Well, where to start with a game like that?
In the days leading up to the clash, I felt confident we could get a point despite Spurs appearing to be in a rich vein of form, evidenced by their dismantling of Burnley. This season is the first time in ages that I’ve watched Fulham and not been nervous about who the opposition had. Despite being in 18th, we have looked good for large parts of the season and I’m quietly confident going into the business end of the season.
I had no qualms with the team when it came out. Three changes were made: Antonee Robinson, Mario Lemina and Ivan Cavaleiro replaced Kenny Tete, Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa and Bobby Decordova-Reid. From the outside, resting Anguissa may seem risky but I think it’s testament to Reed, Lemina and their respective development throughout the season that Scott is ready to rest somebody who’s one of our most important players in a game against such tough opposition.
The game got underway and I thought we made a good start. Despite the awful Craven Cottage camera angles, I could see we had some fluidity going forwards but as usual were failing to make anything much count. Mario Lemina went closest in the opening exchanges, but his effort made it seem as if he’d been watching too much Six Nations recently.
However, as the half went on, Spurs grew into the game and went ahead when Dele Alli’s flick rolled over Tosin’s foot and in. In the build-up, Tosin had been a little careless and given the ball away. Up against an attack that included Harry Kane, Heung-Min Son, Gareth Bale as well as Alli, you can’t afford a pass to go astray. Oh well, there was still the best part of 70 minutes to get back into the game. And, by putting just one foot wrong, I think that makes this Tosin’s worst display in a Fulham shirt. Not bad going from the young man if you ask me.
Tottenham looked frankly frightening at times and it felt for a period as if we just couldn’t get near them. At the start of the match we looked full of ideas and confident on the ball, but after going behind we looked a little rudderless. Luckily, we got to half time without any major damage taking place. But not before Mario Lemina could sky his second shot of the game over the bar. Mario, if you’re reading, England’s next game is on March 13 at Twickenham. We’re playing France and with finishing like that you’ll slot right into the XV. Mind you, it starts at a quarter to five so it might be a rush to get to CC for the City game.
We came out for the second half unchanged, which I for one thought was rather bold. However, it was like watching a different team in comparison to what I saw in the first 45. We attacked with intent, looked sharp and most importantly, limited Spurs to just a handful of chances.
In the 66th minute, we grabbed a deserved equaliser when Josh Maja expertly steered home past Hugo Lloris. Wait a second. It says we lost 1-0 on BBC Sport. How have they got that wrong? Upon further investigation, it seems Maja’s goal was disallowed for a pathetic handball. Davinson Sanchez had attempted to clear the ball but sent it flying into Lemina instead, who was standing just a yard away from Sanch. The ball ricocheted off his hand and into the path of Maja, who duly equalised. Without wanting to go in-depth on the handball law and my thoughts on it, I just feel there should be a certain allowance for extreme situations such as this or, at the very least a bit of consistency in what’s a handball and what isn’t. How is this a handball but Callum Hudson Odoi went unpunished last weekend? It baffles me.
It felt then as if our luck was in, and being completely honest the last 20 minutes of the game were unremarkable as I tried to get rid of any red mist lingering in the deepest depths of my head. However, it wouldn’t be a Fulham game nowadays without a wonderful piece of goalkeeping from Alphonse Areola. Today’s offering came in added time as he denied Harry Kane, rushing out to stop his shot in an athletic manner.
The full-time whistle blew, and it was a disappointing defeat at home for the Whites yet we shouldn’t be disheartened. It was a solid performance and we made three world-class attackers look ordinary. We certainly weren’t outclassed in any sense. One feels that if we do go down, it’ll be due to the series of VARcical decisions that have gone against us this season.
Going into Liverpool away on Sunday, I only have one thing to say. Whoever drives the bus there, be careful around the Anfield area, as nowadays everyone seems to be coming away from there with three points! Fingers crossed for a positive result. COYW.