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Spurs Odyssey Preview - Fulham v Spurs
FA Cup Fourth Round - 30.01.11

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The following is our record against Fulham in the FA and Football League Cups. The details are:

 
FA Cup   Round   Venue   Result  Scorer(s)
1908-09    2       H      1-0    R. Steel
1983-84    3       A      0-0
          3R       H      2-0    Archibald, Roberts
1997-98    3       H      3-1    Clemence, Calderwood 
                                 + o.g
2006-07    5       A      4-0    Keane(2), Berbatov(2)
2009-10    6       A      0-0
2009-10    6R      H      3-1    Bentley, Pavlyuchenko 
                                 Gudjohnsen    
 
FL Cup
1981-82    4       H      1-0    Hazard
1999-2000  4       A      1-3    Iversen
2001-2002  4       A      2-1    Rebrov, Davies
It could be the dreaded draw!

For Spurs, a visit to Craven Cottage in a Cup match is becoming very familiar territory. The two sides first met in the FA Cup in February 1909 at White Hart Lane, in front of 33,008 people. This was Spurs' first season as a Football League side, and both clubs were in Division Two. Spurs beat Fulham at home and away in the League and inside forward Bobby Steel scored the only goal in the FA Cup game. Steel was the younger brother of club captain Danny Steel, who played at centre-half and was ever present for Spurs in their league and FA Cup programme that season. Danny Steel died at the age of just 46 in 1931 at Marylebone, whereas Robert lived to the age of 83, and died at Winchmore Hill in 1972. Spurs were promoted at the end of their first league season.

We then had a gap of 72 years before the two sides faced each other in a first class cup match but since 1981, there have been 7 ties and 9 matches in the FA and League Cup competitions.

This preview will concentrate on the FA Cup and reports of recent matches can be found in the Spurs Odyssey archives as indicated in the Cup history above.

The scoreline of 0-0 is also a regular feature of meetings between Fulham and Spurs, with three such scorelines in the last 7 league and cup meetings. ESPN will be hoping for goals in their featured televised coverage at 4.30 p.m. on Sunday.

Last year, we met in the quarter-final. Fulham came into the match on the back of a 7 game unbeaten run, and despite losing a first leg Europa Cup tie 3-1 away to Juventus would make glorious progress with a 4-1 win on a memorable night at the Cottage. That win came before the replay in the FA Cup at White Hart Lane, and Bobby Zamora gave Spurs fans a nasty shock when he put the away side into a 17th minute lead, with a shot that beat Gomes' right hand.

All would be well for us though, as Harry Redknapp made some half-time switches which included the addition of David Bentley for Kranjcar. Within that first minute, after a foul on Gareth Bale, Bentley floated in a free kick from deep on the left, which beat Mark Schwarzer without a touch from any of the Spurs strikers! Then came a fantastic White Hart Lane moment, as Roman Pavlyuchenko gave Spurs the lead on the hour. Substitute Tom Huddlestone made a good stretch to reach and pass the ball to Bentley on the right. Bentley’s cross went beyond the back post and Pavlyuchenko hit a great shot on the volley which beat Schwarzer on his narrow side, squeezing inside the post. In real time the shot looked like a rocket, but on replay, the ball did bounce in front of Schwarzer, and then rocketed between him and his right post. It was a great goal for the player, team and exuberant fans, as the famous “Wembley” chants rang around the stadium. Our loan striker Eidur Gudjohnssen put the tie beyond doubt in the 66th minute.

Spurs went on to Wembley for an FA Cup semi-final, and Fulham eventually made it all the way to their first European Final. However, both games were lost, so the least said about them, the better!

Under Mark Hughes, Fulham's away form has continued to be quite dismal, although they did manage a win at Stoke on December 28th. Fulham have been too close to the relegation zone for most of the season for comfort, despite being unbeaten in their first 7 league games. Fulham's recent form has improved, with 4 wins in their last 7 games, which is more than they have managed in the rest of the season. Those recent wins do include a 6-2 thrashing of Peterborough in the Third Round. They have also beaten West Brom, and Stoke for a second time last Saturday. Fulham were somewhat unfortunate to lose by a solitary goal at Anfield on Wednesday.

Mark Schwarzer is still away with Australia on Asia Cup duty, where the Aussies face Japan in the Final tomorrow (Saturday). Schwarzer has kept clean sheets in 4 of their 5 games, and will be much missed by Fulham. New signing Steve Sidwell will be available, and played 90 minutes against Liverpool. Sidwell was once the darling of Reading and was signed by Chelsea in 2007, but got very few opportunities. He also failed to make a great impression at Villa. Despite the return to some form of Andy Johnson, Clint Dempsey remains Fulham's danger man, and leads their score chart so far with 8 league goals.

Both clubs have agreed that should a replay be required, it will take place on fifth round day - 19th February. With a midweek league programme next week, and the return of Champions League football on the horizon, Spurs could really do with a win first time round, but it could be tricky. We'll be missing Gareth Bale, whose back trouble means he'll be out for at least another week. Steven Pienaar will be eligible and will play ahead of Benoit Assou-Ekotto who returns after a knee problem. Pavlyuchenko is fit again, and Gomes has returned to training. Palacios and Sandro have been described by Spurs as "doubtful".

Both teams will be well and truly up for this one, and I think the result could be the draw that would be dreaded in some respects, but at least we'd be in the pot for the fifth round draw!

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