A look ahead to Fulham v Spurs

If there’s a feeling of déjà vu about the Spurs fixture this weekend then it’s justified as for the third time in five seasons we face Fulham at Craven Cottage in the FA Cup. A fine 4-0 win in the fifth round in 2007 was followed up with another victory, after a replay, in last season’s quarter final.

In a period where the search for a new ground is forcing the club into a struggle with its own identity, the Cup should be a place where we feel on firmer ground, it certainly used to be anyway. As the league slipped by season after season when I was growing up, solace and glory were often provided by a Wembley win. This year though sees the twentieth anniversary of our last appearance in an FA Cup final, not a stat to be proud of.

Last season’s semi with Portsmouth was a great opportunity of course to put an end to that run but, in a precursor of many of this season’s games, we showed an inability to score despite copious possession and half-chances. Personally I blame Wiley for disallowing Crouch’s perfectly good equaliser but then I’m bitter like that.

Even though we’ve already beaten Fulham twice this season this won’t be an easy game. They’ve hit a run of form and confidence since our 1-0 win on New Year’s Day and have more players available with Andy Johnson back to full fitness and Dembele not far behind. Wins over West Brom and Stoke sandwiched a draw at Wigan and a 6-2 thumping of Peterborough.

We’ll be without Bale for a couple of weeks at least. Steven Pienaar isn’t cup tied so will take his place on the left. Whether Assou-Ekotto & Gomes have recovered from their knocks I don’t know. Both were missed last week at Newcastle and will be again if they don’t make it. It’s anyone’s guess who we’ll play up front. It’ll be Van der Vaart and A.N.Other. How about Harry Kane?

A match between two goal shy teams with strong midfields points to a tight encounter, as does the recent history of games between Fulham and us. I’d be feeling a lot more confident if we were at home. Nobody wants a replay but if we earn one, I think we can be pleased with ourselves.

By MF

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