Tottenham were largely dominant in a 2-1 victory over Fulham but were made to sweat on victory after a fantastic late strike from Aleksander Mitrovic.
Spurs took the lead five minutes before the break through Pierre-Emile Hojberg, who fired a low drive home after a one-two with Richarlison and the game seemed beyond doubt 15 minutes from time when Harry Kane nudged home Ryan Sessegnon’s centre from close range.
Moments after Richarlison struck the post – the second time the home side had hit the woodwork after Son Heung-Min’s first-half effort – the ball was in the other net as Fulham’s number nine turned inside Cristian Romero before curling an unstoppable effort into the far top corner for his sixth goal of the campaign.
In the frantic closing stages, Hugo Lloris produced a fine save to stop a deflected Mitrovic strike sneaking into the top corner and then Richarlison had what would have been a deserved goal struck out for offside, but the home side hung on.
Tottenham are now just a point behind London rivals Arsenal at the top of the table while Fulham lay tenth.
Spurs attack will only get better – It has not clicked perfectly yet, with just Brighton amongst the top six scoring less than Tottenham, but there is nothing worry out about their attacking unit going forward. Often this season it has been a case of Richarlison coming on for Son but in this match they dovetailed perfectly, with the Brazilian’s presence allowing Son to pick up the ball higher up the field and drive Spurs’ counter attacks forward.
With Dejan Kulusevski, that gives four options to choose from in attack, as well as the possibility of Ivan Perisic, or his fine replacement today Ryan Sessegnon, playing a little higher on the left flank, Antontio Conte may moan about his options – but he shouldn’t.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH
Richarlison (Tottenham) – Eyebrows were raised when Spurs paid so much for the Brazilian who, at Everton, had the look of a player who likes to plough his own furrow after team-mates had done some heavy lifting for him. In this match he set up Hojbjerg’s goal with a deft pass and had a goal disallowed but that was only a part of the performance. The technique to divert Son’s imperfect cross goalwards, in an effort which struck the post, was magical, but it was his inter-play with the two Tottenham goalscoring heroes of recent years which Conte would be most pleased with.
Tottenham: Lloris 7; Romero 7, Dier 7, Lenglet 6; Emerson 6, Hojbjerg 7, Bentancur 6, Sessegnon 7; Richarlison 8*, Son 7; Kane 7.
Subs: Perisic 6, Kulusevski 6.
Fulham: Leno 7; Tete 7, Adarabioyo 6, Ream 7, Robinson 6; Reed 6, Palhinha 6; De Cordova-Reid 6, Pereira 6, Kebano 6; Mitrovic 6.
Subs: Mbabu 6, William 5, James 6, Cairney 7, Vinicius 6.
33′ OFF THE BAR! Fantastic play from Kane turning on the edge of the box and dinking a ball over the defence for Son who brought the ball down and fired at goal only to see the ball bounce back off the bar.
40′ GOAL FOR SPURS! Hojberg is the unlikely source of the opening goal. The Dane fed a ball into Richarlison’s feet inside the area and when the ball was returned he fired a low unstoppable drive home
75′ GOAL FOR TOTTENHAM! After a fine run from Son, his cross was half-cleared but Sessegnon burst onto the ball on the edge of the box, had an effort blocked and then steered a ball square to Kane who nudged Spurs’ second.
81′ OFF THE POST! Great effort from Richarlison. Son’s pull-back to him was an awkward one but he shaped his body to fire a right-footed effort which had Leno beaten, but came back off the post.
83′ GOAL FOR FULHAM! What a player Mitrovic is. He hasn’t really had a decent chance all game – and this wasn’t one either really, but after turning Romero in the box he curled into the far top corner.
89′ GREAT STOP FROM LLORIS! Mitrovic’s effort is deflected and loops just inside the top corner but the Frenchman stretches to push wide.
90′ GOAL FOR TOTTENHAM – DISALLOWED! Richarlison nudges home Sessegnon’s cross to ensure Spurs victory – but the goal is ruled out as Sessegnon was slightly offside.