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West Ham United
March 17, 2013
• White Hart Lane, London
Referee: M. Jones
• Attendance: 36004
D. Berbatov 52'
Well that brings an end to our live play-by-play for today folks, thank you for joining us and stick around on site for all the best of the post-match reaction from both the Tottenham and Fulham camps.
Are the legs coming off Tottenham for the second season running down the home straight? That's their second defeat in a row in the league and third across all competitions after previously going 12 unbeaten in the top flight prior to the 3-2 loss at Anfield to Liverpool.
To say Tottenham were out of sorts would be a massive understatement, but the tipping point may have been the two glorious chances Defoe wasted in the second half after coming on, powerfully hitting both efforts straight at Schwarzer when it looked easier to score than miss.
Referee Mike Jones bring an end to the game and Martin Jol, on his return to White Hart Lane, has helped Fulham to a 1-0 win against Tottenham courtesy of a Dimitar Berbatov goal.
90' + 3'
Vertonghen is launching long throw after long throw into the box but to no avail at the minute.
90' + 2'
90' + 2'
Assou-Ekotto motions the rest of the team forward before hoofing a ball into the box from his own half, but that man Hangeland is there again to win a crucial header under pressure from Dempsey.
90' + 1'
We've got four minutes of added time here for Tottenham to avoid their third straight defeat on the bounce.
CHANCE! Schwarzer has just pulled off a potentiall match-winning save here as a quick counter from Tottenham sees Bale lay it on a plate in the box for Defoe with a beautiful cross with the ouside of his boot, but the striker's effort slams right into the goalkeeper's chest before Senderos gets it clear.
Fulham deal with another Bale corner well with Hangeland, exceptional in the air today, climbing highest to nod away.
Defoe plays it into Vertonghen's feet but the Belgium international must have seen something there nobody else has as his through ball is easily collected by Schwarzer.
CHANCE! Fulham may come to regret missing this chance as Ruiz puts a ball right onto Dejagah's head unmarked at the back post, but his header is an awful one as he flashes it wide.
Both Caulker and Vertonghen are bringing the ball out of the back and surging forwards at the moment, but Naughton's cross when he receives the ball has too much on it for Adebayor to get near it at the back post.
Fulham doing their best to still pose a threat on the counter as Riether charges past Carroll before seeing the ball roll behind for a goal kick.
Assou-Ekotto whips in a great cross from the left and with plenty of men in the box, the move breaks down as Parker, slightly off balance, can't get enough on it to turn the ball back in and falls face-first into the turf.
A sign that not everything is going according to plan as Bale picks the ball up in his own half before curling it out to Naughton on the right. Not exactly where he's going to do the most damage.
Carroll looks quite the little playmaker as he nearly gets Assou-Ekotto in down the left with another superb through ball.
Yellow Card Clint Dempsey
Ouch! Karagounis catches another one flush in the face after Dempsey inadvertedly kicks him in the face with his boot after spinning with his back to goal. That looked a lot more substantial than the foul that saw Nani see red against Real Madrid.
Carroll picks out Adebayor with a sublime clipped pass behind the back four, but the striker is called offside.
CHANCE! Good spell of possession from Tottenham and Adebayor climbs well above Senderos with a great leap to nod Naughton's excellent deep cross just wide.
The camera flashes to Villas-Boas on the sidelines muttering furiously to himself. He looks nervous and on the evidence of this, he should be.
Bale send in another cross from the right this time that Hangeland heads away. Not much in the way of attacking verve from Tottenham this half.
The hosts stepping up the tempo a bit now with just twenty minutes left to play. Fulham dropping deeper and deeper.
CHANCE! It's the first real test that Schwarzer has had this half as Caulker whips in a decent cross and Defoe catches hold of it, but it's straight at the goalkeeper and it's fumbled away. Smart stop.
Adebayor out-muscles Riether down the right and looks to drive into the box, but his cross is poor and Senderos gets something on it before knocking it out of play.
CHANCE! Tottenham look very weak at defending set-pieces at the moment as Ruiz's corner at the near post is headed on by Senderos before Sidwell does brilliantly, with the ball behind him, to flick it goalwards only to see it trickle past the far post with Lloris beaten.
Tottenham really look short of ideas here as Dempsey, with nothing else on, 35 yards from goal tries his luck with a strike that clatters straight into Karagounis.
Bale drifts in a cross from the left to the back post and Dempsey goes down under minimal contact from Riether looking for a penalty. Nothing given by referee Mike Jones, though.
The hosts have finally got their foot on it a bit more now but Dembele's pass into Defoe's feet is intercepted by Sidwell and the home crowd groans en masse.
Just to prove me wrong from my half-time musings, Villas-Boas has turned to Defoe to get his side back into the game, with Sigurdsson going off.
Tottenham just about holding on as Lloris has to come out to sweep with his defence beaten after Ruiz nearly plays in Dejagah behind the famed high line.
It's all Fulham at the moment as Duff sends in a poor corner and Karagounis follows it up with an ambitious effort from 40 yards out that blazes over the bar. Tottenham need to get a grip on this or they run the risk of an embarrassing home defeat.
CHANCE! Another glorious chance for Fulham to grab another as Karagounis' corner is flicked on by Sidwell to Hangeland at the back post, and after losing Caulker he sends his header narrowly wide. He really should have scored there and he knows it as he trots away shaking his head in utter disbelief.
CHANCE! Fulham go close to doubling their advantage as Sidwell sees a deflected effort from range trouble Lloris, with the goalkeeper almost sent the wrong way before adjusting his feet well.
Good work from Dejagah, with his combative approach really sticking out today as he wins a free kick after getting tugged down from Dembele near the centre circle.
Decent response from the hosts as they win a free kick right on the edge of the box down the left, but Bale's delivery is poor and Fulham get it clear.
Assist Sascha Riether
Goal Dimitar Berbatov
GOAL! Well it's been coming and Berbatov has scored on his return to White Hart Lane and it's a lovely flowing move from Fulham. Dejagah sets Riether away down the right and his low cross is turned home by the Bulgarian at the near post.
CHANCE! Bale lets fly from outside the box after finding himself in a yard of space but Schwarzer gets his body behind it and holds on.
Great work from Dembele after he loses the ball in midfield to Karagounis, tracking Dejagah all the way back to the edge of his own box before muscling him off it and coming away with possession.
Adebayor needs to show more movement there as another Tottenham move breaks down with the striker caught on his heels in and around the box with Dembele looking for a forward run to play the ball to. Very lazy.
Lacklustre start to proceedings which is very much in keeping with the tempo of the game up to this point.
That means a few shifts around the side for the hosts, with Vertonghen moving to centre-back, Assou-Ekotto going back to left-back and Dempsey starting on the left of midfield.
One change at the break from Tottenham, with Bale still on the pitch as Fulham get us underway, with Dempsey coming on for Dawson.
The second half is about to start at White Hart Lane. It's worth noting that Tottenham have scored more goals (35) in the second half of matches than any other side in the Premier League this season.
Andre Villas-Boas could be set to turn to Lewis Holtby and Clint Dempsey in the second half, both of whom are one the bench at the moment, but he will be reluctant to turn to Jermain Defoe given his recent injury troubles with a pelvic problem.
On the flip side of that coin, it's just as easy to see why Fulham have drawn six of their 14 away games before today. They've worked hard off the ball, defended stoutly and made Tottenham look one dimensional at times. Martin Jol will be asking for more of the same in the second half.
After that display, it's not hard to see why Tottenham have scored just 22 goals at White Hart Lane in front of their own fans in 14 league games before today. A side set up to play on the counter will always struggle when the opposition sits back.
Says a lot about the action we've been treated to so far that Bale's fitness is the main talking point of the opening half and whether he'll be able to continue after the break. Tottenham have been pretty ordinary and Fulham have lacked ideas going forward.
45' + 2'
The story of the half as Tottenham work space but the final ball just isn't there as Dembele tried to release Assou-Ekotto away on the left, only to see it zip out for a goal kick. Referee Mike Jones then brings and end to the first half.
45' + 1'
The hosts are looking fresh out of ideas as Dawson plays a hopeful pass out to Assou-Ekotto. They've looked sluggish, which is somewhat understandable given their exertions against Inter in midweek.
Tottenham fans will be glad to know that Bale is alright after hobbling off to the sideline himself. He's now back on the pitch. Crisis avoided.
Oh deary me, you can sense the concern around the ground as Bale goes down in a heap with nobody around him holding his ankle.
CHANCE! Berbatov is sent away with a lovely clipped pass down the right by Ruiz, and aqs the forward sends a low cross into the near post, Lloris makes a meal of an easy collection before Caulker hacks it clear with Dejagah ready to pounce.
With Senderos lurking, Dawson heads the corner clear. Chances few and far between so far.
A magnificent pass from Ruiz sends Riise away but the left-back's touch is once again heavy and Naughton recovers well to deflect the cross behind for a corner. A rare moment of quality there in an otherwise drab affair.
Decent stuff from Fulham here but as Riether plays in Dejagah down the right, his first touch lets him down as he tried to wriggle away from Caulker and the ball rolls out of play.
Adebayor does well to find the onrushing Vertonghen breaking into the box from the left wing, but reluctant to use his weaker right foot, the chance fizzles out as he has to turn his back to protect the ball and Senderos gets something on it and Fulham come away with it. Wasteful.
Where have we seen that before? A clumsy challenge from Adebayor sees Karagounis go down heavily near the left touchline. He looks fine to continue, though.
Vertonghen finds space down the left and flings in a superb cross but there's nobody in the box to get on the end of it. As Tottenham keep the ball alive, Bale attempts an ambitious curling effort from well outside the area that never looks like finding the target.
Dejagah's quick ball into Berbatov's feet sees the striker fail to control it and knock it straight out of play. Been that sort of afternoon so far.
Battling work from Sidwell in the middle of the park sees him win the ball from Sigurdsson, but Fulham quickly lose it again and Bale is away through the middle, but his pass to Adebayor is intercepted by Senderos.
Both sides look short on ideas, knocking hopeful balls forward rather than trying to drive at the opposition.
Hangeland heads Sigurdsson's corner well away and Dejagah works it up the pitch before getting shoved off the ball by Parker.
The crowd are growing increasingly more furstrated as a move comes to a halt, quite literally, with Vertonghen stood still on the ball bereft of options. They've just won a corner, though...
Fulham's only real outlet at the moment is Riether's rampaging runs down the right, but they keep playing it square rather than forward and Tottenham are coping with this comfortably.
Bale has moved out to the right now and Sigurdsson has switched into the middle behind Adebayor, but Tottenham still lacking the craft needed to break down Fulham at the moment.
Duff gives away a free kick in a dangerous area close to the touchline down the left, but Sigurdsson's ball in is cleared before Parker has a go from range, with his dipping strike just failing to test Schwarzer.
CHANCE! Quick movement involving Bale and Dembele sees the ball come to Sigurdsson free on the edge of the box, but as the ball moves across his body, he gets it all wrong and shins it miles wide.
A huge crossfield ball from Vertonghen to Sigurdsson on the right slips out of play. Sums up how disjointed the hosts are at the moment.
Patient stuff from Fulham at the moment, as Karagounis briefly contemplates having a pop from a full 40 yards out before playing it out wide to Riise instead. Cagey affair so far.
Coming together in the middle of the pitch sees Karagounis accidentally kick Parker after he plays a pass and the game comes to a halt for a short time.
Threatening spell from the visitors, with Riether proving a thorn in the side of Vertonghen on the flank with his forward runs, but his low cross just fails to find Berbatov in the box.
Yellow Card Ashkan Dejagah
The ball in from Karagounis is easily cleared and Dejagah pulls Dembele down to the floor and earns himself the first yellow card of the afternoon.
Moves like Dejagah wins a corner after seeing his cross deflected behind off Dawson, time for Hangeland and Senderos to lumber forward.
An elaborate flick from Adebayor after a prolonged spell of possession is met with plenty of frustrated sighs in the crowd.
Bale drops deep to try and get things moving quicker, playing it to Dembele before spinning off his marker, but Adebayor's pass to Sigurdsson is loose and goes out of play.
Tottenham working the ball around the pitch well at the moment but just lacking that cutting edge to really get in behind Fulham's midfield.
Vertonghen has been getting up and down reasonably well after pulling his hamstring earlier, but definitely one to keep an eye on as the half wears on.
Karagounis gets hold of the ball and sets about doing what he does best, playing it backwards to Riether, who flings a long ball forward to Berbatov but it trickles out for a throw-in. He's going to need better service than that to have an impact.
The onus will be on Naughton and Vetonghen to provide plenty of width from the back today, with two fairly makeshift wingers in midfield for Tottenham today.
Tottenham looking very confident at the moment despite their recent back-to-back defeats against Inter and Liverpool. They've started brightly.
CHANCE! Sigurdsson send in a fantastic corner and with Caulker and Adebayor making nuisances of themselves, Bale sees a header cleared off the line by Riether.
Vertonghen looks as if he's pulled his hamstring and he's hobbling around the pitch. Looks as if Tottenham have lined up in a 4-4-1-1 formation today after all, with Sigurdsson on the right and Assou-Ekotto on the left of midfield.
Our referee today by the way is Mike Jones. Meanwhile, Fulham are doing well at the moment to close down the space in midfield and they look full of running at the minute after a bustling start from both sides.
The resulting corner is a beauty from Bale, but Senderos just about gets up above Dawson to nod away before Bale has a pop from distance which flies well over.
First sign of Bale as he nods a loose ball down and looks to drive into the box, but Hangeland gets a toe onto it and turns it behind for a corner.
Tottenham get us underway and are stroking the ball around the back four with ease at the moment.
Meanwhile, Dempsey's is greeted with a smattering of boos from the away section when his name is announced. Takes a lot to get Fulham fans riled.
This game will also see Dimitar Berbatov, Moussa Dembele and Martin Jol up against their former clubs, with Clint Dempsey on the bench for the hosts. As Jol's name is read out, it receives a big cheers from the home crowd.
Fulham have picked up just 12 of their 33 points on their travels this season, winning just twice.
Tottenham did 'the double' over Fulham last season, winning both home and away, and they could be set to do the same today if they emerge victorious, after winning 3-0 at Craven Cottage back in December, with Jermain Defoe grabbing two goals and Sandro completing the rout.
Time for a few factoids for you: Tottenham's defeat away at Liverpool was their first in 13 games in the Premier League. Fulham have won none of their last eight Premier League matches against Tottenham, losing the last six in a row.
One player who will be missed today is Aaron Lennon, who looks to have been rested after only recently recovering from a hamstring strain and then playing against Inter. A cautious approach which could see Moussa Dembele once again pushed out wide on the right, much to the detriment of the rest of the side.
The five changes from Tottenham's 4-1 humbling at the hands of Inter in midweek in the Europa League see Hugo Lloris, Michael Dawson, Steven Caulker and Benoit Assou-Ekotto all return, while Gareth Bale is welcomed back from suspension. Fulham have named an unchanged team from their previous outing against Sunderland.
Fulham on the other hand line up as expected, with Bryan Ruiz playing just off Dimitar Berbatov, with a clearly defined 4-4-1-1 formation.
One thing is for certain, though, after back-to-back defeats against Liverpool and Inter Milan, during which his side have shipped seven goals, Villas-Boas is looking for a reaction today. Wonder if the much criticised high line will still be present.
Well Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas has certainly thrown us a real curveball with that side today. It could mean that they are lining up 3-5-1-1 with Naughton and Assou-Ekotto as wing backs, or maybe even Vertonghen has been pushed into midfield. Puzzling.
Fulham: Schwarzer; Riether, Senderos, Hangeland, Riise; Dejagah, Sidwell, Karagounis, Duff; Ruiz; Berbatov. Subs: Etheridge, Hughes, Richardson, Eyong, Emanuelson, Petric, Rodallega.
Tottenham: Lloris; Naughton, Caulker, Dawson, Vertonghen; Sigurdsson, Dembele, Parker, Assou-Ekotto; Adebayor, Bale. Subs: Friedel, Walker, Carroll, Holtby, Livermore, Defoe, Dempsey.
Good afternoon everyone and welcome to our live play-by-play of the game between Tottenham and Fulham at White Hart Lane today, my name is James McManus and I'll be guiding you through events.
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