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Fulham-Tottenham Hotspur Preview
It took a little time, but Tottenham Hotspur more than got unaccustomed to their temporary home surroundings of Wembley Stadium in 2017-18. It's a good thing, now that they'll be spending more time than expected there this season.
Spurs look for a second straight victory when they open the home portion of their schedule Saturday against Fulham at Wembley.Tottenham were supposed to play only this contest at Wembley before moving into their spacious 62,062-seat ground in north London, worth a reported £1B when completed. However, issues with the stadium's safety system has forced Spurs to continue their stay at Wembley, possibly through the rest of 2018, according to reports.
"We know this will be disappointing for all our season tickets holders, premium members and our fans worldwide," chairman Daniel Levy said in a release on the club's official website.
"At the start of the project, we asked for your support during what we knew would be a complex and challenging build, and now we ask for your continued patience and forbearance."
Though the situation is not ideal for all involved from a Tottenham standpoint, the club fared well in league play at the grand London-area pitch last season, going 13-2-1 after losing and drawing twice in their first three contests at Wembley.
Mauricio Pochettino's side enter this contest after winning 2-1 at Newcastle to open the season. World Cup participants Jan Vertonghen and Dele Alli looked no worse for wear while each recording goals within a wild first 18 minutes that featured all the match's scoring. Fellow World Cup stars Hugo Lloris, Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane also laced up the boots for Spurs.
"Under the circumstances, it was good to start the season in this way," Pochettino told Spurs' official website. "It was a very difficult opponent and I feel very proud that the players showed great character and great commitment. The mentality was amazing."
While Tottenham veteran Erik Lamela reportedly declared himself ready after an injury kept him out of the opener, it's uncertain if England World Cup stars Kieran Trippier and Danny Rose will be available after Pochettino sat them last weekend to regain their fitness levels.Tottenham, who blanked Fulham 3-0 during FA Cup play in February 2017, have won nine of the last 11 meetings.
The Cottagers hope for a better result, which will be difficult, after falling 2-0 against Crystal Palace along the Thames last weekend in their first Premier League match since August 2013. Fulham recorded 15 shots, six on target, but had nothing to show for things in the end.
"Of course, we are not happy, but I still think we had a good day and we will try to learn from this game, and I think if we keep playing like this we won't have a problem this season," forward Aleksandar Mitrovic told Fulham's official website.
Though the Cottagers won't have it easy with matches against Burnley and Manchester City over the following three matchdays from this challenge, their confidence has not been shaken after one match.
"We know that it's going to be hard," Mitrovic added. "It was hard against Palace and every game will be hard, but we are ready. We showed we can handle Premier League clubs, we can play against them, we have quality to compete with them.
"Of course, there are going to be nice moments, bad moments - that's football. We are Fulham and we need to stick together until the end."
Updated August 16, 2018