Boxing Day v Spurs
White Hart Lane
I bet you`d be hard pressed to find anybody who, at this stage of the season, would have suggested we`d be in eighth position in the premier League whilst our next opponents, the mighty Spurs, would be lingering very close to the same relegation places we occupied this time last season. Such is life though and the strange thing though is that we`ve managed this feat without notching up an away win, so far! All the bookmakers money will, no doubt, be riding on Spurs for this clash but we`ve beaten them once before this season and I`m positive we can make it a double.
Ahead of the trip to White Hart Lane, Roy Hodgson has been speaking about the road ahead an din particular the difficulty in getting a result at White Hart Lane, commenting,
'The mood is good and it's entitled to be good as well. We've had one defeat in 11 games with some good results along the way."
'We know the Christmas period presents itself as a very difficult one if you look at the fixtures. The mood going into them couldn't be much better. The players are working very hard and are buoyant after the last couple of results we've got."
'They're under no illusions as to the degree of difficulty to try and win at White Hart Lane but I think they think we're ready for the challenge.'
If they all give 100% Roy we can ask for no more.
Spurs Team News:
Harry Redknapp will be awaiting fitness tests on Ledley King and Jonathan Woodgate ahead of the clash. But he will definitely be without Alan Hutton and Giovani dos Santos whilst there is also a doubt about Jermanine Jenas.
Redknapp will select his starting eleven from the following squad,
Gomes, Cesar, Corluka, Gunter, Bale, Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Woodgate, Dawson, King, Zokora, Huddlestone, Jenas, Lennon, Bentley, Modric, Campbell, Bent, Pavlyuchenko, Taarabt, Rocha, Boateng, O'Hara.
Player to watch: Luka Modric
I`m not sure this diminutive playmaker has shown his full potential in the Premier League yet, perhaps Juande Ramos underused him or it could be a classic case of first season syndrome. But, given an opportunity he can cause havoc with his intricate skills and delightful passing, definitely one to keep an eye on.
Fulham Team News:
Fulham enter the fixture with a relatively fully fit squad. Long term injury victim Diomansy Kamara continues to continue his rehabilitation and the only other possible first team contender to be rated doubtful is Zoltan Gera who limped off after half an hour in the 3-0 victory over Middlesbrough.
We fully expect Roy Hodgson to make minimal changes and go with a starting eleven of
Schwarzer, Pantsil, Hughes, Hangeland, Konchesky, Davies, Bullard, Murphy, Dempsey, Johnson and Zamora
Player to watch: Danny Murphy
A former Spurs player who`ll be so keen to put on a decent midfield performance on his old stomping ground and hopefully play a vital part in securing our first away win of the season. Is there any chance of getting the winner Danny?
Match Facts & Stats
If Fulham are to pick up their first three points on the road this season, they`ll have to buck the trend that shows them as having a poor record at White Hart Lane in the Premier League, a read that reads, Spurs 4 wins, Fulham 1 wins, draws 2.
In all games played between the two sides on Tottenham soil, the statistics are Spurs 16 wins, Fulham 2 wins, Draws 11
As for last season we`ll not dwell too long on our 5-1 defeat!
Hoping to keep things under control will be Peter Walton
People will think I`m mad! Here we are yet to experience an away win all season and I`m going out on a limb to predict we`ll pick up our first three away points of the season whilst also securing our first double of the season. It`s not confidence, it`s an inner belief that Spurs are not as good as their recent record suggests and this strange old feeling in my bones that Fulham will cause something of an upset, that`s if a team in eighth beating a relegation struggler can be conceived as an upset!
A second London derby awaits us, this time a frenetic clash with our nearest rivals Chelsea and a chance to put a massive dent in their title aspirations.