By 90Min
August 17, 2018

Moving into the second week of England's domestic season, these two sides will most definitely be feeling different emotions about how their first Premier League fixture went. 

Tottenham's result against Newcastle has settled them in nicely to the new season, but unfortunately for the Lilywhite support, it's the only thing that's settled right now. This match against Fulham was supposed to see the end of Wembley, with New White Hart Lane ready to be moved into for the club's next chapter.

That hasn't been the case. Due to 'issues with the critical safety systems', Spurs will now play their home matches in England's national stadium until at least October. Not the news fans wanted, it comes on the back of a lacklustre transfer window, in which they signed absolutely no one. If the players don't impress on the pitch, unrest could continue to grow. 

Image by Joel Stewart

Promoted via the Championship play-off after defeating Aston Villa, Fulham were given a harsh reality check last week. The signings of Jean Michael Seri, Andre Zambo Aguissa, Alfie Mawson, et al., should prove to be great buys in the long run, but the Cottagers want results now. 

Fulham may not expect a favourable final scoreline at Wembley on Saturday, but the last time they were there it was quite a day to remember for supporters. Bringing in five loan players and seven signings this season, the Craven Cottage side have had the backing of owner Shahid Khan in bolstering their squad. The Pakistani-born businessman is under no illusions as to how difficult staying in this league will be.


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Spurs won their first match of the season in the north east, as a trip to St. James' Park resulted in a 2-1 victory. It was less than comfortable though, with the Magpies hitting the woodwork on multiple occasions. Possibly rather lucky to escape with three points, some poor performances from Serge Aurier, Moussa Sissoko and Lucas Moura may have fans in a pensive mood ahead of Saturday's clash. 

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Fulham's Premier League opener at Craven Cottage was filled with disappointment. Supporters had gone into the London derby confident about their team, as a £100m spend in the transfer window brought in great talent. However, a reality check on the league's difficulty was handed out to them as they lost 2-0 to Crystal Palace. It seems that time will be needed to gel together new additions, and fans will hope it begins with a solid performance on Saturday afternoon.


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Son Heung-min has travelled with South Korea to play in the Asian games so will be unavailable. The Lilywhites' lack of business in this summer's transfer window gives manager Mauricio Pochettino limited options on the flanks, and he will likely shift Dele Alli to the left side of midfield. 

Kenyan Victor Wanyama may be back from injury, but Erik Lamela and Harry Winks are still likely to be ruled out. The big plus for Spurs is Kieran Trippier's return, and he should take the place of Serge Aurier at right-back. Danny Rose could make the first XI also, but it's plausible Welshman Ben Davies will continue on the left side of defence. 

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Speaking on his decision to play certain England players last week against Newcastle, Football.London reports Pochettino as saying: "Some need more time to get fit than others. That’s normal, 

 "Maybe some players will stay here to try to reach the level, to give more time, for different reasons – because maybe we don’t want to take risks, because they need more preparation, because the background or history of their injuries is different."


As for the away side, they come into this game with very few injury worries, causing a selection headache for manager Slavisa Jokanovic. New signing Alfie Mawson is still recovering from a knee injury he picked up in May, but apart from that, the Cottagers are at full strength. Joe Bryan is expected to recover from an ankle knock he picked up against Crystal Palace on the opening day, as Fulham hope to bounce back from their disappointing performance.


Prediction


It's unlikely Fulham cause an upset here, with their first away match of the Premier League a very difficult one. After last week's victory at Newcastle, Spurs will be at full strength and confident of a result. With Harry Kane and Dele Alli back up to full speed, the potential additions of Kieran Trippier and big man Victor Wanyama should be too much for the Cottagers.  

Therefore, unless Slavisa Jokanovic can get somebody to produce a moment of magic, a result is doubtful. Fulham's chances may rest on whipped balls to big man Aleksandar Mitrovic, or a smartly worked set-piece. 

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Spurs will favour their prototypical 4-2-3-1 formation, with goal machine Harry Kane leading the line. His August struggles in front of net are well publicised, so he will hope to silence critics. However, even if he doesn't, Spurs have quality in spades. Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen are more than capable of a goal, and their overlapping fullbacks can damage any opponent. 

Fulham many go with a 4-3-3, but for tough away fixture like this, wide men Ryan Sessegnon and Andre Schurrle should drop in for a 4-5-1. Calum Chambers and Maxime Le Marchand will have to be impeccable if the Cottagers are to take anything. 

Robust hold up play from Aleksandar Mitrovic could allow the three piece midfield of Tom Cairney, Jean Michael Seri and Kevin McDonald a breather from tracking runs, but these central players also need to offer an attacking dimension.

Prediction: Spurs 2-0 Fulham

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