Blackburn 3-1 Fulham

Oh dear.

Yakubu sent off in the first half, Samba missing. What more could we ask for?

Made a right horlicks of this one. Blackburn are a half-decent side in the middle of a horrible season but we’re good enough to win in these circumstances.  Should have done, comfortably.

Blackburn scored the first with a Pedersen free-kick just on half-time, then the second from Dunn just after the break.  Those two moments defined the game, and while we dominated possession, Paul Robinson really didn’t have enough to do.

For the millionth time, attacking football is about creating space, and when playing a team with ten men who are packing their defences in you need to do everything you can to make space.  That doesn’t mean doing what we always seem to do, work the ball through the crowded bit of the pitch and hope that something happens, because it won’t more often than not.  With only Blackburn forward Fulham should have been more decisive sooner, withdrawing one of the full-backs (Riise eventually made way) and stationing two players wide.  We had some width but the wrong-sided attackers kept cutting in towards the massed defence and getting nowhere. Where were the crosses exploiting Samba’s absence?  No combination play on the flanks either: we kept doing the wrong thing over and over, like the drunkard bashing on  the door of the wrong (empty) house all night wondering why it wouldn’t open.  Width, space, pace.  Bah.

We got one back when Damian Duff scored with a right footed shot across Robinson, but then allowed another on the break and despite subbing the sub (Frei) with five minutes left (needless humiliation of a young player) still couldn’t find a way through.

Really disappointing.

17 thoughts on “Blackburn 3-1 Fulham

  1. We’ll only know how important this loss was come the end of the season but it was a miserable performance against a ten man, bottom of the league team currently in turmoil. Only Fulham…

    Frei was very weak on the wing. Kelly’s crossing was poor. Someone needs to get to the byline.

    Thought Bobby had a great game though – his hold up and first touch was very good today.

  2. As much as I respect Jol as a manager, he lost points today with me as a bloke for substituting Frei. Its as if he needed someone to blame when the third goal went in. Quite pathetic.

    We need a replacement for Murphy. think he has been really poor this season; increasingly so since chelsea game.

  3. How can you let this happen as a manager?! I also agree with country dweller…Murphy has lost a crucial step and has not looked good at all this season. These are 3 points you cannot afford to let slip away. You know, we expected MUCH better than this…especially after the Europa League exit.

    What now?

  4. Hard to know what happened with regards to Frei. For all we know Jol coulda given very specific instructions to him b4 he went on, for example “stop cutting inside and get to the byline more often” and those instructions may have been completely ignored hence Jol subbing him off as punishment.

    Thats me just trying to find an explanation for it. Otherwise, that was pretty weak by Jol. Murphy was just as ineffective today so why wasn’t he subbed?

  5. What a sport this is. We had 9 corners and one goal. Blackburn had zero corners and 3 goals.

    Not to say we dominated, but imagine if Bobby had been a nano second faster to Riise’s cross and Robinson also a nano-second slower to Senderos’ header. We would have been up 2-0 before half time.

    Today was one of those games where we could break down our deficiencies ad nauseam. But in this clearly frustrating and transitional seasons where every high is countered with an embarrassing low, what’s the point?

    (That’s what I’ve been reduced to this season.)

  6. I’d have brought Sidwell, not Frei, on for Dembele because what we needed was to dominate possession.

    I know Frei is young but he was very poor. He’s clearly starting to find things difficult perhaps because opponents know that he will always cut inside. I’d like to see him given a go on the right where maybe he can use his pace.

    In any event I suspect we’ll not see much of him for a while. if he didn’t know it before he now knows that he has much to learn. Hopefully we have the Coaches to teach him.

    1. a valuable lesson in why we shouldn’t get so excited about young players, eh? I thought against Charlton he looked really ordinary – they seemed happy enough with what he was doing – and today was just a continuation. He’s young but looks very one dimensional at present. Also hesitant.

    2. Funny you mention Sidwell. I would have taken him, Etuhu, and/or Baird over Murphy, who was bypassed so heavily that the TV broadcaster announced him perhaps just twice all second half.

      1. If things are going well we can get away with having only Murphy covering the back 4 because Dembele sticks close and works hard.

        Frei was a dumb replacement IMO. If not Sidwell then perhaps Kasami but as it is we were left short of workers when what we needed was possession to tire them out and stretch them.

        Frei on 70 minutes if we needed a goal would have made sense.

  7. Sounds like a day for puppies.gif

    I neglected to get up at 7am to hunch over my laptop and watch this, so I’m flying blind — why was Dembele subbed off to begin with?

    Someone above mentioned Frei cutting inside too often — this has been a very clear problem with his game for quite a while (and again, not commenting on today’s play, just speaking generally). He seems like he’s got the speed to beat people all the way down the wing and then come back across, but it’s like he’ll get trapped down there. Even the bartender at the place in NYC where I watched the Chelsea game (who would NOT SHUT UP about Orlando Sa’s promise) noticed this.

  8. Reading our players tweets, it always seems to me that their excuses are
    ‘they just had a bad day at the office…..and don’t worry, it’ll all come good at the end’.
    Fed up with precious footballers and their wags on twitter ( Boring Mrs M is in the Maldives as we speak ). Someone needs to get into that changing room and give them a reality check.
    They’d better show up next week against the Toons….and Jol better show a modicum of intelligence in his tactics. Fulhamish it certainly isn’t, that requires a level of humility, which most of these players don’t have.
    Sorry about the ramble, but get so frustrated at our ups and downs.

  9. The main reasons we lost control (in my opinion) were twofold – nothing to do with effort/passion etc.

    1. The loss of Dembele was a huge blow. Although the line-ups indicate that we play a 4-1-4-1, in reality it is more of a 4-2-3-1, with Dembele the deepest of the attacking four, tracking back, making vital tackles and interceptions, and helping Murphy build attacks. He rarely gets forward as much as Dempsey/Ruiz/Duff/Frei do, but is far more disciplined positionally these days. He really has been a revelation there – his lack of shooting ability is less important, but in this deeper position he can win the ball, and keep position with his fantastic close control. If we are in control of the game (or, rather, if Murphy is dictating play), he can advance further up the field and cause chaos.

    When he went off, Murphy was left rather isolated in the middle of the park – always dangerous when you’re up against a team who are playing on the counter. Murphy is no deep-lying destroyer – he is a deep-lying playmaker, who isn’t the quickest, and as a result he was often swarmed by the Blackburn counter-attackers, with no Dembele to contribute with his fair share of tackling.

    2. Once Dembele went off, Frei was brought on to replace him, rather than Sidwell. Clearly, the purpose was to inject pace and width against a side that was down to ten men. Instead, what it did was in fact make the team more narrow. Duff on the right cut in more often than not; Frei does not seem to realise that he is allowed to beat his man on the outside – he was too predictable and easy for Blackburn to counter. When the wide men lost the ball, Murphy was suddenly outnumbered, and Fulham looked in deep trouble – Duff tracks back on the right, but none of Dempsey, Frei or Ruiz are especially known for their defensive attributes.

    On another note, I think we also discovered that Ruiz is far more dangerous when played out on the right, and drifting into central positions. He really seems to grow into matches. I don’t think he’s quite ready yet to start in the middle/10-role, or out on the left.

  10. I didn’t see any of it so it’s good to be able to read this.
    All of the comments and the article are about the attacking side, yet we also let 3 goals in. What went wrong with our defence?

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