Five-star Spurs crush Fulham
Tottenham skipper King returns to action during comfortable win
Last Updated: 28/12/07 12:54pm
King - returned from long lay-off
Robbie Keane and Tom Huddlestone both scored twice as Tottenham Hotspur claimed a 5-1 victory over Fulham at White Hart Lane.
Spurs captain Ledley King returned to the starting line-up for the first time this season and eased his way back into things before being taken off in the second half once the points were safe.
Tottenham opened the scoring on 27 minutes when Pascal Chimbonda won a header in the Fulham box to set-up a shooting chance for Steed Malbranque. The Frenchman's shot rebounded off the inside of the post straight to Keane, who gratefully put the ball into an empty net.
Huddlestone doubled the lead with the final kick of the first half, firing in a low shot from the edge of the box after being teed-up by Dimitar Berbatov.
Managerless Fulham grabbed a lifeline early in the second half through Clint Dempsey's close-range finish, but it was a shortlived reprieve.
Keane restored the hosts' two-goal cushion with a close-range finish a minute later and Huddlestone added his second with another low, long-range shot in the 71st minute.
And Fulham's miserable afternoon was completed with the dismissal of Moritz Volz - who only came on at half-time - for two bookings, and a fifth Spurs' goal late on from substitute Jermain Defoe.
There was a lack of intensity for the first part of the clash, and only Spurs midfielder Malbranque distinguished himself as an attacking threat.
Jeered by away fans, the former Fulham midfielder was at the heart of most attacks and helped spark the match into life.
Antti Niemi had to save at full-stretch when Berbatov headed Malbranque's cross towards the bottom corner - but Spurs were not made to wait long for their opener, in the 27th minute.
Chimbonda's header found Malbranque in plenty of space on the edge of the area. His shot crashed off the post and Keane tucked away the rebound with a first-time finish.
Keane has been on an amazing run of form, which all started last season against Fulham in the FA Cup last February. From there he has scored 29 goals since in 39 games.
The opener appeared to deflate Fulham and their only promising move before the break saw Simon Davies' shot screw wide towards the corner flag.
Malbranque almost finished off a flowing move from the hosts but could not get power on his header - then the second goal came in first half stoppage-time.
Malbranque's cross was tamed by Berbatov and laid back to Huddlestone. Niemi was unsighted and the midfielder's daisy-cutter deceived him.
Fulham were granted a lifeline on the hour mark when Dempsey bundled in from close range.
Hameur Bouazza, a half-time substitute, had his cross met by Dempsey - his first effort was saved by Paul Robinson but the rebound came off the American's arm and trickled in.
But the two-goal cushion was restored a minute later when Keane tapped in with his knee after Berbatov had flicked on Jamie O'Hara's corner.
Huddlestone added the fourth with 19 minutes remaining, flicking up Aaron Lennon's pass and volleying into the far post from the edge of the area.
With the points safe, King was then taken off for Adel Taarabt for the rest of the victory.
Volz was dismissed late on for two bookings, then Defoe's goal came when Huddlestone powered through and laid the ball back to the substitute.
|Tottenham Hotspur||Team Statistics||Fulham|
|2||1st Half Goals||0|
|8||Shots on Target||2|
|5||Shots off Target||6|
Barclays Premier League
Wed 26th Dec
Chelsea4 - 4A Villa
West Ham1 - 1Reading
Tottenham5 - 1Fulham
Wigan1 - 0Newcastle
S'land0 - 4Man Utd
Everton2 - 0Bolton
Birm'ham3 - 0M'boro
Derby1 - 2Liverpool
Portsmth0 - 0Arsenal
Barclays Premier League
|9||West Ham United||27||39|
|13||West Bromwich Albion||27||30|
|17||Queens Park Rangers||26||22|