Halloween Ghouless Draw


Image: Fulham FC

Nil-nil draws have been a rare beast at the Cottage over the last decade or so, and it’s probably fair to say that this one didn’t have the feeling of a turgid slog that left you feeling like you’ve just taken part in a 90 minute endurance test rather than enjoyed a game of football. If it weren’t for the fact that Mitro’s scoring boots seemed to have been left at Motspur, and Jordan Pickford’s T-Rex arms suddenly morphed into those belonging to Mr Tickle of Mr Men fame, we could’ve been in for a goal fest.

Alas, a single point was all that was taken from a game in which the home side had 24 shots and which saw a number of players put in fantastic performances. In fact, the one person who stood out as not having a great game was probably our No.9, but even then that was more down to his name missing from the scoresheet despite his numerous chances, rather than his all-round play, which again proved how much of an asset he is to the team aside from just his ability to put the ball in the net. Think we can just put this one down to a slightly off day at the office!

Whilst those further up the pitch will be disappointed that they couldn’t break the deadlock, Bern Leno will undoubtedly be celebrating his 2nd clean sheet in consecutive home games. Once again the German proved his worth to the team with a solid performance, making a number of saves in the first half and providing a calm presence at the back. This complimented another captain’s performance from Tim Ream and Issa Diop had probably his best game in a Fulham shirt so far. Having missed out on a start against Leeds (possibly down to a knock he appeared to pick up against Aston Villa), it was he who was brought into partner the ageing-like-a-fine-wine American, and again he showed how much of a force he is both at the back and even in the opposition half as he put in a series of strong (yet fair) challenges on Everton players all over the park. I’m a big fan of Tosin and think he is going to have a great career (hopefully at the Cottage) but since the Frenchman’s initial wobble on his debut, he has put in the sort of displays that show he is probably more suitable to partner Ream at this point. In the long run, Tosin and Diop at the back could well become a wonderful partnership should the former sign a contract to extend his stay beyond next summer…

Staying on the backline, Antonee Robinson deserves praise for his performances this season. From being ‘certain to be replaced’ in the window to ‘he has to play if fit’, the left back has put in a number of imperious displays down the flank and Saturday’s was probably one of his best. His MOTM award was well deserved, even if it was a bit of a coin toss between him a Willian. If he keeps these performances up and stays injury free, Layvin Kurzawa could be returning to PSG in the summer to tell them he was kept out of the team by some bloke from Milton Keynes who calls himself Jedi.

Speaking of the 34-going-on-27 year old Brazilian, it was another cracking showing from the man who was just supposed to be a squad player who’d make a 20 minute cameo every now and then. Every time he gets the ball, you think he’s going to do something special with it. The fact he stills has decent pace and the stamina that belies his years is great news for the team, but his football intelligence is something to behold. It’s not often we get a player with that level of natural talent in our ranks and hopefully he can keep it up for the next year or two (or more!). Also, I’m sure I’m not the only one who was somewhat confused as to why he didn’t win a penalty for a clear trip in the box. He didn’t look like he threw himself to the ground, nor was he looking for it. But then, hey, what’s a Premier League game without a bit of VAR controversy?!

With all the positives that came from the game, it’s just a shame that there was only a single point to be gained from it. To be fair to Fat Frank’s Toffees, they were well organised and put in some good attacking movement themselves, but if they had nicked a winner we could’ve gone home feeling incredibly hard done by!

With just two games remaining until the traditional World Cup-in-November/December break, points may be somewhat hard to come by against the two Manchester clubs, but who knows what Marco and his team could get out of the players. And at the very least, let’s just hope Erling Haaland still has a dodgy foot.