It’s amazing how things change over time. What’s slightly less amazing is how badly things have gone for Fulham in such a short period since that glorious evening at Wembley less than 2 months ago.
You can say what you like about Tony Khan and the way the hunt for the seemingly elusive centre back has gone or his Trump-esque use of Twitter, but this performance was purely down to coaching. I’m a fan of Scott, and regardless of this result believe he should get the whole season from a consistency point of view as much as a “believe he’s the right man for the job” one (because no matter who is in this job it’s going to be a hard slog!), but this will go squarely in the “Pitiful” column of performances. I can’t even bring myself to make fun of Brentford’s IKEA stadium complete with Lego seats; they were clinical and deserve plaudits for putting a clearly demoralised team to the sword.
I refuse to buy into the pundits/dodgy Irish bookies claims that we’re already relegated after 3 games and I really hope SP is telling his team to ignore the so-called “experts” and use it as a way of upping their individual games, but on the face of this he’s either not told them that or they’ve ignored him completely. Of course, it was a much-changed team, but that almost makes it worse – these players should all be fighting to make sure they’re in first-team plans for Premier League games and not just cup ones. Based on this performance, most will be lucky to get an U23 appearance.
Debutant Aina clearly isn’t match fit yet but given that was his first appearance it’d be too early to write him off, but what is happening to Big Hec?! If his positioning was questionable for the first goal, the way he was turned by Benrahma for the 3rd goal was just embarrassing – the nutmeg only rubbed a Dead Sea amount of salt into an already gaping wound. A lot has been said of his performances in the league so far, and clearly he’s lacking confidence on the back of them, but to go from an absolute rock at Championship level to being given the runaround by those same players in the space of 8 weeks is nothing short of shocking. Unless something changes quickly, he’ll likely be spending more time on the bench than the pitch once this unicorn of a centre back is finally captured. And can we all agree that AK47 is no longer the rough diamond that we’ve been suggesting he is since he joined and just accept that he’s just not a good footballer (or at the very least, just not suited to the English game)? A one-trick pony whose size and sometimes-pace seem to be of little threat to any team with the merest hint of defensive know-how.
Neeskens was perhaps unlucky not to have his name on the scoresheet thanks to the post and a great save from keeper Raya, who was clearly keen to make up for something – not sure what… Ademola Lookman came on for the second half despite not having had a proper training session with the team…maybe that’s why he looked dangerous?! Fingers crossed there’ll be good things to come from the RB Leipzig loanee!
But enough of the positives, this was a dreadful showing and result against a team in the league below. Scott Parker will continue to try and find positives from performances in order to try and keep his team motivated, but we all know there are very few to take from the season so far and the players will, of course, know that too…as a young Head Coach and seasoned leader, this is a massive test for which he’ll have to draw on all his experience in the game to pass.
Next up is a trip to Molineux, with the only apparent glimmer of hope being that Wolves were on the end of a mauling last weekend, but they’ll be seeing this as the ideal game to get back to winning, and scoring, ways! It’s going to take something special from Scott and his team to stop this from happening…but what’s football without a bit of mindless optimism eh?