The Spurs go marching on to the FA Cup quarter-finals. After a long week, this result has lifted my hopes for Thursday at Wembley. A good performance at Fulham was so important to move on from two disappointing games, and as we have seen so many times already this season, an FA Cup tie is never a formality.
Tottenham started well with some slick passing and fluid movement. It was only a matter of time before the first goal came. Spurs created several chances with quick, dynamic passing that cut through Fulham’s high defensive line.
A performance to inspire confidence
The effort at the top of the field was totally unrecognisable from what it was a week ago, Harry Kane got his hat trick while Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen could have scored three each. They dominated as they should have. As a team fighting for Champions League football, anything less would have been disappointing.
On top of that, Tottenham defended solidly. Their work ethic in winning the ball was a return to their brilliant best. We still saw occasional mistakes, but there was never any real danger of being punished by a low-quality Fulham side. Toby Alderwiereld and Jan Vertonghen continued their partnership as though neither had spent any time out. Jan looked sharp and didn’t put a foot wrong for 90 minutes. True class.
Kieran Trippier is quickly becoming a strong deputy to Kyle Walker, he did everything required of him. As a wing-back, he clearly loves to go forward, slinging early balls into the box that are so dangerous. Kieran just needs that extra touch of quality, which I’m sure will come in time. Harry Winks is another who has improved dramatically since Pochettino introduced him to the first team. Some excellent movement and vision opened up the Fulham defence time and time again and he well worth his place in the starting XI.
Hot and cold
As confident as the dominance was for Tottenham, they still spent far too much time playing in front the Fulham defence in the first half. A 1-0 lead at half time was nearly not enough. Two gifts courtesy of glaring errors from the home defence are the kind of opportunities that would have be taken against a better opponent. A performance as dominant as that should have much more to shout about. A couple of late chances that Fulham had in the first half could have caused a serious problem.
Spurs were just a little sloppy in attack. The front four always seem to be caught off balance or having to stretch. The accuracy of the passing is not helpful enough, it very rarely looks easy. Their decision making was frustrating. A little more composure around the 18-yard box is all that’s required. It was still an improvement though, and maybe I’m just being picky, because their hard work was rewarded with three well-worked goals. Not to mention some of the exquisite passing in the second half. It was training ground stuff, teasing the Championship side at times.
Eriksen was still far from his best. Far too many misplaced passes and rushed shots that were shadows of his true quality. Two free kicks at the wall didn’t improve things, although he did manage two superb assists, and that is what really matters. I just feel like he is so much better than that. In the second half, he was better, but he needs to build on that next week and get his confidence flowing again.
On to Wembley
The travelling fans were incredible. It’s so good to hear the supporters really getting behind the team and creating a proper atmosphere to energise the players. In the end, it was always comfortable. The creativity was much more impressive than it has been lately, and the front four relaxed into the game. At 3-0 the game was done and Tottenham coolly saw out the final fifteen minutes. It was good to see a genuinely convincing performance. Never in doubt.
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