Losing to Wimbledon

Read Lork’s report at HammyEnd.

It sounds from here as if our opponents experimented in the second half, when they got the goals. So that’s not good is it?

Our team:

Fulham XI: Stockdale; Baird, Halliche, Hughes, Smith; Riise (Marsh-Brown 60), Murphy, Donegan (Harris 82), Frei; Dalla Valle, Trotta (Hoesen 45)

Now then.
What this tells us, I think, is that teams are more than the sum of their parts. You can see Murphy, Baird and Hughes there, as well as Stockdale and Riise, and assume that they have to be superior to a team from lower down the leagues.  Especially when you add in some of our name prospects.
Roy Hodgson used to break his team down into partnerships: right back, right midfield; centre-back, centre-back, all over the pitch.  If these interlocking partnerships are strong and work well together then the result is a very cohesive team that are greater than the sum of their parts. So against Wimbledon the partnerships were not so hot: three first team players trying to power eight non-first team players into a coherent 11. In pre-season.
Think of it this way.  If we consider each partnership in turn, we might (for the sake of argument) award four points for each partnership where both players are first teamers, and one for every partnership where there is one first teamer and one non-first teamer.
A matrix might look like this:
Stockdale 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Baird 2 x 1 1 1 4 1 4 1 1 1
Smith 3 x 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0
Donegan 4 x 0 1 0 1 0 0 0
Halliche 5 x 1 0 1 0 0 0
Hughes 6 x 1 4 1 1 1
Riise 7 x 0 0 0 0
Murphy 8 x 1 1 1
Trotta 9 x 1 1
Dalla Valle 10 x 1
Frei 11 x 35
Schwarzer 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Baird 2 x 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4
Riise 3 x 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4
Etuhu 4 x 4 4 4 4 4 4 4
Hangeland 5 x 4 4 4 4 4 4
Hughes 6 x 4 4 4 4 4
Dempsey 7 x 4 4 4 4
Murphy 8 x 4 4 4
Zamora 9 x 4 4
Dembele 10 x 4
Duff 11 x 180
It’s mainly nonsense, and don’t take this too literally – I’m just trying to make a point.  But I think the general idea does hold.  Take away eight first teamers and the three who remain are diminished too.
We still should have beaten AFC Wimbledon though.

One thought on “Losing to Wimbledon

  1. Rich – I think your original point still stands. What I saw was a team that clearly looked the stronger but lacked that cohesiveness that comes with partnerships that are familiar with each others play.

    Still scratching my head a little to understand how we lost that game. I think probably we lacked the defensive quality required from midfield & attack which meant no matter how strong our back line was they were pushed on the back foot.

    Halliche was, as Lork points out, shocking. He really should have been head and shoulders above most of the players he was defending against but made far too many unnecessary mistakes. There has to be more to him than I’ve seen so far but he’s not a player I’d be comfortable seeing in the Premier League.

    Even had we not conceded we didn’t look particularly likely to score. A few half decent efforts but for the most part straight at the keeper or just a bit tame. It will come though. The result wasn’t important and there’s definitely some quality amongst our kids.

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