Tottenham Hotspur vs Fulham
When Jose Mourinho first arrived in English football in 2004, he quickly insisted upon putting together a defence with a title-winning spine.
In came the likes of Ricardo Carvalho and Paolo Ferriera from his native Portugal, as well as goalkeeper Petr Cech, to join the likes of already established Premier League defenders John Terry and William Gallas. The result was emphatic as Chelsea clinched back-to-back league titles for the first and only time in their history.
Now Mourinho is aiming to build a similar resolute backline at Spurs and clearly has strengthened his rearguard with the arrival of right-back Matt Doherty along with centre back Joe Rodon, considered one for the future.
Yet, after they were twice pegged back in as many weeks during recent draws at Crystal Palace and Wolves, the accusation that the manager is too risk averse has reared its head once more.
Whether true or not, it’s unlikely his side will be anything but attacking in a home fixture against newly-promoted opponents.
Why wouldn’t he when he has the likes of Harry Kane, Son Heung-Min and Lucas Moura at his disposal.
Furthermore, with Spurs starting the week in fifth position, it’s clear this is a must-win home match if he is to ensure the club become contenders at the smart end of the table.
In many ways then, this is a free-hit for Fulham who are in 18th position, in the drop zone and two points from safety, but showing a welcome spark in recent weeks.
Scott Parker’s team seemed certainties for relegation but have shown glimpses of the quality they will need to embark on a run to survive, most notably by holding the reigning champions Liverpool to a 1-1 draw earlier this month.
Nevertheless, a point would be a bonus as they prepare for their first-ever visit to the new White Hart Lane where Spurs have largely been responsible for memorable Premier League highlights this term, albeit with the odd slip up thrown in.
Parker is also set to be back in the Fulham dugout after returning a second negative test for coronavirus. He did not take charge of Fulham’s clash with Southampton on Boxing Day, forced to isolate after a member of his household tested positive for Covid-19.
Any approach of defending in numbers and looking to attack on the counter will likely be the job of Fulham this time around with the onus on Mourinho and the hosts to outsmart his young opponent – who once played for Spurs (2011-13).
Giovani Lo Celso has been ruled out of the festive programme for Spurs, with Gareth Bale possibly absent again while, for the visitors, Joachim Andersen is suspended with Kenny Tete and Terence Kongolo doubtful.
Regardless of the personnel, this game is likely to take on a home attack versus away defence set-up for long spells.
As Spurs conclude their 2020 programme, now would not be the time to be risk averse.
It was September 1903 when these two first met and played out a goalless draw in the then Southern League.
Since then they have met in that division, along with the London League, Western League, former Division Two, FA Cup, old Division One, League Cup and, for the first time in 2001, the Premier League.
The north London giants have beaten Fulham 51 times. The boys from by the Thames have won on 18 occasions with 29 of the meetings ending level.
More recently, Fulham have only won one of their last nine meetings. That was a 2013 victory at White Hart Lane where a certain Dimitar Berbatov scored the only goal.
Spurs did the double over their capital opponents in the Premier League the last time they met, two seasons ago.
Spurs were 3-1 winners in this fixture, played at Wembley, after goals from Moura, Kieran Trippier and Kane with Aleksandar Mitrovic on target for the visitors.
At Craven Cottage later in the season, the ‘lillywhites’ of Tottenham (although they were wearing blue that day) triumphed 2-1 with Harry Winks grabbing a last-minute winner.
|Tottenham Hotspur vs Fulham||Tottenham Hotspur First Half Asian Handicap -0.50 @ 1.90|
|January 14, 04:15 (GMT+8)|
Spurs are overwhelming favourites and can be backed 1X2 @ 1.40 and Asian Handicap -1.25 @ 1.93.
A surprise success for the visitors would earn a payday for any backers, including 1X2 Fulham @ 6.60, Asian Handicap +1.25 @ 2.00, with even the draw on offer @ 4.90.
Goals are expected with Over 2.75 goals available @ 1.78, Total Goals 2-3 @ 2.10 and the last meeting at Spurs – Correct Score 3-1 @ 9.75.
|A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR () BETS ARE WORTH:|
|= €20 (Highly confident)||= €10 (CONFIDENT)||= €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)|
Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.
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