Fulham 6 (six) QPR 0

It meant so much to everyone. Fulham fans before the game seemed nervous. I don’t know what the Rangers fans were thinking but they were loud and excitable. This was them back in the big time. “We hate it when our friends become successful” sang Morrissey. “And if they’re Fulham, that makes it even worse.” The men in blue and white hoops seemed to think they had scores to settle. They got battered.

That was history. Folklore. The last few years have provided us with many memorable moments, but most of them have been exciting and frightening at the same time, never enjoyable until afterwards. This was just fun, the most purely enjoyable game we’ll ever see. The early October heatwave brought something even more unlikely to the banks of the Thames: a derby day massacre. We won six nil… roll those words around a few times.

Goals change games and after a minute we had one. Dembele shot hard, Paddy Kenny palmed it out, AJ put it back in again. Fantastic! We got another just at the right time, an AJ run terminated by a silly challenge by Kenny and/or a defender on the corner of the area.  Murphy outranked Zamora for the kick and steered it high into the net. Then a third, Dempsey on the left, the ball across goal, AJ the man on the spot again to kill the game as a contest.  QPR had seen bits of decent possession amid all this, but at the other end we tore them apart. Near misses from Dempsey and Johnson again proved that the scoreline was not misleading.

In the second half we saw three more, Johnson (I’m losing track!)  put through by a quick free kick (this summed up QPR’s day. Switching off like that in the Premier League…) to hammer in for a hat-trick. Then Dempsey following good work on the left by AJ, steering home after the cross was laid back to him, and another rifled in from Zamora. Further chances slipped by with Ruiz just wide and Sidwell letting a ball run out for a corner when behind him Zamora and Johnson waited alone for a cross.  As Dickson Etuhu warmed up the Hammersmith End cheered: “Dickson, what’s the score?” and Dickson, after thinking about it, turned around and held aloft six fingers, which of course required two hands, and smiled broadly.  Magic.

24 thoughts on “Fulham 6 (six) QPR 0

  1. I honestly didn’t think AJ still had it in him, but these last few weeks he’s been excellent. Well played sir. Bobby was also superb – what a touch for Dempsey’s goal – and Moussa was much, much better.

    QPR were awful at the back so it’s hard to know what to conclude. But it does feel like we’re slowly progressing. There was certainly nothing as exciting/impressive as that at a similar stage under Hughes.

  2. Incredible stuff. Some things that really stood out:

    (1) Dembele is getting better by the game. His control high up the pitch is exceptional. His work rate and tackling are improving exponentially. And now he took a shot and look what happened.

    (2) I have been extremely critical of Johnson. But the way he latched onto those loose balls in the box, shows that he can score goals that no one else in our squad (even Dempsey), can score. I liked to four man attack we fielded today, and it’s worth keeping it.

    (3) Hangeland is back to his very best. He was absolutely everywhere in defense today. And even played one hell of a pass to Johnson to set up Dempsey. Momentum is a huge thing in the game and I cannot imagine us having built it up to that extent without Hangeland’s play at the back.

  3. Such a great day, I was very nervous pre-game but as the goals went in I was able to relax and as Rich has said actually enjoy a game without the fear of anything going wrong.

    Two things stood out for me we played 4-4-2 and seemed happier for it and Steve Sidwell had an absolute stormer.

    1. Yep. very obvious difference wasn’t there? The 4-4-2 doesn’t excite but it really worked. Also Aj played centrally, rather than ‘in teh channels’, which drives me bananas. Get in the box, score goals.

      1. It was quite Hodgson-esque with a very narrow in midfield. However, Zamora and Johnson seemed to have license to run all over the pitch (Johnson played more “in the channels” than I think you’re recognizing) and Dembele was also given license to come into the middle from the right to create the midfield three we’ve been seeing of late. Of the attackers, only Dempsey seemed to have a disciplined role on the left.

          1. If I had to describe Jol’s style of play right now I would say that he likes a rigid and defined structure with the back four and midfield two to provide stability, but then allows the four attackers license to cause havoc within only quite general guidelines (Zamora the fulcrum, Dembele the man to give the ball in tight situations, etc.). I hadn’t thought it to be the case before, but Johnson’s high work rate, clever running and ability to play on either flank and through the middle may actually make him ideal for the role. Amazing when you think about the strength in depth that we now have in attack.

  4. I remember a CCN poll from the end of last season about which players are viewed as essential to the team and a shocking number of fans viewed Sidwell, despite being a relatively new addition, as one of the staples of the team. I felt that way then and even more so now. I like Etuhu, but he lacks Sidwell’s instinct for well timed runs. What a treat to have both on the squad. The team has so much more depth than this time last year, especially up front.

    1. I just think that’s his laid back manner. “Something” clearly did happen mid week but Jol doesn’t seem to be the sort to make enemies or take rigid stands. His comment about Zamora along the lines of “I hope he grows to like me. He scored so I like him” seemed well judged to me.

      If senior players have had their say and Jol taken their comments on board then that says a lot for him and the players. Good mature stuff.

  5. Incredible day, QPR fans that we went to the game with thought that was the best Premiership team they have seen this season which is really quite something. Seemed to finally pick up where we left off away at Birmingham last season under Hughes. If this is what a few arguments at the training ground do then it may be worth having a couple more. Great looking at the bench yesterday and seeing Duff, Senderos, Ruiz etc and not what we have had previously. Breath taking performance.

    1. Early days yet with Ruiz. He had one nice turn and dribble towards the end of the match, from the right, moving into the box. Didn’t amount to much, but suggests he’s got some skill. Hopefully he’ll be phased in gradually; he certainly won’t be starting given the performance of our front four yesterday.

      1. Bryan will come good. He picked up an injury after a reckless challenge in the 88th minute, I think, which left him anonymous for the final moments, but he played very well against Chelsea in the Carling Cup and his moment will come. Keep the faith, he’s only been in the country for a month. Not all new signings can be Sergio Aguero!

  6. With the international break coming up how much more relaxing is it to see Fulham in 12th spot rather than the relegation zone. To wait a couple of weeks before the next game to try and get out of the bottom three would have been daunting.

    I think that the second half against Man C introduced the spark into our play and Dembele in particular has suddenly realised how much more effective he can be with forward dribbles and forward lay-off instead of criss-crossing the pitch with no useful end product. This sea change definitely has its origins in the second half against Man C.

    Yesterday’s match had several major contributions, all well documented, but someone not mentioned is Chris Baird who made a fine partner for Hangeland with lots of telling interceptions and will make it difficult for either Hughes or Senderos to replace him. Good that we have really good back up in the centre back area as I think we were vulnerable if either Hughes or Hangleland were injured.

      1. Speaking of which, Grygera looks pretty decent. Not spectacular or flashy and won’t get forward as much as Riise, but seems like he’s going to do a good job on the right.

  7. “Like a post-coital dream” someone said…and then I woke up today and it was Still.Real. Great stuff.

    Liked Jol’s comment about sometimes letting QPR have posession to “give our front players some space” – if that was a plan it certainly worked. AJ is our most natural finisher and with space to run at QPR was awesome – totally destructive. Warnock went on about QPR having a bad day but we were just on fire.

  8. id like to mention Chris Baird who cleared everything in the first half. QPR were whipping in some very dangerous crosses and he was all over them. Schwarzer hardly had to collect anything.

    1. Well said – he played really well. In fact just like he used to – that barren spell where he was out of the first team perhaps an oversight by MJ – but hindsight eh?!

  9. Murphy on the offal is interesting and perhaps points to where we are going tactically.

    ‘Murphy was full of praise for Fulham’s striking duo of Andrew Johnson and Bobby Zamora and clearly believes Fulham have the quality to achieve many more positive results with an attack-minded 4-4-2 formation at the Cottage this season.

    ‘“They [Johnson and Zamora] were brilliant and caused them real problems – it was great for AJ. I think they have only played together on one other occasion this season and I think they always play well together. They’ve been at the Club a long time and they know each other’s games.

    ‘“Defensively we’ve conceded a few early on this season and it would have been easy to be cautious as we have been in the past, but on Sunday we decided to have a real go and try and turn them early which we did.

    ‘“It’s refreshing to see because there’s a lot of negativity in teams today. There are a lot of 4-5-1 formations out there. The only problem is if you play with two strikers you need possession to get them going.

    ‘“If you’re away from home, against the so-called better sides like Arsenal and Chelsea, you might not have as much of the ball and they [the strikers] become a bit redundant.

    ‘“We feel at home we have enough of the ball to get through to those two [Johnson and Zamora]. I certainly think at the Cottage if you put them up top and get enough possession they will be a handful for any defence.”’

    Read more: http://www.fulhamfc.com/Club/News/NewsArticles/2011/October/MurphyQPRReaction.aspx?#ixzz1ZjU0SRLG

    1. I also think that AJ and Bobby always play well together, but there are times that I feel that only Danny any myself [another #13, by the way] believe that. It seems like the preponderance of Fulham cognocenti believe the exact opposite.

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