Monday’s London derby between Tottenham Hotspur and Fulham will drop the curtain on Premier League Matchday 9.
New manager Ange Postecoglou has exceeded all expectations as Spurs headed into October’s international break sitting atop the table alongside north London rivals Arsenal.
As one of the two unbeaten teams in the Premier League (W6, D2), Tottenham’s ambition to return to European competition after missing out on continental football this season is moving in the right direction.
Spurs passed a stern test of character before the break, with summer signing Micky van de Ven scoring the winning goal to help his 10-man side overcome Luton Town 1-0 at Kenilworth Road.
Having already shattered numerous club records, Postecoglou has now set his sights on an impressive Premier League feat even Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola failed to achieve.
Beating Fulham would see the Australian tactician win more points than any other manager in their first nine Premier League matches, with Mike Walker and Guus Hiddink jointly holding that record with 22 points.
Fulham manager Marco Silva oversaw a 3-1 home win over basement boys Sheffield United on the stroke of the international break, putting his side’s two-game winless league run to bed (D1, L1).
Silva, who went above and beyond to keep Fulham in the elite society in two straight seasons for the first time in a decade last term, is also the only manager to have defeated Postecoglou this season.
Fulham ousted Tottenham from the FA Cup after penalties in late August, which could serve them well as they bid to post their first Premier League triumph over Spurs since 2013.
A formidable attacking partnership between James Maddison and Son Heung-min has laid the foundation for Tottenham’s sterling scoring form in the Premier League this season.
Only three sides boast a better scoring record than Spurs’ 18-goal tally, but it’s worth mentioning they’re the only team to have scored 2+ goals in seven matches thus far.
Considering their scoring prowess, it’s hardly a surprise they’ve racked up two comebacks in three Premier League fixtures in which they’ve conceded first under Postecoglou (D1).
Tottenham are unbeaten in 15 of their last 16 top-flight outings played on a Monday (W11 D4), with the exception of a 1-0 defeat to Man City in October 2018.
Spurs may not need another free-scoring performance to extend their two-game winning league run, given Fulham haven’t scored more than once in any of their last 17 Premier League games against them.
The Cottagers’ underwhelming streak against Tottenham fits into an ominous pattern as they’re without a win in their last ten Premier League London derbies (D4, L6), including all four this term (D2, L2).
Things tend to get worse on the road, with Fulham clocking up just one victory across their last 21 away games against fellow London adversaries in the competition (D6, L14).
It will take something special from Silva’s side to turn those fortunes around after going winless on three consecutive Premier League travels (D2, L1) since a 1-0 win at Everton on the opening weekend.
Tottenham’s injury crisis isn’t subsiding, with Manor Solomon facing up to three months on the sidelines in the latest injury blow for Spurs boss Postecoglou.
Ivan Perisic, Ryan Sessegnon and Rodrigo Bentancur remain absent, while Yves Bissouma serves a one-game ban after picking up a red card against Luton.
Fulham will be without Tosin Adrabioyo, with Adama Traore, Issa Diop and Kenny Tete facing late fitness tests.
Tottenham Hotspur potential starting line-up:
(4-2-3-1): Guglielmo Vicario; Pedro Porro, Cristian Romero, Micky van de Ven, Destiny Udogie; Pape Matar Sarr, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg; Dejan Kulusevski, James Maddison, Richarlison; Heung-min Son.
Fulham potential starting line-up:
(4-2-3-1): Bernd Leno; Timothy Castagne, Tim Ream, Calvin Bassey, Antonee Robinson; Harrison Reed, Joao Palhinha; Harry Wilson, Andreas Pereira, Bobby De Cordova-Reid; Carlos Vinicius.
We Say: Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Fulham
Better sides than Fulham have broken their teeth against Postecoglou’s Tottenham, and given the recent history of this fixture, we can envisage another routine win for the hosts.
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