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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 December 2007, 14:56 GMT
Tottenham 5-1 Fulham
By Sam Lyon

Robbie Keane
Keane's second at White Hart Lane was his 100th Premier League goal
Robbie Keane and Tom Huddlestone each scored a brace to help Spurs win and compound managerless Fulham's Premier League struggles at White Hart Lane.

Keane tapped in the first after Steed Malbranque's volley had hit the post.

Huddlestone's excellent 20-yarder then made it 2-0, before Clint Dempsey bundled home against the run of play.

A Keane tap-in and Huddlestone drive put Spurs back in control immediately, though, and after Moritz Volz had seen red, Jermain Defoe rounded off the win.

It was the fourth Boxing Day running that Tottenham had grabbed victory, and an excellent day for the home fans was made all the better by the return of skipper Ledley King, who completed 73 impressive minutes after a serious knee injury.

The win, Tottenham's eighth under new manager Juande Ramos, ensured the hosts' improvement under the Spaniard was clear for all to see at the Lane.

And Fulham will be hoping whoever succeeds sacked former boss Lawrie Sanchez can have a similar impact at Craven Cottage, with the Londoners now on just 14 points from 19 games.

606: DEBATE
MIDOBIBO

A minute's applause was held for former Spur Tommy Harmer, who passed away on Christmas Day aged 79, before the game but there was little on the pitch to get the crowd going early on.

Tottenham almost completely monopolised possession in the opening stages but a wild effort from Fulham striker Clint Dempsey aside, there was not a shot on goal in the first 24 minutes.

However, the hosts' quiet authority was soon rewarded and Malbranque was key to the opener.

The Frenchman was quick to react to Pascal Chimbonda's knock-back and he crashed a superb volley against the post with Antti Niemi beaten, Keane tapping in the rebound.

The goal did little to improve the rather slow tempo of the game but it did at least provide Malbranque and Dimitar Berbatov the opportunity to show some fine touches of the ball with the visiting defence reduced to some desperate defence at times.

The Cottagers were not without good moments of their own, not least when Aaron Hughes and Simon Davies each had shots blocked in quick succession, but the second Spurs goal before half-time effectively ended the game as a contest.

Clint Dempsey and Ledley King
The return of King, right, rounded off a pleasing day for Spurs fans

Again Malbranque had a part to play, the midfielder squaring to Berbatov, whose lay-off was crashed home left-footed by Huddlestone with Niemi unmoved.

Such was Malbranque's first-half dominance that Fulham right-back Chris Baird was replaced at half time by Volz.

It did little to halt the hosts' dominance in the second half, but against the run of play Dempsey provided Fulham with a glimmer of hope, bundling the ball home from Diomansy Kamara's cross.

It had a hint of offside and handball about it, but Spurs' grievances lasted little more than a minute as Keane restored their two-goal lead when he tapped in from all of a yard after Berbatov's header.

The Cottagers were visibly deflated by the immediate reply and Huddlestone compounded their misery with a fine fourth, driving into the corner right-footed from the edge of the area.

Volz, who had also been terrorised by Malbranque, later saw red for a second booking but Fulham were long a beaten side before Defoe wrapped things up with a fine touch and finish after more good work by Huddlestone.


  • Tottenham assistant manager Gus Poyet:
    "That was a very good win. It might not have been the best game, to be honest, but we seemed to score every time we had a shot.

    "The key to the game was to keep going - to push for the third, the fourth, the fifth - and we did that. That is the mentality we want the players to have and they are starting to understand what Juande is coaching them.

    "It was also brilliant to see Ledley back out there, he was outstanding today. We know how important he is and now we need to keep him fit. But he was excellent."

  • Fulham caretaker boss Ray Lewington:
    "To be honest, we didn't get out of our traps at all. We let them play and when you face a side with the quality Spurs have, you will get punished.

    "We're carrying around this horrible away record and it comes down to us being too nice. We've got decent players, but we have to get in people's faces as well.

    "Our next game against Birmingham is now a cup final. If we can't bounce back from the humiliation of today, and I include myself in that, there's something wrong with us."


    Tottenham: Robinson, Chimbonda, Kaboul, King (Taarabt 73), Lee, Lennon, O'Hara, Huddlestone, Malbranque, Berbatov (Boateng 63), Keane (Defoe 68).
    Subs Not Used: Cerny, Bent.

    Booked: Huddlestone.

    Goals: Keane 27, Huddlestone 45, Keane 62, Huddlestone 71, Defoe 90.

    Fulham: Niemi, Baird (Volz 46), Hughes (Healy 64), Bocanegra, Konchesky, Ki-Hyeon (Bouazza 46), Smertin, Davies, Murphy, Kamara, Dempsey.
    Subs Not Used: Warner, Kuqi.

    Sent Off: Volz (87).

    Booked: Baird, Volz, Smertin, Davies.

    Goals: Dempsey 60.

    Att: 36,077

    Ref: Andre Marriner (W Midlands).


    BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match:
    Tottenham's Robbie Keane 8.06 (on 90 minutes).

  • Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.

  • SEE ALSO
    Live - Premier League
    26 Dec 07 |  Premier League
    Premier League Boxing Day photos
    26 Dec 07 |  Football
    How to watch Match of the Day
    08 Oct 07 |  Match of the Day


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