Monthly Review: February

Knowing how cruel March looked on paper, Fulham went into February with a lottery home game against Manchester Utd, surrounded by three away trips against sides that were beatable and due to our precarious position were labelled as “must wins”. So to come out of the shortest month in the calendar year with ‘nil-point’ has destroyed any half chance we may have had of escaping this mess.

The tactics displayed didn’t appear to suggest we were ‘going for it’, recognising the urgency of our situation and the importance pinpointed at those particular games. That is the most disappointing thing for me. The warning signs were there from the off when Claudio told the media that he didn’t want the ball, happy to sit back and soak up pressure. That’s all well and good when you are playing Man City perhaps but we were waving the white flag in games such as Huddersfield at home! It was dreadful football with no direction, purpose or desire to achieve the wins needed. In other words, torture to watch for the sake of it.

My patience finally caved in at Palace away. After ending January on a high thanks to a superb comeback against Brighton, we then reverted back to the back 5 system which had failed so often when it seemed a no brainer and common sense to keep the eleven who turned the Brighton game on its head?

Far too many strange decisions, isolating the players who should have been the first names on the team sheet (Cairney on the right wing and Sessegnon on the bench) and more than enough chances to get it right. Sadly for us, Claudio Ranieri as nice a man as people can claim he is, failed miserably and in some respects insulted our intelligence as fans by continuing to say the same nonsense in every pre and post-match conference. I wish him the best of health and good luck for the future but from a footballing perspective and with the welfare of my football club at the forefront of my mind, a huge sigh of relief that his tenure is over. It’s just a shame that it came 4 games too late because Palace, West Ham and Southampton were there for the taking.

My rating was initially a zero but as he was sacked on the final day of the month, at least I can take something positive came out of February.

Rating for the month – 1/10


02/02/19 – Crystal Palace 2-0 Fulham
09/02/19 – Fulham 0-3 Man Utd
22/02/19 – West Ham Utd 3-1 Fulham
27/02/19 – Southampton 2-0 Fulham

Top Fulham Player Stats (Premier League)

Minutes played
S. Rico – 360
D. Odoi – 360
C. Chambers – 360
A. Mitrović – 360
J. Bryan – 350

Most Touches
D. Odoi – 322
C. Chambers – 308
J. Seri – 228
T. Cairney – 227
J. Bryan – 226

Most Passes
C. Chambers – 246
D. Odoi – 232
T. Ream – 181
J. Seri – 178
T. Cairney – 165

Key Passes
J. Seri – 6
C. Chambers – 4
T. Cairney – 4
A. Mitrović – 3
R. Babel – 2
J. Bryan – 2

Most Dribbles
T. Cairney – 8
R. Babel – 7
L. Vietto – 4
J. Seri – 3
J. Bryan – 3
T. Ream – 3

Most Shots
A. Mitrović – 11
R. Babel – 9
C. Chambers – 7
T. Cairney – 4
A. Anguissa – 4

Most Shots On Target
R. Babel – 3
C. Chambers – 3
A. Mitrović – 2
A. Anguissa – 2
J. Seri – 1
T. Cairney – 1

Most Interceptions
C. Chambers – 9
J. Seri – 8
D. Odoi – 6
M. Le Marchand – 5
J. Bryan – 4

Most Headers Won
A. Mitrović – 24
D. Odoi – 10
T. Ream – 10
C. Chambers – 9
J. Bryan – 8

Fouls Conceded
J. Bryan – 6
A. Mitrović – 6
M. Le Marchand – 5
D. Odoi – 5
H. Nordtveit – 4

Fouls Won
D. Odoi – 9
T. Cairney – 8
R. Babel – 8
A. Mitrović – 5
J. Bryan – 2
J. Seri – 2
A. Anguissa – 2

March Predictions

I can see a mini-resurgence under Scott Parker, briefly modelling the way Kit Symons started his managerial career. Having said that, I find it unimaginable that anyone could have the same unsackable form that Kit showed in the Championship, especially when looking at how daunting our March fixtures are and how poor the squad currently is.

Therefore, I can’t see his appointment being anything more than a stop gap but if he can galvanise the players and restore some confidence, pride and fight back into our club, he will be the right man at the right time for Fulham. Almost identical to the role Kit Symons played in giving us our Fulham back. And then the SLAVolution can begin in the summer. We can dream…

03/03/19 – Fulham 1-1 Chelsea
09/03/19 – Leicester City 1-1 Fulham
17/03/19 – Fulham 1-3 Liverpool
30/03/19 – Fulham 1-3 Man City