Some follow-up observations:

The team was hell-bent on keeping shape, which gave us some perhaps surprising (but perhaps not) tackling information. Etuhu and Murphy, and the entire back four, really didn’t go for many tackles.  Instead Dempsey, Dembele, and to a lesser extent, Ruiz, were doing a lot of the actual harrying.  This is a part of our game that’s not commented on a great deal, but Dembele and Dempsey in particular do work very hard getting back.  It has been noted that we’re vulnerable in transition down the left, with Riise pushing high up and Dempsey cutting inside, but Jol and the team aren’t daft and should be taking steps to ensure this doesn’t leave us wide open.

On the same note, Chris Baird intercepted six Arsenal passes. This is pretty handy of him. I can see a point in the future where (in extension of the current Barca model) possession is coveted almost to the degree it is in American Football.  Really, why not? You can’t score without the ball really; you generally don’t concede with it.  And if you have the ball for 75% of a game then your opponent has to be that much more efficient when it wins the ball, as it’s going to see so few opportunities. 

In short, all these turnovers, for and against, really do matter.  It’s the coach’s job to minimise them in the first place and ensure we don’t get burned too badly when they do happen, but it’s nice that we’re moving towards being a team that can a) keep the ball well, and b) looks pretty handy trying to win it back.

And on the former point:

He’s got plenty of credit, thankfully, but here’s Dickson’s passing chart.  Not bad, eh?  As I’ve said many times, there’s value in keeping possession, even if you’re not playing Glenn Hoddle passes.  Dickson can help the team, and had a monster of a game on Saturday.

4 thoughts on “More

  1. Great stuff yet again Rich. The Dickson knockers might have been quietened for a while. I really prefer him over Sidwell. We just seem to work much better with Dickson alongside Murphy. Sidders is more noticeable, but he just doesn’t fit as well, especially against the better sides and the more Stokey sides.

  2. Etuhu shows his credentials as a great 4. Maybe if Jol joins him, with murphy and Sidwell ( yes, 3 good midfielders “barça style”), the squad will create more short pass game, less ball missing, tiki-taka.
    From a barça supporter too.

  3. Dickson had a stormer. Put in a proper shift, and is passing was far improved than we’ve seen recently. On form like this, he really is our engine room. I get frustrated as much as the next man when he misplaces a 3 yard pass when there is no pressure on him but we must not let him go. Sidwell inst the best passer either and as much as i like his combative style, Dickson is my preferred partner to Murphy. I do worry however that when Captain Fantastic does run out of steam that that it could be Sidwell and Etuhu together – this is not a pleasant thought.

  4. Away from home when we usually soak up pressure is probably better suited to Etuhu than home games where Fulham should be taking the game to the opposition. It is the home games he comes in for criticism when his almost continual backward passing detracts from our attacking game. I am afraid he appears to have little vision in this area and Sidwell is probably then the better option. So perhaps ‘horses for courses’ is the way forward although away from ‘The Cottage’, against some of the fellow strugglers, I would like to hear that we tried to be a little more pro-active than simply holding the opposition at bay.

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