Spurs left Craven Cottage with a point, which many fans would have settled for before the match began. But football at the highest level is not about settling for half measures. It’s about making the possible reality, and yesterday it was certainly possible for Spurs to play a whole lot better.
For much of the game we held our own but lacked the sense of urgency and purpose that could have translated possession into supremacy, and in turn into more chances. We were never able to dictate the shape or tempo of the match despite having our fair share of the ball. Much of this was down to Fulham, who are well-organised and hard-working. It’s hard enough to break them down but this became nigh on impossible because we gave the ball away so frequently. This old failing of ours is wasteful of so much of our better play and is hampering our efforts to become a top four team.
Our back four were solid for the most part, with a few aberrations from Assou Ekotto, but Gomes was the star of the show. His Stretch Armstrong impression plucked the ball from all four corners of the goal, a fine all round display. Gomes looks more relaxed and confident, a far cry from this match last year where he was so edgy and out of touch that he provoked pity rather than anger. He made the most absurd error, getting his body behind a simple ball but somehow contriving to allow it to roll into the net.
Ironic then that this morning David James is openly declaring his desire to come to Spurs, adding to the usual guff about being flattered at the interest of a big club that it will help his World Cup chances. Sitting on the bench won’t help, so if there is any truth in this rumour, and James is usually careful in the way he expresses himself, he thinks that he will be first choice. Whether number one or not, James’ arrival would totally unsettle Gomes and undo all of the good work that he has accomplished this season with his coach Tony Parks. I don’t want him.
In my preview I was disparaging towards Bobby Zamora so naturally he had a fine game. Clever with his back to the goal, his link up play with team mates was conspicuously superior than the manner in which Crouch, a better player, linked with our forwards. Fulham stay closer in possession to their centre forward, buzzing around him and providing different options and angles. Crouch on the other hand was often detached from his colleagues. Keane did not help, another poor game, full of effort with no end product.
The old adage that success comes if you win at home and draw away is not so true in these days of three points for a win and teams with cutting counter-attacking strategies, but this remains a decent point, made better if we win against West Ham. Other teams have targeted Fulham as an away win and come away with nothing. Also, that’s three clean sheets in a row for the first time in four seasons, I believe. That must represent some sort of progress.