Let’s have some Fulham news

by admin

Monday, January 17th, 2011

There’s a lack to talk about Fulham these days. The euphoria of last season, with the Hodgson army battling their way to the Europa League final, has somewhat died.

Like an inflating balloon, the media rushed in during their European cup run: all full of praise for Roy’s lads who rose above the odds to scalp Shakhtar, Juventus and Wolfsburg. As soon as Diego Forlan’s fluke deflection found its way into the net, Fulham once again became a limp, empty sack of media coverage.

Before their draw with Wigan, Fulham’s most recent news on the BBC Sport website was a match report from their Scunthorpe victory – the week before. On the Sky Sports website, the Transfer Clockwacth is higher up the list of ‘other news’ before a vague story about the comeback time of Bobby Zamora and Philippe Senderos.

In the Independent’s ‘i’ last Friday the White’s received only a squashed pre-match paragraph: on the same page as an enormous photo of Sepp Blatter. Yep – there’s something about Mancini and player unrest, and on the next page is the weekly tribute to Rafael van der Vaart.

So, as the Sky cameras focussed a little too heavily on King Kenny during Anfield’s rendition of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ on Sunday, I put my mind to more important matters.

Fulham need an attacking midfielder.

This may seem like another generic claim that is made on every club: oh, what we need is someone in ‘the hold’. Well, on the basis of this season, this statement is certainly true of Fulham.

The problem with Fulham is that their build-up play – when not long ball – is done through the centre. Wingers Damien Duff and Simon Davies tend to cut inside rather than get chalk on their boots, and it took 80 minutes for John Pantsil to mate the first fullback overlap on Saturday.

The problem is, the wingers cut inside and… there’s no one there. Danny Murphy and Dixon Etuhu will always sit with their midfield counterparts in front of them. This isn’t necessarily a criticism: Murphy hasn’t got the legs anymore, and Etuhu is predominantly a defensive midfielder. The only men behind the opposing midfield are the strikers, who have their own markers to deal with.

Without the application of getting behind their opposing midfield, many of Fulham’s counter work or even general build up settles down to six players against two lines of solid defence: great for possession stats, but no real meat to any attack.

Fulham are becoming the poorer man’s Arsenal. The need to retain the ball overcomes a gamble forward. Occasionally Clint Dempsey or Zoltan Gera may whip up a bit of flair, but often a lack of a central attacker – if Hughes is going to make his wingers cut inside – means lose balls fall too freely to the opposition.

Either, Murphy and Etuhu sort out who’s marking the centre spot, or Hughes needs to get the credit card out this winter.

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  • http://thebeautifulgameweekly.blogspot.com/ Ben McAleer

    Fulham need Zamora and Johnson fit to score the goals and ease the burden on Dempsey. The signing of Sidwell will help in the middle of the park and provide a much needed spark for Hughes side

  • http://twitter.com/joseph_short Joe Short

    Agree Ben. Zamora’s game also dictates a lot of holding up and laying off. Hopefully Sidwell can be the guy on the end of it all.

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