The Warmdown: Spurs scrape the win
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 04: Dele Alli of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates with teammates Son Heung-Min, Ben Davies, and Gareth Bale after scoring his team's first goal during the Premier League match between Fulham and Tottenham Hotspur at Craven Cottage on March 04, 2021 in London, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Kirsty Wigglesworth - Pool/Getty Images)

An own goal from Tosin Adarabioyo was all that separated Tottenham Hotspur and Fulham in a closely contested battle.

Spurs started brightly, opening the scoring following good work from Heung-Min Son and Dele Alli, but faded in the second-half, reminiscent of their form all season.

Although they kept The Cottagers out, Josh Maja was unfortunate to have his goal harshly ruled out by VAR just after the hour mark - due to a handball in the build up from Mario Lemina.

It is the first time Spurs have won consecutive Premier League games since way back in November, when they beat Manchester City to go top of the league.

Fulham were unlucky to come away with nothing to show for a spirited display, forcing Hugo Lloris into good saves and failing to convert good chances.

  • Spurs sit back in the second half again

Going into this fixture off the back of two 4-0 victories, one may have been forgiven for thinking Jose Mourinho has dealt with his side's Achilles heel. 

While a strong start has never been hard to come by for The Lilywhites, the way in which they close games out has been a problem.

On four previous occasions this season, Spurs took a 1-0 lead into the interval and failed to take home three points, drawing the games one all.

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In the previous meeting between these two sides, Fulham took a point late in the game, much to the frustration of Mourinho.

His forwards rued chances in the first half just like they did at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, it looked as if the game was set for a similar storyline.

Perhaps through fortune, as oppose to a convincing defensive display, Spurs were finally successful in seeing out a 1-0 victory.

If capable of reproducing such results, with an element of more control, similar to the way Manchester City currently do so, it would relieve pressure from Mourinho and build consistency.

  • Feature front four debut

For the first time this campaign, Mourinho opted with the front four supporters have long been crying out for.

Son, Dele, Gareth Bale and Harry Kane started the game in attack and it looked as if the decision would pay off in the early ages.

Bale is beginning to find his feet and with Dele Alli back in favour, there was more fluidity to Spurs going forward.

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In the second half the tempo dropped, the side stopped defending from the front and the press did not reach the levels of the first 45.

Perhaps the fitness of Mourinho’s forwards is a concern - with Bale and Dele not playing regularly and Kane and Son featuring heavily - there may need to be some fine tuning in respect to the balance of their attack.

The new look attack will play a huge role in the remainder of Tottenham’s season, with the League Cup Final against City’s impressive defence looming, Mourinho will need his forwards firing.

  • VAR causes more controversy

With a rule change announced by IFAB today, accidental handballs that lead to goal-scoring opportunities will no longer be considered an offence.

The change will not be implemented till fixtures after July 1st, however, under the new guidelines Maja’s second half strike would have stood.

Davinson Sanchez cleared the ball straight at Lemina, striking his arm  - which was by his side in a natural position - and the ball fell to Maja who finished well.

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It was a significant moment in the game, as Spurs were under pressure and a goal for Fulham at that moment could have turned the game on its' head.

Following the uncertainty around handball in the game between Manchester United and Chelsea just days ago, it seems there is too much room for interpretation as Mourinho claimed in his post-match presser.

Scott Parker went on to claim “We are trying to create a sterile, perfect-scenario game which I think ultimately in the end is going to destroy it." He was evidently disappointed by the decision and felt his side were robbed of a point.

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