Fulham 0-0 Tottenham Hotspur

March 7, 2010

On  the face of it a decent result, but I found it frustrating to say the least. The last thing we need is more games, but that is what we have got, and hopefully Fulham can pull something out of the bag at WHL.

The first half felt a bit too much like playing Shakthar away. We gave Tottenham too much respect, ceded possesion and after an initial bright start to the game let Tottenham take over. Now, Tottenham are a good team, but they are not as good as Shakthar going forwardand we should have pressed them harder further up the pitch, especially without Jermain Defoe offering them a pacy outlet. Defensively we were phenomenal once again, but it was worrying that at home, we were not slightly more adventurous.  Much of this was down to the absence of the heartbeat of the midfield, Danny Murphy. Greening came in and whilst he retained possession well, was too timid in pushing forward. Dickson Etuhu had a barnstorming game defensively, denying Modric the time and space he craved, which probably was the reason Modric really failed to have an influence. On the other side, Palacios was dominant, perfoming the Etuhu role better and with more attacking spirit. Zamora was excellent once again, but was too often isolated with only Gera in support.

The second half was an improvement, with Fulham and Tottenham both attacking with more vigour and the game  opening up. Gera had a good header saved by Gomes from point blank range, and a Duff shot from outside the area was turned around the post by that man Gomes again. Other than that it was a relatively quiet day for both keepers. I would question why Roy brought on Elm when Okaka was ready and waiting. The Swedish giant had little/no impact as a sub and I would have fancied Okaka to give Bassong a bit of trouble with his direct running and extra flair.

For me, the reason Fulham struggled to get men forward was as much about Greening’s lack of through balls and forward passes as Gareth Bale. Redknapp removed any defensive responsibilities by putting Bale in midfield and this seemed to make him an increasingly dangerous prospect. I like Chris Baird, but time and time again Duff had to really help him out with Bale meaning that one of our most forward minded and creative players was stuck in defensive mode. I believe that a fit John Paintsil would have shackled Bale much like he has both Christiano Ronaldo and Didier Drogba over the last few seasons. Special mention should go to both Bassong and Dawson, both of whom were in fantastic form, leading me to question why Dawson is not ahead of Matthew Upson for England. Dawson is the captain of spurs and has held the fort admirably whilst both Woodgate and King have been injured, he is simply a different player this season.

So 0-0 a frustrating result for Fulham, Spurs must now be comfortable favourites to go through. But hey, this is the FA Cup and this team is managed by Roy Hodgson. If we can get a result in Basel and Donetsk, why not across London? A trip to Wembley and a game against struggling Portsmouth awaits the victor.

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