Both these sides have an interesting tale to tell. Fulham defied the doubters and made it through the play-offs, beating Aston Villa by 1-0 with ten men. However, their road to the 2018/19 Premier League since then has been fraught with disappointment. They won only two of several pre-season matches, and many of them were truly bruising defeats, such as their 4-0 defeat to Lyon last month. Worst of all, their return to the Premier League kicked off this month with a 2-0 loss to Crystal Palace. It feels like the Cinderella story is coming crashing down to reality with a thump. This match is an opportunity for Fulham to show everyone that they are in the Premier League to stay.
On paper, Tottenham Hotspur should be riding high. They beat Newcastle United 2-1 to get their season off to a promising start and last season, they came in a respectable third place. However, there is a sense that there are clouds on the horizon on Spurs’ otherwise sunny shores. What would be an amazing success for most teams is now leaving their fans aching for more. They don’t want bronze: they want to be champions, and this kind of pressure can either make or break a team.
There is concern that, after a brutal 4-1 loss to Girona and a less than sparkling performance, even in victory, against Newcastle, they may fall on the negative side of that equation. In Fulham, many of their fans hope they have an opponent against whom they can show exactly what they’re made off and put fears of their fires dampening to bed. Fulham, on the other hand, are not a team that are going to allow themselves to simply be pushed over. This will no doubt be a battle of wills against two sides with a lot to prove.
Tottenham Hotspur vs Fulham Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Fulham
One of the best things about football is a team battling against the odds and creating an upset that will be remembered by their fans and loathed by their opponents for years to come. That’s certainly what Fullham will be hoping for come Saturday, and they do have form in that department, but the question remains, is it likely?
The honest answer to that is no. When you take everything into account, the only logical conclusion you can come to is that Spurs are more likely to win. It’s not a certainty: few things are and that’s the magic of football. However, when it comes to likelihood, you have to conclude that the home side are the favourites here with good reason.
We think that Tottenham will have plenty of motivation, and scoring against them will prove to be extremely difficult. With a great set of goal-scorers on their books, we think they’ll win this one by a couple of points and retain a clean sheet, leaving the final score at 2-0.
Our recommended tip: Tottenham to win
Just one look at the statistics going into this match and it’s clear that the home side hold a distinct advantage. Tottenham Hotspur enjoy a 73% win probability, compared to Fulham’s somewhat measly 9%. In fact, with an 18% probability, a drawn result is actually twice as likely to occur than an away side victory, according to the cold hard stats.
This is hardly surprising though. Tottenham already have a 2018/19 Premier League victory against Newcastle United in the bag, while Fulham are on the back foot in the tournament following a 0-2 loss to Crystal Palace. Taking all this into consideration, a bet on Tottenham to win may seem like the obvious choice but it’s a pretty safe one to make. Plus, with competitive 2/7 odds on a home side match result from Ladbrokes, we’d recommend that it’s a good low risk wager to make.
Due to their distinctly different fortunes as of late, many people don’t realise just how many matches these two teams have had together. It adds up to several dozen overall, spanning a little over a century. While this fact may be interesting, we don’t imagine that their matches at the turn of the 20th century will have much bearing on Saturday’s game, so we’ll leave those to the history books and instead turn our attention to their recent battles.
The results have followed a pattern for the better part of a decade, with Tottenham winning by a clear margin for several games in a row before being upset by a surprising Fulham win. They beat their rivals on four occasions without a loss, for example, beginning in 2010 with a 2-0 victory in the Premier League, before being shocked by a 4-0 loss to the team in the 2011 FA Cup.
Similarly, after this match, Tottenham beat Fulham 3-1 in the 2011 Premier League and by 2-0 and 3-0 in 2012, before being handed a 1-0 loss in 2013 out of nowhere. Spurs are on a three match winning streak right now and their opponent’s fans will be hoping they are due another upset.
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Players to watch: Harry Kane & Aleksandar Mitrovic
This might be an obvious pick but that’s with good reason. This year, Harry Kane went from future club legend to future international legend when he showcased his incredible talents on football’s biggest stage at the 2018 World Cup. Despite not setting the world on fire in their opening Premier League match, it’s perhaps a testament to just how consistently exceptional Harry Kane is that anything other than greatness is seen as a let down. Look for him to improve on his already astonishing goal scoring record for the club this season. Football may not have come home, but with players like this, there’s a chance the 2018/19 Premier League title could for Spurs.
Who knows just how much further Fulham could have climbed if this man had started at the beginning of the Championship. Despite only playing for half of Fulham’s previous season, he made an immediate impact, turning around their campaign and ultimately being a vital piece of the puzzle that finally got them into the Premier League. He’s a different kind of threat than people expect from Fulham and that made him so dangerous to the opposition, managing to play with a consistency and flare that few can match. Many would pick Tim Ream here and understandably so, but for producing so much in such a short period, we think that Mitrovic will be the one to watch this season.