What was supposed to be Tottenham’s one and only match played at Wembley this season, now turns into the first of many. Tottenham take on newly promoted Fulham in an intriguing London derby. Fulham will provide further insight as to their Premier League capabilities, whilst Tottenham will try to show the surrounding chaos to have little effect on the team, and end the August goal drought of Harry Kane.
The stark difference of the transfer spend between the two teams, with Fulham spending £100M, and Spurs’ famously buying no-one, will make an interesting debate post-match whatever the result.
Kane Looks to End August Drought
Will Wembley Have an impact?
The question of whether Tottenham would be able to perform at Wembley was hotly debated prior to last season’s commence. Tottenham had previously struggled, albeit mostly against top teams in the latter stages of a tournament. They did indeed struggle initially at Wembley, failing to win any of the first three home games.
However, Tottenham grew into life at Wembley, showing they were more than capable with notable wins against Arsenal, Liverpool, Man United, Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund. Interestingly, Tottenham finished 5th in the 2017/18 home-form table and second in the away-form table.
Ultimately, playing at Wembley shouldn’t be an issue against Fulham. However, Wembley is a burden for Tottenham – both for team and fans. This is in stark contrast to Fulham, who excited to return to Wembley, where they sealed their return to the Premier League in May.
Bad Start at the Cottage
Fulham lost their opening game 2-0 at home to Crystal Palace. Fulham backed up a successful campaign last season with an equally successful transfer window. Securing the services of Alexander Mitrovic was perhaps the highlight. Their opening day defeat was, however, a rude awakening. The Premier League is unforgiving. A second successive loss will pile the pressure on for their next game – another difficult match against Burnley. Fulham will, therefore, be desperate to capitalise on any potential distractions in the Tottenham squad.
Fulham Aim to Restrain Kane
Premiership newcomers Fulham will target the attacking trio of Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen. Dele Alli got off to a flying start on the opening day. Although most noticed for his goal celebration, he had a phenomenal game. The Englishman will certainly be looking to demonstrate the move again.
Harry Kane, despite it being August, a month in which he cannot seem to find his form, will still be the major concern for Fulham. The World Cup Golden Boot winner will be desperate to finally end his August hoodoo. Christian Eriksen has also got off to a good start, creating more chances, five, than anyone else on the opening weekend.
Aleksandar the Great?
Fulham will look to Aleksander Mitrovic for the goals this season. The striker grabbed an impressive 12 goals in 18 league appearances in his debut season with The Lilywhites. New signing Andre Schurrle will also be looking to make an impact, whilst long-term Tottenham target Ryan Sessegnon will undoubtedly be up for the game.
Tottenham will be starting their home campaign without Heung-min Son who has left for the Asian Games. Victor Wanyama has returned to light training but will also miss out. Harry Winks and Erik Lamela have returned to full training, but it may be too early yet for a return.
New signing Alfie Mawson will miss out due to Injury. Fellow defenders Tim Ream and Denis Odoi will also be unavailable for selection.
As stated in this week’s Premier League predictions, Tottenham should have too much quality for Fulham. Pochettino has stated his desire to give back to the fans by winning games. He will expect nothing but a comfortable win.
Prediction: Tottenham 3-0 Fulham