Brain fleeting moments are what cost us 3 points in this match. While I’m content with a point, it’s hard to not want more and felt like we deserved more against Leicester City.
There were questions right after the Chelsea match on who would start. Jean Michel Seri was the main topic of concern, as Fulham fans continue to question if he was worth the amount paid for. Of course, the blunder at Chelsea was still fresh. It was a deja vu moment then when Seri was unable to latch onto a hospital ball from Vietto. Seri tried to control the pass and hold off James Maddison, but the Leicester midfielder pounced and threaded a perfect pass into the path of Iheanacho, whose attempt was well blocked by Rico to save the spoils. I feel that was another opportunity in which Seri could have done better despite the poor pass. He still tried to control the ball before Maddison poked it free. I would have prefered he slide tackled or just simply blast the ball away in those situations. He has a sense that there is more time on the ball, and when there is not, he needs to act fast and clear his own lines. Despite the blunder, Seri should win some votes for a solid performance. He and Chambers were all over the pitch, digging into challenges left and right. Seri wasn’t just looking for simple passes, he was trying to genuinely create chances. Disaster avoided – confidence boosted.
Speaking of confidence, Aboubakar Kamara finally got off the mark. He gave us the lead after a flick from Mitro’s heel, and from there it was Kamara to the races – cutting off any chance for Söyüncü to get a foot on the ball, before making the centre back look foolish as he completely slid himself off the pitch. Kamara remained composed, somehow, striking the ball low and through the legs of Schmeichel. Confidence is one thing, composure is another. Kamara had that moment of composure, but he had multiple moments in which he lost it. This is the enigma that is our “AK47”. We love him because he’s ours, which allows us to laugh (head in hands) at his brain fleeting actions in which he has three teammates to square the ball to inside the box, but decides to flail a left-footed strike into Row Z.
What was painful about this match is that Leicester was there for the taking. Shots like Kamara’s were not uncommon. Honourable mention to Kamara’s outside the foot curling floater from 30-yards out of course, and then there’s Joe Bryan’s slipping strike from distance that almost went out for a throw-in. Overall though, we put up 25 shots and only 7 of them found the frame. It is good that we had 25 chances because that is further validation of the system not needing to be a high possession one, but only 7 on target says we need to work on our composure and maybe take lessons from Calum Chambers. Chambers half-volley in the first half was not that of a signed-centre back, it was the strike of a midfielder in stunning form. I would bet my house that he scores before January. I am also glad to have seen Tom Cairney have a go – and of course, his low strike barely missed the target. Then you have Mitro’s close chances, first with the downward header off the corner, and the nimble play to wrongfoot the defenders in the box before his shot was deflected wide near stoppage time.
The equalizing goal came right after we had almost doubled our lead. I felt remnants of Liverpool as Tom Cairney had just gone wide with his effort. Leicester’s goal was a product of our defensive strategy in which we leave our wingers high, and our centre-midfielders to cover the wings. In this case, Seri came over to help LeMarchand deal with Gray and Okazaki, but Chambers pushed out too far and was unable to cut off the pass from Okazaki that found Madison to score the tying goal. Some would say Odoi should have covered Iheanacho and Christie cover Madison’s late run, but like Slavisa used to say “After the battle, the generals are always right.” – or something to that effect.
Regardless, the plan is coming together I feel. A consistent formation, consistent performance from our midfield, with only a couple of hiccups in composure in our finishing and defending. Yes, we left points on the table, but we also showed what the team is capable of. If Craven Cottage has to be a fortress, then so be it.
I am confident that we will go into Old Trafford on Saturday with the same formation and similar lineup. I think a lot of questions were answered in this match, and when the likes of Kamara get on the scoresheet, you know that the team’s confidence is starting to go upwards. Like I’ve said, he’s an enigma, that is for sure, and he’s part of the best team and manager to help us figure him out. We take this point and continue the push upwards the table. It’s a tight one, and a positive result against Man United on Saturday would further catapult us towards safety. COYW!