Tottenham vs Fulham - Match preview and prediction
Harry Redknapp’s side know that all they need to do is win and they are assured of fourth place, and a place in next seasons Champions League will come down to whether Chelsea can beat Bayern next weekend. With Newcastle a point behind in fifth, Tottenham have to better the Magpies result in their final game of the season against Fulham.
Spurs saw a mini-slump threaten to derail their chances of reaching Europe’s elite club competition, but three games unbeaten against some of the league’s relegation strugglers have put them in prime position. Tottenham can still reach third, and automatic Champions League football if Arsenal do not get a victory away at West Brom, which would be an ideal situation for Redknapp given the chance Chelsea have of stealing the final place in the Champions League should they beat Bayern Munich in this season’s final. Spurs had third-place secured before their poor run of form and will be hoping West Brom will send off Roy Hodgson to his new job as England manager by grabbing a win at the Hawthorns.
In last week’s draw with Villa, stand-in left back Danny Rose was sent off and is now suspended for the game at White Hart Lane. With Benoit Assou-Ekotto out injured with a shoulder injury, William Gallas may have to deputise at left-back. The defensive line could be further weakened by the knee problem Ledley King is currently suffering with, whilst Scott Parker could be missing from the central midfield with an Achilles injury.
Fulham boss Martin Jol returns to White Hart Lane in good form with just one defeat in their last seven league games. This impressive run-in means that the Cottagers can finish as high as seventh if certain results go their way and they will be keen to end the season on a positive note. On their last away visit, Jol’s side beat Liverpool for their fourth away victory of the campaign and will be looking to make it a fifth in this London derby.
One negative aspect for Jol will be the weakening of his attacking line with Clint Dempsey and Bryan Ruiz both ruled out of the trip to North London. Dempsey is struggling with a groin problem and Ruiz has missed the last few games with a foot injury. Another one of Jol’s attacking prospects, Moussa Dembele, has been in the headlines over a potential move to Manchester United, but the Fulham boss insists that a bid has not come in for him or the injured Dempsey.
Jol will receive a great welcome from the Spurs fans who still endear him for his achievements with the club, as well as his legendary touchline row with Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger in 2006 whilst in charge at the Lane. However, if the Fulham boss stops Tottenham’s chances of reaching the Champions League, the affection from the fans may decrease highly. Spurs are in good form and their 12 home wins this season should increase to 13 and put themselves among Europe’s best next year.
See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Tottenham v Fulham