Tottenham vs. Fulham: Complete Premier League Preview

Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentMarch 15, 2013

Tottenham vs. Fulham: Complete Premier League Preview

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    Here is a complete English Premier League preview of Tottenham Hotspur vs. Fulham at White Hart Lane.

    André Villas-Boas’ Spurs side will look to bounce back from their disappointing 4-1 loss to Inter Milan in the UEFA Europa League whilst Martin Jol is hoping the Cottagers can pull off an upset against THFC.

    Please comment below with your thoughts on the matchup. 

Tottenham Hotspur Scouting Notes

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    ANDRÉ VILLAS-BOAS' STRAGGLERS

    William Gallas and Kyle Walker have no right to start against Fulham because they've routinely underperformed to the degree that it undermines AVB's credibility if he continues to start either two.

    Playing an old, non-threatening (averages 0.9 tackles per league game) and slow Gallas in a high line is the equivalent to using John Terry in that defensive scheme...oh wait, that's exactly what Villas-Boas did last season.

    Gallas is one of the worst footballers playing at a notable European club this season.

    Inter, the one man team. Without William Gallas they'd be nothing. #tottenham

    — Robin J Dronsfield (@RobinDronsfield) March 14, 2013

    Walker, the reigning PFA Young Player of the Year, is going through a sophomore slump.

    Committing daft as brush errors, lacks positional discipline, his inability to read play is cringeworthy...what the hell has happened to him?

    SPURS ARE TOO RELIANT ON GARETH BALE

    It's just like 47 percent of Barcelona's La Liga goals coming way of Lionel Messi, Real Madrid playing Cristiano Ronaldo in 42 games and him scoring 42 goals or Luis Suárez leading Liverpool in goals, shots per game, shots created per game and dribbles per game.

    Why do some people think this is a negative?

    Was it bad when when Sporting Lisbon's players kept passing the ball to Fernando Peyroteo?

    TOTTENHAM TEAM NEWS

    Younès Kaboul returned to training last month but isn't fit enough to be included in the provisional squad. Clint Dempsey, who has had calf strains in the past, is expected to feature against the Cottagers (per The Daily Mail).

    Sandro, one of the Premier League's best tacklers, was ruled out for the rest of the season after a serious knee injury (via UEFA.com). By the way, go wish the Brazilian a happy birthday!

    (From WhoScored.com): "Mousa Dembele sustained a head injury at San Siro and that could put him in doubt for this match."

    Team news for Sunday will be interesting. Lots of tired players & sounds like Sigurdsson has a dead leg. Bale & Lennon hopefully good to go.

    — Chris Miller (@WindyCOYS) March 15, 2013

Fulham Scouting Notes

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    SASCHA RIETHER GOING UNDER THE RADAR

    He's won back the ball 67 times in 27 games whilst averaging 0.7 fouls per league game. What does this mean? He's an efficient tackler.

    Former Fulham defender Tony Gale believes Sascha is an elite full-back (via Fulhamfc.com):

    Sascha Riether is in the top two or three right-backs in the Barclays Premier League in my opinion. He’s such an uncomplicated player and such a good crosser [1] of the ball when he gets in the last third. He’s been a tremendous signing for Fulham and I, like everyone, hope to see that loan deal become permanent.

    The Köln loanee would have to be the Cottagers‎' second most important player this season behind Dimitar Berbatov.

    [1] Riether completes 14.6 percent of his crosses, which is below par. Good is 20-25. Above average is 26-29. 30+ is David Beckham territory.

    INACTIVITY?

    You'd think having a  well-earned rest would be beneficial to a Premier League team, but not to Jol (through PA Sport per Eurosport.com):

    This month was very annoying for us because we will only have two games—Sunderland and this game. That is not what you want.

    I don’t see a problem for them [Spurs; in terms of their congested schedule].

    There are other teams in the cups, like Spurs, and I think it is better to keep your rhythm than not.

    SEEING YOUR EX(ES)

    Dempsey's form won't make Fulham think what could have been with Damien Duff and Bryan Ruiz being productive this season.

    LEAGUE ONLY G SPG A SCPG
    Dempsey 5 9.2 3 1.2
    Duff 3 5.3 7 1.6
    Ruiz 3 13.0 6 1.6

    G = goal/s; SPG = shots per goal; A = assist/s; SCPG = shots created per game

    If Jol had to chose between Clint or Dembélé, the manager would go with the Belgian who is a complete footballer: strong in the  tackle, world-class dribbler, wonderful vision and superb physical attributes.

    It is scientifically proven that you can't tackle Mousa Dembele legally. #COYS

    — Addicted to Spurs (@AddictedtoSpurs) March 14, 2013

    FULHAM TEAM NEWS

    Mahamadou Diarra's troublesome knee will prevent him from playing in the foreseeable future (from Yann Tear at the Fulham & Hammersmith Chronicle).

    Steve Sidwell has recovered from a knock and may play against Tottenham Hotspur (via The Daily Mail).

Tottenham vs. Fulham: Who Will Win?

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    PROJECTED STARTING XIs (per John Ley at The Telegraph)

    Tottenham (Possible, 4-4-1-1): Lloris; Walker, Vertonghen, Dawson Assou-Ekotto; Lennon, Sigurdsson, Parker, Démbéle; Bale; Defoe.

    Fulham (Possible, 4-5-1): Schwarzer; Riether, Senderos, Hangeland, Riise; Dejagah, Sidwell, Ruiz, Karagounis, Duff; Berbatov.

    Spurs should win this game having only suffered defeat once in their last six Premier League games (4W, 1D, 1L).

    Meanwhile, in Fulham's previous six league games, they've only won twice (2W, 2D, 2L). 

    Villas-Boas’ team and Manchester United are the only two EPL teams who've been undefeated in their previous six league matches. 

    PREDICTION

    Spurs 2-1 Fulham

    Comment below with your predictions.

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    Statistics courtesy of WhoScored.com, EPLIndex.com and Squawka.com.