Tottenham comes back down to earth with tough draw against Fulham
Fresh off a resounding FA Cup victory, Spurs returned home to welcome Fulham for a mid-week clash. A victory would see Spurs catapult into third place of the English Premier League standings, but this would be no easy feat: Fulham are in good form and bench boss Scott Parker is familiar with Spurs (where he played for two seasons) and with Jose Mourinho (who managed Parker at Chelsea).
For the first 15-20 minutes, Fulham played with high energy and they were intent in their attack. However, Tottenham’s talismanic striker Harry Kane broke the deadlock after heading home a gorgeous cross from Sergio Reguilón. The first half ended with Spurs in front 1-0.
As the second half got underway, it became evident that Fulham’s high-pressure strategy was draining Spurs’ energy. Mourinho decided to stick with his starting XI, which proved to be a mistake: in the 74th minute, Fulham’s relentless pressure and fresh legs resulted in Ivan Cavaleiro netting the equalizer for the visitors.
The last 15 minutes of the match were tense, back and forth, and full of intrigue; in fact, in the 89th minute, Sergio Reguilón scored what was surely the game-winning goal. However, the play was correctly called back for offsides and the game ended in a 1-1 draw.
The result felt deserved after an evenly played contest, but it was another disappointing result for Spurs in a season fraught with squandered second halves. The opportunity to reignite the title chase was there for the taking. Unfortunately for Tottenham Hotspur, they fell prey to a familiar foe: a late second-half goal that felt inevitable.
We’ve seen this script play out all season from Jose Mourinho’s men, and it’s a habit that they’ll have to kick to the curb if they’re serious about winning a Premier League title. Spurs will head to Bramall Lane this Sunday for a must-win contest with last-place Sheffield United.
A couple more notes:
Man of the match: Reguilón. The Spanish fullback had arguably his best game as a member of Tottenham Hotspur. Aside from his pinpoint cross to Harry Kane for the opening goal, he was a menace offensively and responsible defensively. His 89th minute goal would’ve been his first for the club, but it wasn’t meant to be as the play was called offsides.
- One of the bright spots, for Americans anyways, was the play of Fulham left back Antonee Robinson. He was constantly driving offensive down the left side, made intelligent decisions with the ball. He also showed tremendous speed and endurance. He has to clean up his defensive play a bit, but the 23-year-old American is another exciting prospect in Europe.