Christmas points please, not Christmas party

Tottenham meet Fulham on Boxing Day for the third consecutive season, but on this occasion we travel to Craven Cottage. As Premier League tests go it is a stern one, with the Cottagers riding high after thrashing Manchester United.

We have won only one of our eight league trips to Fulham since they returned to the top flight in 2001/02, drawing three times and losing on four occasions. This record, combined with Spurs' traditional mid-winter vulnerability on our travels, will make Boxing Day lunch a nervous affair.

However, the team's battling win at Blackburn last weekend provides hope. The qualities exhibited at Ewood Park - resilience, clinical finishing and a well-organised defence - will be needed in abundance to blunt one of the division's form teams. Furthermore, Harry Redknapp will know his side has to get a result at Fulham if Spurs' Premier League chances are to be taken seriously.

Two days later we face a team at the other end of both the form and league tables. In this case, recent results against them provide precedent for another victory - we have beaten West Ham in six of our last seven league meetings, drawing the other.

The Hammers are struggling. They leak goals at an alarming rate and Spurs should be better equipped to deal with the demands of two matches in three days than a West Ham squad ravaged by injuries. Indeed, West Ham's Premier League relegation odds reflect the turmoil they are in.

Jermaine Jenas, Robbie Keane and Luka Modric should all expect to start next weekend - pretty handy reinforcements in anyone's book. Gareth Bale and Alan Hutton might also get a chance as the manager prepares for the departure of Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Sebastian Bassong to the African Cup of Nations.

Four points from these Christmas matches is a reasonable target, then we can start 2010 full of confidence with the target of 70 points and a top four place in our reach.


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