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West Ham United
May 13, 2012
• White Hart Lane, London
Referee: P. Dowd
• Attendance: 36256
And to sign off, here's our man Jay Jaffa's final thoughts on the last of action at White Hart Lane for the season: "It's been a frantic day and although for a time, it looked as though West Brom were going to do Tottenham a favour, ultimately the club just fell short of third place. That means a nervy week ahead for all supporters of the club as their Champions League future rests on Chelsea's result in Munich next Saturday. The players are edging their way around the pitch, giving and receiving applause from the fans left in the stadium. All told, it's been a good year for the club."
So it would appear as if Harry Redknapp has guided Spurs into a top four finish for the 2011/12 Premier League campaign. An admirable feat in itself yet Tottenham will find themselves at the mercy Chelsea when the Champions League finalists seek to cement their place in next season's competition next weekend
90' + 3'
And that's that - Tottenham have beaten Fulham 2-0 courtesy of strikes from Emmanuel Adebayor and Jermain Defoe. Comfy stuff in the end for the home side, with Fulham looking a shade of their former selves without this year's standout performer Clint Dempsey.
Three minutes of stoppage time here at White Hart Lane.
Sloppy end to the game from Spurs but their clinical nature in front of goal has ultimately proved the difference between the two London clubs.
Damien Duff tries his luck again, forcing Brad Friedel to tip his effort onto the post. It's the second time Fulham have hit the woodwork this game. Moussa Dembele follows up with a fierce strike from the edge of the box that the Spurs keeper flicks over the bar.
Damien Duff drives one across the goal-line, via the open legs of Sandro. However, no Fulham player want to take a gamble on it and it runs to safety.
Gareth Bale is trying to make things happen down the left flank yet he's duly greeted by a brick wall of about four players hell bent on prohibiting any progression for the Welshman.
This one is petering out in a rather eventless manner, which will suit Spurs down to a tee. All ears and eyes at White Hart Lane will be on proceedings at the Hawthornes, hoping that Arsenal will capitulate to a late Baggies equaliser.
Younes Kaboul makes way for Adam Smith, with William Gallas asked to retreat back to creature comforts at centre half.
A sense of inevitability is accompanying this one, as Harry Redknapp applauds a placated White Hart Lane faithful. Meanwhile, on the pitch, Fulham again flatter to deceive, advancing into the opposition half though unable to provide any sort of killer instinct as a hopeful effort from Mahamadou Diarra trickles out nearer the corner flag that Brad Friedel's net.
Jermain Defoe has breathed life into Spurs since coming on, this time linking well with Aaron Lennon down the right to force a corner for the home side. Luka Modric swings one over, but to no avail.
Fulham are going to have to go for broke if they want to beat their record points tally for a Premier League season. Moussa Dembele is threatening to conjure something but aside from that, Fulham's attacking display has been pretty limp.
Our man at White Hart Lane adds: "Tottenham look to have done their job here today and with Everton leading Newcastle, top-four looks secure. However, perhaps the fans feel slightly less confident of a second West Brom comeback as chants of “One Bayern Munich” resound around White Hart Lane."
Here's Jay Jaffa's assessment of what's just gone down: "Goal for Tottenham and that should ease the tension of the second-half. Jermain Defoe has only been on the pitch for two minutes but he showed the predatory instincts he's so renowned for. Aaron Lennon's run and cross-shot was blocked by John-Arne Riise but the ball ricocheted across the box for Defoe to pounce on and guide into the far corner Mark Scwarzer's goal."
Goal Jermain Defoe
Wow. Jermain Defore - moments after being introduced into the mixer - doubles Tottenham's lead.
Rafael van der Vaart
Moussa Dembele is delivering constant reminders that Fulham are only a goal away from being all square in this way. The way Spurs are sauntering through the gears you'd think this one was signed sealed and delivered. The wideman flashes a left footed effort across goal, just a whisker wide of the far post.
By the way - Arsenal have gone 3-2 up courtesy of a Laurent Koscielny effort. Madness.
Slight break in play as Mahamadou Diarra picks himself and dusts himself off after going flying all the way over Emmanuel Adebayor and his criminal barnet. Its a long way down from there, but I think the midfielder should be OK.
Again Aaron Lennon scampers down the right and stands one into the penalty box. The delivery doesn't have to much on it but Sandro, storming late into the box, should get a lot more power on his tame headed effort which Mark Schwarzer gathers with considerable ease.
So it would appear Kyle Walker does in fact have a problem, with Ryan Nelson stripping down and limbering up to replace the right back. That means William Gallas wiil shift from centre half to take over that particularl job. Bizarre that Harry Redknapp bothered to send him out for the second half...
Tottenham deliver their intent to attack the second half, with Aaron Lennon driving at the Fulham back four, before being sent sprawling by a trailing Danny Murphy leg. Nothing comes of Luka Modric's freekick from the edge of the box though.
Yellow Card Danny Murphy
And off we go again at White Hart Lane. Kyle Walker hobbles back on. Can't be anything too problematic for the full-back then.
Here's Jay Jaffa's second half musings: "So as mentioned Spurs will finish third if scores remain the same. They lead Fulham 1-0 at half-time but the warning signs were there for Harry Redknapp as the Cottagers launched a series of threatening attacks in the last ten minutes of the half. Kyle Walker is a worry for Spurs and I'd be surprised if he emerges in the second-half."
Right, I'm going to grab a some hydration and I'd suggest you do the same. It should be a pretty compelling second half here at White Hart Lane, with Spurs 1-0 up thanks to a rapid-fire Emmanuel Adebayor finish just two minutes into proceedings.
45' + 1'
And that's half-time. With Arsenal level at the Hawthornes, as it stands, Spurs are sitting pretty in third place. A cheeky reminder: This could be the first time since 1995 that the Lilywhites finish a campaign above their north London rivals.
Bale fizzes one in from distance that Mark Schwarzer palms straight bac out to the Welhsman. Bale takes a touch, then fires one wildly over the target. Both of those were travelling at some pace I'll tell you.
Moussa Dembele and Kyle Walker clash off the ball, resulting in the PFA Young Player of the Year picking up a slight hobble. Nothing too untoward in it, but it looks as if the right back might not make it beyond half-time.
"Tottenham are now looking a bit nervy and certainly not as fluid as they were in the opening 15 minutes," says Jay Jaffa and I'm inclined to agree. It looks like a stressful end of the half for Spurs, they would definitely take going into the break with a 1-0 lead.
Brad Friedel palms out a speculative John-Aarne Riise effort before again rising to the challenge to deny Moussa Dembele's fiercely driven left-footed rasper. It's a good thing the American is switched on as Spurs could have left their lead slip after inexplicably letting their guard down for a two minute spell there.
Oof. Very close from the van der Vaart. The Dutchman is a fraction away from doubling Spurs lead after being teed up by Emmanuel Adebayor on the edge of the box, slicing across the ball to see his left footed volley fly just wide of the left upright. Decent technique there.
Some Moussa Dembele trickery down the box sees the Belgium international evade Kyle Walker and skip to the Spurs byeline. Dodgy decision making sees the wideman drill the ball into the rather sizeable legs of Younes Kaboul. He should have teased it to the far post.
Here's Jay Jaffa's two cents on proceedings: "In terms of on-pitch action there's not been a great deal to report on. The hosts are fashioning half-chances whilst Fulham seem content to soak up pressure. Without Clint Dempsey, the Cottagers do look a lot less threatening. Off-pitch, the fans are keeping the rest of the stadium updated on results elsewhere and it's been amusing watching small pockets of fans celebrating before the rest of the ground realises what has happened. This is a surreal experience."
Well, I say that. But Rafa van der Vaart hits a rather tame effort straight into the wall. Had my fingers crossed that Kyle Walker might stride onto that one there rather than the Dutchman.
Yellow Card Brede Hangeland
Brede Hangland - who's played every minute of Fulham's campaign this term - earns himself a crude booking for body checking Emmanuel Adebayor when the ball had long gone anyway. Foolish move, seeing who Spurs have got who can hit these from about 30 yards out...
Fulham start to build a bit of a foothold in this game, enjoying a spell of possession in the Spurs half. That said, incision is coming at a premium, with Sandro and Jake Livermore doing a sterling job providing a brick wall to any Cottagers advances forward
As goals fly in all over the show in the Premier League - this one hits a slight lull. Stirring in the crowd suggests that some fans think West Brom may have gone 3-1 up against the Gunners but the score remains 2-1 to the Baggies. Spurs fans can smell a third place finish. And the guaranteed Champions League football that would go along with that.
Again Aaron Lennon attacks with intent down the left, though his cross is a couple inches too high for Emmanuel Adebayor. Moment's late, the on-loan Man City man repays the favour, over-hitting a cross from the right that leaves the diminuative wideman redundant at the far post.
Not so smooth this time from Emmanuel Adebayor, with the home side's goalscorer greeting Aaron Lennon's ball back into the box with a pretty tame air shot. Fulham have barely got out of their half yet - the absence of 23-goal Clint Dempsey is showing. Ever so slightly.
Fantastic build up play from Spurs, this time down the right flank. Jake Livermore, Aaron Lennon and Rafa van der Vaart combine in slick fashion, allowing Livermore to work a touch of free space in the box, driving narrowly high and wide of Mark Schwarzer's near post.
Mark Schwarzer jets off his line well to deny a lung bursting dart down the left from Gareth Bale. The Aussie keeper does well to palm Younes Kaboul's goalbound header over the bar from the resulting corner. The resulting, resulting corner sees a black shirt hack the ball away.
The home side are firmly in the front seat here, with Luka Modric controlling things early doors, enjoying a decent share of possession deep within Fulham's half. The Cottagers look a bit shell-shocked, we could see a few today
Assist Rafael van der Vaart
Goal Emmanuel Adebayor
GOAL! Tottenham burst out of the blocks at White Hart Lane and that man Emmanuel Adebayor takes matters into his own hands. The Togo front man picks the ball up deep, drives at the Fulham rearguard, collects a 1-2 of Rafa van der Vaart and slots expertly beyond Mark Schwarzer
First things first at White Hart Lane and it seems as if Gareth Bale is playing at left back, with Jake Livermore in central midfield. That means Luka Modric is shoved out onto the left flank. Perhaps not the best way to treat your star central midfielder who's angling for a move away...
Says our man Jay Jaffa: "The home fans have drowned out the typically loud entrance tune as the players walk out. “Come on you Spurs” is ringing out from the south stand as the players emerge from the tunnel."
Going out with a bang, indeed.
But before we start, I can’t let this Jay Jaffa observation go without mentioning: There are some shocking hair-cuts amongst the Spurs contingent today. Jermain Defoe's gone entirely blonde, Jake Livermore has a blonde-tipped mohawk, Louis Saha is bronze and I'm led to believe Emmanuel Adebayor may have done similar. If it's helped ease some of the pressure in the home dressing room then I'm sure Harry Redknapp will be all for it.
The teams are in the tunnel at White Hart Lane - just two minutes until kickoff.
Team news is interesting as Redknapp looks to have named utility midfielder Jake Livermore at left-back in place of injured Benoit Assou-Ekotto and suspended Danny Rose. Aside from that, it's an expected first eleven in a must-win game for Tottenham.
Jay Jaffa, our man at White Hart Lane, has this to say over today’s team selections:
Fulham (4-2-3-1): Schwarzer; Kelly, Hughes, Hangeland, Riise; Diarra, Murphy; Dembele, Duff, Frei; Pogrebnyak Subs: Stockdale, Senderos, BH Riise, Kasami, Gecov, Briggs, Trott
Tottenham (4-2-3-1): Friedel; Walker, Kaboul, Gallas, Livermore; Sandro, Modric; Lennon, Van der Vaart; Adebayor. Subs: Cudicini, Nelsen, Smith, Giovani, Defoe, Kane, Saha.
Anyway – I’m sure you lot know all this. Without anymore faffing around, here are today’s lineups.
That’s not to say that today’s visitors to White Hart Lane don’t have any end-of-season ambitions of their own. Martin Jol’s Fulham are just one point away from a club record Premier League haul and if Liverpool and Everton results conspire their way, a win would see them equal their joint highest Prem League finish of 7th, giddy heights reached under the stewardship of a certain Mr Roy Hodgson.
As it stands Spurs are primed in fourth place, tucked in between faultering Arsenal and unlikely gatecrashers Newcastle, with just a point either side. I wouldn’t gamble on things being quite the same come 6 o’clock this evening.
Putting the top and toe of the division to one side, we’ll be focussing in on Tottenham’s bid to hold on to their spot amongst the top four and consequently nail down a place in next season’s Champions League (though, of course, sixth place Chelsea may have a significant say-so in any pipe dreams of a place amongst Europe’s elite after their CL final clash with Bayern Munich in a week’s time ).
Rarely has a season been characterised by such relentless uncertainty, with the title race, top four and relegation yet to be decided.
Afternoon folks, I’m Josh Clarke and welcome to GoalUK.com’s coverage of Tottenham vs Fulham, on what is the culminating day of this season’s Premier League campaign.
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