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Positives and negatives: Fulham 3-0 Tottenham Hotspur

Written by Cameron Ramsey on 17th March 2024

Image by: Simon Traylen - licenced via Imago Images

How, how are we still bloody 12th!? Admit it, you never saw this victory coming and as Ange Postecoglou avoids eye contact in his post-match pressers, Cam’s staring three points square in the face and his words for Marco Silva’s heroes are gushing. Have some of that, mate!


Seven in seven superstar

Admittedly, I ain’t much of a statto but the numbers don’t tell porkies and they undoubtedly speak volumes. Rodrigo Muniz, the man of the moment, has hit seven goals on seven games for the Whites since February 2nd, he has reimagined his future in Silva’s stewardship and as Spurs found out against their own will, he is a striker on a net bulging mission and he is taking us all with him.

We’ll fawn over Antonee Robinson shortly, rest assured, although Muniz’s first of the evening was guided past Guglielmo Vicario with precision and the composure to steady himself before he struck the bottom left has to be applauded. Textbook execution from an attacker that’s worked tirelessly on his final product. His finishing has been taken to a higher level by his own design and as Fulham scoured for weak spots, Muniz sought to unsettle the visitors’ defensive line with sharp movement and collaborative drop-offs.

His contributions outside of the penalty area have certainly matured but inside the 18-yard box, where it really matters most, his predator’s instinct was alive and it was kicking. Well, prodding if his second is anything to go by, but as the ball squirmed free, unattended, Big Rod was first on the scene to bundle it into an empty goalmouth and that is the mark of an attacker in their element. He firmed tough knocks for just over an hour before he was subbed for Raul Jimenez, Radu Dragusin and Cristian Romero were put through their paces by Muniz, the menace, and he departed the field to a standing ovation.

Ever since he joined the club as an obscure YouTube prodigy, Muniz has had to wait patiently for his opportunity to really flex his credentials. He’s had bites of the cherry, he’d choked on them but with a renewed sense of belonging, he’s committed himself to Marco’s project and with every passing minute, he’s evolving. There’s more to Rodrigo than what meets the eye, rough edges are gradually starting to smooth and if you squint ever so slightly, our resident R19’s silhouette resembles that of another Brazilian phenom, Ronaldo Nazario, R9 himself.

Sasa’s special mention

A special mention, of course, has to go out to Sasa Lukic, who has also obviously given himself a stern talking to in recent weeks. Like Muniz, while he hasn’t been at the club for as long as his rejuvenated teammate, Lukic hasn’t been able to fully establish himself in Silva’s plans until now, and now he’s finally registered his first Premier League goal in black and white, there’s surely no turning back for the modified Serbia international.

Our midfield department is variable, it seems to change from one matchday to the next but I cannot be the only one that wants to see Sasa and Joao Palhinha line up beside one another again and again and again. Together, they were harmonised and they didn’t give a single fuck about James Maddison’s welfare, and they didn’t even bat an eyelid at anyone else because they all paled in comparison. Even self-professed Vikings like Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg fled for the hills as our indomitable double pivot lit torches and sure enough, Lukic was at the heart of the action and he had his fill.

Fulham began the second half fast, they were wary of a reaction from Spurs and in the 49th minute, we’d widened the gap by way of a smart cross and an inspired knee. Timothy Castagne combined with Alex Iwobi and the Belgian fed the danger area from the right, and flashing across the face of the goal was none other than Lukic. His run was planned, the finish was improvised, and the organically brilliant celebration was a long time coming, and long may it continue.

Antonee’s best ever outing

The standard of Antonee Robinson’s performances this season has been astonishing although his outing on Saturday evening was easily his best ever showing in a Fulham jersey. Along the left, Robinson was a persistent source of drive and tenacity, he was supercharged on the counter and merciless in retreat, and when he wasn’t terrorising Pedro Porro, he skinned, smoked and mashed a Swede into ineffective mulch and he dined out on it.

Dejan Kulusevski was well and truly cooked, chewed and spat out by Jedi, Spurs’ knockoff Kevin De Bruyne couldn’t shimmy an inch without our animated left-back being far too close for comfort and when the ball was there to be won, Antonee was straight into him, no remorse, just a firm shunt and an Uber home. Robinson jotted down Kulusevski’s number and flogged it to the press for cheap, and at the other end of the pitch, his input was also right on the money.

He engineered space himself throughout, the visitors didn’t know how to counteract his piercing dashes up field and in the 42nd minute, full flow with his head up, the USMNT defender reached Muniz with a sublime switch across the park, it was perfectly placed, inviting, and it was tucked away by our swaggering Samba star.

Fearsome interceptions, dazzling footwork to sidestep danger, Robinson’s display virtually had it all, he may not have scored himself but he was savage at the back, superior in one-on-one duels, brave on the break and with a superb assist to his credit, he was well in the running for the Man of the Match gong and for me, while Muniz is genuinely deserving, Antonee was the game’s stand-out entertainer and that supposed £50m price tag fits him well.

Captain Bernd’s command

Defensively solidity was the aim of the game for the Whites and skippering his team for the first time was Bernd Leno, and I tip my cap to him for his safe and secure efforts between the sticks. A proud wearer of the armband, Leno’s a figurehead that’s openly bought into Silva’s vision from day dot and there couldn’t have been anyone better suited to captain the squad against Tottenham, whom he’d faced in five North London Derbies while he was at Arsenal.

He is vocal, his calm nature off the pitch shouldn’t be underestimated and as the Whites maintained their discipline to shield Spurs from progressing, Bernd was the conductor and he was calling the shots, whilst claiming Tottenham’s goalbound efforts with ease. Clean sheets are gold dust in the Premier League, ‘keepers cherish each shutout just as dearly as the last but this one will hit different for the Germany stopper.

His exploits were confident, his judgement was measured and with ten teammates ahead of him to rally, his duties were selfless and his commands were observed. Leno was exceptional, he may not have been tested as often as he would’ve expected but when he had to get down low and spring from one upright to the next, he had everything under control and he capped off his unblemished shift with a save for the cameras. Fulham’s number one, captain material, super Bernd is living his best life and we like it, we like it, we like it.

Organised and on fire

We are the first side to prevent Spurs from scoring in a competitive match in 39 fixtures. Somehow, Postecoglou’s men always, always manage to alter the score line, whether they win, draw or indeed lose, they’re renowned for their proficiency in front of the target but Silva prepared his set-up for every possible eventuality and other than a 15-minute flurry of activity from our guests midway through the second half, they were dealt with expertly until the not-so bitter end.

The Whites were organised, focused and the cooperation between each department, from back to front, was on point and it had the Australian’s floppy Cockerels locked down and quarantined. Son Heung-min was peripheral, Maddison sobbed into the dirt, Kulusevski yelped like a frightened runt on a short chain and no matter who they lobbed on, Timo Werner, Richarlison et al, the Lilywhites were paralysed by the mighty Whites’ presiding all-round dominance and we’re yet to be praised in earnest by the wider media.

They claim Spurs had an off day, they weren’t at the races, and I know Cheltenham week has been and gone, but the bookmakers’ favourites were comprehensively outfought and outplayed by rank outsiders and their was no luck or jammy fortune about it. The Whites were on fire, they were bang up for it and it’s high time we had some actual respect put on our name.

Banishing curses is Marco’s specialty. This season, we’ve secured 4 points from a title-chasing Arsenal that score for shits and giggles, we’ve conquered the Theatre of Dreams, two decades in the making, we’ve sledged five past the Hammers but this performance is undoubtedly our finest under Silva. When we turn up, we are a force to be reckoned with, we may not strike all the right chords on a consistent weekly basis but Fulham aren’t only here to just make up the numbers, not necessarily so.

We’re here to scupper momentum, we’re here to ruffle feathers and if we reduce insufferable gimmicks like “Big Ange” to blubbering wrecks on international television, we are doing wonders for the Premier League’s lopsided prestige and even if we aren’t appreciated, we aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Dry those tears, mate, at least south west London is white, eh?


Insert grumbles here

Three without reply, a first league victory over Spurs since 2013, there surely isn’t anything we can pick the bones out of but if you’ve anything to declare, as it so often is after professional Ws, now’s your chance to tell all. Did somebody spend maybe a tad too long on the ball? Were there one too many wayward passes whilst clearing our lines? Put a penny in the meter and give us your verdict.

I’m personally signing out for the March international break with positive vibes only, so enjoy the next two weeks, remember to eat your greens and prep that booze bag for Sheffield United (a). Come on you Whites!

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