Another week, another game down. And thankfully I am slightly happier after this week than last week. With last weeks game a classic example of losing when you deserved to win, and yesterday a classic example of winning when you deserved to lose.
The boys travelled to Craven Cottage to face 19th placed, and struggling Fulham, in what shaped up to be another good London Derby. We entered this game, with it being our first run of games without probably our best three players of the season so far, Kane, Son, and surprisingly Sissoko.. So we started with arguably our best ‘fit team’, Lloris in net, with a back three of Toby, Jan and Sanchez. Tripps and Rose on the wing back roles, with Eriksen filling a deeper role next to Winks, Lamela and Dele playing just behind Llorente up top. Still a team capable of beating Fulham, no disrespect to them. But premier league football is never that simple.
We started alright, with both teams having a couple of chances. Ryan Babel, Fulham’s new signing played well, and had a few chances to put the hosts ahead. However, they’re pressure was eventually rewarded. Llorente scored in his first premier league start, just unfortunately in the wrong net, with the ball bouncing off him from a corner in the 17th minute. We never really got to grips in the first 45, and thankfully Fulham only went into the half 1 up. And it could’ve been a lot worse, with Mitrovic scoring an offside goal just before the end of the first 45.
We needed to turn it round at half time, but with our lack of subs, who would step up. Well, as it turns out, no one. I don’t particularly think we played much better the second half. But our quality showed, with Dele nodding in Eriksen’s delightful chip 6 minutes into the half. The rest of the game was frustrating for both teams, with neither getting decisive chances.
All seemed to be lost, and it inevitable we were heading towards our first draw of the season. Until. Harry stepped up. And of course, it couldn’t be Kane. No. It was the unlikeliest of players, our number 8 in the right place at the right time. Harry Winks. All seemed to be lost, as the time ticked on and on. And I remember saying ‘there’s only 18 seconds left, nothing is going to happen’. But boy was I wrong. Although it wasn’t just the scorer that was the shock, but the man that got the assist as well. Georges-Kévin N’Koudou, our long lost french winger, put in a delightful cross into our match winner and man of the match.
I, along with many many fans, both at the game and round the country, went mental. Nothing quite like a last minute winner. And we ended up taking the three points.
Some talking points from the game, whilst we won, thankfully it was only Fulham. Again, no disrespect towards them but we should be beating teams in the bottom three. We lacked our main man up front, and Llorente just didn’t look up to the pace. However maybe it is just because we are used to playing round Kane, so hopefully he may improve in the games to come. Is there a future for N’Koudou? Well times like this with our injury-plagued team, players like him need to step up, and why not give him the chance. All in all, the worst to come from the game was our injury to our number 20 Dele Alli. This was the last thing we needed, with our injury list already, and our upcoming important games in the cups this week. His hamstring gave way and it does not look good, our only hopes now that Lucas Moura recovers in time to replace him.
Short term, we got the three points, and with Chelsea losing, slightly stretch our points lead from 4th. Hopefully this should also give us some confidence to maybe get a result at Stamford Bridge on Thursday evening. Long term, Dele may be injured for a few weeks, and we may struggle in upcoming games, but only time will tell, and we just have to take each game as it comes.
As always thanks for reading.