Motivated Tottenham host Fulham - Preview

Jan Kruger

Having lost two games in a row, Andre Villas Boas will be hoping his side return to winning ways after a tremendous start to 2013.

The mood around Fulham is strangely sanguine at the moment. We haven't played for two weeks and, therefore, haven't lost since 2nd February.

This accidental turn of form, though underwhelming, has left a bubbly undercurrent of optimism at Motspur Park over the past week and John Arne Riise, speaking ahead of our visit to White Hart Lane, only highlighted this positivity.

"[Tottenham] have a heavy schedule right now as they're playing in the UEFA Europa League so hopefully they'll be a bit tired," he told fulhamfc.com.

They have also lost twice in a row - 3-2 to Liverpool and 4-1 to Inter Milan - though this, without doubt, is a double edged sword. They will turn up on Sunday deflated and fatigued but, unfortunately for us, motivated.

The task awaiting Fulham is certainly surmountable, however. If Martin Jol can summon up some of the abundant quality and guile in show in our last away league victory, West Bromwich Albion, then Spurs can be beaten.

Overlooking their two straight defeats, Andre Villas Boas' men are in a rich vein of form. They've beaten Arsenal, Newcastle United and Lyon over the past number of weeks and have done so with definite confidence.

Fulham, meanwhile, have continued to stutter their way through the campaign, picking up points sporadically and meandering between fine, flowing football and something of a less refined calibre. The 2-2 draw at Sunderland in the last outing showed both of those traits in one, 90-minute frustration-fest.

Earlier in the season, on visiting Craven Cottage, AVB and his Spurs side walked away with a 3-0 victory that wasn't truly in keeping with the pattern of the match. As Fulham have had to learn quickly this season, looking good and winning games aren't always reliant on one another. Last year's visit to the Lane was similarly fruitless, with a 2-0 loss on the final day of the season.

Gareth Bale will be expected to return to AVB's starting eleven after returning from European suspension. His presence is unwelcome at best. Sandro remains out while Clint Dempsey is expected to be fit to face his former club.

For Fulham, Mahamadou Diarra will not feature, while Kerim Frei is still thought to be working his way back to full fitness.

Score prediction: Spurs 2-1 Fulham

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