FROM TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR STADIUM – Tottenham’s best start to a season since 1961 continued with a 2-0 win at home to Fulham on Monday night.
Ange Postecoglou’s side returned to the top of the Premier League with a rather routine win against the Cottages.
Marco Silva’s men frustrated Spurs in the first half but were unable to provide a consistent enough threat and returned to west London without a point.
How the game evolved
Tottenham came close to taking the lead inside the first two minutes when James Maddison slotted through Son Heung-min after running in behind Calvin Bassey, but Bernd Leno was quick off the line to smother the South Korean’s efforts.
A clever free-kick routine saw Cristian Romero head the ball back across goal for centre-back Micky Van de Ven, but he failed to keep the shot down.
At the other end, Guglielmo Vicario was on hand to deny Joao Palhinha’s header from a corner.
The home fans thought their side had gone wide at the end of a counter attack as Dejan Kulusevski teed up Richarlison, but the Brazilian curled his shot just wide of the post.
With 36 minutes left on the clock, Spurs broke the deadlock. Bassey’s pass into the middle was easily cut out by Van de Ven. The ball was then worked to Richarlison and he played in Son, who left Bassey and Tim Ream in a heap with a neat twist and turn before firing past Leno.
Moments later, Tottenham came very close to doubling their lead. Maddison’s clever pass into Son was put into the path of Destiny Udogie, who was denied by a flying flood of Fulham bodies. The ball fell back to Kulusevski, but his shot bounced behind Palhinha.
Spurs managed to squeeze in one last attack before the break. Romero carried the ball into the final third from the defense and handed the ball to Kulusevski, but the Swede took too long to decide his next steps and Fulham managed to retreat and stifle him.
Shortly after half time, Tottenham added another. Another poor pass from Bassey was thrown to Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and he quickly played it to Son, who in turn found Maddison to waltz in behind and roll past Leno.
A third Tottenham goal came as Bassey lost the ball once again, with Ream coming in to deny Maddison with a superb last-yard challenge.
Fulham came close to pulling one back when Kulusevski was pushed off the ball by Harry Wilson and Raul Jimenez was sent in on goal, only to be kept out by a low save from Vicario.
The Italian goalkeeper was then on hand to deny Tom Cairney with a simple stop at his near post as Fulham looked set to mount a rather unlikely comeback in the dying embers of the game.
But Tottenham eventually managed to preserve their 2-0 lead to the delight of the cheering home crowd, who danced on the terrace and chanted ‘we’re top of the league’.
Maddison hosted the show / James Gill – Danehouse/GettyImages
GK: Guglielmo Vicario – 6/10 – Endured his first tense moments playing from the back in a Spurs shirt, but his shot-stopping was still generally excellent.
RB: Pedro Porro – 7/10 – Used his pace to make up the ground left open for Willian to run into. Useful output when moving the ball through the third.
CB: Cristian Romero – 8/10 – Blended his underrated technique with overrated aggression to shut down Fulham.
CB: Micky van de Ven – 8/10 – Rolls Royce should knock on the Dutchman’s door and ask to name a model after him.
LB: Destiny Udogie – 7/10 – So calm and confident with the ball in tight spaces and under pressure. Unlucky not to have scored himself in the first half.
CM: Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg – 7/10 – Brought in for the suspended Yves Bissouma, who has a completely different skill set. Nevertheless, the Dane produced a fine performance and won the ball back for Spurs’ second goal.
CM: Pape Matar Sarr – 6/10 – Palhinha quickly stole possession but performed similar duties for his side.
RM: Dejan Kulusevski – 5/10 – His slow and detailed decision-making threatened to put Tottenham off the field, but they had enough firepower to pull through.
AM: James Maddison – 9/10 – The main man enjoyed his roast dinner. The most progressive player on the pitch, the star of the show.
LM: Richarlison – 6/10 – Worked hard for the team and grabbed an assist for his tries, but still lacks a boot.
CF: Son Heung-min – 9/10 – Enjoying life as a Tottenham centre-back. Drop deep to link play and threat as usual when running behind.
SAVED: Emerson Royal (56′ for Udogie) – 6/10
Substitute: Oliver Skipp (62′ for Sarr) – 6/10
Substitute: Giovani Lo Celso (81′ for Son) – N/A
Substitute: Brennan Johnson (81′ for Richarlison) – N/A
Substitute: Alejo Veliz (81′ for Maddison) – N/A
Unused substitutes: Forster (GK), Dier, Phillips, Gil
Ange Postecoglou – 7/10 – Tottenham were excellent for long periods but a perfectionist like Postecoglou will know that this was not a complete performance.
Spurs fans still haven’t forgiven Willian / GLYN KIRK / GettyImages
GK: Bernd Leno – 6/10 – Kept Fulham in the contest with decent defending. He couldn’t have done much about the goal.
RB: Timothy Castagne – 6/10 – Put to work by Richarlison’s power but held his own quite well.
CB: Calvin Bassey – 1/10 – Two absolutely unforgivable passes from the back to set up two Tottenham goals.
CB: Tim Ream – 5/10 – Good when defending in a deep block, but it was tested when Fulham’s form was disjointed and their line held a bit higher.
LB: Antonee Robinson – 5/10 – Fortunately, Kulusevski was in no mood to go at him again. A useful outlet with his speed.
CM: Joao Palhinha – 7/10 – Made three powerful tackles in the first 90 seconds of the game. A midfield general who needed more support.
CM: Sasa Lukic – 5/10 – Tried to run through Spurs’ midfield but was met with considerable resistance.
RM: Bobby De Cordova-Reid – 5/10 – Frustrated out of the game by Udogie.
AM: Andreas Pereira – 5/10 – Struggled to get hold of the ball in the first half as most of Fulham’s attacks came down the flanks. Replaced by the second 45.
LM: Willian – 6/10 – Fulham’s most dangerous striker, although he doesn’t even have the trademark power to really hurt Tottenham.
CF: Carlos Vinicius – 5/10 – Thrown himself into challenges but was largely shut down in his 45 minutes on the pitch.
Substitute: Raul Jimenez (46′ for Vinicius) – 6/10
Substitute: Alex Iwobi (46′ for Pereira) – 5/10
Substitute: Harry Wilson (62′ for De Cordova-Reid) – 6/10
Substitute: Harrison Reed (72′ for Lukic) – 5/10
Substitute: Tom Cairney (82′ for Palhinha) – N/A
Unused substitutes: Rodak (GK), Ballo-Toure, De Fougerolles, Muniz
Marco Silva – 6/10 – Fulham gave a decent account of themselves and didn’t just roll over for Spurs, but in the end they couldn’t find a way through.
Man of the Match – James Maddison (Tottenham Hotspur) READ THE LATEST PREMIER LEAGUE NEWS, STUDY AND GOSSIP