The unbeaten run of 2018 continues, unbeaten in TEN, SEVEN straight home wins, TWENTY-SIX points from a possible THIRTY!
I don’t want to sound like I’m getting carried away with it all but how can you not be so positive?
Standing in front of the mighty whites were also a team that were in-form, also unbeaten in 2018, and also a team that most teams in the league would fear of playing against right now. It was set up to be a very good game between two very good sides.
And it lived up to expectations, the buzz around a full Cottage was back and the sun was shining! Simply a no better place to watch a game of football. People were saying it had an almost playoff type of feel going into it. It really was make or break for our second place chances. We knew that all our boys had to do was to go out there and be on top of their game and they did just that. I don’t think anybody can argue that not one player had a bad game, some might not have played to the best of their ability but not one bad performance overall from a player in a white shirt.
The return of TC and Ayite was a big boost for the side after both sustaining some frustrating injuries this season.
The first half started a little cagey, plenty of possession for the home side (as per usual) and a couple of half chances with Targett just missing the target and Mitrovic also inches away from his first Fulham goal.
Villa were looking like a very hard side to break down especially with 10 men behind the ball for most of the first half, the wonder kid Sessegnon was struggling to get himself into the game and Floyd Ayite wasn’t his usual self.
The sexy free-flowing football of Fulham was still there, pulling the Villa players here, there and everywhere. It feels such a pleasure to watch, such calm attractive football and the best ground in the world, the only thing that was missing was a goal.
For that we had to wait until the 52nd minute, some lovely link-up play between Floyd and Freds who put a lovely cross into the box where like many times this season, the Wonder kid Sessegnon was in the right time at the right place to slot home 1-0! Villa fans silenced, a sigh of relief and the sound of “he’s one of our own” was ringing around the ground.
The game had stepped up a gear now and tackles were flying in, Jedinak, who I kept getting mixed up with Snodgrass the whole game, was the first to be booked and Slavs little terrier was still trying his best to wind up the Villa staff. Bruce was even redder in the face than usual!
TC controlled the game very well and was back to his best, Kmac was as strong as ever in that midfield, providing some extra leadership and rumour has it, StefJo chased the Villa players all the way back to the Midlands!
A little touch of Floyd Ayite.
The haters will say, “it was an open goal and he should be scoring it”. It’s not just about pinging a ball from the halfway line, it’s the composer he had before taking the shot, making sure it had enough pace on it so that the keeper couldn’t run back after a dreadful error and of course the accuracy.
I will hold my hands up and say I was getting frustrated with Ayite before his goal, he had an opportunity to play Mitrovic through just moments before. Like I said before, nobody had a bad game but personally, Ayite was one of the players not playing to the best of his ability! But who cares when you score a goal from 45 yards out to put your team 2-0 up against one of your promotion-chasing rivals?
Missing pieces of the puzzle.
Matty Targett, the left back we have been crying out for, was outstanding once again. He isn’t bothered about being the star of the show with fancy tricks and flicks, he just goes about his business doing everything correctly. His passing was inch perfect, no-nonsense defending from him and never put a foot out of place.
Aleksandar Mitrovic bullied their CB pairing today. Much delight to the home fans to see that horrible human, that’s me being very polite, John Terry have a very poor game and get tormented by the Serb. Mitrovic had the confidence to hold the ball up well, turn defenders and bring everybody else in to play. Once he starts scoring, I don’t think he will stop! I also believe he will help introduce the English game to Fonte and Kamara, show them the physical side of it and how to hold off defenders as well as he did against Villa.
Fulham fans: I loved the buzz around the ground, the atmosphere was back and so was the belief that we could actually go up automatically!
Aston Villa fans: A strong following from their supporters today, they were loud in voice until the wonder kid put the whites in front and then slowly disappeared in numbers once they knew they weren’t getting anything from the game.
Man of the match: Matt Targett. This could have easily been a number of players today. I just feel the way he went about his game, the link up play with Ryan Sessegnon, doing everything correctly and with such great professionalism he edges it over Fredericks, Ream and Cairney for me. Could this be England’s future left-sided partnership?
The automatic promotion chase is well and truly on now!