Author Topic: Sunday Fulham Stuff - 11/04/21...  (Read 569 times)

Offline whitejc

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Sunday Fulham Stuff - 11/04/21...
« on: April 10, 2021, 05:28:40 PM »
Results

Saturday
Man City
1-2
Leeds
Liverpool
2-1
Villa
Palace
1-4
Chelsea
« Last Edit: April 10, 2021, 11:05:43 PM by whitejc »

Offline whitejc

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff - 11/04/21...
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2021, 07:14:19 PM »
Jack and Loz Not at the Cottage - Blog 175
Date: 9th April 2021

Opposition: Wolves

Score: 0-1

MOTM: it would be tempting to give this to Joachim Andersen who was spraying long and accurate passes around the pitch like a vintage Tom Cairney but he was edged out by Fulham’s own Antonee Robinson who played with purpose, grit, positivity and pace

Dinner: Loz - Fish pie and Chardonnay; Jack - Veggie pasta and Gavi

“Here we are with Goodbye in our eyes, running out of reasons to try.”

Fulham’s attempt to stay in the Premier League probably ended on Friday night. We use the word “attempt” advisedly because surely a competent team would have taken one of its many recent chances to claw its way out of the bottom three. But we use the word “probably” advisedly too because we are Fulham and anything can happen.

Fulham didn’t start the match like a team which was short on confidence but we didn’t start like one in desperate need of 3 points either. Scott Parker had freshened up the side (most notably with the introduction of Kongolo - more on him later) and the line-up looked good, give or take Ruben Whaata-Miss and the fact that Mitro and Maja weren’t starting together.

The game plan immediately became clear: long balls forward from Andersen and crosses into the box from Robinson and Tete. All 3 delivered but balls fell either to Mitro sandwiched by defenders or to Bobby dwarfed by defenders or to no one at all. We had a sustained period of attack and a fair amount of action in the box but the closest we came to scoring was a misdirected header from RLC. So not very close then.

As in the Villa game, a lucky escape just before half time should have served as a warning: Wolves were, Frankly, robbed by VAR; we were rescued but should have learnt from the experience.

The second half featured some strong attacking play. Harrison Reed was everywhere, tackling, intercepting, setting people up, even shooting. Antonee, Joa and Kenny continued their good work but we couldn’t score from open play, free kicks or corners. Wolves defended well but at no point did they have their backs against the wall as a side scrabbling for points threw everything at them.

Scott made some attacking subs which was, obviously, the right thing to do. RLC for Frank counts as an attacking sub because once he’d missed his header in the first half RLC did nothing. We would have taken off Lemina instead of Harrison but it probably wouldn’t have made any difference. Whilst we finally got to see Mitro and Maja play together for more then 5 minutes, the partnership was ineffective because, of course, they haven’t played together often enough!

The last minute winner was a cocktail cliche of a kick in the teeth and a nail in the coffin. A draw wouldn’t have done anyway and would only have prolonged another cliche.

The bottom line is: whoever was on the pitch, we never looked like scoring. We have now lost to depleted Villa and Wolves sides and, throwing another cliche into the mix, the writing is on the wall.

Back, briefly, to Kongolo. Dropping the accident prone Tosin (much as we like him) was the right decision - more than anyone, he is feeling the effects of the fight for survival - and Kongolo proved himself an adept replacement. But more than that, he proved that he could fit into a very potent Championship back line - Tete, Tosin, Kongolo and Robinson in front of proven Championship goalkeeper Rodak could turn the Cottage into a fortress again.......

Random musings:-

- we liked the fact that Wolves’ away kit is the colour of a full-bodied vintage port

- Nuno, on the other hand, was dressed for skiing

- the Wolves players went down very easily. At one point in the second half one of them literally won a free kick by falling over and shouting, “Ref!”

- when the Wolves goal was disallowed did anyone else think that the FA have their own narrative here - that they want it to go to the last game.....?

There are two courses open to Scott and the team now: sink under the pressure or fight the ever increasing odds. We know which they will do.

There are two courses open to fans now: resign ourselves to our fate and imagine that Championship back four, or rage against the dying of the light. The first is tempting but really not an option.

But there is something else to keep in mind however disappointed we are feeling at the moment. This has been a horrendous year and a stressful season. But very soon we will be back at Craven Cottage and we will be together again. And whatever league we’re in, that is all that really matters.



https://werdsmith.com/p/Rz9UCNEDt9BVU

Offline whitejc

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff - 11/04/21...
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2021, 08:49:06 AM »
Parker remains defiant in the face of increasingly worrying form as time starts to run out

Scott Parker insists his team will fight to the bitter end despite the potentially devastating impact of a last-gasp Friday night defeat against Wolves.

Fulham were toothless once more in front of goal as they slipped to a fourth successive defeat and all the hope generated by the fabulous win at Liverpool is in danger of unravelling.

They remain three points from safety and Newcastle - the team directly above them just above the dotted line - have two games in hand. With just six games to play, the odds are not looking great.

But the Whites boss said: "You saw in the scenes at the end of the game how desperate this team is to be successful. They care passionately.

"I asked the team to show fight, to show desire and leave everything on that pitch tonight and to a man - including those on the side - we did that.

"It's a cruel side of football sometimes. I'm older than these players and have experienced them. What's going to be the deciding factor is, when you get put to the canvas, to get back up, and we're going to need to do that.

"But we've done that for large parts of this year and when the chips are down and we've been put down, we get back up and we fight and we'll carry on doing that."

Parker added: "I understand that people from the outside will see this as a must-win game, but next week's game is going to be a must-win as well. But with that spirit and that desire, you've always got a chance and we'll come out swinging.

"I thought we were very well organised and limited them [Wolves] to very few chances. The game's been decided in the last minute and that's painful, of course, but my team did everything in its power to try and win the game.

"It's probably one of the most painful defeats this year but we'll go again. Can we go and win at Arsenal next week? Of course we can. When people have written us off, not expecting us to get a result against Liverpool or Leicester away, we've done that - through belief and resilience. That's what gives me hope and belief for the remaining games."



https://www.capitalfootball.co.uk/single-post/parker-remains-defiant-in-the-face-of-increasingly-worrying-form-as-time-starts-to-run-out


Offline whitejc

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff - 11/04/21...
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2021, 08:50:11 AM »
Sources: Fulham face contract dilemma as future of Middlesbrough loan man hangs in the balance

Fulham are unlikely to make a decision on Marcus Bettinelli’s future until the end of the season sources have exclusively told Football League World.

The goalkeeper faces an uncertain future with his contract at the club due to expire in June, however FLW understands that the Whites hold an option to extend his deal by another year if they so wish.

The 28-year-old’s chances of sticking around in West London are likely to depend on the club’s battle to avoid relegation from the Premier League, with a drop to the Championship potentially opening the door to a future in the capital.

If they preserve their top flight status then it could mean that Bettinelli is allowed to move on, however that decision won’t be made until the summer.

Should the goalkeeper leave Craven Cottage then Middlesbrough could be among the clubs interested in a move this summer.

The stopper has spent the season on loan at the Riverside Stadium and with Neil Warnock keen to sign a goalkeeper before the new season starts his potential availability could give food for thought.

Any potential interest from the Teessiders will hinge on the goalkeeper’s demands as Middlesbrough look to trim their wage bill ahead of the new season.

Given that Bettinelli is on a substantial package with Fulham at present, any return to the Riverside Stadium could be tricky to pull off.



https://footballleagueworld.co.uk/sources-middlesbrough-open-to-signing-28-year-old-on-permanent-deal/

Offline whitejc

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff - 11/04/21...
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2021, 08:51:20 AM »
Fulham gift Newcastle another golden opportunity they can ill afford to pass up against Burnley

Wolves beat Fulham 1-0 at Craven Cottage last night thanks to a stoppage time winner from Adama Traore

Surely Newcastle United can't mess it up again?

After being down and out after a dreadful 3-0 defeat to Brighton three weeks ago which made them favourites for relegation, victory at Burnley on Sunday will surely all but seal their place in the Premier League next season.

With one fell swoop of Adama Traore's boot, the relegation race was flipped on its head at Craven Cottage on Friday evening as Wolves nicked a 1-0 win at Fulham.

Cottagers boss Scott Parker was slumped in the dugout and midfielder Mario Lemina left the field in tears. Wolves' burly winger had taken a huge hammer-blow to their survival hopes and the psychological damage could be irreparable.

It will certainly feel that way if Newcastle beat Burnley on Sunday to stretch the gap between themselves and 18th-placed Fulham to six points with a game in hand.

It is an opportunity Newcastle must seize but, of course, we have been here before.

Three weeks ago Leeds did Newcastle a similar favour, beating Fulham on a Friday evening before the Magpies headed to relegation rivals Brighton and on that occasion, the Magpies put in their worst performance of the Steve Bruce era - and there has been some competition for that title.

United were put to the sword in a 3-0 defeat at the Amex and Bruce faced calls from both fans and media to be sacked.

His side produced a reaction in last week's spirited 2-2 draw with Tottenham, though, to ease that pressure slightly but the challenge now for Newcastle is to replicate that at Turf Moor.

Magpies legend Alan Shearer called on Newcastle to repeat the attacking intent they showed against Jose Mourinho's side but Bruce was quick to address the need for balance in response.

Nonetheless, Newcastle shouldn't go to Lancashire with the intention of being reserved and timid in their attacking output.

Bruce has spoken about the 'accumulation of points' and if Newcastle keep on picking up draws between now and the end of the season, it may well be enough to avoid relegation.

It would be a risk, though, to set up with that mentality and with a clash against a Burnley side who have won just once in their last seven matches, Newcastle should go for the jugular against a side they have already beaten well this season. Go out and get the win that will give them massive breathing space heading into a run of difficult fixtures including West Ham, Liverpool, Arsenal, Leicester and Manchester City.

Newcastle let a glorious opportunity pass them by at Brighton three weeks ago. They can ill afford to make that same mistake again.



https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/fulham-gift-newcastle-another-golden-20358191

Offline whitejc

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff - 11/04/21...
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2021, 08:53:46 AM »
7 aerials won, 4 shots: Fulham star put in a solid performance despite defeat vs Wolves

Despite losing 1-0 to Wolverhampton Wanderers, Fulham’s star man Aleksandar Mitrovic put in a solid display on Friday night.

Mitrovic can’t be accused of slacking off against Wolves, with the centre-forward working hard despite losing the match.

Parker’s men are in danger

Fulham are now in real danger of being relegated from the Premier League, with three points separating them from Newcastle United in 17th place.

What makes the situation even worse for Scott Parker’s side, is the fact they have also played two more matches than the Magpies – giving Steve Bruce’s team two games in hand.

That could mean the gap between the two sides could become as large as nine points.

Mitrovic against Wolves

When Fulham’s star man faced Wolves, Mitrovic had plenty of shots – getting four in total.

However, only one of them managed to hit the target and the Serbian international failed to make the most of his chances.

Mitrovic can’t really be blamed for failing to score, the centre-forward only touched the ball 43 times, which gave him very little time to create chances.

The powerful forward had plenty of success in the air, winning more aerial duels than any other player.

Mitrovic managed to win seven aerial duels in total, two more than Wolves’ Leander Dendoncker.

Fulham are going to need the centre-forward to keep up these performances, otherwise, their relegation situation could become a reality sooner rather than later.



https://www.thefocus.news/football/7-aerials-won-4-shots-fulham-star-put-in-a-solid-performance-despite-defeat-vs-wolves/


Offline whitejc

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff - 11/04/21...
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2021, 08:54:52 AM »
Fulham will ‘come out swinging’ despite ‘cruel’ Wolves defeat, Scott Parker insists

Fulham remain three points from safety after Friday’s defeat to Wolves

Scott Parker insisted Fulham will come out fighting after Adama Traore’s last-gasp winner leaves the Cottagers three points adrift of safety.

In added time, Traore escaped down the right before firing home to secure his side’s first victory since mid-February.

Wolves striker Willian Jose had earlier been denied his first goal since joining on loan when his well-weighted header in first-half stoppage time was ruled out for an offside by Daniel Podence following a VAR review.

On their third opportunity to move out of the bottom three for the first time since December, Fulham again fell short, slumping to their fourth successive defeat.

Parker said: “It’s a tough one to take. It’s not going to be a tough one to bounce back from.

“It’s a painful one tonight and you obviously see that at the end of the game with the scenes of this team and how desperate this team are to be successful.

“I asked the team to show fight, to show desire, to leave everything on the pitch tonight and to a man, we did that. It’s a cruel side of football sometimes.

“Like a lot of these players, I’ve not just experienced painful moments in football, I’ve also experienced them in life and what’s going to be the deciding factor is, sometimes when you get put to the canvas, one of the tests of real character is to get back up and we’re going to need to do that.

“We’ve done that for large parts of this year, when the chips are down we get back up and we fight and we keep on doing that, and that’s the reason that we’re in the position we’re in.

“We find ourselves in this position where we are, but we’ve got a fighting chance because of what you see at the end of the game, a team and a group of players that are desperate. This is a group of players that feel passionately about being successful this year, and with that spirit and with that desire you’ve always got a chance.

“We will continue, painful, hurt and disappointing tonight but as always you get your guard up and you come out swinging, and that’s what we’ll do.”

PA



https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/premier-league/fulham/wolves-result-table-relegation-b1829477.html

Offline whitejc

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff - 11/04/21...
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2021, 08:56:05 AM »
Leicester City: Rodgers must swoop for Fulham’s Joachim Andersen

Leicester City could be set to compete with Premier League rivals for the signature of on-loan Fulham man Joachim Andersen.

The defender, who is spending a season at Craven Cottage on a temporary deal from Lyon, is apparently interesting a number of teams in the English top flight including Leicester, according to The Telegraph.

The Foxes could seal the perfect Jonny Evans successor should they swoop for the Dane.

Despite Scott Parker’s Fulham having endured a difficult season back in the Premier League, Andersen has impressed. The 24-year-old has made 26 appearances in the Premier League throughout 2020/21, leading the Cottagers to nine clean sheets and even captaining the side on 13 occasions.

His defensive statistics are also eye-catching, with the £13.5m-rated centre-back having racked up 7.3 defensive contributions per game in the league this season according to WhoScored. For context, current Leicester defender Evans only contributes 6.2 defensive actions per game.

On the topic of the Northern Ireland centre-back, the King Power Stadium hierarchy can draw inspiration from the deal which saw him arrive in the east Midlands back in 2018.

Relegated to the Championship with West Bromwich Albion that year, the Foxes swooped for his signature for what now looks like a bargain £3.5m fee. In the time since, Evans has made 105 appearances for the club and has forged supremely impressive partnerships with the likes of Wesley Fofana and Caglar Soyuncu.

It was the second time in as many seasons that the Foxes had looked to demoted clubs for defensive recruits, with Harry Maguire coming in from relegated Hull City in 2017.

Brendan Rodgers could potentially sign another defender this summer, with Wes Morgan and Evans now on the wrong side of 30 and the forgotten Filip Benkovic looking unlikely to be the solution.

Should Andersen suffer relegation with Fulham come the end of the season, Leicester really should lodge a bid with his current employers Lyon and attempt to extend his stay in England.



https://www.footballfancast.com/leicester-city-transfer-rumours/leicester-city-brendan-rodgers-transfer-news-rumours-fulham-lyon-joachim-andersen-opinion

Offline whitejc

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff - 11/04/21...
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2021, 08:58:08 AM »
Michael Jackson's Fulham visit: King of Pop stunned half-naked players 21 years ago

Pop star Michael Jackson paid a surprise visit to Fulham as a guest of Mohamed Al-Fayed in 1999, with the Cottagers running out 2-0 victors against Wigan Athletic in the third division clash

Not many clubs in the third-tier of English football get high-profile visitors from the world of pop music, but that's exactly what happened 21 years ago when Michael Jackson - the King of Pop himself - rocked up at Fulham.

Jackson was coaxed to Craven Cottage by chairman Mohamed Al Fayed after spending the morning showing the singer around department store Harrods, which Al Fayed also owned at the time.

The pop star didn't exactly witness a thriller, with Fulham running out 2-0 winners over Wigan, but his presence was enough to startle the Cottagers' semi-naked players after the match.

"Most of us were half-naked, having showers, in good spirits because we’d won," goalkeeper Maik Taylor recalled in an interview with the Guardian last year.

"Al Fayed was a great character and great among the lads in the dressing room. He came in leading Michael Jackson, and his quote, which made us all howl hysterically, as he came in was: ‘Hide your willies boys.’

"He came in and met the guys briefly, then we all agreed to get our clothes on and go back out on to the pitch to have our photos with him."

"We all got a signed photo of him with the team – I don’t have it on the wall or anything, but I’ve still got it.

"At that point he’s one of most famous guys on the planet. I’m still a fan now of his music – I’ve been to watch the musical Thriller in London; incredible talent."

Jackson reportedly enjoyed his experience and commented after the match: "I’m a soccer fan now, definitely."

The pop star was later immortalised at Craven Cottage when a statue bearing his likeness was unveiled outside the ground in 2011.

Al-Fayed sold Fulham two years later, with new owner Shahid Khan tearing down the statue and donating it to the National Football Museum in Manchester.



https://www.dailystar.co.uk/sport/football/michael-jackson-fulham-premier-league-23889411


Offline whitejc

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff - 11/04/21...
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2021, 08:59:23 AM »
Joachim Anderson profiled as Manchester United 'monitor' Fulham loanee ahead of summer transfer

The Danish centre-back has impressed in his debut Premier League season despite the Cottagers' struggles at the bottom of the table.

Manchester United are reportedly looking at on-loan Fulham defender Joachim Andersen as a summer recruit.

The Lyon centre-back has impressed at the heart of the Cottagers' defence which is likely to spark a bidding war for his services.

MEN Sport understands that Manchester United are prioritising a move for Erling Haaland and a centre-back in the summer window, with Pau Torres and Ben White two defenders of interest.

Andersen will return to Lyon in the summer but his long-term future remains in doubt, further complicated by Fulham's battle to avoid an immediate return to the Championship, with United amongst those monitoring the situation according to The Telegraph.

Here's a lowdown on the big defender and whether he could be moving to Old Trafford.

How has Andersen fared at Fulham?

Andersen has been a mainstay in the Fulham defence after overcoming an injury early on in the season, making 25 appearances in total.

The 24-year-old has spent the season at Craven Cottage but they do not have the option to buy him at the end of the season.

Despite only being on loan, Andersen has captained Fulham for most of the season in the absence of Tom Cairney.

What has Andersen said about his future?

Speaking at the start of 2021, Andersen admitted he would like to stay in the Premier League beyond his loan spell.

“The Premier League is the world’s biggest showcase. If you do well here, lots of opportunities will probably open up, which was also one of the reasons why I chose the Premier League,” he explained.

“Whether it is in Lyon, in Fulham or at another club, we’ll have to look at that this summer. It’s important to me that the coach shows me confidence and trusts me – as is now the case with Scott Parker. Otherwise, it does not really make sense for either party.”

Would Lyon sell him?

The financial impact of French football's collapsed TV deal puts Lyon in a vulnerable position. According to their latest financial reports, the club lost over £30million last year.

With interest in several key players such as Houssem Aouar and Memphis Depay, who is likely to leave for free, Lyon could be willing to part with Andersen for £25million to raise some funds for Depay's replacement.

Who is in the market for him?

The Telegraph state that Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur and Leicester City are among the teams keeping a close eye on Andersen’s situation.

Whether they would opt for Andersen, who is similar in many ways to Maguire, remains to be seen.

One important factor behind their interest in Torres is the balance he would bring to their defence as a left-footed option.



https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/andersen-profiled-transfer-manchester-united-20346428

Offline whitejc

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff - 11/04/21...
« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2021, 09:00:33 AM »
Paul Merson says relegation fight has 'got to Fulham' as Newcastle gain upper hand in survival bid

Fulham were beaten 1-0 by Wolves to hand Newcastle a major advantage in the battle to avoid relegation from the Premier League

The Premier League's relegation fight has 'got to Fulham' as Newcastle have been handed a major advantage in the battle for survival.

That is the frank verdict of former Arsenal and England midfielder Paul Merson who believes the pressure has got to the Cottagers in their bid to beat the drop.

Fulham were beaten 1-0 by Wolves on Friday evening as Adama Traore's stoppage time winner proved to be a hammer blow for their survival hopes.

It left Newcastle three points clear of the bottom three with two games in hand over Scott Parker's side, who now face four away trips in their final six matches of the season.

Just three weeks ago, bookmakers made Newcastle favourites for relegation ahead of Fulham following their 3-0 defeat to Brighton and Merson feels the pressure has got to the Cottagers since then.

"I think it has got to Fulham a little bit," Merson told Sky Sports' Gillette Soccer Saturday.

"When we were talking and saying Fulham would be relegated, they were all right. The reins were off, they were free flowing and they had a go.

"They weren't getting results but putting in performances and then it got to a stage where we thought Fulham were going to get out of it and catch Newcastle and take them over.

"Since then, even at Villa last week. They went 1-0 up but you could see Villa getting back even though they can't score goals for toffee.

"Yesterday it seemed like they wanted to stay in the game and try to nick a goal when really they should have taken the game to Wolves and gone 100 miles an hour.

"These are cup finals and you can't wait. I think that's the problem, I think it has got to the whole club."



https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/paul-merson-says-relegation-fight-20359109

Offline whitejc

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Re: Sunday Fulham Stuff - 11/04/21...
« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2021, 09:03:07 AM »
Anguissa’s absence mirrors Fulham’s fall

As Fulham fell to defeat against Wolverhampton Wanderers on the evening when the headlines were dominated by the sad passing of Prince Phillip, making it four losses on the bounce and extending the side’s poor home form this season, Andre Frank Zambo Anguissa began proceedings on Scott Parker’s bench once again. Despite being perhaps the most talented player in the Riverside outfit’s roster, the midfielder only made his appearance in the 63rd minute. So, what has led to him being dropped to the bench in recent weeks?

Just a few weeks ago, the Cameroonian international was the first name on the team sheet. Parker looked towards him to provide an element of defensive stability, stopping the flow of goals that leaked past Fulham’s defence early in the season. He was deployed deep in the midfield, creating a fairly effective midfield duo alongside a box-to-box midfielder, as Lemina and Reed constantly rotated. However, Anguissa was able to sure up the defence whilst simultaneously making lung-busting runs forward with a beautiful balance of grace and power.

This was an important part of the 5-2-3 system that was first adopted against Leicester City in late November for attacking reasons as well, as Frank is able to break a press and add a creative element with his sublime passing – something that was crucial as the side’s number 10 was sacrificed for defensive numbers. Therefore, for many, Anguissa, who has previously been linked to Real Madrid, is the epitome of a segundo volante, defining the position with a unique mix of technical and physical prowess. In Zambo’s case, he is able to do everything that is needed of him. Well, except shoot.

This is an invaluable player to have, one that draws many envious comparisons from rival fans, such as that with Bissouma of Brighton and Hove Albion. However, as the Whites began to scramble for points to beat the looming drop, Anguissa himself has found himself dropped. Multiple changes in system and formation has led to Parker moving away from what had become a fairly settled 5-2-3 to multiple variations of four-at-the-back as he attempted to inject some creativity into the side with the re-introduction of a number 10 as Fulham struggled for goals.

Parker first tested a 4-2-3-1 in Fulham’s 0-0 draw with West Ham at the Cottage in early February, with Anguissa dropped to making a substitute appearance as the ex-Hammers man selected Reed and Lemina for a double pivot behind Ruben Loftus-Cheek. At the time, this was simply attributed to rotation as he had been substituted off against Leicester in the game before, having started all five league games in 2021. Fatigue began to show as he put in some displays that weren’t quite up to the standard that we had come to expect from him.

In fact, the fatigue was showing for the whole squad in January and February after Fulham’s COVID-19 outbreak. Whilst the no specific names of those who caught the virus were announced, the break clearly affected everyone, whether infected or not. Two weeks without training is a long time for footballers, just long enough for individuals to lose fitness and sharpness – especially if suffering from long-COVID, which has had a variety of effects on sufferers, with some athletes reporting that they are lacking energy and the lung capacity that they once had. Whether Anguissa was suffering the symptoms of this disease we don’t know, however the effects were there to be seen even as the squad carried on putting in impressive performances.

Over the coming games, it became abundantly clear that Anguissa was not at his best. The tactical reasons behind his drop-off in form after the introduction of the number 10 are fairly simple. The very presence of someone in that position dampens the need of creativity from deeper down the pitch, rendering the segundo volante role less potent going forward.

This is because the pocket of space that Frank would normally run into becomes crowded with Loftus-Cheek and whichever defender is assigned to marking him, disrupting the large space that once would have been left between the opposition’s defensive and midfield lines. A large part of the segundo volante’s role is to burst into this space, attracting opposition players and pulling them out of position, so allowing wingers to slip into the spaces that are left along their backline. Therefore, the presence of both a segundo volante and a number 10 within the same formation, in this case, had an inhibitive effect on both Anguissa and Loftus-Cheek.

After Anguissa was phased out of the starting eleven, many noted just how well Reed was playing alongside Lemina. This is because the omission of the segundo volante role allowed the box-to-box role to have more expressive freedom. Harrison’s role was once to simply win the ball and give it to Anguissa, who would charge up the pitch like a bull. Then, Reed would shadow Zambo, staying slightly further down the pitch to try and prevent an opposition counterattack. Now, Reed and Lemina are free to add the creative element to their own game, no longer restricted in their role, thus explaining some of the impressive performances that we have seen from both, even if the scoreline doesn’t necessarily reflect the team’s performance.

Now, it seems as though Parker has chosen to stick with a midfield duo of Reed and Lemina – even as he returned to the 5-2-3 formation against Wolves. There are various reasons for this, however, whether the team is truly better off without him in the first XI is up for debate – especially as the defence seems to have returned to its leaky ways and the attack is still spluttering. With only 6 games left to save our souls, Parker must find a solution and quickly. Despite some of Loftus-Cheek’s impressive displays, quantitatively his return is awful. He is also far too inconsistent for my liking – especially as he seems to be inhibited by multiple players such as Cavaleiro, not just Anguissa.

So, could a 4-3-3 work with Anguissa playing as a deep lying midfielder with Lemina and Reed playing just in front of him? What do you think?



https://hammyend.com/index.php/2021/04/anguissas-absence-mirrors-fulhams-fall/