Weekend review: Spurs embarrassed in 3-0 loss at Fulham

Following an inspiring 4-0 win last weekend at Aston Villa, Spurs looked to move into the top four with a win at Craven Cottage versus Fulham. Alas, it was not meant to be as the home team ultimately cruised to a 3-0 victory.
Fulham FC v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League
Fulham FC v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League / Mike Hewitt/GettyImages

It was going so well. Last weekend, Spurs enhanced their place in the table, moving within two points of fourth in a 4-0 win away at Aston Villa. The attacking threats of captain Son Heung-min, Timo Werner, Brennan Johnson and James Maddison were in excellent form in the victory, each netting a goal in the process.

There was even more hope for the weekend's match at Fulham, as manager Ange Postecoglou welcomed Richarlison back into the squad from injury. Losing star defender Micky van de Ven might've stung, but January signing Radu Dragusin was poised to take his place alongside vice-captain Cristian Romero at the heart of Spurs' defense. All the stars were lined up for Tottenham to finally retake fourth place, at least for a day. However, it appears that the Lilywhites didn't receive the memo.

An embarrassing display by Postecoglou's squad ultimately led to a 3-0 defeat against a team that was 12th in the Premier League table going into Saturday's match. Spurs looked lethargic and uninterested for most of the game, as multiple players turned in poor performances. Maddison, Dragusin, Destiny Udogie, Pedro Porro and Pape Matar Sarr all received less than ideal marks from Football London for their displays at Craven Cottage, and for good reason. Each of the starters had multiple miscues that led to scoring chances for the home team, which ultimately doomed Spurs from moving past Villa.

Despite the final score, goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario was probably the best player on the pitch for Spurs, as all three goals were a mixture of poor defending and odd angles that the Italian really had no chance with. Dragusin was firmly beaten on Rodrigo Muniz's first goal of two (the Brazilian had an excellent finish on that score), while the second goal was a deflection and the third (and Muniz's second) came off the post. The Italian made a couple of great saves when he was actually able to get in front of the ball, including a great stop against Fulham substitute Harry Wilson and his late strike.

Even Postecoglou's substitutes, usually changes that help spark the team into better form in most matches, were only able to limit the damage. Midfielders Rodrigo Betancur and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg performed much better than Sarr and Yves Bissouma (both of whom received 3/10 for their displays from Football London), but Werner missed a very easy chance shortly after coming on that would have at least made the score 3-1. For as good as the German attacker has been since coming to the club in January, that might have been his worst moment yet.

Spurs also snapped their league-leading 39 game streak of scoring at least one goal in a match, which is a testament to the job that Big Ange and his coaching staff have done thus far. "We had enough chances to score so I didn't think that was the issue," said Postecoglou.

"I don't think that's the issue for us. It wasn't about scoring. If we'd scored today it's meaningless. It's more about other things that are important and have been important to us all year, because irrespective of our performance fluctuation, our competitive levels and our ability to stay in games and be really strong and show conviction have been there all the time," the manager stated.

All in all, this loss definitely stings. It's a game that Spurs should have won, especially in their quest to make it back to European football next season. Yet, we need to remember this is just the first season in Postecoglou's long term project at the club. There has certainly been more good than bad so far, and with the potential to play even more football next year, outcomes like the weekend's match at Craven Cottage should become a thing of the past as the Australian continues to implement his vision in North London.