Jack Stroudley looks at our first game back following the international break.
The international break is over and club football is returning for the foreseeable future and Fulham have a tough run of games coming up. That starts on Monday when we make the journey across London to take on a Spurs side who are flying at the moment. Despite picking up three points against Sheffield United before the international break, Fulham come into this with quite a few injury concerns and with Postecoglou continuing to work his magic. Can Fulham cause a shock?
When he joined in the summer, Ange Postecoglou came under a lot of scrutiny with the suggestion he was going to struggle to get a Spurs side ticking who had a tough campaign last season, he’s proven everyone wrong. There seems to be a new culture and belief around Spurs that despite losing Harry Kane, they can still be successful with attacking football at the forefront. The North Londoners have the third highest possession in the league (60.8%) alongside the most touches in the attacking third out of any side (1,771).
James Maddison is finding his feet after his summer move, Heung-Min Son is adapting to life after Kane and is enjoying being the main talisman for goals with six goals from the opening eight matches, but Spurs are without one key man. Yves Bissouma picked up a red card before the international break and will be suspended for the match and while Spurs are still strong in midfield the replacement of either Hojberg or Skipp is an area that Fulham can exploit.
How do we prepare?
Following Marco Silva’s press conference, we learnt that Issa Diop joins Kenny Tete, Adama Traore and Tosin on the sidelines through injury. Given this, here’s how I’d line-up.
I would make two changes to the side that beat Sheffield United 3-1 before the international break with Calvin Bassey and Sasa Lukic coming in for Issa Diop and Andreas Pereira.
The defensive change is a forced one, with Tosin and Diop both out injured Marco Silva’s hands are tied to playing two left-footed central defenders. Castagne has played in the centre of defensive before so he could slot in with De Cordova-Reid dropping to right-back but I can’t see Silva being too experimental in this one.
The second change comes in midfield with Lukic coming in for Pereira. I personally think that Palhinha and Lukic is our best midfield pairing with the Serbian beginning to acclimatise to Premier League football. His ability to pick out a pass could be crucial on the counter and following a successful international break with Serbia he should start for me.
The final verdict
Following an international break it doesn’t really get tougher than Spurs away at the moment. They will come into this with lots of confidence against a weakened Fulham side. We’ve already had their number once already this season but I think this will be a completely different game which I feel the hosts will end up winning.