Tottenham Hotspur aim to pour more misery on local rivals Fulham as well as keep their slim top 4 hopes alive by winning at their White Hart Lane, while this will be a do or die clash for their opponents. The Cottagers seriously boosted their survival chances with wins over Aston Villa and Norwich, but they have got to try and see off Spurs as well.
It is fair to say neither Andre Villas-Boas nor Tim Sherwood managed to properly rebuild the squad following departure of star player Gareth Bale, but there are no doubts this team have got potential and maybe we should judge them only after next season. Spurs were unfortunate to have quite a few important players on the sidelines throughout the season, while the European campaign also took wind out of their sails. And while struggling to match England’s top sides, Tottenham also lacked consistency needed to mount a serious top 4 challenge, with Champions League berth out of their reach at the moment. Spurs responded well to the heavy defeat at Anfield as they hammered Sunderland 5-1, while they showed plenty of character to earn a draw at Hawthorns after conceding three first-half goals. And with Walker, Dawson and Vertonghen still missing, it is hardly surprising that Tottenham are conceding goals for fun, although the fact they bagged eight goals in last two fixtures should strike fear into Fulham defenders. The good news is important midfielder Moussa Dembele returns to the side, but Sandro, Capoue and Lamela remain on the sidelines.
Just three weeks ago it looked as though Fulham was destined for the drop as they were eight points behind safety with just six games to go, but Felix Magath’s side have since produced a stunning comeback. The Cottagers first defeated Aston Villa on the road to keep their survival hopes alive before enjoying a narrow win over relegation rivals Norwich to come within two points of the Canaries. And with Fulham facing the likes of Hull City, Stoke City and Crystal Palace in their final three fixtures, chances are that the match at White Hart Lane is going to prove extremely important for the outcome of the season. And while the players are buoyed by first back to back triumphs since October 2013, the absence of key midfielder Lewis Holtby is a major problem. The German star has been team’s most creative players since arriving on loan from Tottenham and he will be sorely missed at the Lane. Kostas Mitroglou, Matthew Briggs, Damien Duff and Caulet Woodrow are out injured, with Hugo Rodallega expected to continue up front after scoring the only goal against Norwich.
Tottenham seem to have rediscovered their form after the heavy defeat to Liverpool and the impressive comeback against West Brom should serve as a major confidence boost. Meanwhile, Fulham enter the game in good spirits as well, but with Lewis Holtby missing, they are likely to struggle in the creative department.
Verdict: Home win Tottenham (1)
Best Odds: 8/15
Bookmaker: William Hill