Spurs look to bounce back from their humiliating poor and terrible and atrocious and hopeless defeat in the San Siro – which saw us qualify for the quarter-finals of the Europa League – in the Premier League on Sunday at home to Fulham. If Spurs want to do this, they will have to win the individual battles happening all over the park; the key ones are analysed in greater detail below.
Berbatov v Vertonghen
I still maintain a lot of respect for what this man did at our club. Granted, he left in acrimonious circumstances; but rarely does such a superb player grace the pitch at White Hart Lane in the way he did. Whilst admittedly not at his peak anymore – hence why he left Manchester United to join Fulham – he is still a great player, as highlighted by his magical goal against Stoke the other week. Vertonghen and co will need to be on their toes as this man can produce a moment of magic out of what appears to be nothing.
Duff v Walker
Or, whoever Fulham choose to play on the left side of midfield. Walker has had an admittedly torrid time in the last few games; it is of the utmost importance that he regains his form. Fulham will most likely look to target him, aiming to take advantage of his low confidence, but we have seen from Walker in the past that he is capable of excellent defending. With players such as Rodallega and Berbatov in the area he needs to stop crosses coming in whenever he can.
Bale v Hangeland + Senderos
From his Arsenal days, Senderos was one of those names which every Spurs fan loved to see on the teamsheet. He’s hardly a terrible centre-back; but his pace can let him down and when Gareth Bale is your opposite number, you kinda need pace. A lot. Bale could really open up this Fulham defence if he is on form – he has had a week’s rest and is one of the best pure matchwinners in the Premier League. After a rocky week, Spurs need Bale to perform on Sunday.
The personal battles expressed above are obviously crucial to the outcome of the match: but not as much as Spurs bouncebackability. If they are tired and at a low ebb after the Inter debacle, then Fulham could snatch a shock result, but if AVB rallies and motivates the troops, then Spurs should come out on top.
By Alex Beck
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