Date: Saturday April 19th.
Fulham will not have to travel far for this London derby as they look to build on a monumental victory against Norwich last time out. Felix Magath’s side perhaps have more to play for than their opposition on Saturday, but both sides will be looking for a vital three points.
Tim Sherwood’s Spurs are in a rough patch, with the fans not happy with the current regime at the club. Sherwood’s men rescued a point in their last game after a courageous comeback against West Brom in the Midlands. The Lilywhites will be hoping Magath’s men do not inflict similar damage to that of Pepe Mel’s side, in the clash on Saturday.
Sherwood’s men will have to combat a number of different injuries with plenty of first-team members on the sidelines. Michael Dawson, Erik Lamela, Jan Vertonghen and Kyle Walker are all expected to miss out. Moussa Dembele and Roberto Soldado are in a race against time to be fit with the pair suffering from a hip/thigh injury and hamstring problem, respectively.
Harry Kane will be aiming to partner Emmanuel Adebayor once again after netting against West Brom, while Christian Eriksen will look to maintain his fine form.
Fulham have a strong squad to choose from with only Lewis Holtby a certainty to miss out. The on-loan Spurs midfielder is unable to play against his employers due to the loan agreement.
Damien Duff is likely to miss out, along with youngster Cauley Woodrow, however, big-money signing Kostas Mitroglou could make the squad in time as he recovers from a knee injury.
Tottenham are likely to field a similar side to the one that faced West Brom last week. A structured 4-4-2 system with Harry Kane and Emmanuel Adebayor leading the line. Nacer Chadli may be dropped to the bench for Gylfi Sigurdsson, while Nabil Bentaleb will be aiming to win his spot back in midfield.
4-4-2: Lloris; Naughton, Kaboul, Chiriches, Rose; Aaron Lennon, Bentaleb, Eriksen, Sigurdsson; Kane, Adebayor.
Fulham will be aiming to field a similar line-up to that which faced Norwich last week and it is unlikely Felix Magath will change much.
Should Mitroglou be fit, he will most likely be named on the bench. Magath could look to bring in Ashkan Dejagah, with Holtby ineligible. The Iranian impressed off the bench against Norwich, despite missing a late gilt-edged chance.
4-4-1-1: Stockdale; Riether, Heitinga, Hangeland, Amorebieta; Kasami, Sidwell, Diarra, Richardson; Dejagah; Rodallega.
Both sides have been inconsistent recently, but it is Fulham who will be the more optimistic. The Cottagers have won three of their last five games, defeating Newcastle, Norwich and Aston Villa.
Meanwhile, Spurs are going through a rough patch, with two wins in their last five games. They scraped through a win against Southampton and comfortably dispatched Sunderland recently.
Players to Watch
Tottenham Hotspur – Christian Eriksen
The Danish international has really started to find his feet in north London and he has been in mesmerising form of late. He will look to orchestrate the tempo of the game from deep, but will slowly get into the game more and more, before playing just behind Spurs’ top two forwards.
Eriksen has assisted two goals and scored twice, in his last two games.
Fulham – Ashkan Dejagah
The Iranian has been an impressive player this season, but has failed to produce the goods on a consistent basis. Lewis Holtby will be ineligible for Saturday and it is likely Felix Magath will turn to Dejagah to provide some craft up-front. He was impressive against Norwich off the bench, but he will have to be alert from the beginning if Fulham are to get anything from this.
Dejagah has scored two goals in his last four games, with a 50% shot conversion accuracy.
Fulham will be the more eager to get the three points on such a big day for the club. They will aim to hit Spurs on the break and expose a fragile back-line.
If Dejagah and Rodallega, along with a couple of others, provide a bit of class I can see Fulham taking home the vital three points. Spurs will need to have Eriksen on top form and Adebayor, along with Harry Kane, will need to get at Fulham’s defence.
I don’t see many goals in this game in what should be a tough affair for both sides.
Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 1-2 Fulham