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Bobby McMahon

Bobby McMahon

You can see me on Soccer Central most Mondays and Thursdays on Rogers Sportsnet in Canada. I write a regular column for Forbes.com and Soccerly.com and frequently guest on various podcasts and radio shows.


TANGENTS

Game Highlights – Fulham Left Wondering While Spurs Hang On

Written by on November 7, 2011 | No Comments »
Posted in English Premier League, Fulham, Tottenham Hotspur

Second Half Turnaround But…

I am always very skeptical of teams that suddenly come to life at 2-0 down. With nothing to lose we often see them storming back only to fall short and they get all sorts of kudos for a brave effort.

Well Fulham found themselves 2-0 down at half time to Tottenham but it was not through lack of effort. In the first 45 minutes Spurs defended deep, got men behind the ball and broke quickly when the opportunity arose.

Five attempts on goal from Spurs brought two goals and frustrated the hell out of Fulham.

But much of it was self-inflicted. In an attempt to douse the threat from Van der Vaart Fulham clogged the centre of midfield. It marginalized Van der Vaart but it also meant that Fulham broke slowly and had to many players playing in the same area of the field.

At half time Martin Jol got the formation right. Murphy sat deeper Dempsey got closer to Zamora and the second half brought not only domination in possession and territory but on attempts on goal – 7 for Fulham in first half and 24 in second.

But nonetheless Spurs held on after Fulham had pulled one back and even regained a two goal advantage when Jermain Defoe scored very late.

Players on the Post

It has been the source of debate for many years. Are you better to position players just inside the post when defending corner kicks or are you better using all your defenders to stop the goal attempt hitting the target in the first place?

I fall into the former category and late in the game Modric had those of a similar view pointing to his key block on the line as an example of why. At 2-1 down and late in the game Fulham was battering Spurs with corners. Another game in, the ball was heading into the Spurs net but Modric standing just inside the post stopped the ball crossing the line.

Riise Wasteful

Fulham look to get John Arne Riise forward on the left as much as a possible. They got the ball to him time and time again but little came of it. His distribution was sloppy and crossing and shooting very poor.

In a Second

Players are very well paid, they are generally pandered and at the upper levels they can expect the best medical treatment. But just on the stroke of half time we were reminded how a player’s career can change in a second.

An innocuous challenge by Fulham right-back Zdenek Grygera  on Spurs’ Gareth Bale left the Czech defender writhing and crying in pain.

Controversy of the Fantasy Variety

Sport by nature is controversial. But this game had a couple of moments that went beyond the regular. While we had the normal penalty/no penalty incidents fantasy football followers were left to argue a couple of other key incidents.

#1 – Was Gareth Bale’s shot on target before hitting an on-rushing Chris Baird? At stake, points for the midfielder or points deduction for the Fulham defender.

#2 – Did Ledley King’s attempt at a clearing header hit Spurs defender Younes Kaboul or Brede Hangeland before crossing the Spurs goal line? A deduction for Kaboul or valuable scoring points for defender Hangeland?

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