In his pre-match press conference, ex-Spurs and Fulham manager Martin Jol urged the controversy surrounding Gareth Bale to remain at Tottenham for the rest of his career, and eventually become a White Hart Lane hero and legend. Martin Jol was the manager at the Spurs when Wales international Gareth Bale joined from Southampton in May 2007. Jol said:
“I saw Bale at Southampton when he was 15, we followed him and other people came in but I had a few words with his mum to convince him to come to Spurs,”
“With hindsight it’s very satisfying, he’s probably the best player in the Premier League at the moment and he shows it week in, week out.”
“I played him in his first match against Manchester United and he had better stats than any other player, and he was 17. Hopefully for the league and for Spurs he will stay because I think it’s a very good club for him. He’s getting stronger and stronger and playing in the hole he is probably even better.”
“Spurs is a big club with a big fan base and he could be a legend there. If he decides to go on to bigger things abroad it can be a risk. It comes off sometimes but not always.”
“But whatever he decides to do he will have a big future. Hopefully he stays in the league and I can keep enjoying watching him.”
Bale did not play in Tottenham’s embarrassing Europa League defeat against Inter Milan, and Tottenham’s support will be happy he’s back in the starting line-up after they were less than convincing as they progressed to the Quarter-Final of the UEFA Europa League.
STAT ATTACK: Tottenham have won their last six Barclays Premier League games against Fulham
Players will catch up with each other as they face their old side. Dimitar Berbatov returns to White Hart Lane after he enjoyed a spell there before moving to Manchester United and then progressing to Fulham. Clint Dempsey and Moussa Dembele face their friends after they moved to the Lane from Craven Cottage last summer. Martin Jol also returns to the Lane after he managed Tottenham from 2004 till 2007.
Some Spurs fans will have to wonder today; will two defeats in a row to Liverpool and Inter Milan have taken its toll mentally on Tottenham’s players. If so, they could be in a real trouble as they look to stay in third spot. Last season it was all looking plush for the London club, and then a dip in form at the end of the season made them loose out on a Champions League spot, and Harry Redknapp got the sack.
STAT ATTACK: Fulham have only ever won 21 of their 104 Premier League London derbies
What to do? Welsh International and Tottenham’s star player has been told he will become a legend if he stays at White Hart Lane for his whole career.
STAT ATTACK: Fulham have taken only five points from six London derbies this season, while Spurs have 16, more than any other capital club.
STAT ATTACK: Only five of Gareth Bale’s 16 Premier League goals this season have come at White Hart Lane.
Tottenham should have too much for an inferior Fulham side. Bale, Dempsey and Dembele will attack the space and will be a huge threat. Bale will also be a big worry for Fulham from set pieces. Defensively, Tottenham have Michael Dawson returning after a rest in Italy. He should curb any Fulham attack with the help of Hugo Lloris, who was also rested at the San Siro in goal.
Score: Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Fulham
Bale, Adebayor, and Berbatov with the goals.
Written by Harry Robinson