Tottenham Hotspur Preview

Wednesday 4 December 2013 08:00

Here's all you need to know about tonight's opponents, Tottenham Hotspur, who take on Fulham at Craven Cottage (8pm).

Tottenham Hotspur

Who Are Ya?


CLUB COLOURS: White with blue trim

STADIUM: White Hart Lane

POSITION 2012/13: 5th

LAST FIVE LEAGUE RESULTS: Manchester United (H) drew 2-2, Manchester City (A) lost 6-0, Newcastle United (H) lost 1-0, Everton (A) drew 0-0, Hull City (H) won 1-0

THE GAFFER: Andre Villas-Boas was one of the most highly-rated young managers, or head coach as he likes to be known, in the world when he won the Primeira Liga, Europa League and Portugese Cup in his solitary season at Porto in 2010-11. This caught the attention of Chelsea who made him their head coach shortly afterwards. However the move didn’t pan out as expected and after only nine months he departed after poor results in the Premier League left Chelsea in fifth place. Now in his second season at Tottenham, and after a 5th place finish last term, he’ll be looking to continue his good for in North London and guide Spurs to a Champions League spot.

THE TACTICS: Without Gareth Bale, goals have been hard to come by for Tottenham this season. Whilst it’s probably only a matter of time before they do, at present their play isn’t as free flowing as Villas-Boas would like. Roberto Soldado, recruited from Valencia in the summer for £26m, has held up play and linked with the midfield well but has also struggled to find the back of the net, which is what Tottenham are relying on. Expect them to line up in a 4-5-1 formation with two wingers and one player sitting in the ‘hole’ behind the main striker. They’ll look to use their pace on the wings to try and exploit Fulham’s defence.

Three To Watch

PAULINHO (pictured): Brazilian by name but perhaps not so Brazilian by nature, Paulinho is the driving force in Tottenham’s midfield. The box-to-box midfielder is strong, disciplined but crucially also knows where the goal is. He was the lynchpin in the Corinthians side that won the 2011 Brazilian title and then the 2012 Copa Libertadores, before also beating Chelsea to the Club World Cup later that year. The Brazilian international likes to link up with fellow Brazilian Sandro and former Fulham star Mousa Dembélé in the middle of midfield where they try and overrun opponents with their combined strength and skill. Has a knack of bursting into the box just at the right time, Fulham will need to make sure they track any late runs of his if they want to avoid him scoring.

ANDROS TOWNSEND: The lightning-quick winger has made a successful transition from academy to first team at Spurs, and has been the shining light of the latter part of England’s World Cup qualifying campaign in the games against Montenegro and Poland – capping off the former game with a fine goal. A great ball carrier, he can get Tottenham right to the other end of the pitch in seconds, which is why you’d struggle to find a better outlet than Townsend. Fulham’s left sided players will have their hands full keeping him quiet.

ERIK LAMELA: Tottenham’s record purchase, bought in the summer for £26m rising to potentially £30m, hasn’t yet got fully up and running at White Hart Lane. Hugely talented, the 21-year old has the skills, dribbling ability and pace to unlock any defence. Can play behind the striker our out on the wing, when on form Lamela can be almost unplayable – which is what Fulham will have to be mindful of. If Lamela plays, restricting his time on the ball is essential at all times.

Tottenham Hotspur In Numbers

2 – Times Tottenham have won the First Division (now Premier League)

8 – Times Tottenham have won the FA Cup

11 – Goals scored this season

1882 – Year club was formed (as Hotspur FC)

36,310 – Capacity of White Hart Lane