Fulham 1-3 Everton

By Rich

Class told in the end.  Fulham couldn’t get the ball back from Everton and this meant Everton were able to keep us at arm’s length for long stretches.  This rather took away from the home team’s ability to build momentum, and this alone probably cost us the match.

The team were so keyed up that less skilled teams than Everton could have been blown away, but it simply wasn’t to be.  Fulham can be proud of their efforts, although the game did rather resemble a lower league v Premiership battle in which the former know it’s their biggest game yet and the latter have to be sharp accordingly.

This is what we’ve wanted for a while: the quality isn’t there (no, we made sure of that by shipping out the flair players) but the effort was.  Now, effort alone is no use to anyone but in the hands of good players it’s the stuff revivals are made of.  Witness Lewis Holtby’s performance for the ages, a terrific wholehearted scrap from a player I’d desperately love Fulham to sign.

Magath continued to push the right buttons by selecting 17 year old Moussa Dembele for his first ever start.  As with Cauley Woodrow, a teenager from the youth ranks has a lot more leeway from the crowd and can raise hopes through just being there.  Dembele did alright: he showed some good touches, missed perhaps the team’s best chance just on half-time (probably the game’s turning point), but can be pleased enough with his first efforts.  He might have been taken off a bit earlier but that’s not why we lost.

Ashkan Dejagah scored cutting in again (why did nobody think of this earlier in the season?) and this brought the team back to 1-1 (Everton went ahead from a Stockdale o.g. in which the ball ricocheted off the poor ‘keeper’s shins), and suddenly there was great hope that maybe Fulham had something after all.

Trouble was we got very open and Everton ultimately profited from this, but what can you do?  They’re a good team and we’re trying to become one.  Against weaker opponents that performance would probably, almost certainly, have produced a win.  It had a bit of everything and the team need to just go about replicating it in the next few matches.

Incidentally, it’s taken a while but Magath might be getting somewhere.  The below is a four game rolling average chart of Fulham’s shots and shots allowed this season.   The rolling average just means it takes the last four matches, which gives us smoother lines and guards against outliers (if we just took the actual shots and shots allowed it’d be up and down like a yo-yo).   So here’s Martin Jol’s famously futile run. Meulensteen steadied the ship pretty well.  Hull was just an outlier, otherwise we were very competitive in all games except Arsenal, Southampton, Liverpool and Manchester United, which is no crime considering how we started the season.  Magath has seen a slight upwards curve but hasn’t been in charge long enough.  I think I read at the time how Fulham were actually lucky under Jol to have as many points as we did (based on underlying indicators) but that Meulensteen was actually pretty unlucky.  I can see this, based on the shot numbers.

shots

 

Anyway, there we go.   Basically if you take away the Jol ridiculousness we’re a mid table team.  Let’s hope we can play better than that in the run-in.  We need to.

8 thoughts on “Fulham 1-3 Everton

  1. And our trouble now is that we have lost our margin for error in our remaining games – which you need in football as the best team does not always win.

    Everything needs to go our way now for us to stay up. We still have very winnable games, and if we were sitting mid-table I would think we could take 11 or 12 points from those games. But even 12 points is not looking enough now.

  2. It really was a game that could’ve gone either way I felt….sadly we just need the 3 points by hook or by crook following Palace’s unexpected success. Fulham were excellent in the first half, but didn’t capatilise. The header was a big moment in this game – would a more senior player have held their nerve better? Who knows, but it would’ve been quite some home first team start to have finished that off.

    Everton made the change at half time, and were suddenly the Everton of Champions League form and the first goal was inevitable. They were in control, the energy with which we had been full of in the first half had been zapped, and we were on the ropes. Previously, this would’ve been enough and we’d have conceded more, and quickly too. But, two good substitutions from the manager and a pile driver had as back in it, and then it was all about Tim Howard making two excellent stops and the ball just not quite falling for us. And yes, stretched and without control we were exposed.

    I thought it was interesting to see what both managers did in this game. Martinez substitutions were all excellent and effected the game. Berkeley (I read today he was injured) but offered little in the first half, but Naismith was excellent when he came on – energetic, quality of touch & movement and managed to get into space between the defence and midfield that hadn’t been there in the first half.

    In turn, Felix made a great call in bringing on two energetic players to boost our fading team & it meant we could ‘go again’. However, having lost all midfield control in the 2nd half and having scored the equaliser, the prudent thing to do would’ve been to bring on a Diarra to help assert more competitiveness into the middle, replacing Dembele and pushing Holtby back into the ‘hole’ again. It was galling to lose the 2nd goal through the middle of the pitch as we did. I understand we needed to win, but having got back into the game, we really needed to try to have control in the remainder of the half to push the game – something we didn’t have.

    And there again, Martinez’s substitutions of McGeady & Mirallas coming on were exactly the change in pace & quality that made the difference as you pointed out. Martinez is more and more looking a class act in management – successive teams have played open, attacking football; his troops look very happy with their training & approach; and in modern football, it is important that a manager makes changes with the team that affect the game. He does this. You would suggest that the heirarchies at Old Trafford & The Emirates will be taking note.

    One less fingertip gripping the top flight shelf.

  3. I was impressed by the performance and the attitude shown by the players. And I fully agree that if this had been against a worse side we would have won.

    I think perhaps you give Everton a bit too much credit – I think they were lucky to get three goals and we really should have scored another – 23 shots on goal tells its own story, and they had to make several good saves to stay ahead. But, as the game opened up, there was only going to be one winner – as with the Sunderland and Southampton games, our gambles just don’t pay off.

    Our CM situation remains atrocious and our full-back situation dire as well. Since these are two of the most important areas of the pitch in modern football, is it any surprise we are rock bottom of the league and leaking goals?

  4. Hello Fulham ,from a Blue.I came on here last time we played. I think you played very well.,In the first half we did not really turn up it was all you. You really gave it your all. The second half we played like ourselves the first goal looked on the cards but was lucky for us. ,your first was a cracker and right up until our third you where well and truly in it. Both goalies made a few great saves .It was a great second half and though I think we deserved the win (all be it through blue tinted specs ) You where unlucky to get nothing. You needed a win and flooded forward if you could of had a little more composure you may of got a point ..But you where desperate for the three points which played into our hands ..If you play with the same pace and desire for your remaining fixtures you may just do it ,do not give up yet.. Good luck

  5. Great analysis. Sometimes luck has a hand, if we put away some chances the game is different – story of this season though! The good news is with Magath’s approach we are at least creating chances and on other days they will go in. I think the point about Diarra coming on in mid is a valid one, I am not sure the Roberts switch achieved anything. I also noticed in last 30 mins how we lost most 50:50 balls and they passed through us, they are a very very good passing side and Villa are not so chin up for Saturday!

  6. How nice to read the comments of Gazza. He records the match very much as I saw it from the Hammersmith end my only variation would be to say Everton were extremely lucky to score their first two goals and with the ball ricocheting off three players legs there was no way our goalkeeper was going to be able to reach it. Had we been fortunate enough to capitalise on the effort our players showed when the score was one all, I think we could well have given the Blues a serious hiding and our entire team should be praised for their efforts. I don’t go for these computerised analysis, I’m very much of the old school having seen my first Fulham match back in 1939, and I am only interested in their results, I do not feel “class” told, it was more down to “luck”, Everton had it and we didn’t – but a few more games played in the same spirit and we may avoid the big drop.

    It was a surprise and a pleasure to see so many supporters wearing blue, and whilst my feeling was they did not all travel down from the home area, it was more like the days when there was no segregation and you were able to discuss the game as it progressed with whoever stood next to you without fear of any aggro just because he supported the opposition.

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