Guglielmo Vicario’s angry reaction, Radu Dragusin woe – 5 things spotted in Fulham vs Tottenham

By Staff

Tottenham’s Champions League aspirations took a severe hit on Saturday evening following a crushing 3-0 defeat against Fulham. Heading to Craven Cottage in confident mood after last weekend’s 4-0 win over Aston Villa, Ange Postecoglou made only the one change to his team with Radu Dragusin replacing the injured Micky van de Ven.

It was Fulham who were the better side early on and Cristian Romero was needed on a couple of occasions to produce some timely blocks. Tottenham managed to get a foothold in the game after that and went close through James Maddison as his low effort was a matter of inches away from finding the net.

However, it was the Cottagers who went into the break 1-0 up after Rodrigo Muniz converted beyond Guglielmo Vicario on 42 minutes. Fulham then doubled their lead minutes after the restart as Sasa Lukic was on hand to convert Timothy Castagne’s cross with his knee.

That wasn’t the end of the scoring, though, as Muniz got his second of the game on the hour mark to put the game well beyond Postecoglou’s side. Here are five things we spotted in Saturday’s game in west London:

Gil absent again

Postecoglou was always going to have to make a change to his Tottenham squad for Saturday’s game at Fulham as a result of Van de Ven’s absence through injury. Having centre-back cover in the matchday party already with Emerson Royal and Ben Davies more than capable of playing at the heart of defence, the Australian instead elected to bring a central midfielder into his matchday squad at Craven Cottage.

Oliver Skipp was to player to come in after unfortunately missing out at Aston Villa six days earlier due to the amount of options available to the head coach. It meant that Bryan Gil was once again absent, with the Spaniard last involved in the Spurs squad one month ago when they lost at home to Wolves.

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The Spaniard’s current predicament at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium does not look promising with no sign of match action coming his way. Even missing out recently with Postecoglou still having to do without Richarlison and Manor Solomon, Spurs were given a boost for the match in west London with the Brazilian returning to the substitutes’ bench after recovering from his knee injury and he took the place of Dane Scarlett.

With ten games left to go for Tottenham and with Postecoglou’s squad only getting strong at such a crucial time in the season, there is the possibility that Gil may have already played his last game for the club unless his situation soon changes.

A tough full debut for Dragusin

Getting a decent amount of minutes to his name last weekend at Aston Villa following Van de Ven’s injury, Dragusin came into the Tottenham XI for his first start for the club. Excelling in Serie A for Genoa and also on the international stage for Romania, it was the opportunity the January signing had been waiting for after having to settle for a watching brief at the club so far.

Having plenty of defending to do early on with Muniz heavily involved and Fulham opening Tottenham up a number of times and getting into some very good positions, the Romanian had a chance for himself on 29 minutes after Romero had headed the ball into his path. The centre-back unfortunately dragged the ball across the face of goal, though, and there was nobody ghosting in at the back post to try and convert.

Just prior to half-time, Muniz did manage to get away from Dragusin, who was instead fully focused on Antonee Robinson receiving the ball on the left flank, and the striker was in a position to find the bottom corner after his teammate had picked him out with a superb cross that was begging to be converted. The striker again got the better of the Tottenham defender on the hour mark as he beat him to the ball to convert into the empty net from point-blank range after Calvin Bassey’s effort hit the post and bounded kindly into his path.

Having performed so well on his debut at Aston Villa, it was a really tough evening for Dragusin on his full debut for the club as Fulham gave him and Spurs a torrid time.

Attacking woes

Tottenham may have won 4-0 away at Aston Villa six days ago but in the first half they really struggled to test Emi Martinez in the home goal and unfortunately didn’t manage a shot on target. It was a very similar situation at Craven Cottage with Spurs only managing the one shot on target in the first period.

That came from a Brennan Johnson effort, which was rather tame in truth and all too easy for Fulham shot-stopper Bernd Leno. Spurs did manage to get into some good areas in and around the Fulham box but the final action was lacking.

While Maddison was extremely unlucky with a shot that was millimetres away from finding the bottom corner, Son Heung-min and Johnson should have done much better with their opportunities. Having fallen three goals behind by the hour mark and switching things about in hope of finding a way back into the contest, Timo Werner was introduced and he was guilty of a really bad miss.

The German international somehow turned the ball wide from a matter of yards out with the goal gaping following Johnson’s cross. Werner wasn’t the only one guilty of missing the target, with Richarlison doing likewise late on, as Spurs passed up a number of good opportunities despite Fulham hitting them for three.

Vicario’s angry reaction

Fulham were cutting through Tottenham with ease at times on Saturday evening and got so much joy down the flanks. One example that highlighted the best and worst of both teams came on the hour mark as Alex Iwobi and Timothy Castagne teamed up, with the Belgian international going through on goal after Dragusin and Destiny Udogie had gone to the ex-Everton player and left a gaping hole at the back.

Castagne breezed into the space and was denied by a good save from Vicario at his near post. The Tottenham goalkeeper was extremely unhappy at just how easy it was for Fulham to coast through the Spurs backline and he let out a huge scream at his teammates.

Unfortunately for Vicario, Fulham scored from the resulting corner as Muniz was on hand to convert from a matter of yards after Bassey had seen his shot strike the post. The Italian goalkeeper had kept the score down with a number of big saves prior to that and he at least produced on the night when a number of his Spurs teammates failed to do the same in the crushing defeat.

Aston Villa’s golden opportunity

Tottenham could once again find themselves five points behind Aston Villa come Sunday afternoon as a result of their heavy defeat in west London. On a weekend where there is a lack of a Premier League fixtures due to the FA Cup quarter-finals taking place, Unai Emery’s team are in league action across the capital as they play West Ham at the London Stadium.

Having wasted a really good opportunity to leapfrog Villa and move into fourth, the Midlands club can extend their current two-point advantage over Spurs back to five if they win at the Hammers’ home. Tottenham, of course, still have their game in hand at Chelsea to come at some point later in the season.

So good at Villa six days ago and in a position where they could make a real statement of intent by winning at Fulham and moving ahead of their rivals, Tottenham passed up such a good chance by delivering perhaps the worst display of the Postecoglou era. Unfortunately for the Lilywhites they now have a fortnight to wait for their next Premier League game as they aim to put things right.

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