Author Topic: Wednesday Fulham Stuff - 07/04/21...  (Read 592 times)

Offline whitejc

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Wednesday Fulham Stuff - 07/04/21...
« on: April 07, 2021, 12:34:33 AM »
What Newcastle have to repeat against Burnley to keep ahead of Fulham in two-horse relegation race

Alan Shearer has anaylsed Newcastle's relegation prospects after Sunday's draw with Tottenham

Newcastle United must 'repeat the attacking intent' they showed against Tottenham if they are to achieve Premier League survival.

That is the verdict of Magpies' legend Alan Shearer who feels Newcastle 'have set the standard now' for the final eight games of the season.

Goals from Joelinton and Joe Willock cancelled out a brace from Harry Kane to secure a vital 2-2 draw.

It moved them three points clear of the relegation zone and Shearer has urged Steve Bruce's side to produce a repeat performance at Burnley next weekend.

"Bruce said afterwards that he was confident his side would stay up if they could maintain the performance level they produced against Spurs for the rest of the season, and I'd agree with him there - they have set the standard now," Shearer told BBC Sport.

"But, as part of that, they will also need to repeat the attacking intent they showed on Sunday, because previously we have not seen anything like enough of that from them.

"There have been plenty of occasions where they have been too negative, where they have played sideways or backwards and have ended up being pushed back.

"Right from the start against Spurs their attitude was different. Everything about them was much better than it was last time out in their 3-0 defeat at Brighton - although in fairness it could not really have been any worse.

"Bruce tweaked his system to play with two up front and it meant Newcastle got more men forward, which gave them more attacking options. They were on the front foot, passed the ball forward and got plenty of crosses into the box.

"It was a much more ambitious approach in every way and it allowed them to create lots of chances - they had more shots, 17, from inside the opposition box than they have managed in any other Premier League game this season.

"The fact Tottenham were so bad defensively obviously helped too - I said to Ian Wright before the game that I did not have great confidence in the Spurs back four and that Newcastle could cause them problems, and they did.

"Newcastle scored two and should have got more. Yes it was disappointing to see them give away the goals they did, especially the first one so soon after taking the lead, but a point was the very least they deserved from that display."

Despite defeats for Brighton and Burnley this weekend, as well as a shock 5-2 win for 19th placed West Brom at Chelsea, Shearer still sees it as a straight knockout between Newcastle and Fulham.

"I see it as a straight shootout between Newcastle and Fulham to decide who stays in the Premier League, and right now it's impossible to call," he added.

"Despite West Brom's miraculous win over Chelsea on Saturday, I think the Baggies are as good as down along with Sheffield United, so that leaves one relegation place to be filled.

"And while Newcastle could move level with Brighton and to within a point of Burnley if they win at Turf Moor next week to drag other teams into it, I think their survival relies on just one thing - finishing above Fulham.

"Will the Magpies do it? Well, I am always hopeful - I am just not hugely confident. This weekend went their way, and I hope the next one does too, but I can't be sure it will.

"The way Steve Bruce's side played in their 2-2 draw with Tottenham gives me a little bit more belief but next time, when they play the Clarets and Fulham take on Wolves, it could easily be the other way around."

Offline whitejc

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Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff - 07/04/21...
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2021, 12:35:28 AM »
Parker says ‘exceptional’ Mitrovic form ‘bodes well’ for Fulham

Fulham boss Scott Parker has welcomed the timely return to form of Aleksandar Mitrovic as his side fight to retain their Premier League status.

Mitrovic’s recent exploits for his country earned him his first club start for two months against Aston Villa on Sunday – the 26-year-old became Serbia’s all-time record scorer thanks to his five goals during the international break.

Clearly buoyed by his time away with Serbia, Mitrovic took that confidence into the game at Villa Park where he was a constant goal threat and menace to Villa’s central defenders before opening the scoring just after the hour mark.

Fulham lost 3-1 after conceding three times in 10 minutes late in the game, but Mitrovic’s performance was the big positive to take for Parker heading into the remaining seven matches of the season.

“I thought he was brilliant. He’s come off international duty with goals. Strikers, their main confidence source is goals,” said Parker, whose team are three points adrift of safety.

“So he’d earned the right to start and I was very pleased with his all-round game. People will judge him for his goals, I judge him for his all round play, his work ethic for the team, and I thought he was exceptional in that.

“The icing on the cake for him was his goal, it’s just a shame it wasn’t a goal which got us some points, but it bodes well for us going forward.”

The capitulation at Villa Park saw Fulham miss another chance to climb out of the bottom three, following a home defeat to Leeds prior to the international break, but Parker insists his players will respond.

“As always this year, when we have had bumps and a little adversity, we’ve come back. We’ve got another massive game (against Wolves) which we’ll be ready for, prepared for, hopefully better,” said the Cottagers boss.

Villa substitute Trezeguet changed the whole complexion of the game on Sunday, scoring his first two goals of the season in the space of three second-half minutes.

The Egyptian told the club website: “I am very happy for the goals, but I believe in myself.

“I believed it was coming because I work really hard with the team and individually. I train every day and work on anything I might be missing to get better.

“Sometimes things don’t go your way, but as long as you work hard, it will come. It just takes time, but it will come.”

Offline whitejc

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Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff - 07/04/21...
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2021, 12:41:25 AM »
Ivan Cavaleiro: the definitive breakdown
Once the wizard of worldies, now a man of paltry performances – we’ve seen a radical decline in the output of Ivan Cavaleiro. What exactly has happened to a winger who seemed to have the world at his feet? Our data analyst SW6Stats crunches the numbers.

While at the time I felt lukewarm about our transfer business in the summer of 2019, there was one player who I was more than delighted to see join the Whites. The loan of Ivan Cavaleiro from Wolves seemed to make a lot of sense to me. He had terrified Championship defenses just two years earlier, and (what felt like) a harsh drop from the Wolves’s first XI meant he was available at a very reasonable price.

Things started fantastically too for the Portuguese speedster. He rapidly endeared himself to the Fulham faithful with some killer performances, including a brace against Millwall and a last-minute peach of a winner at Huddersfield.

However, in the second half of the 2019/20 season, Ivan’s performances have seemed to slowly decline. Once the first name on the team sheet, he slowly fell down the pecking order and spent more and more time on the bench. Both goals and assists dried up, and fans were wondering what on earth happened to the player who started the season so brightly.

After last year’s decline in performances, I for one have been particularly perplexed as to why Scott has invested so much time in Cav in the Premier League. So I decided to dive into the data to see what’s happening. Why has Scotty stuck with Cavaleiro this year, and what’s been the cause of his general downturn in form?

So, how good has Cav been this season?
In short – mediocre at best.

Cavaleiro’s key metrics this season, compared to similar players

There’s never one perfect metric to define how good a player is, but if we review a variety of metrics against similar players we can understand relatively how good a player is in different areas.

So, what does the graphic tell us? You’re welcome to interpret is as you wish, but for me there are three key findings:

    Cavaleiro doesn’t shun his defensive responsibilities, which likely one of the main reasons Scott has persisted with him.
    His chance creation has been seriously disappointing.
    He’s taken a decent amount of shots, but his finishing has really let him down.

For me, the priority area of concern within this is his lack of chance creation. As an attacking winger, the creation of chances against defenses is your bread and butter – and indeed this has been classically where Cavaleiro has offered the most value for his team.

How far has Cav’s creativity declined?

Cavaleiro’s assist rate across the last four seasons

Well, it really doesn’t look great, does it? While it makes intuitive sense that a player will struggle to create chances in a higher league, the general decline over time shows a story of a player who hasn’t been able to continue on the strong trajectory he started at Wolves.

I’m a firm believer that a player, especially a young, Premier League professional, doesn’t regress overnight. So, if the player hasn’t changed too much, perhaps a switch in team tactics may have had an impact?

Has a change of system impacted him?
When moving from the Black Country to South-West London, Ivan moved between teams that have very different footballing philosophies.

Cavaleiro has less wing-back support since moving to Fulham

Wolves often played in a 3-4-3, or a 5-4-1, meaning Cavaleiro was continually supported with full-backs who pushed high up the pitch to support him. When playing in Fulham’s preferred four-at-the-back system, he’s had far less support from overlapping wing-backs to support wide play. His passes have often come back inside to more central midfield, providing less chance to penetrate defenses from wider areas.

Cavaleiro has passed less to full-backs at Fulham compared to his time at Wolves

While professional footballers should be able to adapt to team styles, there is a very intuitive argument that Cavaleiro would be more effective in a side that focuses more on wing-play than a side that creates chances through central midfield domination.

One of the benefits of combining a winger with a flying full-back is the ability to put more pressure on opposition full-backs. A full-back who has to be mindful of two attacking runners is likely to defend a marker less tightly, which provides more space for the attacking player. This may well be one of the reasons why Cavaleiro has been far less effective on the ball in a Fulham shirt compared to a Wolves one.

Cavaleiro’s dribbling success rate per season

Do we use Cav in his best position?
You may have noticed in the formation graphic above that Scott has relied more often on Ivan’s natural versatility than Nuno Espírito Santo, with the winger spreading minutes across the front line rather than sticking solidly to the right-wing area. While versatility is a huge asset and provides many more options for the team to work with, there is some evidence to suggest that this may be harming Cav’s individual output.

One of Cavaleiro’s core skills is his ability to create chances from out wide. Across his career, the majority of his chances created have come from moving the ball into the box from wide positions. Therefore, by moving him more centrally, as Scott has done frequently this season, Cavaleiro’s own output has suffered. It’s a role that Ivan has picked up for the good of the team, rather than his own performances.

Cavaleiro’s open-play chances created in England – clustered by similar passes

When playing in a more natural wide role, Cavaleiro has found more success with his output when on the right compared to the left. He’s been more successful with his crosses from the right flank, which makes sense for a predominantly right-footed player. Therefore by playing him out on the left-wing in an inverted role for most of the Championship seasons we were further nullifying one of his core skills.

Cavaleiro’s cross success per side of the field

There’s therefore a suggestion that Cav’s natural versatility may actually be harming his ability to put his best performances in – whereas if he selfishly stuck more closely to his favoured right-wing role he may have been more successful.

Here’s my theory
Phew. That was a lot of numbers. So how do we actually interpret this?

Firstly, I’d like to believe that we’ve learned some lessons from this signing. With any data analysis, context is king. Yes, Cavaleiro’s numbers were very strong in Wolves’ promotion season and were likely a core reason for us being interested in him. But how much of this output was inflated by Wolves playing a wing-heavy formation, which inflated his output? Can we better account for how a player may suit our team’s style in the future?

On top of playing in a sub-optimal team style, Cavaleiro has also often played in roles that help the team more than they help himself. While he’s not had a great output, he’s sacrificed his best role for the good of the team – and we should be more appreciative of him as a fanbase than we currently are.

However, even with this selflessness in mind, I honestly don’t think he’s got the quality we need to push higher up the table. The evidence suggests that he succeeds in a team that focuses heavily on wing play, however in a side that plays more centrally like ours things are unlikely to really click for him. There’s a reason why a forward-thinking club like Wolves ditched him as soon as they shifted towards a more central-focussed 3-5-2 system, a red flag we perhaps should have been more aware of at the time.

If we’re to stay up, an upgrade in this area should be one of the top priorities for Scott and Tony this summer.

Offline whitejc

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Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff - 07/04/21...
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2021, 12:46:24 AM »
'Hugh Grant paid my transfer fee!' Robbie Herrera recalls unique details of Fulham move

EXCLUSIVE: Fulham held a whip round in 1993 in a bid to raise funds for a new left-back. The club were unable to stump up the required £60,000... so in stepped Hugh Grant

Robbie Herrera joined the south-west London club in 1993 (Image: Action Images)

Fulham cult hero Robbie Herrera has recalled the fascinating story of Hugh Grant paying at least half of his £60,000 transfer fee in 1993.

Fulham had fallen on hard times in the early 1990s and were in the market for a new left-back, with Queens Park Rangers defender Herrera being identified as a target.

Then-Fulham chairman Jimmy Hill appealed to fans to donate what they could towards Herrera's transfer fee, but the club couldn't muster the funds.

Speaking exclusively to Mirror Sport, Herrera recalls: "I didn't know too much about it [the donation], when it came to the clubs agreeing on a deal, Fulham couldn't afford it.

"It went to a tribunal and I remember being in there in front of the FA panel.
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Fulham cult hero Herrera was at the Cottage for five years (Image: EMPICS Sport)

"When they said it was going to be £60,000 I thought, 'That's all right, they've got a bargain to be fair.' And Jimmy Hill, god bless him, said at the time, 'Financially we can't afford that.'

All hope looked to be lost for the struggling west London club, but then suddenly Fulham found themselves in the green.

"A few days later I got a call from Don [MacKay, ex-Fulham boss]," continues Herrera.

"It was deadline day and he said, 'When you finish training come over, we've managed to sort out the money,' and that was that."

Hugh Grant is a lifelong Fulham fan (Image: Getty Images)

Shortly after the transfer was complete a rumour emerged that film star and lifelong Fulham fan Hugh Grant had put up the money for the fee.

"Apparently he paid half of it," said Herrera. "It was a £30,000 down payment and then £30,000 after so many games, and I have been told - and it came from good sources - that he put down either the initial instalment or he was going to pay the final instalment.

"I got a bit of stick off some of the lads, like Simon Morgan, who was a close friend of mine, and we were roommates. But it was all harmless and good-natured."

Herrera never got the chance to meet Hugh, and the finer details of his transfer to Fulham remain shrouded in mystery.

But Herrera, who now manages Southern League Premier Division South side Dorchester Town, admits he'd have liked to have got the opportunity.

"No contact at all," said Herrera. "It would have been nice to have met him and to have said thanks, but I couldn't get anywhere near him."

Offline whitejc

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Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff - 07/04/21...
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2021, 12:47:24 AM »
Report: Southampton to sell £18m ace and £15m man, but forgotten man offered fresh start

Celtic loanee Moi Elyounoussi will be handed a second chance at Southampton while Mario Lemina and Wesley Hoedt are expected to be sold in the summer transfer window, as reported by The Athletic.

It has certainly been a mixed season for Southampton’s loan legion.

Lemina, the former Juventus ace who became Saints’ £18 million record signing not so long ago, scored a famous winner during Fulham’s 1-0 triumph at Anfield in March.

That will mean nothing, however, if Scott Parker’s brave-yet-flawed side fail to claw their way out of the Premier League relegation zone.

Elyounoussi, meanwhile, has produced 15 goals and six assists north of the border at Celtic.

Understandably, his personal exploits have been overshadowed during a dismal season for the dethroned Scottish champions.

According to The Athletic, however, Elyounoussi has done enough to convince the Saints he deserves a clean slate.

The former Basel winger, a £16 million signing in summer 2018, will be given the chance to impress head coach Ralph Hasenhuttl in pre-season.

Elyounoussi’s skill, versatility, goalscoring ability and left-footedness certainly stand him in good stead, even if his most recent Premier League appearance came almost two years ago.

The Athletic adds the same opportunity won’t be handed to Lemina, however. He, like Lazio loanee Wesley Hoedt, will become a free agent in 2022 and looks certain to have played his final game in red and white.

Finding buyers for Lemina and Hoedt would raise funds for new signings, with Southampton keen to bring in a right-back, left-back and a promising centre-forward.

Online blingo

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Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff - 07/04/21...
« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2021, 09:12:43 AM »
Great, as always JC. :)

Offline ScalleysDad

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Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff - 07/04/21...
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2021, 09:39:08 AM »
“Brave yet flawed”. That has to be a new description for us. I might have missed it but I did not see a barn door on the Cav graphics.

Thanks for these

Online LittleErn

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Re: Wednesday Fulham Stuff - 07/04/21...
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2021, 04:46:45 PM »
“Brave yet flawed”. That has to be a new description for us. I might have missed it but I did not see a barn door on the Cav graphics.

Thanks for these

You might have missed it- most of our forwards would.