Tottenham v Fulham, Premier League, January 26, 2010
These two teams played out a 0-0 draw on Boxing Day (13/1 to repeat that scoreline) when they were in great form, just a month later and Spurs and Fulham are scratching around for Premier League points and this encounter could be a difficult watch with few goals.
Goalkeepers Heurelho Gomes and Mark Schwarzer covered themselves in glory in the first Premier League match exactly a month ago. The Cottagers had come into that game after outplaying Manchester United in a 3-0 win whilst Spurs had notched successive victories over Manchester City and Blackburn.
Fulham have lost all three matches in the league since drawing with Tottenham and Roy Hodgson has had to deal with long-term injuries to two of his most threatening attacking players: Bobby Zamora and Clint Dempsey. Successive FA Cup wins against Swindon and then Accrington Stanley on Saturday have kept the Cottagers on the up but Fulhamâ€™s squad is beginning to look a little stretched and dreams of a European place through the league a touch unlikely. (Fulham are 17/12 to finish in the top six.)
Roy Hodgsonâ€™s side have been poor away from home this season picking up just seven points out of a possible 33 points away from the Cottage. Fulham were once again unconvincing at Accrington Stanley in the FA Cup on Saturday and Hodgson admitted afterwards that they had been somewhat fortunate to be in the hat for the fifth round. (Fulham are 7/1 to win both halves, while draw/Fulham is 15/1.)
Erik Nevland, Damien Duff and Zoltan Gera were all on the scoresheet at the League Two minnows and they will likely be among Fulhamâ€™s main threats at White Hart Lane. Chris Smalling could be restored to the starting defence for the Cottagers and there will a number of interested observers watching the young centre back to see what all the fuss is about with Arsenal reportedly preparing a bid. Simon Davies and Danny Murphy will also be eager to impress as they return to their former club.
Spurs have hit a mini blip, which has coincided with the injury to Aaron Lennon who is unlikely to be fit for this match due to a groin injury. Boaz Myhillâ€™s heroics secured a 0-0 draw for Hull, Liverpool worked harder and showed more desire to secure all three points at Anfield last week and Leeds fully deserved to take their FA Cup tie to a replay on Saturday even if their second equaliser did come six minutes into injury time.
Besides the lack of Lennonâ€™s zip, the Tottenham defence has not looked quite as secure after they had secured five clean sheets in a row (Spurs are 5/4 to keep a clean sheet) and the loss of Tom Huddlestone to injury has also seen a lack of fluidity in the middle of the park. With a tough fixture at Birmingham on Saturday, Spurs are in the middle of a testing period that could see the north London club drop out of the reckoning for a Champions League spot.
Harry Redknapp may well ring the changes with Roman Pavlyuchenko perhaps gaining a rare start after his goal against Leeds after coming on as a substitute. Wilson Palacios will definitely be restored to the starting line-up and Gareth Bale, who has been impressive in recent games, will be aiming to shed his unwanted record of never having won a Premier League game after he has been included in the starting XI.
The last two matches between Spurs and Fulham have been goalless and two out the last three encounters between the two sides at White Hart Lane have also ended 0-0. In the form both teams are in, another cagey, tight encounter can be expected. Tottenham may just have the extra quality to come through with the points.
101gg predicts: Tottenham 2 â€“ Fulham 1 (8/1)
Full match odds here.