Newly promoted Fulham host European challengers Tottenham Hotspur at Craven Cottage on Thursday evening as we head into the final third of the 2020/21 Premier League season — there’s still a great deal to play for.
Despite being firmly entrenched in that chaotic battle for survival, Fulham are on a run of five games without losing in the league, conceding just the one goal in that spell, too. Having been in the relegation zone for the vast majority of the campaign thus far, the Cottagers are now applying real pressure on the teams above them.
Last time out, the hosts played out a goalless draw at Crystal Palace; Fulham were the better team on the day and will have been disappointed not to win, but they’ll take any points they can get in their bid to secure a second straight season in the top flight and they might just fancy themselves to get three here.
Visitors Tottenham, meanwhile, have been in a more difficult patch of late, but will be hoping that two straight wins in all competitions have seen them turn a corner into more favourable form as the campaign reaches its business end.
First, Spurs dispatched Austrian outfit Wolfsberger AC 8-1 on aggregate to advance to the last 16 of the Europa League, before trouncing Burnley 4-0 in the league on Sunday. It’s on their travels where Jose Mourinho’s men have struggled; they’ve won just one of their last eight league away games.
Fulham’s only injury concerns surround reserve goalkeeper Marek Rodak, who’s struggling with a finger problem, and skipper Tom Cairney who continues his long spell on the sidelines.
Having played at the weekend and with another game to prepare for on Sunday, those who did not start against Palace — namely Antonee Robinson, Ivan Cavaleiro and Aleksandar Mitrovic, all of whom were introduced from the bench — could be given a place in the starting 11 here, though changes are not expected to be wholesale from Scott Parker.
Visitors Tottenham welcomed the return of full-back Serge Aurier at Burnley and the full-back is likely to keep his place from the start.
Midfielder Giovani Lo Celso is now Tottenham’s only absentee, though he is back in training and expected to return to competitive action later this month.
Fulham — Areola; Tete, Andersen, Adarabioyo, Robinson; Reed, Anguissa; Cavaleiro, Loftus-Cheek, Lookman; Maja.
Tottenham Hotspur — Lloris; Aurier, Sanchez, Alderweireld, Reguilon; Hojbjerg, Ndombele; Bale, Moura, Son; Kane.
Fulham manager Scott Parker:
“There are none tougher than these three games we’re going to face now. It is an unpredictable season and there’s been some crazy results. I think we can get results, I firmly believe we can give anyone a game.
“The previous results against Spurs and Liverpool give us confidence. The form table gives me confidence in my team. Spurs at any given moment can be out of form but they can come straight back into it.
“You’re coming up against individuals that are special. Gareth Bale fits that bracket; I played with him at Spurs and know too well his quality. As quick as you look at him, you turn your eye to Kane, Son and Ndombele. We’ll be prepared to face a very good team.”
Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho:
“We have to look to the games arriving and forget the ones we’ve already played. Obviously, March is going to be very hard and it’s going to end with national team matches which are completely out of our control. But let’s go, step by step, match after a match.
“They are a good team, good players and they know how to play. They are getting results and they are fighting for a big objective, to get out of the danger zone. It’s a difficult match.
“We’ve won two matches [in the last week]. The match before was West Ham, where the feeling was, ‘result bad, performance very positive’. I believe we are going in the right direction, but we need to transform that into results.”
The most recent meeting saw Fulham earn a 1-1 draw at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium back in January, ending a run of five consecutive victories for Spurs against these opponents.
Tottenham have, however, still won on their last five league visits to Craven Cottage, a sequence they’ll be hoping to continue here in order to overcome the poor form they find themselves in away from home.
The last 14 Premier League meetings have resulted in 10 wins for Spurs and just one for the Cottagers.
How to watch
Fulham vs Tottenham Hotspur will be broadcast live on BT Sport 1, with coverage coverage beginning at 17:30 GMT. Kick-off is set for 18:00 GMT.
Alternatively, a highlights package will become available on the Sky Sports Football YouTube channel shortly after the final whistle.
BBC One’s Match of the Day airs at 23:45 GMT and will cover the best action and analysis from all of this midweek’s Premier League fixtures.
And remember, there will also be live text commentary on the match right here at VAVEL UK — make sure to follow along!