Tottenham made it three wins in a row in all competitions as they edged out Fulham 1-0 at Craven Cottage on Thursday.
A first-half own goal from Tosin Adarabioyo was enough for Jose Mourinho’s men as they took a step closer to the Premier League top four.
Spurs started with Harry Kane, Son Heung-min, Dele Alli and Gareth Bale in the side and looked threatening throughout the first half after taking a deserved lead.
However, the visitors required far more defensive mettle in the second, with Fulham denied an equaliser due to an unfortunate handball given against Mario Lemina as they ended the game with 11 shots to Spurs’ nine.
Fulham started positively but were given a let-off when Harry Kane sent a tame header straight at Alphonse Areola when it looked simpler to score.
Spurs had more luck 19 minutes in, Son Heung-min’s low cross from the left turned into his own net by Adarabioyo after Alli had failed to get a proper connection on the ball.
Son nodded wide as Spurs looked to double their advantage, but they were fortunate to go in ahead at half-time, Lemina blasting over from inside the penalty area.
Hugo Lloris had little to do in the first half but was far busier early in the second, saving headers from Joachim Andersen and Adarabioyo as Fulham increased the pressure.
Josh Maja turned in a good finish inside the left-hand post but the goal was ruled out by VAR for handball, an attempted clearance having struck Lemina’s arm at his side.
Areola denied Kane the chance to prod home a second, but Spurs were not left to rue their talisman’s surprisingly slack finishing.
What does it mean? Spurs keep up pressure in top-four chase
Spurs’ win means they are four points behind the top four, with Everton, who complete that particular group, having won at West Brom.
With Manchester United, Leicester City and Aston Villa dropping points and sixth-place Chelsea meeting seventh-place Liverpool later on Thursday, this could prove an important victory in Spurs’ hopes of a Champions League spot.
Fulham arguably deserved more, but they remain three points from safety.
Alli renaissance continues
Alli could not quite follow up his sensational goal in the Europa League last Thursday in the same style, but he still forced the crucial opener with a pass to Son and run into the box.
He was Spurs’ brightest player in a good first half and was substituted 67 minutes in having contested more duels (17) than anyone else on the pitch.
Lemina sums up Fulham misfortune
Fulham had nearly 59 per cent of the ball and arguably deserved more from the contest, with Lemina rather encapsulating their problems.
Having skied their best first-half chance, the midfielder was then unlucky to be the reason for Maja’s goal to be chalked off, even though the decision was correct.
Key Opta Facts:
– Tottenham have won back-to-back Premier League games for the first time since November (four in a row).
– Fulham are without a win in 22 Premier League London derbies (D4 L18), failing to score in each of their last four.
– Tottenham have won each of their last six away Premier League games against Fulham, a run which began back in the 2010-11 season.
– Fulham have failed to score in eight home Premier League games this season – the joint-most of any side in 2020-21 (also West Brom).
– Adarabioyo was the first Fulham player to score a top-flight own goal since Denis Odoi v Burnley in January 2019. His was also the first own goal that Spurs have benefitted from in this season’s Premier League.
Spurs will look for a third straight league win in another London derby at home to Crystal Palace on Sunday, with Fulham visiting champions Liverpool.