Tottenham host Fulham in a rescheduled Premier League fixture on Wednesday, with the Cottagers stepping in to fill the void left by Aston Villa.
The Villans have suffered with Covid-19 issues in recent weeks and were forced to field a team of youth players during their 4-1 FA Cup defeat to Liverpool on Friday.
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The game between Tottenham and Fulham was due to be played on December 30, but was postponed due to the number of positive coronavirus tests Scott Parker’s side recorded. That fixture from the end of last month has now plugged the gap, though Fulham are unhappy with the short notice given by the Premier League.
Both sides made it through to the fourth round of the FA Cup over the weekend, Fulham defeating Queens Park Rangers in 2-0 in extra time and Tottenham breezing past eighth tier Marine 5-0.
When is kick off? Wednesday 13 January
What time is kick off? 20:15 (GMT)
Where is it played? Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
TV channel/live stream? Amazon Prime (UK), fuboTV (US)
Referee? Paul Tierney
Tottenham‘s game against Villa will still need to be rearranged for some point later in the season. However, in a campaign already so jammed with fixtures, it’s tricky to know when it will take place.
The Villans’ match with Everton has been moved back to Sunday which allows them an extra day for their period of isolation.
A coronavirus outbreak swept through Villa’s camp last week, recording 14 positive tests. Their young stars played and impressed against Liverpool on Friday, defending capably for long periods and scoring a brilliant goal through Louie Barry.
Parker has described the rearrangement as ‘scandalous’, claiming his side haven’t been given enough time to prepare.
He said in his pre match press conference: “I am angry because it is not right. It is wrong. That is why I am so angry.
“The possibility of playing Spurs on Wednesday came on Saturday. We didn’t think that was realistic and we were informed Monday morning at 9:30. To confirm that on Monday morning is scandalous. I accept we have to play the game, but it’s the notice.”
Jose Mourinho hasn’t been as sympathetic, having previously hinted that teams will have to suck up the rearrangements that occur this season.
When asked if Fulham had a right to be upset, he quipped referencing the postponement back in December: “Are you serious? I had the news I was not going to play them two hours before the game started.”
Giovani Lo Celso is Tottenham’s only confirmed injury absentee. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg suffered a gash to his shin against Brentford but it isn’t expected to keep him sidelined.
Gareth Bale returned from illness to make a substitute appearance at Marine on Sunday, while Harry Winks could replace Moussa Sissoko in the starting XI.
While the short notice is not ideal for Fulham, manager Parker has no current injury issues to contend with.
They’ll likely shape up in a 3-5-2 formation with Aleksandar Mitrovic and Ademola Lookman leading the line up front.
Tottenham: Lloris; Aurier, Alderweireld, Dier, Reguilon; Winks, Hojbjerg; Bergwijn, Ndombele, Son; Kane.
Fulham: Areola; Aina, Andersen, Adarabioyo; Cordova-Reid, Lemina, Reed, Anguissa, Robinson; Mitrovic, Lookman.
Marine 0-5 Tottenham (10/1/21)
Tottenham 2-0 Brentford (5/1/21)
Tottenham 3-0 Leeds (2/1/21)
Wolves 1-1 Tottenham (27/12/20)
Stoke 1-3 Tottenham (23/12/20)
Queens Park Rangers 0-2 Fulham (9/1/21)
Fulham 0-0 Southampton (26/12/20)
Newcastle 1-1 Fulham (19/12/20)
Fulham 0-0 Brighton (16/12/20)
Fulham 1-1 Liverpool (13/12/20)
Fulham have improved in recent weeks, becoming harder to beat thanks to their steely defensive performances, but the lack of preparation may count against them.
Harry Kane and Son Heung-min were both rested at the weekend for Tottenham and, with the chance to close the gap on those above them looming large, this is a game they need to win.
They should do just that, though don’t expect the margin of victory to be massive.
Prediction: Tottenham 2-0 Fulham