2 March 2014

Review: Fulham 1 - 3 Chelsea

If football lasted 45 minutes, I swear Fulham would probably be top of the league. Our players were different in the second half. With the exception of Dan Burn, who came on after 10 or so minutes, the defence looked tired. Dempsey looked like a deflated balloon by the end, but at least we won't be seeing him again.

The first half was very good. We had some good chances which we really should have scored - and this is my first niggle. A woman rang 606 last week and said that Fulham players seem to not have the confidence to shoot. Yes, we've scored more than Crystal Palace this season, but not enough. How on earth did Dempsey and Sidwell miss? I would love to go to a training session to see what the coaches are telling the midfielders, because they're obviously not getting the striking correct.

So with Magath cobbling excuses up for the whereabouts of Kostantinos Mitroglou, where will the goals come from? We can't be relying on Darren Bent to rescue us all the time, nor Sidwell. 7 goals for an English midfielder this season is a lot, but it's not enough.

When Fulham played Aston Villa in November, Match Of The Day highlighted the effectiveness of the midfield, who, that day, were Sidwell, Parker, and Karagounis. Even without Karagounis, Sidwell and Parker were amazing before Fulham hit the wall. Has Magath overworked the players? Yes.

I also have some niggles about the team selection. It's my belief we really need 5 at the back and Riise, not Richardson or Amorebieta, as left back. Magath is slowly returning to the Jol era, and I don't like it. Alexander Kacaniklic seems to have been forgotten about altogether.

Kasami has scored more goals this season than he has in his entire Premier League career, but he doesn't deserve a place in the starting line up. This is not going to be pretty: radical changes have to be made. Very radical.

I would probably give Magath more time for now, but if things do not improve, then I would probably bring the axe down on him. I genuinely believe at some points that I could do better. Standing in a goal mouth as goalkeeper on a Wednesday afternoon in PE, I still do a better job than Martin Jol as manager. The players won't listen to me, however.

Stekelenburg did well, and is the most underrated goalkeeper this season. Stockdale and Stekelenburg, Fulham's goalkeepers, have been excellent this season: 62 goals conceded, yes, but 93 saves between them. This is why we need a back 5.

What's my preferred team? 5-3-1-1: Stekelenburg; Riether, Heitinga, Hangeland, Burn, Riise; Parker, Sidwell, Karagounis; Holtby; Mitroglou.

The marks are in:

1 M Stekelenburg - 8
27 S Riether - 6
5 Hangeland - 9
4 Heitinga - 8
15 Richardson - 7
24 Dejagah - 5
28 Parker - 8
7 Sidwell - 8
8 Kasami - 6
32 Dempsey - 5
39 Bent - 5

SUBS:

16'': OFF 5 Hangeland, ON 33 Burn - 9
62'': OFF 8 Kasami, ON 10 Holtby - 8
80'': OFF 28 Parker, ON 14 Karagounis - 7

Things can only get better, I've been saying. But anything other than a win vs Cardiff and Fulham are going down, I'm afraid.

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