Given that we had four key absentees – Reither, Richardson, Diarra and Holtby – and that two superb saves were required by Lloris, the performance was not as disastrous as the result, or indeed the other results. It was a performance such as we have often seen, where we matched the opposition in the first half but not in the second. The defending from crosses left something to be desired but at least the heads did not go down as has happened all too frequently.
In the first half Stockdale produced one of his stock-in-trade point blank saves to turn a shot onto the post. Spurs did take the lead. Erikson delivered a fast whipped free kick which eluded all except Paulinho, who knocked it in. We rallied and Sidwell equalised almost immediately after a good run. In the second half, Riise gave Lennon too much room and his cross was headed home by Harry Kane. Again we might have levelled, but Rodallega’s header was brilliantly saved by Lloris. Another well-delivered free kick led to the the third by Kaboul. Fulham were awarded a penalty which Lloris saved well, but penalties should be converted and, had Sidwell done so, the last ten minutes would have been exciting. One of our group wondered beforehand who would take a penalty and crucially he had no confidence in any candidate.
With Hull and Crystal Palace at home and Stoke away, we have the easiest run-in but Sunderland’s victory over Chelsea shows that form can, and does, go out of the window.