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Fulham welcome Tottenham -- PL. Match Preview

last updated Tuesday 03rd December 2013, 7:21 PM


Fulham manager Rene Meulensteen
Fulham manager
Rene Meulensteen
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Rene Meulensteen
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The sacking of Martin Jol was inevitable. The pictures we saw of him on Match of the Day on Saturday - and certainly his post-match interview - betrayed the fact that he knew it was imminent.

Fulham's statistics made it impossible for him to survive. Five defeats in a row means they're three points adrift of safety in the relegation zone.

But that's only part of the story. Many Fulham fans saw this coming and trace the malaise back to last season. In fact, since 1 April, Fulham have lost 15 of their 21 Premier League games.

To many, the balance of the team looks wrong. Does it contain too many mavericks? Berbatov, Taarabt, Kasami and Ruiz can all be brilliant on their day but most managers would fret about having one of them in their team, let alone four. Especially if that team is struggling and is short of confidence.

It will be fascinating to see whether Rene Meulensteen can mix a knock-out cocktail, or whether he opts for a more conservative brew.

Had Tottenham been beaten by Manchester United on Sunday, we might have been reading about the sacking of Andre Villas-Boas.

Since the 6-0 pasting at Manchester City, the pressure on the Portuguese seems to have been mounting daily, and yet Spurs are only three points behind fourth-placed Liverpool.

Unfortunately for AVB, that pressure comes with the territory. Especially when over £100m has been spent on new talent over the summer, and precious few of those new faces have made any kind of impact.

Only two clubs have scored fewer goals than Spurs this season, and Roberto Soldado personifies that problem. Three of his four Premier League goals have come from the penalty spot. He looks like a pale imitation of the man who netted 30 times for Valencia last season, and at the moment a waste of money at £25m.

With a trip to Sunderland on Saturday, the opportunity is there for Villas-Boas to answer his critics by putting big points on the board.

Failure to do so could still see him head the same way as Martin Jol before Christmas.

    Head-to-head



  • Tottenham have won on their last three league visits to Craven Cottage.


  • However, Fulham won the most recent match between the sides, 1-0 at White Hart Lane in March. Former Tottenham forward Dimitar Berbatov scored the only goal.



  • Fulham



  • Fulham have lost five league games in a row.


  • They are yet to score more than one goal in any league game at Craven Cottage this season. They didn't manage a single shot on target against West Ham at the weekend.


  • It's Fulham's joint-worst start in the top flight. They had an identical record after 13 matches in 1967-68 (W3, D1, L9). That season, they finished bottom of the old Divi



  • Tottenham



  • Tottenham are without a win in four league matches (D2, L2). They have scored just two goals in those four matches, both of which came against Man Utd in the draw on Sunday.


  • Like Fulham, Spurs have scored just 11 goals in this season's Premier League. Only two teams (Sunderland and Crystal Palace) have scored fewer.


  • Tottenham are one of only three clubs (along with Arsenal and Man Utd) to have reached double figures in away points won this season. Spurs have won three of their six league games away from White Hart Lane. However, their last away game saw them thumped 6-0 by Man City.
























Source Martin Fisher at BBCSports
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