This is shaping up to be a must win match for Tottenham, following a tricky period of results. Spurs’ last Premier League victory came at the beginning of the month, as the defeated Arsenal. Since that victory, they have failed to win in four Premier League matches. On Wednesday, they welcome Fulham, who have been steadily improving under Scott Parker. This won’t be as easy as the league table suggests it will be for the home side.
A victory would start to create positive momentum once again and it will be crucial as some of the top four contenders are struggling to find form. Tottenham will see this as an opportunity to move back up the table and reassert their top four ambitions. Talk of a title challenge has passed them by and they can now focus on returning to Europe’s top table. This would have been Jose Mourinho’s primary objective for the season. The last few weeks have seen Spurs drop silly points in the closing stages of matches. They need to cut these errors out if they are to comfortably finish in the top four.
Fulham have been showing improvements under Scott Parker, who deserves credit for integrating so many new signings into the team. They are currently in the bottom three, but there have been encouraging signs to suggest they can stay in the Premier League. It remains a difficult challenge, but they have the quality and organisation to get results. Since their loss to Manchester City, they have picked up four successive draws. They now need to turn those into wins, but the building blocks are there for all to see.
This season, Tottenham have dropped nine points in the last ten minutes of matches. No Premier League side has lost more points during this period.
Ademola Lookman had two shots and created a further three chances for his team against Southampton. He had an involvement in half of his team’s shots.
It has been a quiet period for Harry Kane, after such a quick start to his season. Therefore, it seems like he is due a big performance in the final third. He has failed to score or register an assist in his last three Premier League matches. Despite this, it would be unfair to suggest he is out of form, as he did manage to find the back of the net against Stoke City in the Carabao Cup. In the Premier League, he has managed to contribute nine goals and ten assists. That is a remarkable achievement in 15 matches and he will be targeting a similar return over the second half of the league season. Fulham have been improving at the back, but they aren’t a team that will sit deep. That should give encouragement to Kane, as there will be space to work in on Wednesday.
The goalkeeper has been an excellent addition to the Premier League. It was a bit of a coup for Fulham, as he has previously been on the books at PSG and Real Madrid. There is no doubting that Alphonse Areola has had a positive impact on the Cottagers’ recent form. He has conceded only twice in his last four matches, but of those strikes came from the penalty spot. It will be important that he performs well on Wednesday, as it will be expected that Tottenham have the majority of the ball and create several chances. Fulham aren’t as easy to break down as they were in the early parts of the campaign, but when Spurs do get in behind them, they will need the Frenchman to be at his best.
Giovani Lo Celso will be missing until 2021, while Gareth Bale continues to struggle to get back to full fitness. Serge Aurier could return to the team after missing the trip to Wolves.
Mario Lemina will be available once again after sitting out of the match against his parent club on Boxing Day. Kenny Tete and Terence Kongolo are both doubts.
This will be a much more difficult match for Tottenham than it would have been a few weeks ago. This is due to the improvement in Fulham, as they are more resilient. In the recent draw against Liverpool, they were the better team for long periods and were unlucky to only take a point. Tottenham are in a sticky period and it is important that they do return to winning ways before the turn of the year. They should have the quality to get the job done on Wednesday evening.
Tottenham 2-1 Fulham