London: Tottenham finished the season with a comfortable 2-0 win over Fulham, but results elsewhere meant they had to settle for fourth place in the Premier League. Emmanuel Adebayor finished low after just 94 seconds as Spurs dominated possession, and Jermain Defoe struck in the second half to put the result beyond doubt.
But Arsenal's win at West Brom means Spurs will have an anxious wait to see if they will make next year's Champions League, as victory for Chelsea in next Saturday's final means fourth would not be enough. Danny Rose was suspended after his red card at Aston Villa last weekend, meaning Harry Redknapp was forced to play Gareth Bale at left-back, with Jake Livermore coming into midfield.
Martin Jol, returning to his former club, was without Fulham top scorer Clint Dempsey, who missed out for the Cottagers with a groin injury. Kerim Frei was promoted to the starting line-up. Looking to keep the pressure on Arsenal, the home side made the perfect start, taking the lead after 88 seconds. Luka Modric worked inside from the left to find Rafael Van der Vaart, who played a delightful through ball into the path of Adebayor, and the Togo international coolly slotted home confidently.
Spurs pushed forward in the opening quarter of an hour, with Livermore striking an effort high and wide after Brede Hangeland stopped Aaron Lennon with a well-timed challenge. There was a distinct lull as the game moved past the half-hour mark, but then Spurs finally fashioned another decent chance. Lennon burst down the right and pulled back to Adebayor, who laid the ball back for Van der Vaart to volley wide from the edge of the box.
Fulham finally tested Brad Friedel eight minutes before half-time. Jon Arne Riise drilled an effort from range which the American parried away superbly, before Moussa Dembele forced another fine save moments later with a left-footed effort which looked bound for the bottom corner. As the half petered out, Bale tried to liven it up with two quick efforts. He launched a rasping drive from 25 yards which Schwarzer could only parry, and the ball fell back to the Wales international who then blasted well over.
Kyle Walker was replaced soon after the break with a foot injury picked up in the first half, and Ryan Nelsen came on for the stricken defender, meaning Willam Gallas moved out to right-back. The lively Lennon started the half brightly again, floating a cross over for Sandro to meet, but the Brazil international’s header was easily dealt with by Schwarzer.
The game reached the hour mark with little incident, until Dembele showed quick feet to work some space on the edge of the area, and drove a low effort from 20-yards which rattled the far post.
Defoe came on as a substitute for Van de Vaart as the hosts continued to enjoy possession, and he immediately made an impact. Fulham failed to clear their lines and Lennon’s deflected strike fell to Defoe, who managed to scramble the ball home from six yards and double Tottenham’s advantage.
Mahamadou Diarra hit well wide with a speculative long-range effort which summed up Fulham’s afternoon. Younes Kaboul then limped off for Spurs with fifteen minutes to go, with youngster Adam Smith replacing him as the game entered another lull.
The visitors then enjoyed a rare foray into the Spurs area, as Damien Duff drove a low ball across the box, but no one was in the danger area and Gallas was able to clear. Duff then saw an effort of his own strike the post as he blasted low from the right-hand side of the area.
Fulham were finally taking charge with just five minutes to go. Dembele struck another long-range effort which swerved late and tested Friedel, but the veteran shot-stopper was able to tip over. Spurs saw out the remaining minutes, but Arsenal's 3-2 win at the Hawthorns means the Lilywhites will be hoping Chelsea don’t lift the Champions League trophy next weekend.