Kieran Trippier scores a free kick goal during Tottenham 3-1 Fulham in the Premier League.

Tottenham 3-1 Fulham: right side raids and formation switch pays

Raids down the right made Kieran Trippier the key figure, however, a neat formation switch saw our Premier League encounter finish Tottenham 3-1 Fulham.

Mauricio Pochettino’s in-game changes have become an improved part of his managerial tenure at Tottenham. The team flew out of the traps, but Pochettino’s in-game tactical twist quashed a resurgent Fulham and secured three valuable points. Two goals in as many minutes saw us run out comfortable winners as it ended Tottenham 3-1 Fulham at Wembley Stadium.

Right side raids

Throughout the first half, Tottenham raided regularly down the right side. The key was wingback Kieran Trippier against the defensive frailties of wide forward Aboubakar Kamara.

Trippier in space with the full back inside and Kamara out of position during Tottenham 3-1 Fulham.

Trippier in space with the full back inside and Kamara out of position.

Fulham coach Slavisa Jokanovic lined his team up in their usual 4-3-3 formation. He instructed his wide forwards, Ryan Sessegnon and Aboubakar Kamara, to help their full backs against the Tottenham wingbacks. The plan was to allow his full backs to get tight to their centre backs and therefore have plenty of defenders to congest the centre of the pitch.

Whilst Ryan Sessegnon did an admirable job against Ben Davies, the same cannot be said of Aboubakar Kamara on Kieran Trippier.

Kamara’s defensive positioning was lapse. Trippier could therefore find acres of space from which to cross.

Trippier in space with full back infield and Kamara out of position during Tottenham 3-1 Fulham.

Trippier in space with full back infield and Kamara out of position.

Time and again Trippier found himself in space to deliver. In a show of how this tactical battle was playing out, Lucas Moura missed the half’s best chance. Trippier crossed from acres of space on the right. The ball found its way to Ben Davies free on the left. Lucas Moura then somehow put his header wide with the empty goal gaping.

Right side raid opens the scoring

Tottenham had created a number of chances from the right before taking the lead from this flank. Once more Trippier would be heavily involved as his neat ball around the corner found the run of Christian Eriksen.

Fulham were all over the place at this point. Maxime Le Marchand had been dragged out from centre back to cover Trippier as Kamara was caught high. Left back Joe Bryan was infield but not covering where the centre back should’ve been. As a result Eriksen could run through the channel created.

Centre back Le Marchand drawn out allows Eriksen to run in the channel during Tottenham 3-1 Fulham.

Centre back Le Marchand drawn out allows Eriksen to run in the channel.

Eriksen’s pull back deflected in to the path Lucas Moura. The Brazilian then curled a sumptuous shot in to far corner of Fabri’s goal. 1-0 and we had the lead our play had deserved.

Fulham fight back

Spurs had bossed the first half through Kieran Trippier’s raids and the lack of cover from Kamara. At half time, Slavisa Jokanovic made alterations to get his side up the pitch.

Firstly, he instructed his team to press and close down much higher up the field. Second, he also got them to look for the ball in-behind our high defensive line much quicker. The result was a swing in momentum.

Fulham quickly created chances. Pressure and a quick ball in-behind saw Aleksander Mitrovic ring a shot back off the post. Tottenham didn’t heed the warning and suddenly Fulham was level. Joe Bryan’s early cross in-behind our entire defence was cushioned back across goal by Sessegnon for Mitrovic to nod home.

Tottenham made two errors in the build-up. Firstly, Christian Eriksen was slow to get out and close Bryan down. Second, Bryan’s early cross caught Ben Davies recovering his position and Jan Vertonghen unaware of the danger behind him.

Eriksen, Davies and Vertonghen caught by Bryan's early cross during Tottenham 3-1 Fulham.

Eriksen, Davies and Vertonghen caught by Bryan’s early cross.

As a result, Sessegnon arrived at the back post to cushion the ball back across goal for Mitrovic.

Pochettino delivers a diamond

Fulham had become more of a force and the key was their trio of central midfielders against Eriksen and Dier in the middle of the park. Mauricio Pochettino’s philosophy relies upon having numbers in this zone in order to control the game. Without hesitation, the manager went from a back three to a 4-4-2 diamond to address the imbalance.

4-4-2 Diamond formation during Tottenham 3-1 Fulham.

4-4-2 Diamond formation.

Suddenly, Spurs had four versus three in this zone as Dembele, Dier, Eriksen and Dele formed a diamond. The knock-on effect was brilliant. Fulham then had to pull extra players in to this zone to help their now overrun central trio, which created the space out wide for Tripper and Davies to get forward. Spurs now moved up the pitch and regained control.

Central congestion creates space wide for Trippier during Tottenham 3-1 Fuham.

Central congestion creates space wide for Trippier.

Tottenham take the initiative

Spurs created many chances from wide. Harry Kane smacked the bar as Eric Dier swung in a pinpoint pass from space on the right. Dele Alli had two chances from Davies getting free down the left. However, Tottenham put the game beyond reach through their numerical advantage in the middle.

Having a number of players in the centre saw Dele Alli fouled by Andre-Frank Anguissa. Kieran Trippier then curled the resulting free kick spectacularly over the wall and just inside the post. Fabri had no chance as he was left clutching air. Trippier couldn’t have placed the ball in the net any better.

Erik Lamela had been introduced just as Trippier was spotting the dead ball and sizing up the goal. Eric Dier had been strangely on the right side of the diamond, but actually quite effective. However, Lamela now added a player with much more drive to run with the ball. As Fulham chased an equaliser, space opened up for Lamela to travel with the ball at his feet.

On two separate occasions, Lamela raced through the middle of the pitch with Fulham almost scared to touch him. Crucially, the Argentinean supplied the pass for Harry Kane to wrap up the game.

Lamela received the ball in space as Jan Vertonghen broke up a Fulham attack.

Lamela in space to run as the full backs close during Tottenham 3-1 Fulham.

Lamela in space to run as the full backs close.

With men caught forward, Lamela had room to run in to. He drew in both Fulham full backs. Space was therefore created either side of the centre backs. Harry Kane could pull off in to the opening outside of Callum Chambers and dummy a shot to ease the centre back past him. Kane then curled the ball in to the corner of the goal. A fantastic end-to-end move. The score was now Tottenham 3-1 Fulham and Kane’s first Premier League goal in August.

Tottenham 3-1 Fulham overall

A magnificently coached game from Mauricio Pochettino. The team was set up brilliantly to take advantage of the lapse tracking of Aboubakar Kamara in the first half. In order to quell a resurgent opponent, the switch to a diamond midfield wrestled back control and put the match to bed.

There were also two pleasing returns. Toby Alderweireld made a huge difference. His long raking passes moved our attack forward much quicker and kept the tempo high, especially in the first half. Mousa Dembele showed that there is still gas in the tank and while he can continue to contribute shouldn’t be allowed to leave.

Lucas Moura was equally refreshing. His quick closing down and energy on the ball were pleasing as he stepped in for Son Heung-Min. However, his lapse finishing let him down. A missed guilt-edged header and an infuriatingly heavy touch when through on goal could have seen him with a first half hat trick.

Kieran Trippier continued his fine England form. The man is just devastating as a wingback. Whether finding a teammate or not, his continual crosses hit dangerous zones time-after-time, causing panic in the Fulham box. What’s more, his free kicks have now surely won him dead ball duties when in shooting range.

Overall, a very pleasing performance from both a coaching standpoint and for the players. Six points gained from two very winnable games. The first real test comes next Monday in Manchester.

Final score: Tottenham 3-1 Fulham.
MOTM: Kieran Trippier.

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23 Responses to Tottenham 3-1 Fulham: right side raids and formation switch pays

  1. Toby4eva 19th August 2018 at 2:35 pm #

    Thanks Mark – great read as usual.

    Trips was fantastic, but Moura really did look like the new signing we thought we didn’t have. Clearly six months have been very well spent tuning him up on “the philosophy” in the physical and tactical conditioning badlands of Enfield.

    Redeemed his early profligacy with a delightful goal.

    Trips repeat of his WCSF pearler was timely – and a delight. Why does it suddenly seem that they are just GOING TO GET IN!

    Big shout to mon Captain Ooogo who looks like a new man – confidence in spades all of a sudden as new King Of The World – underscored by a fine low save out of the blue in the first stanza.

    But Lamela steaming through the middle to set up Kane for his emphatic “ monkey off my back” sealer was a big highlight. Coco looks like a lean, mean midfield machine!

    The new Dembele?

    But faster – and can actually score goals?

    Some big positives to take out of this game – none more so than another three points.

    Agree 100% on the Gaffers tactical switch at 1-1.

    Incisive and decisive.

    More please.

    Great to see the great Toby back of course – doing what he does better than anyone.

    Being a right sided centre back!

    And hoofing dangerous balls in to row 83.

    The Gaffer needs to Spotify Bowie’s epic “Station To Station” and heed a vital lyric pronto thus…

    “Stay, that’s what I meant to say
    (or do something)
    But what I never say is stay this time
    I really meant to so badly this time
    ‘Cause you can never really tell
    when somebody
    Wants so much to stay

    That’s what I meant to say
    (or do something)
    But what I never say is stay this time
    I really meant to so badly this time
    ‘Cause you can never really tell
    when somebody
    Wants something you want too!”


    • Erik Zen 19th August 2018 at 10:00 pm #

      Bowie quote! And from one of my faves. This site is getting better and better. I’m a lone Yid in Berlin where DB came for his resurrection and I like to think he spent most of his time here watching reruns of our last title winning season.

      This game was immense for all the reasons detailed in your perfect analysis Mark. Moura is a Mounster! Ok missed some sitters but was rampantly into challenges all match and has such hunger, power and speed I think he’s going to have a tremendous season. Tobi, Lamela, nuff said. Winks back.

      It has shown how much of a breathtaking squad we have. And I like Poch’s new gruff bastard approach. Clearly he has said no more mister nice Mo and is going to bully our boys into performing every game.
      Suddenly we are looking mean and ready. Let’s do United in their backyard! COYS!

      • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 20th August 2018 at 12:30 pm #

        I think that may be the difference between Poch and other managers in that it does take time to learn his system and that’s why new recruits have often been held back. Moura’s half a season last term has really helped him hit the ground running. Maintaining a good start is key to the team getting top four this season, as its going to be one of the toughest things to achieve with six teams, five of which have spent big, vying for these spots – and possibly Everton as well who could be a dark horse. Falling behind the leading pack early, which could happen to Man Utd and Arsenal, could be an expensive mistake!

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 20th August 2018 at 12:15 pm #

      Some big positives to take out of this game, Toby4eva. With a recognised group of players that know the different systems then we were able to seamlessly switch and get straight to work. Although short term, a benefit of not having new signings to integrate at this early point of the season.
      Poch seems to have buried the hatchet with Toby, which will be of major benefit to us and who knows, maybe he signs a that new deal! Although, Poch could be putting him in the European shop window, which still has ten days to run!

  2. Matt 19th August 2018 at 2:38 pm #

    THis window won’t have been a disaster if we don’t let Toby or Moussa go (personally I’d also hold onto Rose). Maybe an opportunity missed, but with Moura adding something different and more flexible formations we can hopefully avoid being predictable.

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 20th August 2018 at 12:17 pm #

      I think in the current circumstances we need to hold on to Rose until we can get a replacement in. Davies can’t play every game and I don’t think we should destroy KWP by playing him on the left where he can do a job, but doesn’t look at completely at home or that effective.

  3. YouShubes 19th August 2018 at 8:28 pm #

    hope we can keep hold of toby.. hopefully the current rankles at United will show him the grass is not always greener…

    Is this 442 Diamond similar to the one Simeone uses at Athletico? hopefully a deeper midfielder makes us less vulnerable to the ball over the top?

    we looked rampant in the first half… Lucas fluffed his simple lines but the goal with his weaker foot was just sublime…Kind of like Brazilian Sonny

    It did seem were like 352/3142 the one England played… Lucas played the role Sterling did all too well! Poch has really grown from a coach who was 4231 and almost nothing else… great tactical flexibility and good use of the subs bench… Good to see Winksy get a run out.

    Just a thought I can’t remember the last time Mousa played as the deepest midfielder, maybe Klopp’s debut as Liverpool coach?

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 20th August 2018 at 12:25 pm #

      I don’t know why anyone, for anything other than money, would go to Man Utd right now. It looks like a classic Mourinho year three situation. The players have given up on him and can’t wait for him to go, whilst he seems endlessly unhappy and constantly moaning. Implosion imminent!

      The diamond here wasn’t like Simeone’s setup at Atletico. The midfield was actually much higher after Dembele came on and interestingly, after Lamela came on, we looked more 4-1-3-2 at times due to Lamela, Eriksen and Dele all pushing up behind Moura and Kane. Interesting setup to keep an eye on over the next few matches if Poch goes to it again.

      Poch has used Mousa as the deepest lying midfielder before. His ball recapture and ability to cover the ground is vastly underrated. He still continues to run down players when giving them a headstart and once engaged he is far too strong for them. In the way that other ‘ageing’ players have drifted back in to deeper midfield positions eg Pirlo, Gerrard, maybe this is Mousa’s calling as well, just without the 40 yard passes of those two mentioned.

  4. Toby4eva 19th August 2018 at 10:25 pm #

    Hi Erik in Berlin!

    Sometimes a small hook catches a big fish!


    “Low” is my favourite ever record – and in my humble opinion the Berlin trilogy the best three successive albums ever recorded by a solo artist.

    Throw in Eno for smarts and Mr Osterberg for novelty – plus three different killer lead guitarists – and you get an incredibly productive sonic period from the Thin White Duke.

    But the seven cuts on the first side of “Low” are perhaps the most timeless modern music ever made.

    It still sounds like it was recorded yesterday.

    And what a rhythm section – that snare drum!

    Dennis Davis had more crunch than Mousa Dembele and George Murray was as silky as Christian Eriksen!

    Sorry Mark – it’s a Tottenham gig and I shouldn’t be banging on about Bowie.

    But I’m squarely blaming Erik!!!



    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 20th August 2018 at 12:33 pm #

      lol I’m yellow carding both of you to get the perpetrator! :)))

  5. brian 20th August 2018 at 4:14 am #

    Hi Mark

    once again a very good summing up of the game Mark.And while Fulham created the odd opportunity themselves.From the Domination we crated.We really should have put them to bed,so too speakAnd I thought Pochi;s summing up off the game was bang on.When he said we were not clinical enoght.And it will come back too haunt us.At some stage..

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 20th August 2018 at 12:35 pm #

      Hi Brian. It will at some stage, quite possibly at Man Utd this Monday. We’ll batter them to a pulp, but they’ll still jam a Mourinho style 1-0 win from a deflected own goal, which was their only shot on target!

  6. Toby4eva 20th August 2018 at 1:16 pm #

    It’s a fair cop!

    But I thought you’d nicked of to Saudi, Mr Clattenburg!


    Hope you are wrong about Old Trafford, it would be a great game to win at this stage of proceedings.

    We can only hope the long coach trip home from Brighton was suitably frosty and that Pogba and Spesh are tearing the dressing room apart!

    Good result at the Bridge – Woolwich should have netted about 8 but still have nothing!


    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 20th August 2018 at 2:48 pm #

      Its just the Spursy thing that would happen. Dominate them for 89 minutes and yet somehow get chinned by a freak goal. Seriously though, it would be so good to put some daylight between them and us this early in the season. Seriously knock Man Utd on the back foot. Arsenal will take care of themselves!

  7. Matt 20th August 2018 at 2:03 pm #

    While Lamela did well when he came on, I just feel Moura will score more goals. That said, when son is back we have 5 quality AMs for 3 roles. Just need to be strong and not let anyone go! 🤞

    Mark do you reckon Eriksen could play in the creative midfield role? He sometimes drops deep and looks pretty good when he does….

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 20th August 2018 at 3:03 pm #

      Hi Matt, I have a feeling that Poch may be thinking of using Eriksen in a deeper role this season so that he can get three other attackers around Harry Kane. We saw some of it in preseason with the 4-3-3 and Llorente, Dele, Moura and Son ahead of Eriksen as he worked off of Amos at the base of midfield. Whether this was just due to the personnel available in preseason or part of a bigger experiment, only time will tell. He may be thinking of a 4-3-3 to match up when playing Liverpool and Man City as not much else has worked against Guardiola and Liverpool are his biggest nemesis. That 4-3-3 could see a trio of Dier, Eriksen and Dele in central midfield with Son, Moura and Kane as the front three. Would definitely make for a fascinating matchup!

      • Matt 20th August 2018 at 11:26 pm #

        I’d pay good money to see us put that team out. I’d predict Spurs by the odd goal in 13!

        • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 21st August 2018 at 4:26 pm #

          oh yes it would be an end-to-end goalfest against Man City or Liverpool with that lineup! It basically matches them with 5 attackers and 1 holding midfielder. Genius if it works, but Poch would get called out for being naive and suicidal if it didn’t!

    • YouShubes 22nd August 2018 at 12:56 pm #

      Do you think when Sonny gets back (having hopefully won the Asian Games) we will see Poch use the three of them (Lamela, Lucas and Sonny) in a similar way to the way Liverpool do…

      Something to try out in the league cup maybe?

      • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 25th August 2018 at 9:25 am #

        Only if Kane is not playing. We did see Poch use Son as a centre forward/false nine when Kane was out so possibly in this situation.

  8. Toby4eva 20th August 2018 at 3:54 pm #

    Agree Mark – and you have flagged the Gaffer’s expanding array of structural options very eloquently in recent posts.

    I’m a big fan of Eriksen playing deeper in a Modricesque role. The starting lineup against Fulham was what I had hoped for to experiment with that option.

    A more physical presence from big Vic and/or Dembele is required for teams that are more combatative centrally than the two title favourites.

    But I agree that we may have to go “toe to toe” again with Citeh (as we did at home in Pep’s first year) and Liverpool because they play much faster and with more fluidly then most and open up the pitch.

    Being able to counter attack quickly will be vital and this is where Hugo, Toby, Verts and Dier have a vital role to play with accurate, quick long balls to pacy types like Lucas and Sonny – or to Harry and Dele to feed the ball on.

    Agguero’s first goal against Huddersfield off a brilliantly direct goal kick is yet another example of how Guargiola delights in ratcheting up executional excellence.

    His reaction was a giveaway that they had been practising that play hard.

    That’s the challenge for MoPo&Co (did I just invent that?) now.

    Incremental improvement from a more mature squad that now has a new dimension of a little more pace.

    And being inventive and taking some risks.

    Being brave!


  9. Erik Zen 20th August 2018 at 4:07 pm #

    I know we weren’t that clinical but we still scored three… Who is 100% clinical anyway?

    I have this feeling that a couple of seasons ago we had a crazy run when we were scoring a ridiculous proportion of our chances, and last season we had an evening out. I’m sure there’s some statistics somewhere to back up my vague sensation.

    Harry has been slightly off the boil by his own insane standards, and I’m sure a lot of those chances from Alli, Moura, Eriksen and Harry will start going in when we click. Have to admit that it’s still a perfect start. We’ve already had a goal each from three of our players who didn’t score in the whole of last season. We always said we needed players other than Harry to pitch in…

    Typical storylines are stacked up for a loss at Old Trafford. But we are definitely due a victory there. Feels like Poch has gone up a notch tactically so let’s see how he deals with the Death Star.

    (Toby – I’m absolutely with you on the Berlin Trilogy. Lodger gets less attention but is a fantastic piece of work. Going to leave it at that for fear of further disciplinary action :))

  10. Toby4eva 21st August 2018 at 12:00 am #

    100% on all counts Erik.

    Death to the Death Star!

    And agree we can’t afford any more rash challenges or back chatting Mr Clattenburg – or its all over for us.

    So uncage the colours and unfurl the flag.

    Luck just kissed us “hello”.

    Boys always work it out!