Fulham would both extend their unbeaten run to six matches and move a step closer to perhaps even getting themselves out of the Premier League’s bottom three with a positive result at home to Tottenham Hotspur (6pm Thursday).
After draws with West Ham and Burnley and wins against Everton and Sheffield United, Fulham made it five matches without defeat with a 0-0 draw away to Crystal Palace on Sunday. They could reasonably have come away with all three points given their dominance.
The first half was relatively incident free, with the two teams only mustering a couple of shots apiece. Fulham made their intent clear by getting off an effort inside the opening minute of the second half to begin a run of 12 unanswered shots and 15 to one in total during the second period that nevertheless failed to produce a winning goal for them.
Head coach Scott Parker remained upbeat in his post-match press conference, insisting that the momentum is with his side, and that does largely appear to be true. While wins have been few and far between, Fulham have only actually lost three times in 15 matches since mid-December. In that time, only runaway leaders Manchester City have conceded fewer goals than their sum of 11.
That is some turnaround given that Parker’s side conceded 21 goals across their first 11 matches of the campaign and is one that is matched in the underlying numbers. Fulham’s attack has consistently been among the worst in the league, but that defensive improvement has seen them begin to pick up points and make survival a realistic proposition.
Three points separate Fulham from Newcastle in 17th and Brighton in 16th, while Burnley are just a couple more points up the road. With 12 matches still left to play, their chances of beating the drop are a lot more promising than they were just a few weeks ago. They may, though, struggle to keep their unbeaten run going through their next few fixtures. Thursday’s visit of Spurs is followed by matches away to Liverpool and at home Manchester City.
Spurs had been in an awful run of form, having lost five of their previous six matches, before ending the rot with a convincing 4-0 win at home to Burnley on Sunday. In just his third league start of the campaign, Gareth Bale prodded them into an early lead and then turned provider for Harry Kane to make it two 15 minutes in. Lucas Moura added a third just past the half hour before Bale wrapped things up with his second early into the second half.
It was a result that, at least in theory, moved Jose Mourinho’s side back into top-four contention. There is a gap of six points to bridge to West Ham in fourth, although Spurs do have a game in hand on both the Hammers and Chelsea and Liverpool in fifth and sixth respectively.
Tottenham’s underlying numbers are decent for the overall season, but they have dropped off as the campaign has gone on, and over the last couple of months have been worse than those of all the other viable contenders for the Champions League spots. That doesn’t mean it won’t be relatively close come the end of the campaign, but unless they enjoy a real purple patch of form between now and mid-May, it is hard to see Spurs finishing in the top four.
That doesn’t mean that they don’t have the necessary firepower to see off Fulham on Thursday, though. Even though the final score was 1-1 when the two sides met at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in January, and the shot count was an even 15-15, it was Spurs who created the better chances of the encounter and should really have come away with all three points.
Even if Bale’s performance against Burnley proves to be a one-off in a hitherto disappointing return to the club, in Kane and Son Heung-Min, Spurs have players capable of breaking down the defence that has been the key to Fulham’s recent resurgence. Just a single goal is likely to be enough if they can keep Fulham’s relatively weak attack at arms length. So our preview’s Fulham vs Spurs betting tips are:
Fulham vs Spurs Betting Odds for Match Winner