Thursday, December 27, 2007

Fulham Smacked Around on Boxing Day

The Boxing Day match between Fulham FC and Tottenham Hotspur was just ugly as Hotspur smacked the Whites for five goals in a dismal performance at White Heart Lane. Fulham Interim Manager Ray Lewington had this to say:
“I thought we were very lethargic in the first half,” he said. “We seem to have got into a siege mentality where we keep backing off, when what we want to do is stop the ball at source. But from the very off we started to let them have time and space on the ball and backed off. We got lots of numbers behind the ball but that actually wasn’t the plan.

“If you do that against any Premiership side, especially a side with talent like Spurs, you’re really going to pay the price – which we did."
Gee, you think?!

From the kickoff, Fulham acted and looked over-matched and of course that does not produce a winning attitude. Once again the back line looked unorganized and lacking in leadership. The marking, quite frankly, sucked. You cannot leave players like Robbie Keane unmarked and expect nothing to happen. Keane found the back of the net twice for the Spurs in large part because of collapses on the defensive side.

American Clint Dempsey scored the lone goal for the Whites, giving the Texan two goals in as many games--a veritable deluge of scoring for the Whites--and that is just plain pitiful. Dempsey's performance of late has been one of the few bright spots on the Fulham side in recent weeks and the American International has probably cemeted a starting position for himself.

However, I am still very concerned about the lack of organization on the pitch. While the turmoil at the top certainly can lead to some mixed play, the turmoil on the pitch pre-dates Lawrie Sanchez's sacking. Aaron Hughes is fine player but is a poor leader. Carols Bocanegra (who for a while was Captain) is likewise a fine player but doesn't seem to have that leadership quality either. To be honest, in the absence of Brian McBride, I don't see anyone capable of stepping in to a leadership role.

The Boxing Day performance simply reiterates my belief expressed previously. Lewington or whoever is appointed manager in his stead, needs to do some serious head thinking in the Transfer Window if the second half of the season is to be better than the first. In their current configuration, relegation is looking more and more likely.

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