Five things we learned about Tottenham against Fulham

Jermain Defoe

A win against Fulham was just what the doctor ordered for Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas, but as ever, the result leads to more questions than answers

See below for five observations following the Fulham win:

Lamela on the left?

Against Fulham, the young Argentine started once again on the right wing, struggling to get into the game and unsure whether to stay wide or come inside. Likewise on the other wing, Aaron Lennon was seeing little of the ball. The switching of the two players midway through the first half saw an improvement in both, and Lamela seemed much more comfortable playing left. Could it be that a left-footed player may actually start out left in the next game? After the former Roma player had one of his better games so far for Spurs, don't bet against it.

Paulinho is better driving forward from deep than he is playing behind the striker

Paulinho is in danger of becoming a frustrating player. He has obvious quality, and an excellent engine to get him up and down the pitch for 90 minutes. But when he is employed as far up the pitch as he was against Fulham, he needs to convert more chances. The Brazilian had two great opportunities in the first half to open the scoring but fluffed both. The fact he got himself in the great positions show that eventually, they might just start going in, but at the moment the "Latin Lampard" he isn't. Plus, such is his drive and energy, he can still make those runs as part of a deeper central midfield, as he proved with his excellent late header that Stekelenburg did fantastically well to tip over.

Will Vertonghen's injury be a blessing in disguise?

The sight of your best defender limping from the pitch at the final whistle is scarcely room for optimism, but the Belgian's injury, as long as it isn't a bad one, should see Villas-Boas look into more natural left fullback options than Vertonghen, who had a difficult match against Dejagah. That is unless he starts right-back Kyle Naughton there of course. Many fans would like to see Zeki Fryers given a go, and Danny Rose surely can't be too far away now. Big Jan lining up in his favoured central defensive position once again may not be such a distant occurrence.

Defoe is an option for Villas-Boas, but not a solution

Jermain Defoe showed that he is an alternative to stuttering Spaniard Roberto Soldado, just not a huge one. The Englishman has a more direct and pacy attacking approach, plus a famed penchant for "shoot first, ask questions later." But he still isn't the powerful target man to win and hold up the ball while teammates rush to support him that this team, and this system needs. In that respect, Soldado is still a slightly better bet. Such a player would be the easy fix for this Tottenham team, but that isn't possible until January, or until Emmanuel Adebayor gets fit and looks interested. Against Fulham, Defoe did well enough to get another chance against Sunderland on Saturday, but he may never be the solution.

December could be a big month

Starting with the trip to Wearside, Spurs have the chance to play five further games in December that they will fancy taking three points from. A home game with Liverpool, as well as an away match at Southampton are the trickiest of these, but they are good opportunities, with Liverpool struggling on their travels recently and Southampton suffering a mini dip in results. Villas-Boas should be aiming for 13 points from the next 15 minimum, and then the 6-0 to City and silly Daily Mail spats will be long forgotten about.

image: © pahudson

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