SW6 Points donation service

To a degree I think I fell into the trap of assuming everything would work itself out. We know that every season someone goes all jetpacked and gets out of a sticky problem, and we’ve seen Fulham do it, and what with Magath, a softish run-in and a general tendency towards optimism this one looked like a home banker.

But Fulham well and truly ballsed it up.

1) Magath went again for his “tight until half-time, then kill it” approach and it seemed to work. Dejagah and Richardson are fine substitutes to be able to bring on after all. Taking off Holtby felt slightly iffy given his ability to take the ball, keep it and perhaps do something with it, but it’s fair to say that he hasn’t been in top form since Magath came in.

2) The fatal mistake seemed to be using up a third sub on Darren Bent when Sidwell got injured. That left us with a willing but only 80% able Diarra and Scott Parker to control the midfield, with Rodallega (having one of his “Oh, I thought he was in good form… what’s this about?” games) and Bent, who I’m sorry, is a waste of space (I am never negative about footballers here but if you were to plot talent v expected impact v impact v apparent desire to do something about this imaginary chart’s unflattering conclusion you see that he has simply not been worth his share of Motspur Park canteen grub, let alone whatever idiotic salary we are paying him.)

3) EVEN WITH THIS SETUP RIETHER WAS BOMBING ON WHEN WE WERE 2-0 UP. HE WAS GOALSIDE IN HIS CROSSBAR INCIDENT.

4) So anyway, we concluded the game with not much up front, not really much in central midfield, and our beloved back four of doom.

5) It was a clever run by Shane Long, that, bending round into a gap at the far post but honestly, how often do you see Premier League teams undone by crosses from there to there? Shambles, it really was.

6) so yes, we screwed that up royally. All this “too deep” nonsense… honestly, you don’t necessarily concede by being too deep. If you keep your shape and sit deep really there’s not enough room on the pitch to get through. The problem comes when you try to be something other than what you need to be, in this case a team holding a two goal lead playing a fkng ridiculous open game. Just sit on it, don’t leave space behind you. Honestly, at this level you can hold a 2-0 lead just by being sensible. You can. Don’t give up all pretense of attacking but don’t take risks, either.

7) sigh. Really we deserve to go down after that. We do.

12 thoughts on “SW6 Points donation service

  1. There was a point in the match when there was a break and Bent went (ran, sprinted?) to the ball only to provide what was the most impotent of passes to a bombing Hugo… at that moment I knew it was over.

    There was another moment, when it was 2-1, and Hull hit the crossbar. Stockdale didn’t move. He watched it bounce away and raised his hands to his defenders, as if to say, “I don’t know what you’re doing anymore.” I think that was the moment they knew it was over.

    It’s still possible to stay up, but the probabilities are now against us. I sure hope Magath likes to travel, because next year will be exhausting.

  2. Think it was a mistake taking Holtby off at half time. We could see Sidwell was struggling before half time so should have been him. If he had convinced Felix that he was fine and could continue then Parker should have been removed.

    Trouble is that third substitution was completely wasted on Bent. The impact players were Richardson and Dejagah and they worked. I would have replaced Sidwell like for like to ensure we had the right players on the pitch to hold a lead if we had one.

    OR

    Once we go 2-0 up. Why not move Heitenga to right back. Amor to centre, Richardson to left back. Chuck Reither in midfield to help Diarra and Parker then move Rodellega to the left. That would have kept a nice counter attacking 4-5-1 and the right system to hold the lead.

  3. I’m not going to disagree with anyone but the chances Bent had!

    Magath was entitled to assume he’d bury at least one in which case it would have been a masterful substitution.

    We will now go down and fully deserve to but I’m hopeful about Magath. I doubt there was a single player on the pitch that he truly rates and that’s going to make the summer turnover massively interesting.

  4. On the subject of substitutions, it was perhaps rash to bring on the two impact players at half-time, while leaving Sidwell on, despite his discomfort having been obvious since about the 25th minute. 5 minutes to see if Sidwell could carry on might have made the decisions easier. Although on the other hand, he brought the two subs on to make an immediate impact, which is exactly what they did. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

    The problem with the plan to defend a 2-0 lead (or any lead) with this team is that this team’s doesn’t keep the ball at all well. Under Magath I’m not sure if we’ve had 50% or more possession in any of the games we’ve played, which is understandable, but it makes sitting back and defending, and from the 53rd minute at that, that much harder. Villa is an obvious example of a game where we’ve played well, taken a lead and then sat back and let the other side back into it in doing so. In that game, only after their equaliser went in did we return to actually trying to create chances. Even against Norwich, who were completely toothless, we could have shipped a couple of goals in the second half, trying to defend a lead. That said, we’re damned whichever way you look at it, given the number of times we’ve been caught out needlessly on the break (Herr Reither, I’m looking at you).

    Finally, given the virtual certainty of relegation, Magath is surely the key determinant in whether we’re going to be Newcastle or Wolves. He clearly knows what he’s doing, and despite his lack of familiarity with the Championship, is surely the best option that’s available to Fulham at this moment in time. I am, of course, assuming that Khan is not going to want to be the super-rich owner of a mid-table Championship team. My only worry is whether we will actually keep him – he may not have shown quite enough for other Premiership clubs to want to poach him, but on the other hand, there are a few clubs (Villa, West Ham, Swansea, maybe West Brom) who might be interested in a change of manager, and there aren’t that many impressive candidates doing the rounds.

    P.S. Still unbeaten in 3 games with Diarra in the team. For someone who, after 18 months out, has come into the what was, for most of the season, the worst team in the league, that’s pretty impressive.

  5. It was like being back at the MCG and watching Australia playing the 1998 world cup qualifier against Iraq – Aus had not made a World Cup final for 30ish years and we were 2-0 up at 1/2 time (after a 1-all draw in Iraq) and we were talking about how we were going to get to France. And in the 2nd 1/2 Terry ‘f*&&&#ing’ Venables was still going all out attacking, for some reason trying to find a 3rd goal. Park the f*&&&#ing bus Terry!

    I think Magath’s tactics were correct. He (we) got unlucky with the injuries to Sidwell and Diarra in the 2nd 1/2, without both of those injuries we might have been ok. Maybe brining on another midfielder would have been a better choice. Was Sidwell being selfish not taking himself of at 1/2 time and allowing Holt to stay on? Was he ‘playing’ for that new contract?

    We need a bit of luck still. We need to win the next two, and I am not sure we can do that against Stoke.

    The big key is Diarra. We are a different team when he is running the show. Is he out?

    Any chance that Greek record signing might come in and save the day?

  6. Darren Bent is truly shocking – an awful, awful player. What has happened to him? In my opinion a clearly struggling Sidwell should have made way at half time rather than Holtby. Dejagh should have been on from the start – as should have Dan Burn instead of Amorebieta. Okay his header was class but the rest of his play was woeful. He was lucky not to concede a penalty and what were his foul throws all about? Sorry but we can’t real hard done by if we’re relegated.

  7. If Burn is right, he has to play for Amorbieta. Woodrow and Bent both on the bench is silly. Only one is coming in unless Hugo is shot. And Bent should be given the wrong time/date/place for next week’s game. Tell him cup tie against Swindon Town on Sunday morning this week. Richardson needs to play 90. What happened to Karagounis, who would have been fine for Sidwell? Magath is bitching about the fact we keep capitulating due to lack of mental strength…STOP PLAYING THE SAME GUYS!!

  8. That run from Long was nice, but bravo to Parker to backing up and thus allowing Aluko enough time and space to find him making that run. ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE BOX.

  9. At some point it’s not the manager–Lord knows we keep trying different ones and getting the same results–but, at the same time, it is still the manager! Parker and Sidwell again?? For crying out loud. I had a bad feeling at the start of the game. Of course that disappeared when we went 2-0 up but I should’ve known better. Agreed about a few things, and many of us seem to agree on these points, which is why it’s oh so painful that those in charge don’t see it:
    –Burn for Amorbieta. Amorbieta might be our worst player this season.
    –Richardson should be starting. I don’t know what it’s all about that he isn’t. Yeah he’s an impact player. He’s also an impact player in the 1st half.
    –Holtby off after 45? I don’t get it. If it’s fitness levels why not give him 15 minutes of the second half at least?
    –Parker has no business starting.
    –Bent. Holy moly. Holy. Moly. Really, why not Woodrow? He looked great the little we saw of him.

    We seemed to truly snatch relegation from the jaws of safety with this one. Truly un-fucking-believable. Championship here we come. I thought the World Cup would be the most exciting thing this summer but I can see otherwise. Who knows what the team will look like come August!

  10. In isolation I can see subbing Holtby off at the half; to me, he looked off his game in terms of both ball control and passing. That being said, it didn’t make a whole lot of sense in context, given that Sidwell was already hurting and Diarra can’t really play 90 minutes at full speed. It seemed more likely that Holtby’s quality would show in the second half (particularly if he were given a chance to play in the middle rather than out wide to accommodate Sidwell AND Parker AND Diarra) than that Sidwell would recover from the knocks he took.

    I also didn’t really get starting Riise and then subbing Richardson on for him.

  11. These points are all so obvious (taking Holtby off, leaving Sidwell on) that it is impossible to see how Felix didn’t get them. Either he’s blind/mad or there’s more to it that we don’t/can’t know. For example, perhaps Sidwell’s first half injury had worn off and that he then went off for another knock that occured early in the second half? Perhaps Richardson was himself carrying something and was never going to last 90 minutes.

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