Paulinho Sets Tottenham On Road To Win Over Fulham


Hugo Lloris [Photo: Alan Hill]
Tottenham defeated Fulham in the London derby with second half goals from Harry Kane and Younes Kaboul after Fulham had drawn level in the first half only two minutes after Paulinho had put Spurs ahead.

Tottenham Hotspur 3 Fulham 1
Scorers: Paulinho, Kane, Kaboul Sidwell

Team: Lloris; Naughton, Kaboul, Fryers, Rose; Lennon, Paulinho, Chadli (Dembele); Eriksen (Townsend); Adebayor, Kane (Soldado). Subs: (unused) Friedel, Chiriches, Sigurdsson, Bentaleb

Paulinho set Tottenham on the road to victory with a first half goal only for Fulham to draw level immediately. If Spurs have been slow in the early stages of games this season, they have been quick off the mark immediately after the interval in recent weeks. It was a similar story today as they gained the lead within two minutes of the restart through Harry Kane. They then eased their way to the three points when Younes Kaboul scored the third on the hour. Having achieved the two goal advantage, however, Spurs still had to be grateful to goalkeeper Hugo Lloris who made an excellent penalty save as Fulham responded to Spurs second goal. He also made two good saves in the final minutes as the visitors made a final attempt to take something for the game.

The early lunchtime kick-off usually tends towards a subdued atmosphere but with Fulham looking for their third successive win, they were anxious to keep a high tempo to the game and put early pressure on Spurs, this season’s extremely slow starters. With Spurs having to match Fulham’s endeavour, it turned into a full-blooded London derby.

Tim Sherwood made one change to the team which started at West Brom last weekend with Zeki Fryers retaining his place having been introduced at half-time for the out-of-sorts Vlad Chiriches. For Fulham, as predicted, Scott Parker started in place of Lewis Holtby and Darren Bent was one of their substitutes.

Paulinho scored his first goal at White Hart Lane to put Spurs ahead after 35 minutes when he was in the 6-yard to box to touch home Christian Eriksen’s free-kick after Aaron Lennon was blocked on the edge of the area. Within two minutes, however, Fulham demonstrated their fighting spirit to equalise as Spurs lost possession deep in their own half and Fryers inadvertently diverted the ball to Sidwell who took it on to score.

Fulham were totally committed from the outset and had two attempts on goal in the opening minutes. The first was put wide and then after Spurs had lost possession in the visitors’ half, a long clearance saw Rodallega get behind the Spurs back line but he put his shot well wide. Fulham were quicker to the ball and made numerous interceptions and then set up attacks quickly.

Spurs approach was more measured and Harry Kane had a shot blocked after Emmanuel Adebayor laid the ball back to him. Then a cross from Dany Rose was headed on by Adebayor and Lennon shot over. The nearest Spurs came to a goal was when a shot by Lennon was deflected on to the post and then from a corner. The first by Eriksen to the near post was cleared by a defender and then the second was partially cleared but when Kane headed it back into the 6-yard box, Younes Kaboul rose above the defence but headed over.

Fulham worked hard and moved quickly to nullify the Spurs’ threat with interceptions and blocks, happy to pull all ten men back and rely on pace to trouble the Spurs defence. In the early stages Spurs struggled against Fulham’s endeavour and work-rate but gradually they increased their own efforts with Paulinho being a leading example. The Brazilian had one of his best games for Spurs in terms of all-round commitment and contribution to the game, improving after a sluggish start.

Level at half-time Spurs had patient possession around the Fulham box and worked the ball wide to,Lennon who beat his man and delivered a cross to the back post where Kane met it to head his third goal in three games.

As in the first half, Fulham responded immediately when Rodallega got his head to a cross but this time Lloris made an great save to deny him. The Fulham striker immediately jumped all over Lloris to congratulate him. As fans chanted “Hugo” it was difficult to know which set was responsible.

On the hour, Spurs made their superiority count when Kaboul met a free-kick from Eriksen and prodded the ball home as Fulham maintained this season’s record of conceding at set-pieces – having conceded 31 goals.

Spurs now enjoyed control but Fulham continued to work hard and were awarded a penalty for hand-ball against Eriksen. Lloris saved the situation with a good save and then in the final minutes was required to make two vital saves in Fulham’s last desperate scramble to salvage something from the game.

Tottenham deserved the three points and gave a much more composed performance once they had increased their own work-rate which enabled them to assert their superiority.