Rating the Tottenham Players in 1-0 Loss to Fulham
Tottenham's pursuit of a top-four finish in the Premier League took a substantial hit Sunday in a 1-0 home loss to Fulham.
The result marks the third consecutive defeat for Spurs in all competitions, dropping them to fourth place with archrival Arsenal to begin breathing down their necks in fifth.
Further, the loss ended an eight-match unbeaten run against Fulham for Tottenham and a six-match winning streak against the Cottagers.
With such a disappointing defeat in the books, Spurs now look forward to a tough run of four matches following the international break—away matches against Swansea and Chelsea, and home fixtures with Everton and Manchester City await them.
So how did each player perform in this terrible loss? And who can improve for this next group of matches?
Here is a rating for each Spurs player in Sunday's match with Fulham.
Hugo Lloris: 5.5
Lloris was unlucky in this one.
The France captain hardly had a save to make all match, but he was left stranded and with no chance on Dimitar Berbatov's winner.
Still, Hugo was quick off his line on a few key occasions and distributed the ball well.
Benoit Assou-Ekotto: 3
The Cameroonian strangely lined up on the left wing in the first half, but the experiment was highly ineffective.
When he was moved back to left-back to start the second half, Assou-Ekotto was immediately at fault, allowing Sascha Riether to race past him and provide the cross for Berbatov's winner.
This is one BAE will want to forget.
Michael Dawson: 6.5
Dawson was in full control of the defense in the first half, but he was taken off at half-time with an apparent hamstring problem.
His ability to nullify set plays with aerial challenges was so important for Spurs.
It's no coincidence that Tottenham's defense was much weaker in the second half and quickly gave up the winner.
Jan Vertonghen: 5.5
Jan was a threat at left-back in the first half, getting forward on a few occasions and almost creating the breakthrough.
When he assumed his normal position in the center, though, Vertonghen made a few key errors, including getting caught too far up the field on the winner.
Jan pulled up lame at the end of the first half, perhaps contributing to his performance in the second half.
The Belgian is usually so reliable in the center, but he made a few uncharacteristic mistakes Sunday.
Steven Caulker: 4.5
Caulker played well in the first half, swatting balls out of the area and challenging well.
When captain Dawson was replaced by Vertonghen as his partner in the second half, though, the young Englishman's performance level took quite a hit.
Caulker was slightly at fault on Fulham's winner, as he allowed Berbatov to get past him and slot the ball into the net.
Kyle Naughton: 6
Naughton defended well and worked hard, getting forward regularly and sending balls into the box.
He could have done better at some points but looked much more at home at right-back.
Scott Parker: 5
Parker had been improving leaps and bounds, especially in his performances against Arsenal and West Ham.
Unfortunately, he has regressed a bit since then, as his play on the ball was far too slow on Sunday.
Scottie worked incredibly hard and challenged well for the ball, but he is lacking the creativity and ability going forward.
Gareth Bale: 4.5
A poor performance for Bale, especially by his lofty standards.
The Welshman picked up an injury in the first half, going down with no one around him and grabbing at his Achilles. In hindsight, perhaps Gareth should have been substituted at that point, as he never found space after that and couldn't seem to create an opportunity.
As the match wore on, he drifted further and further back up the pitch, even taking the ball in his own half after clearances.
He lacked that cutting edge that he was overflowing with a few weeks ago.
Mousa Dembele: 5.5
Dembele did well holding the ball in midfield against his old club, challenging well and pressing up the field.
Unfortunately, he never found that final ball to cut the defense open and was taken off late in the match when a goal was needed quickly.
Gylfi Sigurdsson: 4
Sigurdsson had been improving greatly recently, but he took a step back against Fulham.
He failed to get involved much in the action and was wasteful when he did.
Taking him off late in the contest was the best move for Spurs, but hopefully this was just an off-day for the Icelander.
Clint Dempsey: 4.5
Dempsey came on as a half-time substitute for Michael Dawson, but he failed to have the same impact against his old club as he did at Craven Cottage earlier in the season.
When Spurs were chasing a goal, the American was very wasteful, taking shots at any opportunity, no matter how unlikely or ridiculous.
To be fair, Clint was making his first appearance since injury, so it's good that he got a good run out.
Tom Carroll: 6
A truly encouraging performance from the 20-year-old Englishman, who came on for Dembele and showed some fine creativity.
Carroll's pass that was slipped toward Emmanuel Adebayor was inches away from creating an equalizer.
Emmanuel Adebayor: 4
Adebayor may have done well holding the ball up and pressing defenders, but he ended up doing little to contribute to any true opportunities.
Wasteful finishing and poor collection ended causing more trouble for his side than any contributions he was making.
Jermain Defoe: 3.5
Another frustrating performance for Defoe, who failed to put away at least two amazing chances after coming on late in the match for Sigurdsson.
To be fair, the Englishman did well to get into the positions he did, and keeper Mark Schwarzer made some fine reaction saves to keep his efforts out.
Still, Jermain should have done much better with his chances and earned Spurs at least a draw.