Match Preview: Fulham v Tottenham Hotspur
Craven Cottage, Fulham, London SW6 (Capacity: 25,700)
Boxing Day, 26th December 2009, Kick Off 13:00
Premier League, Match 19 (18 for Fulham)
Fulham: 9th in Premier League, 26 points from 51
Tottenham Hotspur: 5th in Premier League, 33 points from 54
Fulham host Tottenham Hotspur on Boxing Day in the reverse fixture from last season. The West London club's form has been very impressive lately and last time out they recorded a fantastic 3-0 home win over Manchester United. Danny Murphy, Bobby Zamora and Damien Duff were all on the scoresheet against United and Roy Hodgson's side has now gone seven games unbeaten since losing away to Birmingham City 1-0. It was a memorable week indeed for Fulham, who also secured their place in the UEFA Europa League's last 32 with a fine 3-2 away win in Switzerland against FC Basle, with a brace of goals from Bobby Zamora who has been in cracking form this season and one from Zoltan Gera.
Tottenham's form has also improved recently and they followed-up from a great 3-0 home win over Manchester City in mid-week with a hard fought 2-0 away win at Blackburn Rovers in freezing conditions. Peter Crouch supplied both goals against Rovers with assists coming from Niko Kranjcar at the end of the first half and Jermaine Jenas in the last minutes of the match.
Last season, Fulham had the better of Spurs taking four points out of six with a 2-1 win at Craven Cottage in November followed by a goalless draw at White Hart Lane on Boxing Day. Overall, Fulham have a one match advantage over Spurs during the Premier League era with six wins to Tottenham's five with 5 games having been drawn.
Fulham's current squad includes many familiar faces for Spurs with Stephen Kelly, Paul Konchesky, Danny Murphy, Bobby Zamora and Simon Davies all having played for Tottenham Hotspur.
This match completes Tottenham's first half of the season and a win at Fulham would establish a new Premier League club record of 36 points from the first 19 matches, beating the previous record of 34 points set during the 1995-96 season and equalled in season 2005-06. Last season, Spurs had amassed just 20 points in the first half of 2008-09.
Fulham have four players sidelined with injuries. Seol Ki-Hyeon with patellofemoral pain syndrome, Simon Davies with an ankle/foot injury, Diomansy Kamara with a knee injury and Andrew Johnson with a groin strain.
Ledley King and Luka Modric are both available for the Boxing Day trip to Fulham. Both have trained this week after missing Saturday's trip to Blackburn with knee and ankle injuries respectively. The good news continues with Jonathan Woodgate's groin problem showing signs of improvement although Alan Hutton looks set to miss out with a foot injury.
"We're in pretty good shape," reported Harry Redknapp after training on Christmas Eve. "Luka and Ledley coming back to fitness is a big boost for us and Woody's getting fitter, so we're not looking too bad." Carlo Cudicini (pelvis, wrist) continues his rehabilitation.
• Fulham and Tottenham have met on 68 occasions with Fulham winning only 11 of those matches, Tottenham 33 and there have been 24 draws.
• Tottenham have only won one of their last seven matches against Fulham, 5-1 on Boxing Day in 2007.
• This is the third consecutive year the sides have clashed on Boxing Day. The first two matches were at White Hart Lane.
• Fulham have only picked up one point on Boxing Day in the last five years, a 0-0 draw away to Spurs last year.
• In three London derbies so far this season the Cottagers have managed just one draw, away at West Ham.
• They have not won any of their last eight London derbies in the league since beating Spurs 2-1 at home in November 2008.
• Last season was the first time Tottenham had not won a Boxing Day fixture for five years and they last lost on Boxing Day in 2003.
• Spurs have lost their last two Premier League derbies without scoring, away to Chelsea and Arsenal.
• The last time Tottenham kept three consecutive clean sheets in the league was the start of the 2005/06 season (13 August to 24 August 2005).
LAST LEAGUE MATCH LINE-UPS:
Fulham (W 3-0 Manchester United, H):
Schwarzer, Konchesky, Pantsil, Hangeland, Baird, Hughes, Gera, Murphy (Dikgacoi 80), Duff (Greening 76), Dempsey, Zamora (Nevland 90+1)
Substitutes: Zuberbuhler, Smalling, Riise, Etuhu.
Goals: Murphy 22, Zamora 46, Duff 75
Tottenham Hotspur (W 2-0 Blackburn Rovers, A):
Gomes, Corluka, Dawson, Bassong, Assou-Ekotto, Lennon (Hutton 89), Palacios (Jenas 58), Huddlestone, Kranjcar, Defoe (Keane 67), Crouch.
Substitutes: Alnwick, Bale, Rose, Pavlyuchenko.
Goals: Crouch 45+, 83
Yellow card: Corluka
MARK LAWRENSON'S PREDICTION (BBC):
I thought that Fulham might struggle this season to reproduce the form that saw them finish seventh in the Premier League at the end of the last campaign. But they beat Manchester United 3-0 last weekend and I think the achievements of Roy Hodgson and his team deserve high praise. They are big and strong and very difficult to beat at home.
This is the sort of fixture that Tottenham must ensure they do not lose if they are to achieve a top-four finish. I think this might be quite an open and entertaining contest.
Verdict: Fulham 2-2 Tottenham Hotspur
Saturday's match will be the 128th meeting between Tottenham Hotspur and Fulham.
Here are the results of the previous 127 matches with Spurs' score shown first:
05-Sep-1903Southern Lge 10,000A D 0 - 0 21-Sep-03London Lge 3,000H W 2 - 1 Cameron, Kriwan 02-Jan-04Southern Lge 10,000H W 1 - 0 Warner 11-Apr-04London Lge - A W 5 - 1 Berry (2), Cameron, Badger, Copeland 03-Sep-04Southern Lge 17,000H L 0 - 1 12-Nov-04Western Lge - A D 0 - 0 31-Dec-04Southern Lge 9,000A L 0 - 1 02-Jan-05Western Lge - H L 0 - 5 30-Sep-05Southern Lge 25,000A D 0 - 0 18-Oct-05Western Lge 6,000H W 1 - 0 Kyle 20-Nov-05Western Lge - A W 3 - 0 Stansfield, Kyle (2) 12-Feb-06Southern Lge 18,000H L 0 - 1 24-Sep-06Southern Lge 13,000H W 5 - 1 Walton, Hewitt, Reid (2), Dow 29-Oct-06Southern Lge 20,000A L 1 - 2 Stansfield 20-May-07Tour - A W 2 - 1 Whyman, Bull 05-Dec-08Division 2 35,000A W 3 - 2 Minter (2), Steel R 06-Feb-09F.A. Cup 2 33,008H W 1 - 0 Steel R 10-Apr-09Division 2 22,000H W 1 - 0 Woodward 06-Dec-09LonCharCupF 17,000N L 1 - 4 Minter 05-Dec-10LonCharCupF 10,000N W 2 - 1 Minter, Middlemiss 23-Oct-11Lon Prof Charity Fund 3,981H W 3 - 0 Minter, Steel R, Middlemiss 14-Oct-12Lon Prof Charity Fund - A L 0 - 1 14-Oct-13LonCharCup2 6,500A W 2 - 0 Middlemiss (2) 06-Feb-15Friendly - H D 2 - 2 Steel, Cantrell 16-Oct-15London Comb1 4,200H W 3 - 1 Banks, Bliss (2) 01-Jan-16London Comb1 5,000A W 2 - 0 Bassett, Lloyd 19-Feb-16London Comb2 3,000A L 1 - 3 Steel 25-Mar-16London Comb2 6,000H W 4 - 0 Lloyd (2), Bliss, Steel 21-Oct-16London Comb 4,000A L 1 - 2 Banks 13-Jan-17London Comb 4,000Ho W 1 - 0 Barton 06-Oct-17London Comb 6,000Hi W 1 - 0 Banks(pen) 01-Dec-17London Comb 7,000A L 3 - 4 Banks (2), Coomber 26-Jan-18London Comb 15,000Hi L 0 - 1 23-Mar-18London Comb 3,000A W 3 - 0 Walden, Potter, Jack 27-Apr-18LondComb Sub 5,000A L 0 - 1 04-May-18LondComb Sub 2,000Up L 2 - 3 Thomas, Goldthorpe 07-Sep-18London Comb 8,000A D 2 - 2 Barnard, Thomas 02-Nov-18London Comb 500Ho W 1 - 0 Simons 28-Dec-18London Comb 8,000A L 1 - 3 Banks 22-Feb-19London Comb 10,000Ho L 0 - 2 19-Apr-19Victory Cup SF 45,000Sb L 0 - 2 10-May-19Nat War Fund 5,000H D 2 - 2 Grimsdell 06-Dec-19Division 2 30,000A W 4 - 1 Grimsdell, Minter, Cantrell, Bliss 13-Dec-19Division 2 38,000H W 4 - 0 Walden, Minter (2), Bliss 14-May-21Friendly - N W 4 - 0 Grimsdell, Banks, Wilson, Bliss 27-Oct-24LonCharCup1 3,559H W 5 - 1 Osborne, Hargreaves, Elkes (3) 17-Oct-27LonCharCup1 - A L 2 - 6 O'Callaghan, Dimmock (pen) 10-Dec-32Division 2 42,111A D 2 - 2 Hunt GS (2) 07-Apr-33Division 2 44,312H D 0 - 0 05-Oct-35Division 2 37,298A W 2 - 1 Duncan, Evans W 08-Feb-36Division 2 45,277H D 2 - 2 Sargent, Evans W 19-Dec-36Division 2 20,495A D 3 - 3 Ward (pen), Morrison, Miller 24-Apr-37Division 2 21,133H D 1 - 1 Alexander 16-Oct-37Division 2 29,556A L 1 - 3 Sargent 26-Feb-38Division 2 34,097H D 1 - 1 Morrison 15-Oct-38Division 2 46,679H W 1 - 0 Lyman 18-Feb-39Division 2 26,466A L 0 - 1 23-Mar-40FL South C 8,000A W 3 - 2 Morrison, Dix (2) 10-Apr-40FL South C 2,000H W 3 - 1 Cox, Morrison (2) 07-Jun-41Reg Lge Sth 2,815H W 2 - 1 Ward (pen), Broadis 01-Nov-41London WarLge 6,000A D 2 - 2 Gibbons, Noble 02-May-42London WarLge 3,754H W 7 - 1 Broadis, Gibbons (2), Stevens (2), Ludford (2) 26-Apr-43Friendly - H W 3 - 0 Rowley (2), Ludford 25-Dec-43Football Lge Sth 16,629H W 2 - 0 Walters, Jones 27-Dec-43Football Lge Sth 13,200A W 2 - 0 Ludford, Jones 25-Nov-44Football Lge Sth 14,300H W 2 - 1 Walters, Beasley 28-Apr-45Football Lge Sth 8,000A W 4 - 2 Ward (pen), Ludford, Hall AE, Freeman og 09-Mar-46Football Lge Sth 30,000A D 1 - 1 Whitchurch 16-Mar-46Football Lge Sth 23,211H L 1 - 3 Dix (pen) 26-May-46Friendly - H D 2 - 2 Ludford, Burgess 02-Nov-46Division 2 40,762A D 1 - 1 Foreman 08-Mar-47Division 2 27,715H D 1 - 1 Bennett 22-Nov-47Division 2 36,147A W 2 - 0 Duquemin, Stevens 10-Apr-48Division 2 32,490H L 0 - 2 04-Dec-48Division 2 36,247A D 1 - 1 Nicholson 30-Apr-49Division 2 50,133H D 1 - 1 Duquemin 23-Mar-51Division 1 47,391A W 1 - 0 Murphy 26-Mar-51Division 1 51,862H W 2 - 1 Bennett, Murphy 20-Aug-51Division 1 48,766H W 1 - 0 Medley 29-Aug-51Division 1 33,920A W 2 - 1 Bennett, McClellan 12-Dec-59Division 1 36,772A D 1 - 1 Jones (pen) 19-Mar-60Division 1 52,189H D 1 - 1 Mackay 05-Nov-60Division 1 56,270H W 5 - 1 Jones (2), White, Allen (2) 25-Mar-61Division 1 38,536A D 0 - 0 11-Nov-61Division 1 35,662H W 4 - 2 Jones, White (2), Mackay 17-Apr-62Division 1 43,355A D 1 - 1 Greaves 10-Nov-62Division 1 39,961A W 2 - 0 Mackay, Jones 13-Apr-63Division 1 45,951H D 1 - 1 Greaves 02-Nov-63Division 1 42,023H W 1 - 0 Greaves 28-Mar-64Division 1 30,388A D 1 - 1 Greaves 05-Oct-64Division 1 32,908H W 3 - 0 Norman, Greaves, Saul 13-Feb-65Division 1 27,708A L 1 - 4 Greaves 04-Sep-65Division 1 28,718A W 2 - 0 Mackay, Clayton 19-Feb-66Division 1 32,244H W 4 - 3 Saul, Jones (3) 01-Oct-66Division 1 28,628A W 4 - 3 Robertson, Greaves, Gilzean, Venables 11-Feb-67Division 1 43,961H W 4 - 2 Greaves, Gilzean, Jones (2) 26-Dec-67Division 1 36,274H D 2 - 2 Jones (2) 30-Dec-67Division 1 30,051A W 2 - 1 Robertson, Jones 10-Aug-74Friendly - A W 1 - 0 Peters 10-Sep-77Division 2 31,939H W 1 - 0 Jones 04-Feb-78Division 2 24,763A D 1 - 1 Taylor 02-Dec-81League Cup 4 30,214H W 1 - 0 Hazard 07-Jan-84F.A. Cup 3 23,398A D 0 - 0 11-Jan-84F.A. Cup 3 Replay 32,898H W 2 - 0 Roberts, Archibald 20-Aug-84Friendly/Test - H W 3 - 1 Crooks, Allen C (2) 19-Jul-89Friendly Chase Lodge H W 3 - 1 Howells (2), Moran 05-Jan-98F.A. Cup 3 27,909H W 3 - 1 Clemence, Calderwood, Brady 01-Dec-99League Cup 4 18,134A L 1 - 3 Iversen 02-Aug-2000Friendly 12,928A D 0 - 0 28-Nov-01League Cup 4 17,006A W 2 - 1 Rebrov, Davies 15-Dec-01FA Prem 36,054H W 4 - 0 Ferdinand, Anderton, Davies, Rebrov 24-Mar-02FA Prem 15,885A W 2 - 0 Sheringham, Poyet 11-Sep-02FA Prem 16,757A L 2 - 3 Richards, Sheringham 22-Feb-03FA Prem 34,704H D 1 - 1 Sheringham (pen) 30-Aug-03FA Prem 33,421H L 0 - 3 31-Jan-04FA Prem 17,024A L 1 - 2 Keane (pen) 30-Oct-04FA Prem 21,317A L 0 - 2 26-Feb-05FA Prem 35,885H W 2 - 0 Kanoute, Keane 24-Sep-05FA Prem 35,427H W 1 - 0 Defoe 31-Jan-06FA Prem 21,081A L 0 - 1 17-Sep-06FA Prem 36,131H D 0 - 0 20-Jan-07FA Prem 23,580A D 1 - 1 Chimbonda 18-Feb-07F.A. Cup 5 18,655A W 4 - 0 Keane (2), Berbatov (2) 01-Sep-07FA Prem 24,007A D 3 - 3 Kaboul, Berbatov, Bale 26-Dec-07FA Prem 36,077H W 5 - 1 Keane (2), Huddlestone (2), Defoe 15-Nov-08FA Prem 25,139A L 1 - 2 Campbell 26-Dec-08FA Prem 35,866 H D 0 - 0
LAST TIME WE MET...
Tottenham Hotspur 0-0 Fulham
Boxing Day, 26th December 2008, White Hart Lane
Tottenham and Fulham played out a draw in a tame London derby that illustrated Spurs's need for another striker.
Aaron Lennon had the hosts' best chance but saw his close-range effort well saved by Cottagers keeper Mark Schwarzer after 30 minutes.
Clint Dempsey came close with a spectacular overhead-kick from 20-yards but it was kept out by Heurelho Gomes.
The Brazilian keeper then did well to save at the feet of Andy Johnson after he got behind his marker Ledley King.
Gomes, who spilled Simon Davies's cross over his own goal-line in the corresponding fixture showed how much he has improved since that costly fumble.
The often beleaguered keeper was in fine form for Spurs in what turned out to be a cagey London derby.
And while his opening save from Dempsey's tame volley was straightforward, his later stop from the American's 18-yard overhead kick was stunning.
The hosts were surprisingly lacklustre in attack and have now failed to score in their last three home matches in the Premier League - a barren run that has forced boss Harry Redknapp to look at transfer targets such as West Ham's Craig Bellamy.
Fulham's chances in dull game were few and far between, but whatever they threw at Gomes he was more than equal to.
At the other end, Schwarzer was equally impressive, keeping out David Bentley's long-range effort in unconventional fashion before later tipping Lennon's close-range side-footed half-volley around the post.
Luka Modric also came close with a 20-yard shot that sailed just past the post having beaten two Fulham defenders with a classic Cruyff turn on the edge of the box.
Tottenham dominated possession in the opening 45 minutes but often failed to deliver in the final third.
While the second half saw Redknapp's men resort to long-range strikes that failed to hit the target.
Left-back Benoit Assou-Ekotto, did his best to inspire Tottenham and Modric should have done better when heading the Cameroon defender's fizzing cross well wide from close range.
Fulham defender Paul Konchesky curled a 20-yard free-kick a foot wide but the visiting team showed little ambition to leave White Hart Lane with anything other than a point.
But with six minutes remaining Fulham almost stole all three points when Johnson escaped his marker inside the box, but Gomes saved bravely at the striker's feet to deny him.
Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp:
"It was ok but we lack punch up front.
"I couldn't see us scoring. We had a lot of the ball but didn't create enough chances.
"We looked solid at the back they had one or two chances but other than that we kept them quiet. We're short in certain areas to make the difference.
"I thought Bobby Zamora was outstanding, in the first half he held the ball up very well. I wish he was still at Tottenham."
Fulham manager Roy Hodgson:
"When you come to Tottenham and get a point you've got to be happy.
"We knew we were meeting a wounded team and they'd be firing on all cylinders.
"I didn't think we started that well but once we found our feet I thought our defending was very good and we limited them to a few chances.
"We looked more dangerous the longer the game went on and if I'm being really greedy we might have stolen all three points."
Gomes, Corluka, Dawson, King, Assou-Ekotto, Lennon, Zokora, Huddlestone (Jenas 20), Bentley (Campbell 58), Modric, Bent (Pavlyuchenko 72).
Subs Not Used: Cesar, Bale, O'Hara, Woodgate.
Schwarzer, Pantsil, Baird, Hughes, Konchesky, Dempsey, Murphy, Bullard (Etuhu 37), Davies (Nevland 90), Johnson, Zamora.
Subs Not Used: Zuberbuhler, Gray, Stoor, Andreasen, Kallio.
Ref: Peter Walton (Northamptonshire).
BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Tottenham Hotspur's Luka Modric