderos.
At the interval, it was clear that Tottenham were struggling to break down Fulham, the main chances come on the counter. Something was not clicking. Erik Lamela was player of the match so far. Since changing position he was more of a goal threat and exciting to watch. Against any other side I think we may have been behind. Paulinho was of course unlucky with Lennon trying his upmost to break the deadlock.
Lewis Holtby came on for Etienne Capoue (potentially the yellow card a risk for AVB) and looked to have added a new fluidity to the attack. The Spurs fans were doing the best to upset the balance including a Martin Jol themed chant directed at Fulham, the recent sackers of the former Spurs manager. But their banter was to be fruitless as Fulham broke the deadlock. Dimitar Berbatov received the ball in the centre of the pitch after Michael Dawson gave the ball away, the Bulgarian then placed a weighted ball into the path of Dejagah who smashed the ball across Hugo Lloris (who had been performing well) into the bottom corner. 1-0 Fulham. The Spurs fans played a part in the next goal. After chanting “attack attack attack,” the Spurs players did indeed. After a corner was cleared, the ball landed at the feet of Vlad Chiriches for the Romanian to smash home from outside the box into the goal – his first Tottenham goal. And the goals kept coming. With around 10 minutes left, Kyle Walker knocked the ball to the German Lewis Holtby who skipped round his marker to curl an effort past the keeper into the top of the goal. Spurs led 2-1 and looked to have earned the points.
There was to be one final chance. Bryan Ruiz came on to smash a shot goal wards only for Hugo Lloris to miraculously palm the ball away to safety. The Frenchman had performed very well indeed and had seemed to shake the burdens of the 6-0 rout at the Etihad. The game finished 2-1 to Spurs claiming their second London a derby win of the season.
Lloris – “Woop woop, that’s the sound of Lloris.” (MOTM)
Walker – “A crisp performance.”
Dawson – “He can talk that talk but not walk that walk.”
Chiriches – “Suuuuper super Vlad!”
Vertonghen – “the mans a menace.”
Sandro – “The beast was in full flourish.”
Capoue – “Made me a tad nervous at times.”
Lennon – “Flash! Ahhhh.”
Paulinho – “Unbelievable Tekkers!”
Lamela – “You’re so close! So close.”
Jermain Defoe – “He’s a Yiddo.”
Special mention-Substitute Lewis Holtby. What a goal. Smashing stuff.