Premier League: How Tottenham Hotspur Will Line Up Against Fulham

Thomas CooperFeatured ColumnistApril 17, 2014

Premier League: How Tottenham Hotspur Will Line Up Against Fulham

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    Danny Rose had an eventful afternoon at The Hawthorns last weekend. Will he take the field at White Hart Lane for Tottenham on Saturday?
    Danny Rose had an eventful afternoon at The Hawthorns last weekend. Will he take the field at White Hart Lane for Tottenham on Saturday?Rui Vieira

    Fulham's win over Tottenham Hotspur just over a year ago proved costly in the latter's quest for Champions League football.

    The two clubs meet again at White Hart Lane on Saturday and further dropped points would almost certainly end Tottenham's top-four hopes again.

    The added caveat for Tim Sherwood's side is that Fulham are just as desperate for a positive result. Felix Magath's resurgent Cottagers—with wins in their previous two fixtures—are two points behind 17th placed Norwich City and also have an inferior goal difference.

    Spurs will anticipate a similarly aggressive approach from Fulham as that they faced from West Bromwich Albion last week.

    Though the North Londoners eventually rescued a point, the lax manner in which they went 3-0 down will almost certainly see Sherwood making changes this weekend.

Goalkeeper and Defence

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    Captain Kaboul is likely to be back at the heart of the Spurs defence once more against Fulham.
    Captain Kaboul is likely to be back at the heart of the Spurs defence once more against Fulham.Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

    Surprise, surprise. Save for him picking up any ailment, injury or off-field issue this week, Hugo Lloris will be in goal for Tottenham.

    The shape their back-four will take is less certain.

    At the time of writing, Spurs had not confirmed the injury status of Michael Dawson or any other recent absentees.

    Manager Tim Sherwood told his pre-West Brom press conference—here via the Daily Express' Ben Jefferson—he was "very doubtful if he’ll [Kyle Walker] be fit for next week as well." Meanwhile, PhysioRoom.com has Jan Vertonghen out for another week yet.

    Full-back pair Kyle Naughton and Danny Rose are likely to continue on their respective flanks. Both will have to be tighter to those coming at them from out wide in a way neither especially were last week. Naughton is Spurs' only natural option at right-back, however, Rose's inconsistent performances could see his position come under threat from Zeki Fyrers.

    Stand-in skipper Younes Kaboul is just about certain to carry on at centre-back.

    The Frenchman's loose header played a part in Stephane Sessegnon scoring West Brom's third last week. More positively, Kaboul did show leadership qualities helping to drive his side forward as they sought to get back in the game.

    Vlad Chiriches looked less assured individually, and he came off at half-time having been troubled by the movement of the Baggies attack.

    Sherwood will probably look to get Chiriches back in alongside Kaboul in the hopes that the two get on the same page this time.

    It would not be too surprising, however, to see the versatile Fryers—the Romanian's substitute replacement last week—handed a first Premier League start centrally. The recent success of Harry Kane may have emboldened the Spurs boss to hand the club's youngsters further chances.

Midfield

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    Christian Eriksen's late goal secured a point for Spurs against West Brom.
    Christian Eriksen's late goal secured a point for Spurs against West Brom.Rui Vieira

    After two matches in which he fielded a more offensive-minded midfield, the relative ease with which West Brom got between the lines in the first-half last week may convince Sherwood to make a change for Fulham.

    Former Cottager Mousa Dembele played in Spurs' Under-21 loss to Manchester United on Monday. Injury and erratic form have contributed to a patchy few months for the Belgian, but he will be looking to put together some minutes ahead of this summer's World Cup.

    Dembele offers quality on both sides of the ball, something Sherwood will appreciate in what is likely to be a back and forth affair this weekend.

    After a run of six starts, Nacer Chadli may make way for his compatriot. He has fared less well as a central midfielder proper, and Paulinho's solid, if unremarkable, showing last weekend could be enough to see him renew his partnership with Dembele.

    Christian Eriksen is likely to be back out operating from the left. Though less influential against West Brom than in the previous win over Sunderland, he still scored coming in from the wing, which will likely ensure Sherwood's continued contentment with selecting him there.

    On the right, Aaron Lennon should be back after one of his more encouraging displays of late, which saw him set up a goal for Kane.

Attack

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    Harry Kane is likely to start a third game in a row for Spurs on Saturday.
    Harry Kane is likely to start a third game in a row for Spurs on Saturday.Rui Vieira

    The aforementioned Kane is just about a shoe-in to play his third consecutive match for Tottenham up-front.

    Despite a couple of missed first-half chances at The Hawthorns, he was his team's brightest, often most-dangerous performer.

    With two goals in two games, Kane will be eager to add to his tally as he stakes a claim for a regular starting place next season.

    Roberto Soldado's injury status is unclear, but Emmanuel Adebayor is likely to play alongside Kane regardless.

    The striker had a poor game against West Brom by his standards and had a woeful penalty shot saved by Ben Foster.

    He did up his performance in the game's latter stages, though, and Sherwood will expect him to lead his team's charge against Fulham.

     

    Predicted Tottenham line-up vs. Fulham: Lloris; Naughton, Chiriches, Kaboul (c), Rose; Lennon, Paulinho, Dembele, Eriksen; Adebayor, Kane.