Spurs sink Fulham to take fourth spot
Updated Sunday, 13th May 2012
Tottenham Hotspur secured fourth place in the Premier League with a 2-0 victory over Fulham at White Hart Lane thanks to goals from Emmanuel Adebayor and Jermain Defoe on Sunday's final day.
Harry Redknapp's side will have to wait to discover if they are to play in the Champions League next season, however, as a Chelsea victory against Bayern Munich in the final of this year's competition will force them to compete in the Europa League instead.
England is allowed no more than four participants in the Champions League and sixth-place Chelsea would claim the last position at the expense of the Premier League's fourth-place club should they win in Munich on May 19.
Tottenham supporters will be sure to be cheering on Bayern on Saturday, having enjoyed this victory and news that Newcastle United -- who could have over-taken them if Fulham had got a result -- had lost at Everton.
The defeat condemned Fulham to a ninth-place finish, which will not disappoint manager Martin Jol too much.
Beforehand, injury had robbed Tottenham of England internationals Scott Parker and Ledley King, but Fulham's top performer of the season, USA international Clint Dempsey, was also missing.
It took Tottenham just 96 seconds to open the scoring through Adebayor, who received the ball near the touchline and played a one-two with Rafael van der Vaart on the left of the Fulham penalty area before calmly slotting past goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer.
Confirmation that Arsenal had suddenly fallen behind in the West Midlands stoked the atmosphere even further before van der Vaart was inches away from connecting with Aaron Lennon's cross from the left.
Van der Vaart was just wide with his next attempt, a shot on the turn after Adebayor had set him up following good work down the right by Lennon.
It took Fulham 37 minutes to fashion a chance but when it arrived it was a good one with John Arne Riise bursting forward, beating Sandro and forcing goalkeeper Brad Friedel into a save.
Seconds later Friedel had to make another one, diving to beat away Moussa Dembele's drive and William Gallas was first to the loose ball to clear.
The half ended with Tottenham's Kyle Walker hobbling after a heavy challenge and Gareth Bale having two attempts to double the lead.
The first produced a fine parry from Schwarzer, while the second ended in the stands.
England right-back Walker had already been playing with a broken toe but was able to hobble back on for the start of the second half.
He lasted all of three minutes, however, with Ryan Nelsen coming on to replace him.
Schwarzer was called into action again to claim a header from Sandro after Lennon again made headway down the right of the Fulham penalty area.
The Australia international then denied Adebayor, although Fulham were awarded a free-kick for the Togo striker's earlier challenge on Aaron Hughes, which left the Fulham defender on the floor.
But White Hart Lane went quiet as the supporters digested news that Arsenal were now winning.
Tottenham hearts were in mouths when Dembele fired in a fierce low drive but that flew wide and Tottenham then made another change, with Defoe replacing van der Vaart on the hour.
Within two minutes Defoe had fired Tottenham 2-0 ahead.
Lennon's shot was deflected by a defender but only into the striker's path and he stuck out a leg to find the bottom corner.