We started the month away to Manchester City in the Carabao cup and as predicted, we were shown how ‘total football’ is supposed to be played at the highest level. Despite making ten changes to their starting line-up City were ruthless with both goals coming from young starlet Diaz. The hosts had the lions share of possession, nearly 65%, and they made it count too with 27 attempts on goal. Despite a big step-up in performance, the gulf in quality was clear and it was a routine night for the Citizens.
Most Fulham fans didn’t care though about that result, as they had their eyes on the following fixture. Huddersfield town away. The game was already shaping up to be a relegation six-pointer in November with both teams sitting in the relegation zone. Pre-match things looked good for Fulham, no goals and as a result, no wins for Huddersfield at home all season.
However, despite this, Fulham looked lost from the off. The high-pressure tactics from the terriers were clearly working as the whites struggled to get the ball out of their half. After Huddersfield striking the crossbar didn’t wake Fulham from their slumber, more poor defending led to a corner following a fine save from Rico. Fulham’s defence cleared the corner but seemed to forget to press the second ball. This resulted in plenty of time for Schindlers’ six-foot-two-inch frame to be picked out with an inch-perfect cross and a free header resulted in the lead being taken by the hosts.
Fulham looked out of sorts, almost as though they had forgotten how to play football and Huddersfield’s constant pressure kept them out of the game. Every 50/50 ball was being won by the Yorkshire-based team and the whites looked as though they didn’t want to compete.
A must win game had passed us by, and we didn’t get the result we needed. The rumours had started swirling around the club forums and twitter that Slavisa was to be gone soon.
6 days had passed and Fulham were away to Liverpool. Slav was still stood in the dugout and Fulham fans were praying for a miracle and in the 41st minute, it arrived. A corner was cleared but only as far as yet another Fulham player, Cairney swung the ball into the box and it was won by Mitrovic, who placed his header into the net. Fulham fans were still celebrating as Liverpool brought the ball forward, the goal by Mitrovic had been controversially disallowed and within ten seconds Salah was through on goal, sweeping the ball past Rico to allow Liverpool to take the lead. This emphasised to every Fulham fan the clinical nature of the premier league. Fulham were much improved from Huddersfield and even from Manchester City but once again the difference in ability was astounding. Liverpool doubled their lead after halftime and could’ve had more but for a series of saves from Rico in the Fulham goal.
Coming away from the Liverpool game and heading into the international break fans had no idea on whether Slavisa would survive the week, never mind the year and on the 14th we got our answer. Slavisa was gone with former premier league winning manager Claudio Ranieri coming in. The appointment seemed reasonable and dare one say, necessary.
With the international break, Ranieri had 10 days of training with Fulham to turn them into contenders for our next game, Southampton at home.
Following the result of the Huddersfield game, this fixture had become a potential season decider, in just November. Fulham needed a big performance and they got it. The Tinkerman had changed Fulham’s philosophy and approach in just ten days. Players suddenly wanted to be in the way of every shot, not turning their backs on them, they wanted the 50/50 balls and were willing to be in the scrappy challenges. Whether Slavisa could’ve got this out of them is unknown but all that matters is that we got the result we needed.
Despite the visitors taking the lead, we struck back and thanks to goals from Mitrovic and Schürlle we went into the break leading. A good save from another Mitrovic strike stopped us improving our lead and we regretted it. Armstrong bagged his second impressive finish of the afternoon to pull it back to 2-2. Fulham weren’t finished yet though and a goal from Mitro just after the hour mark gave Fulham something to cling onto. And cling on did we.
The first victory following nine games without winning has certainly lifted spirits and the general consensus around Fulham appears to be heading in a positive direction again.
24/11/18 – Fulham 3-2 Southampton
11/11/18 – Liverpool 2-0 Fulham
05/11/18 – Huddersfield Town 1-0 Fulham
01/11/18 – Man City 2-0 Fulham (EFL Cup)
Player of the month
Sergio Rico – After yet another frustrating month for Fulham, it’s hard to find a player who deserves to be given this title but I’ve decided to go for Sergio Rico this month. Despite conceding 7 goals this month he has kept us in several games and prevented us from conceding at key moments against Southampton, especially late on in the game, our only win of the month, he takes the award for the first time this season.
Top Fulham Player Stats (Premier League)
|M. Le Marchand||270|
|M. Le Marchand||195|
|M. Le Marchand||110|
Most Shots On Target
|M. Le Marchand||5|
Most Aerial Battles Won
|M. Le Marchand||7|
|M. Le Marchand||3|
FPL Highest Scorer (% of FPL Selections)
|A. Mitrovic||16 (17.1%)|
|R. Sessegnon||13 (2.5%)|
|A. Schürrle||11 (4.9%)|
|M. Le Marchand||7 (0.2%)|
|S. Rico||7 (0.2%)|
Rating for the month out of 10 – 4/10.
A much-needed win to stop the rot was achieved but only after the disappointing act of having to replace Jokanovic. Hopefully, this score starts to climb back up from the recent depths it has been to.
02/12/18 – Chelsea 2-0 Fulham
05/12/18 – Fulham 1-1 Leicester City
08/12/18 – Manchester United 2-1 Fulham
15/12/18 – Fulham 2-1 West Ham United
22/12/18 – Newcastle United 1-3 Fulham
26/12/18 – Fulham 1-1 Wolves
29/12/18 – Fulham 3-1 Huddersfield
Stats were sourced using whoscored.com.