If we weren’t sure before we are now. Fulham are done.
The folly of appointing a skills coach in a team that can’t defend becomes more and more apparent. As Tony Pulis is showing at Palace, getting a team organised doesn’t take that long. But here Fulham were getting torn apart, again, and clearly it isn’t happening. Meulensteen may have improved things slightly but in many areas he appears to be just hoping for the best, and it isn’t working.
Sascha Riether’s area was the source of much of the damage, and if we forgive him for being an attacking fullback we can’t forgive a system that doesn’t fill in for him. Whatever happened to covering? Is this team above that kind of work? Or does it simply not have the legs?
The rot goes on. The online scapegoats have all gone (to Milan, Valencia, Monaco and PSV, from the bottom of the table premier league club – hmmmm!!! – maybe, just maybe, the wrong players have left) but stil we lose badly. It doesn’t really matter who plays, they all fall down in the usual fashion.
No centre-back pairing can survive not having full-backs or having an iffy midfield in front of it, so for Senderos and Amorebieta read Burn and Hangeland or Hughes and Senderos or whatever other combination you want (welcome, John Heitinga!). Doesn’t make any difference. The constants in this team are Riether, Parker and Sidwell, which either makes them the only three good players we have or the only constants in a historically awful Fulham team, and draw your own conclusions from that.
On the plus side, new man William Kvist (Zonal Marking tweeted after the game that he had expected Kvist to replace Sidwell or Parker, not to join them) played well and was demonstrably organising those around him, trying to cajole Parker and Sidwell into the right areas even if it took a number of arms-out shouts to get them to pay attention. Lewis Holtby took a while to get into the game but soon impressed with his energy, invention and ability. If the other new signings can add similar vim then who knows? But it’s unlikely, isn’t it?
Two young lads from United are valuable in giving the team half a shot at getting younger. A record signing from the Greek league sounds like another disaster waiting to happen, but we must reserve judgement and content ourselves that even if he is awful, he will be better than Darren Bent (who missed the game’s pivotal chances, and if Bent isn’t putting away chances – he clearly isn’t – he has no business being on the pitch).
Onwards and downwards.