Author Topic: Monday Fulham Stuff - 01/11/21...  (Read 781 times)

Offline whitejc

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Monday Fulham Stuff - 01/11/21...
« on: November 01, 2021, 12:40:26 AM »
Promotion-chasing West Brom hit by major blow for Hull City visit

Both sides meet in midweek on the back of dispiriting defeats at the weekend

West Brom will be without Darnell Furlong for Wednesday night’s home clash with struggling Hull City, after the defender was shown a straight red card in Saturday’s 3-0 thumping at Fulham.

Albion suffered their third successive away defeat to lose ground in the promotion race, while Fulham backed up last Sunday’s 4-0 win at Nottingham Forest with a convincing home victory courtesy of Aleksander Mitrovic’s hat-trick.

Furlong’s sending off came with Albion 2-0 down at the Cottage and was a little controversial, after he appeared to get a touch to the ball before taking down Harry Wilson when through on goal.

Referee Michael Salisbury opted to produce a red card to Furlong with 20 minutes left and Mitrovic added his third eight minutes from time, though there was still time for Fulham’s Tosin Adarabioyo to see red for a late challenge on Grady Diangana.

 "I think that it’s the same story week in week out away from home,” bemoaned boss Valerian Ismael.

"As long as we make mistakes you will be punished. It was the same against Bristol last week, we won 3-0 but some mistakes weren’t punished, but today that wasn’t the case.

"On the first goal, it’s a penalty, but just before the penalty we lost the ball too easily, and I don’t want to speak about if it was a penalty or not because we lost the ball again.

"But that doesn’t matter because at 1-0 down we were able to come back into the game. It’s not a problem if you concede a goal but the second goal for sure made the situation much more difficult for us to come back in the game.

"I told the guys at half time to put in the performance and make sure we can score to come back in the game to start again, but I think we played well and created enough chances to score.

"Fulham was much better than us, very strong, but it was our mistake and this is the reason we lost today.

"On one side it’s a good thing because you can avoid this, but need to work on it for the next game."

Offline whitejc

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff - 01/11/21...
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2021, 12:42:01 AM »
Startling Aleksandar Mitrovic stat shows just how prolific Fulham striker is this season

The Cottagers' centre-forward already has a whopping 18 Championship goals to his name - and there are still two-thirds of the campaign remaining

Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic has earned deserved praise for his mind-boggling goal tally this season.

The Serbian fired a second hat-trick of the season in Saturday's 3-0 win over promotion rivals West Bromwich Albion.

That took the 27-year-old's tally in the Championship to 18 - by far and away making him the deadliest poacher in England right now.

Even more remarkable is that his tally has come inside 15 games, barely a third of the campaign. Fulham chief Marco Silva was full of appreciation for Mitrovic.

Speaking post-match after seeing his side open up a four-point cushion over the third-placed Baggies, he said: "Strikers that score 18 goals in 15 games, I think the numbers are there. They speak for themselves.

"Of course a striker cannot win games alone, but if you have a striker who has this capacity to score goals, we should keep creating for him.

"When a striker is scoring and scoring, I don't need to speak to him. His job is done, I have to work on other things with him because his confidence is high.

"His team-mates are helping him and we have to keep the momentum. I'm pleased to see Mitro in a good mood, but also working hard as well."

 Mitrovic will now surely have Ivan Toney's all-time Championship goal record of 31 within his sights. The Serbian requires just 14 more goals to beat that and will be confident of doing so given his red-hot form and the fact he has 31 more league games in which to do it.

The scale of his goalscoring is also shown by the fact that he has scored more individual goals than TEN Championship sides so far this season.

Derby County, Barnsley, Hull, Cardiff, Peterborough, Preston, Bristol City, Birmingham, Millwall and Middlesbrough have all scored 17 goals or less after 15 games so far this term.

Additionally, Mitrovic's 18 strikes are the same amount as Swansea City and sixth-placed Blackpool have scored in total.

He is arguably in the form of his life and he gets another opportunity to add even further to his tally on Wednesday night when the Cottagers travel to Blackburn Rovers.

Speaking after his treble against Albion, Mitrovic said: "Playing like this, I'm sure I'm going to score a lot of goals. I know the chances will come and it's about being ready to put them in the net."

Offline whitejc

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff - 01/11/21...
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2021, 12:47:46 AM »
3 things we clearly learnt about Fulham after 3-0 win v WBA

In a battle of two of the favourites for automatic promotion from the Championship season, there was a resounding success for Fulham who made it four wins on the bounce against West Bromwich Albion.

Both teams went into the Saturday lunchtime match on the back of victories last weekend, but the Baggies were powerless to stop the Cottagers on this occasion.

Of course it was all down to one man in the end and that was Aleksandar Mitrovic who fired in a hat-trick against Valerien Ismael’s side, but the Fulham defence played an important role as well to keep the visitors at bay.

Let’s look at THREE things we learnt from watching the London outfit’s demolition job of West Brom.

Mitrovic is inevitable
Aleksandar Mitrovic and the Championship go hand in hand – they’re simply the perfect match.

The Serb didn’t have the best campaign in 2020-21 in the top flight under Scott Parker, but he’s proving that he still has that touch of class after firing in a hat-trick against the Baggies.

One of the goals was absolutely gifted to him by Robert Snodgrass but you have to be in the right place at the right time and he specialises in doing that.

Mitrovic’s goalscoring record for the season now stands at 18 goals in 15 matches – that’s quite simply remarkable and at his current rate he will score over 50 goals in the Championship by the end of the season, unless someone makes a bid that Fulham accept in January…

The strength in depth is frightening
With Fulham 3-0 up in the second half, Marco Silva took the chance to bring off three of his players with less than 10 minutes to go – and the substitutions just proved that their squad is scary.

Mitrovic, Harrison Reed and Neeskens Kebano came off and on came summer recruit Rodrigo Munoz, as well as teenage prodigy Fabio Carvalho and the experienced Tom Cairney.

That’s a quality trio to be able to call upon and if they were on the pitch for a bit longer more goals could have been in the offing, but they got some minutes in their legs ahead of the midweek fixtures.

Tosin isn’t perfect
There can’t really be a question that Tosin Adarabioyo is one of the best defenders in the Championship, but he showed a bit of an ugly side to his game when he was sent off in the second half.

The centre-back crunched into the back of Grady Diangana with a bit of a horror tackle and was deservedly given a straight red card, meaning that he will miss Fulham’s next three matches.

That will be a blow for Silva who now can’t call upon his pace, athleticism and height which compliments Tim Ream very well, and after seeing the tackle he put in on Diangana it’s clearly something he’s got to work on and eliminate from his game.

Offline whitejc

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff - 01/11/21...
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2021, 12:51:46 AM »
3 things we clearly learnt about West Brom after 3-0 loss v Fulham

After taking a step forward against Bristol City last weekend by winning 3-0, West Bromwich Albion took two steps back after registering the same scoreline this weekend against Fulham.

The only caveat was that all the goals went against the Baggies on a wretched afternoon in west London, where at times they were the makers of their own downfall.

West Brom were still trying to battle back into the game when Darnell Furlong was sent off on 70 minutes, and 12 minutes later Aleksandar Mitrovic completed his hat-trick to seal the Midlands side’s fate.

It’s not a game that Baggies fans will want to look back on too much but let’s look at three things we learnt about West Brom yesterday.

Snodgrass not the force of old
At his peak, Robert Snodgrass was very capable of scoring goals in the Premier League but on recent showings for West Brom it’s safe to say that he may have lost his magic.

Naturally a wide player, Snodgrass has been positioned in the engine room due to the absence of Alex Mowatt with injury, and the Scotland international has only just returned from injury struggles of his own that occurred last season.

But he didn’t look entirely comfortable against the powerhouses of Fulham and it was evident when he woefully under-hit a back-pass to Sam Johnstone, leaving Mitrovic with a simple one-on-one to make it 2-0.

Snodgrass in midfield seems like a short-term solution to the injury issues and even though he played well against Bristol City last week, it doesn’t look like it will work against the better teams.

They miss Mowatt
Alex Mowatt’s influence has been understated since he signed for the Baggies from Barnsley and the fact he arrived on a free transfer makes it even more value for money.

A foot problem though saw him come off against Stoke City but after recovering over the international break, he suffered a similar fate against Birmingham City and he’s been absent for the last three matches.

West Brom have lost two of those so it’s clear to see that they’re missing his creativity in the middle of the pitch, but it’s doubtful that he will be rushed back.

He needs to be fully-fit for the tough fixture list ahead after the two week November break and his return will be welcomed.

Lack of a cutting edge
West Brom certainly had chances to score on Saturday but they failed to take any of them.

Four shots on target were recorded but a cutting edge is definitely lacking throughout the team, except for Karlan Grant who has found his feet.

He has seven for the season and the next best scorer is on three, so it’s clear to see that there’s issues at the top end of the pitch.

Jordan Hugill started up-front but after breaking his Baggies duck against Bristol City last week it was a fruitless weekend for the striker against Fulham – he and his team-mates really need to do more in-front of goal.

Offline whitejc

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff - 01/11/21...
« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2021, 12:53:54 AM »
Baggies fall short in battle with Fulham and the referee

Fulham 3 West Brom 0

At Craven Cottage, Albion fell to a third defeat in five games to leave them four points off the top two and nine points behind leaders, Bournemouth. The margin of victory was particularly harsh and, while Fulham probably deserved to win the game on the balance of play, it was a match that was hugely influenced by two poor decisions by referee, Michael Salisbury.

It is admirable that Valérien Ismaël refused to blame the referee for the defeat, pointing instead to mistakes in the lead up to the situations that gave the man in the middle a decision to make, but there is no doubt in my mind that the decisions massively impacted the outcome of the game.

As a former referee myself, I have some sympathy with all referees as it is an incredibly difficult job. I’m sure they were honest mistakes, but there are some basic refereeing principles that I feel he failed to adhere to with the penalty decision in particular. Firstly, he was incredibly quick in giving the decision – good referees will always given themselves a second or two to weigh things up – and to give a penalty, you really need to be 100% sure and I find it difficult to believe that he felt that. From my position in the away end, it was abundantly clear that Bartley had won the ball cleanly and, while Salisbury would have had a different angle, I cannot understand how he got it that wrong nor why he didn’t appear to consult his assistant.

The bigger surprise is that Michael Salisbury is actually a “Select Group” referee having been promoted to the list able to referee in the Premier League last season after just one campaign in the Championship. He is yet to officiate in the top flight, however, and this showing suggests he is not ready.

The most annoying thing is that it was a decision that changed the entire game. It had been a fairly even contest until then, but Fulham looked a much more confident side once a goal up. Obviously, we handed them a second goal, although I’m still not sure if Seri got a toe onto the ball and, if he did, surely Mitrović should have been ruled offside? I did see the referee looking at his assistant in the immediate aftermath.

Not that Albion were without their chances, although most came from set pieces before the break. After half time, the Baggies looked much more threatening and, had Conor Townsend’s cross shot either found the corner or Hugill’s boot, it could have been a very different outcome.

The visitors were on top in the second half up until the second decisive and incorrect decision, the red card for Furlong. It was perhaps a more forgivable error than the first but my first instinct what that the Albion wing back had played the ball.

Taking the refereeing decisions out of the game, it was a much closer contest that the scoreline suggests in my opinion, and the key difference between the sides was Aleksandar Mitrović. Never was the number nine-shaped hole in the Albion squad more evident and it must the club’s priority to address in January. The hope is that the Baggies can keep in touch with the top two in the meantime.

I’ve see plenty of cricitism of Ismaël’s decision to recall Livermore to the squad and, while it is not a decision I would have made, I think Livermore had a reasonable game. The twitterati have also been out lambasting individual players for this mistake and that mistake, and it just shows how little some of these individuals understand the game. If these players didn’t make mistakes, they would be playing in the Premier League – the fact remains that the majority of Championship clubs would swap squads with us in a heartbeat. However, the social media over-reaction to a defeat is to be expected these days.

This is a match that Albion need to put behind them and move on to back-to-back home games that they will be expected to win to head into the final international break of the year in good form.

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff - 01/11/21...
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2021, 12:54:45 AM »
Mitro’s on fire

The numbers are staggering. Aleksandar Mitrovic, a man who seemed surplus to requirements at Craven Cottage last season, has scored eighteen goals in fifteen games – and nobody in English football has found the net more often this term.

Scott Parker’s decision to exclude Mitrovic from a side scrapping for their lives at the foot of the Premier League last season was mystifying. The Serbian striker seemed certain to leave in the summer had Parker remained at the helm, but the arrival of Marco Silva changed everything. The Portuguese head coach, with his own ambitions of repairing his reptuation in this country, quickly made clear that Fulham’s number nine was crucial to his plans – and set up designing his team to make the most of Mitrovic’s considerable strengths.

Mitrovic’s second hat-trick of the season won a critical three points yesterday against another of the Championship’s promotion contenders. He showed a commendable coolness from twelve yards – something that hasn’t always been the case – to capitalise on a generous penalty award and moved sharply to seize upon a wretched mistake from Robert Snodgrass. But my favourite moment of the afternoon came in the immediate aftermath of Mitrovic’s third, beautifully created by a clever cut back from Harry Wilson, when he roared in celebration together with the Hammersmith End.

Seeing Mitrovic playing football with a smile on his face again is something special. None of us have enjoyed the past year but the Serbian struggled with lockdown, coronavirus and his own relationship with a manager who failed to believe in him. It seems staggering that Ivan Cavaleiro was considered a more credible goalscoring option when the Whites were desperate for firepower up top – and Silva’s clever deployment of Fulham’s biggest asset has got his side fully firing.

Mitrovic’s value within the eighteen yard box has never been in question. He will test the concentration, physicality, judgement and desire of every centre back he comes up against. But Silva also uses him as the focal point of Fulham’s attack by recognising that Smederevo-born striker is more than just a mere target man. He has immense value in linking the play and not just with his chest or head: Mitrovic is capable of deft touches with his feet and has an eye for a pass as well.

Saturday’s treble took him on to 71 Fulham goals and fifteenth place in the club’s all-time scoring charts. He is a single strike behind Dean Coney – and, having only turned 27 last month, should be a decent bet to bring a century in the black and white if not challenge the likes of Bedford Jezzard, Johnny Haynes and Gordon Davies at the very top of the list. His scoring record at this level is insane and this season he has scored more goals individually than ten clubs in the Championship. He is on track to easily eclipse Ivan Toney’s mark from last term – and might even fancy overhauling Guy Whittingham, who scored 42 goals for Portsmouth in the 1992/93 season.

The cliched response to Mitrovic’s magnificent exploits is to suggest that he’s something of a flat track bully: supreme in the Championship, but unable to do it in the top tier. I’d question such an assumption, however. He never had a regular run of games as a youngster at Newcastle, where he was never likely to fit in with Rafa Benitez’s way of playing. Mitrovic did remarkably well to score eleven goals in Fulham’s dysfunctional 2018/2019 campaign, where the Whites finished ten points adrift of safety. Five of those came in Slavisa Jokanovic’s thirteen games with five more in Claudio Ranieri’s fourteen match reign – when Fulham’s style shifted significantly – and just one (a penalty) in ten under Parker, which should have given us all a serious sense of foreboding.

When you factor in his sensational international record – 43 goals in 68 appearances at a better strike rate than a certain Cristiano Ronaldo – it seems fair to suggest that he shouldn’t be written off as a top tier performer. You’d fancy him to score regularly should Silva’s side be promoted this season – if only because the new boss sets a high premium on giving his centre forward the sort of service upon which he thrives.

The bottom line is that these are halcyon days down by the banks of the Thames. We marvelled at the pace and predatory instincts of Louis Saha, briefly savoured how easily Dimitar Berbatov made it look, enjoyed that magical European run with Bobby Zamora up top and admired Brian McBride’s bravery. The goal getters of yesteryear put together numbers that might not be beaten. But you’ll never find another striker as clinical as Mitrovic. We’re lucky that he and Fulham feel like a match made in heaven – and hopefully there are several chapters of his story still to be written.

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Re: Monday Fulham Stuff - 01/11/21...
« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2021, 12:56:40 AM »
Jack and Loz at The Cottage When Mitro Scored Another Hat Trick - Blog 197
Date: 30th October 2021

Opposition: West Bromwich Albion

Score: 3-0

Goal scorer: 🔥🔥🔥

Weather: autumn sunshine

Atmosphere: hat trick-tastic

MOTM (hat trick scoring): 18 into 15 shouldn’t go but Mitro can make the maths work. After the match, our super-striker said he’s in the form on his life but we knew that already. This is our 5th season of Mitro and we know his moods well. He is happiest when he’s trusted by his manager and he’s playing in front of his devoted fans. This season, the fans are back and so is the trust. Mitro is Marco’s main man - the key to his system of mercilessly attacking football. Mitro is loving the responsibility and the attention. His fitness levels and work rate have never been higher and nor has his passion for the Club. His skills have never been in doubt but in the past they have dipped with his mood. Recently, they have soared to the point where he his now out-scoring entire teams. This is his second hat trick of the season. And it’s October. How many more will he score?

MOTM (clean sheet keeping): of course when someone scores a hat trick they are Player of the Match but we, like Mitro himself, have to acknowledge what went on around and behind him on Saturday. Mitro isn’t a one man team and most of his colleagues played very well. Tim Ream’s renaissance continues to be remarkable, if understated. As well as throwing himself into defensive blocks and clearances, Tim made several pin point perfect cross-pitch long passes, switching play from defence to attack in an instant. This was a vintage performance and, as with Mitro’s hat tricks, we think there are many more to come.

Brunch: Bills

Pub: the Blue Boat

Saturday’s match against West Brom was Fulham’s biggest game of the season so far: second versus third in a league where the smallest gap between those two places can end up being an unbridgeable chasm between two leagues.

The match began with a beautiful tribute to fallen heroes, a medical emergency in the Hammersmith End and some fast attacking play from West Brom. The emergency was well dealt with and so was the West Brom press. Fulham turned the tide and the action flooded to the Putney End.

We had a poor view of the tangle in the box but a good view of the resulting penalty. Replays suggest that the penalty was a soft one but Mitro was undoubtedly brought down. He didn’t appeal or even object to the challenge but whilst the ref was inconsistent all afternoon, he wasn’t wholly inaccurate.

How good is it to see Mitro scoring penalties again? Sure, we’re not quite at the point where Penalty to Fulham means Goal to Fulham as we were in the days of Danny Murphy and Oliver Norwood but we no longer have to watch Mitro lining up from behind our clappers. Against Forest he went left, against West Brom he went right. And in both directions he was deadly accurate.

The West Brom goalie wasn’t just terrified of Mitro, he’s now having nightmares about him. His problems started at that point and continued all afternoon. The second goal, although it wasn’t the Man in Pink’s fault, was another moment to forget for the visitors as they presented Mitro with a Silva plated shance and, as we all know, he doesn’t miss those.

So at half time Fulham were 2-0 up without having scored a decent goal. Whilst this sounds like luck it’s got far more to do with the endeavour of the team and, of course, Mitro’s skill. West Brom’s errors weren’t just accidents - they were forced by the pace and perseverance of Bobby Reid, Neeskens Kebano, Harry Wilson and Harrison Reed. And Jean-Michael Seri wasn’t exactly twiddling his thumbs either.

This is how the next two paragraphs usually go: -

“Fulham started the second half slowly….” ✅

“West Brom’s goal was always coming….” But it didn’t. Things were precarious for a while as the Baggies redoubled their efforts and disarray set in. The crowd chanted Kevin McDonald’s name. In his absence, we were expecting to see Josh Onomah but Marco held his nerve and Fulham held on.

Kebano had a shance to seal the match but forgot both the size of the goal and the fact he could have passed to Mitro who was in a good position (as usual). The third goal, when it eventually came, was the easily the best and owed more to Harry Wilson’s drive and determination than Mitro’s neat finish. But our hero had his three goals, and Fulham the three points.

As well as the penalty, the match involved a series of incidents in which the ref was more central than the players and he got two of them right (both red cards) and one of them wrong (the lack of red card for the brutal challenge on Antonee Robinson). Assuming the penalty decision was also correct, three out of four probably isn’t bad. We are only really concerned about one of the incidents anyway which is Tosin’s bizarre decision to make an unnecessary challenge when we were 3-0 up with 5 minutes to go. He had had a fantastic game up to that point.

Having praised Mitro ad infinitum and Tim Ream briefly, it is time to mention that the other stand out performers were Harry Wilson and Harrison Reed (particularly in the first half). Both Kebano and Seri gave the ball away a lot but they worked hard, as did Bobby, particularly in the lead up to the penalty. Rodak made a couple of very good saves but his distribution was erratic. Denis had another excellent game and if Antonee’s decision making was as good as his running we would say the same about him.

Overall, this was an assertive performance against a very physical side but we still feel that the team hasn’t really got going yet. Whilst the score line in no way flatters us, a better team than West Brom would have scored against us. But there are only two teams in the league better than West Brom and we are one of them. Second place is now very much ours to lose and we must focus on the real prize: the champion’s spot. And while Bournemouth are less than 6 points ahead, that’s ours to lose as well.

Random musings:-

- we really hope the person who suffered the medical emergency is ok and thanks to the medical staff and stewards for dealing with the situation so efficiently

- whoever left the leaky blue pen in the bag with West Brom’s kit will be in trouble

- it was great to see Bill Muddyman honoured with a Forever Fulham award at half time

- the triple sub was a good tactic and it was good to see Fabio again (but for how much longer will we enjoy watching him…..?)

- we were pleased that Marco delved into his black jumper collection again and the one he chose set off his FFC poppy badge particularly well

- after the second goal, one of the men working in the Riverside stand popped out to check the score. Perhaps he was a Baggies fan as we didn’t see him again

Stevenage Road musings:-

We were lucky enough to meet up with Fulham’s commentary duo Gentleman Jim and Jamie Reid after the match. It was great chatting to them about players old and new. While we were waiting for them we saw:-

- Mark Schwarzer strolling along looking very trim and dapper. We said “hello” and nearly fainted. He said “hello” and seemed less fazed about the encounter

- Harry Wilson and Harrison Reed casually leaving work for the day (separately)

- Denis Odoi waiting for a mini bus

- Tim Ream with his hair down (not a good look)

- Antonee Robinson in his cut off trackies (also not a good look) in search of attention

- a random steward who told us we were beautiful (honestly!)

We have to end back where we started, with Mitro. After the final whistle and the applause for the other players, almost the entire stadium waited for him to finish his interview with sky so that we could show him our appreciation. Mitro toured the ground with his match ball and MOTM trophy, waving to the crowds and patting his chest more like a Serbian tenor than the most prolific scorer in the country.

This is his season. Enemies will tremble, records will fall. In the words of his own song, “People just want more and more” and he will deliver; “Freedom and love, what he’s looking for” and with Fulham (and Marco) he’s found them.

Mitro loves Fulham. And we love him.