by Frankie-Peter Taylor
As usual, I am back with a Monday post after the weekends match where I’ve had time to observe and analyse the Fulham performance, lets get this one started.
Now you’d think that despite a 5-2 victory there would be no negatives, hell no. That first half was dreadful, there was no pace, no movement, no urgency. Is there anybody to blame in particular? I would say no, but it could be said that it is whoever struck down Moussa Dembele at Blackburn. In the 433 we have begun to play, he is vital. This is due to his defensive work rate and his ability to come away with the ball and recycle is remarkable. Also, his dribbling can take himself past 3-4 players and we then have a numbers advantage. We missed him in that first half and changing to the Roy Hodgson esque 442 helped us. This isn’t a criticism of Martin Jol, infact it’s praise, he saw the problem and went about solved it, which takes a lot for me to say who has accused him of being tactically retarded.
Another problem, and I’ve defended him in the past, was Phillipe Senderos. My gosh did he get my heart rate going. Heading towards his own goal 2-3 times and twisting himself like a chinese puzzle for a Shola Ameobi shot from distance. I have felt bad for him being labelled a liability but he really could have lost us that game yesterday. Now if he is going to get dropped, I don’t think it should be for Aaron Hughes, instead Chris Baird. Chris Baird came on at half time yesterday and showed why he is rated so highly by all at Fulham and really is so under rated by outsiders. I’ve always said that one of the strengths of Senderos is his passing ability but I think Baird would test him all the way on that front.
My last negative is Bryan Ruiz. You can say what you want, and that he will prove he is worth his worth but I am not convinced. When Fulham FC are spending £10m on a player, he is going to have to live up to the price tag. I’ve said before, I believe he is a striker because his defending is pathetic. He is so weak, and gets brushed off the ball so easily. He shows moments of class like his two assists and two goals but it seems he is starting just for the possibility of this moment of class and it reminds me a lot like Rafael van der Vaart. In long periods of the game he won’t do anything at all, and only plays as long as he does in the hope that he provides quality at once. I didn’t judge him, like I didn’t with Senderos but yesterday done it for me, I hope he proves me wrong but I just can’t see it, I would happily sell him back to Twente if it meant recouping the money we paid.
Positives now! The performance of AJ. He tore Coloccini to pieces and him and Zamora really do match like Chalk’n'Cheese as our American friends would say. He looked like the AJ of old using his pace and intelligence to really test and stretch the Newcastle back four. He was just missing a goal and really does give Martin Jol a selection head ache with the dreadful performance of Bryan Ruiz and the return of Moussa Dembele.
Clint Dempsey is top class. Is he better than Fulham FC? Probably, BUT would any Champions League teams by him? Probably not, he is at his peak and will only be at this quality for two or three seasons more. He’s a battler and the home boy is doing FFC proud, he enjoys his time at Fulham and unless and offer does come in from an Arsenal or the like, he won’t look to jump ship. A modern day legend, and should be respected as one, our longest serving player and has provided us with some great memories.
The performance in that second half is up there with the quality of the whole QPR performance. You couldn’t have faulted it. Looking at the games ahead, I would happily lose to Everton if it meant winning the next three, unlikely with Man City away being one of them but a boy can wish. I do strongly believe we can go undefeated at home for the rest of the season and a couple of away wins could see us test teams like Liverpool and Newcastle for that 6th place spot. Come on the Fulham, I am looking forward to next season because of this is much like a transition under Martin Jol and he can get a whole transfer window and pre season to get his squad ready for the season ahead. It’s the first year in a while we will go two seasons with one manager but long may it continue, we could do with some managerial stability and after the criticism I have given him, I hope he continues our good form.